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How to make vanilla extract

How to make homemade vanilla extract. Super easy, fun, and cost effective. Great as gifts for Christmas, housewarming parties, or your foodie friends birthdays! 

How to make homemade vanilla extract. Super easy, fun, and cost effective. Great as gifts for Christmas, housewarming parties, or your foodie friends birthdays!

Let's talk about vanilla extract.

If you're a baker, you use a lot of the stuff. Those tiny little jars you buy at the grocery store probably don't last you very long, and this isn't an ingredient you can afford to go without. Have you ever thought about making own vanilla extract at home (or did you even know you could)?

While it does take a while for it to age, it only takes a few minutes to get started and you only need two ingredients – vanilla beans and vodka.

The tricky part is finding beans. You might see them at the grocery store or specialty store, but they are usually quite expensive. I order Madagascar beans online (linked below in the recipe). 

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I have seen the general rule of thumb is 3 beans per 8 ounces of vodka, but I've used 2 beans and it worked well. The beans I had were 7 inches long, which I think is about normal.

You can use more beans if you'd like (I've seen some people using up to 5), but from my personal experience 2 worked just fine.

How to make your own homemade vanilla extract. Super easy, fun, and cost effective. Great as gifts for Christmas, housewarming parties, or your foodie friends birthdays!

An important trick is to cut the beans into about 1-inch pieces, and slice them down the middle so all the flavor can come out.

How to make your own homemade vanilla extract. Super easy, fun, and cost effective. Great as gifts for Christmas, housewarming parties, or your foodie friends birthdays!

In a jar that has a tight-fitting lid, add these vanilla bean pieces into a cup (8 ounces) of vodka. I used these blue mason jars, but you can find plenty of cute jars for this purpose.

How to make your own homemade vanilla extract. Super easy, fun, and cost effective. Great as gifts for Christmas, housewarming parties, or your foodie friends birthdays!

It won't look like much right off the bat. At first, it will just look like dirty vodka.

How to make your own homemade vanilla extract. Super easy, fun, and cost effective. Great as gifts for Christmas, housewarming parties, or your foodie friends birthdays!

Shake it up real good and put it in the cupboard. Here comes the waiting part. For the extract to age properly, it needs to sit at least 2 months, preferably 3. Every week or so, take out the jar and give it a good shake to mix up all the vanilla bean goodness.

Here's what mine looked like after 2 weeks:

How to make homemade vanilla extract. Super easy, fun, and cost effective. Great as gifts for Christmas, housewarming parties, or your foodie friends birthdays!

And here's what it looked like after 1 month:

How to make your own homemade vanilla extract. Super easy, fun, and cost effective. Great as gifts for Christmas, housewarming parties, or your foodie friends birthdays!

By the time it's ready to use, it should have a deep dark color and a strong vanilla scent.

I love making my own vanilla extract, and also giving it as gifts! I once found a “make your own vanilla” kit at a Homegoods store, and brought it to a white elephant holiday party. The woman who picked it was so excited, she had never thought to make her own vanilla!

It was basically a jar with a couple vanilla beans in it, with a label that said “just add vodka.”

The best part is you can just keep adding vodka and more beans as you start to run low. No need to start over from scratch every time!

So go buy some vanilla beans and make some!

Yield: 1 cup

How to make vanilla extract

How to make your own homemade vanilla extract. Super easy, fun, and cost effective. Great as gifts, too!

How to make your own homemade vanilla extract. Super easy, fun, and cost effective. Great as gifts for Christmas, housewarming parties, or your foodie friends birthdays!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cut vanilla beans into 1 inch pieces, and cut the beans open by slicing down the middle.
  2. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, add vanilla bean pieces and vodka.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Store in cupboard and shake well about once a week for at least 2 months.
  5. After about 2 months the vanilla extract should be ready to use. If you can wait 3 months, that's even better!

Notes

Make it fun and use some unique or colorful jars to put the vanilla extract in. I used these blue mason jars and there are so many other options to add that extra touch!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 552Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically by an online tool at Nutritionix. It is not always accurate. Please use your own tools to check if you rely on this information.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see! Tag @trialandeater on Instagram and hashtag it #trialandeater .

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Leona Olson

Sunday 4th of December 2016

I was looking for this recipe. I will still make it for gifts. Thanks so much.

Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

Monday 28th of July 2014

I seriously had no idea it was this easy to make my own. Thanks for sharing this, I am never going to buy it again :)

Kelly

Wednesday 30th of July 2014

Yay! Let me know your experience with making it Dannii! It's so much better homemade :)

Kelly

Thursday 17th of July 2014

Great post Kelly! I keep meaning to try making my own but have never gotten around to it. Thanks for the great for sharing and the great reminder :)

Kelly

Friday 18th of July 2014

It's one of those things that gets pushed down the to-do list a lot, I know! Since you have to make it so far ahead of time, it's sometimes difficult to nail down a day to actually make it, since you don't get to use it right away. I'm glad I gave you a reminder :)

Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

Wednesday 16th of July 2014

What a great post! I go through vanilla extract like nobody's business...I seriously use it all the time! I had no idea it was this easy to make my own. Definitely trying this out! Thanks so much for sharing!

Kelly

Wednesday 16th of July 2014

I'm so glad this was helpful to you Gayle!

ela@GrayApron

Tuesday 15th of July 2014

That's good one. I make my own too!

ela h.