Friday, August 28, 2015

Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe and Inspiration

A while back I was greatly inspired by a friend of mine and fellow food blogger, Sara who made her own Homemade Vanilla Extract.  She then packaged it up in cute little bottles and gifted them as Christmas presents. It seemed so simple, I thought I'd give it a shot as well.

This is truly a homemade recipe that anyone can make. There are really only two ingredients; vodka (a 1.75 liter bottle) and whole vanilla beans (about a quarter pound for each bottle of vodka). I made a double batch, putting a quarter pound of vanilla beans each into two 1.75 liter jugs of vodka. It's easy.

All you need are your two ingredients, a clean pair of kitchen shears (or any clean pair of scissors that you don't mind getting a little bit dirty) and a cutting board. The vodka I used was readily available at the local liquor barn type establishment and you can buy the cheapest brand they have, expensive vodka isn't going to make the vanilla taste any better.
You might be able to find the whole vanilla beans at your local co-op or natural foods store, but they will probably be expensive. I ordered the vanilla beans online (from Amazon) and they were about $40 for a half pound, enough to make two 1.75 liters of vanilla extract.

I took the pair of clean kitchen shears and cut the vanilla pods down their length to within about an inch of the end. The vanilla pods had the consistency of a raisin and they cut very easily. You need only maintain a modicum of concentration to make sure you don't snip your finger as you handle the slender vanilla beans, and then before you know it you're done. The whole process only took about 15 minutes.

I poured off a bit of vodka from the jug (I probably shouldn't have been so wasteful and consumed the vodka, but it was 11am on a Sunday morning) and then evenly divided up the newly split vanilla pods into each 1.75 liter jug of vodka, with about a quarter pound in each jug. I left the bottles on the counter and periodically gave them a shake.
After only an hour the vanilla had already started to turn the vodka a light amber color and began the extract process. I put the bottles into the downstairs root cellar where it's cool and dark. The vanilla will be ready to use in about a month, but will be best after it's had about 6 months to percolate. You just need to pour the mixture through a filter (I use a coffee filter) to keep the chunks out and you've got a whole lot of vanilla extract.


  1. Thank you for posting this. Im going to give it a try very soon. If I can remember, Ill update this when Im done. :D

  2. Excellent, let me know how it turns out. I think you'll be happy with the results.