• Homemade Vanilla Extract: Recipes & Tips

    Making your own vanilla extract is simple and I highly recommend it if you enjoy a rich vanilla flavor in your favorite recipes. Here are a few of my favorite Homemade Vanilla extract recipes as well as tips for using the leftover vanilla beans when you're done!
    Real Vanilla extract (not the cheap-o imitation stuff) is flavorful, decadent and Expensive! Making your own vanilla extract is simple and the flavor just cant be beat.

    Vanilla Extract Recipe #1

    * Split 2 vanilla beans end-to-end
    with a sharp knife. Add these to 2 cups of High Quality Vodka or alcohol of your choice, seal the jar, shake lightly
    * Place the Jar in a cool, dark spot for 3-weeks
    * Pour into decorative bottle & Use as desired

    Other Tips:
    * Vanilla beans are good as long as they have a strong vanilla scent
    * Try using different types of Vanilla Beans for varying intensity and flavor- Madagascar, Indonesia, Tahitian, Mexican
    * Stronger Extract: Use a higher proof of alcohol and Split the beans, scraping the seeds directly into the extract
    * Weaker Extract: Use a lesser proof of alcohol and soak whole beans without cutting them.


    Traditional Vanilla Recipe
    (Makes 8-ounces)

    1/2-pint Vodka
    4 Vanilla beans
    Seal tight bottle or container
    Decorative bottle

    * Add vanilla beans that have been split lengthwise, seal the
    jar, shake lightly
    * Place the Jar in a cool, dark spot for 3-weeks
    * Pour into decorative bottle & Use as desired

    Brandy Vanilla
    (Makes 8-ounces)

    1 cup Brandy
    1 whole vanilla bean

    * Place Brandy into glass jar that can be sealed (Mason Jars work great)
    * Add one vanilla bean that has been split lengthwise, seal the jar, shake lightly
    * Place the Jar in a cool, dark spot for 3-weeks
    * Strain the brandy vanilla through a coffee filter into decorative bottle & Use as desired

    Note: Brandy adds an additional flavor to the vanilla, which is not desirable in some recipes.


    What to do with Vanilla Beans after Making Homemade Vanilla


    Once you remove the vanilla beans from the alcohol in your homemade vanilla, allow them dry them thoroughly and place them in a coffee grinder or chopper. Chop until very smooth. Vanilla sugar is great for sprinkling on cookies, cereal, oatmeal, etc.

    Where to get Vanilla Beans

    Vanilla beans can be rather expensive if you purchase them in your local grocery store. I've seen them as expensive as $10 for 2 beans! However, you can order quality, flavorful beans online at a mere fraction of the price and save that expensive gas for something more important.

    The Best Deal I've found online at Amazon is for a 30 Vanilla Bean Assortment Pack for $16.99 which includes:

    • 10 Grade A Madagascar Beans
    • 10 Grade B Madagascar Beans
    • 10 Grade A Tahitian Vanilla Beans


    However, I found these Madagascar Beans (seen in the photos above) for $5.99 (for 10 whole beans) and the shipping is free (with or without Amazon prime) for both of those.

    Comments 6 Comments
    1. MarilynB's Avatar
      MarilynB -
      I've just recieved my vanilla beans from Amazon and I'm picking up the alcohol tonight! Can't wait to try this! Thanks so much!!
    1. Tblufox's Avatar
      Tblufox -
      I've been making my own vanilla for years for myself and as gifts in pretty jars. The recipe I use calls for 2 plump vanilla beans sliced lengthwise and then cut into 1/2 inch sections. Place vanilla pieces in - 4 oz jar and top it odd with Cognac or Brandy. Store in a cool, dark pantry and shake every couple of days. In 2-3 weeks, you'll have the best vanilla you've ever tasted. the beans should hold enough flavor that you can refill the jar once more with the Cognac before discarding the beans and starting over.
      Thanks for sharing! Tblufox from Derby, Kansas
    1. luckwo's Avatar
      luckwo -
      Wow I am always out of vanilla extract, this will keep that from happening, thanks
    1. Laura1of8's Avatar
      Laura1of8 -
      I make vanilla with bourbon. It has a rich flavor and is delicious. It makes a darker colored vanilla.
    1. Chefie's Avatar
      Chefie -
      I've been doing this for years as well, but I like a very strong vanilla flavor and make mine in bulk since I wait a minimum of 3 months before using (makes a big difference, trust me!) I do 1 pound of chopped vanilla beans per 1 gallon of super cheap vodka and it works amazingly well! This amount usually lasts me about 2 years, and I use a ridiculous amount of vanilla! Definitely can be a little pricey up front, but it's definitely worth it, especially because I wait until the beans go on sale. Last time I was able to get 1 pound of Madagascar beans for $65 including shipping!
    1. LaReindeer's Avatar
      LaReindeer -
      I also have been making my own vanilla for a long time, I have found the best prices are on eBay for vanilla beans. I prefer to let mine sit for several months too.


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