Friday, October 15, 2010

Homemade Vanilla Extract

i have been doing a lot more baking recently. it's not really my strong suit but you know what they say, practice makes perfect. so that's what i have been doing. practice, practice, practice . . .
a client of mine has requested cupcakes every week so that has been providing good cupcake practice. needless to say i have been going through a lot more butter, sugar, and flour than usual. i also have been using up a serious amount of vanilla extract. i like to use the quality stuff and it's not cheap. at roughly $8-10 per 4oz bottle, i knew i needed another way.
turns out you can get pretty good deals on vanilla beans online. they usually run $8 for one bean at the store. i was able to find 12 mexican vanilla beans for under $16. (that's roughly $1.33 a bean - a much better ratio than the $8 per bean at the store.)
with this great deal on vanilla beans, i decided to take a stab at making my own vanilla extract. after some good old internet research i settled on my ingredients: 6 vanilla beans and 2 cups of vodka.
the directions couldn't be easier either. just split open the beans, submerge them in vodka in an airtight glass jar and then wait. the waiting is the hardest part. it's like waiting for limoncello. it feels like it takes forever. but when the wait is over, it's oh so worth it!
after 1-2 months (with the occasional shake) you have wonderfully dark, amber, aromatic vanilla extract. now, istead of paying over $2 an ounce, you have homemade vanilla extract for under $1 an ounce.
the best thing though? this vanilla extract actually last a lot longer than 2 cups. when it get a little low, all you have to do is add another splash of vodka. those 6 vanilla beans will continue to flavor additional vodka for a long time. you can easily add 2-4 more cups of vodka to the jar over several months and still have wonderfully flavorful extract. it actually will last years. every year or so, add another fresh vanilla bean and you will have vanilla extract for life.
that makes this one glass bottle virtually priceless.

Vanilla Extract

6 vanilla beans
2 cups vodka
airtight glass bottle

split each bean in half lengthwise leaving one end intact. add beans to the jar. pour 2 cups of vodka over beans. seal jar and let sit for 1-2 months. color will darken over time. be sure to give it a good shake once a week or whenever you think about it. (i give mine a good shake every time i finish using it.


  1. making your own vanilla is the most genius and EASY thing!! (besides the waiting)... I made my first batch when I still had a large bottle of the good stuff, and have not been without since... YUM :D

  2. I must do this. Can you link me to the cheap vanilla beans?

  3. ou ahh! interesting making your own vanilla. people are gonna be drunk!!! lol

    have a lovely weekend!
    jen @


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