Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Ever notice how much vanilla extract costs and how quickly it disappears?  Maybe it only disappears so quickly here because I'm married to the world's best waffle maker, but it seems like there's only enough in one of those little bottles to make a few desserts.

As it turns out, it's really simple to make your own.

See exhibit A:

What you need:

  • Some sort of bottle that seals (we got ours at Hobby Lobby, isn't it cute?)
  • Cheap vodka (we used a couple of cups)
  • Whole vanilla beans (we used 5)
Now in order to do this, you are going to have to get over your fear of running into some of your fellow church members at the liquor store.  Some of y'all know what I'm talking about!

Vanilla beans can be pricey, so you might want to find a place that sells them in bulk or order them online.  If you're wondering why they're so expensive, it's because all of the growing and harvesting of the beans has to be done by hand.  Isn't it strange to think that in this day and age, there are still crops that are handled without the use of machinery?

I digress.

  1. Wrangle your vanilla beans onto a cutting board and cut a slit all the way down the bean.
  2. Drop the beans into your cute little bottle.
  3. Pour in enough vodka to cover the beans.
  4. Close the bottle and shake it up.
  5. Store in a dark cupboard and take it out to shake it up every now and then.
  6. As you use it, top it off every now and then with more vodka.  You can reuse the same beans in this way for awhile.
Within a couple of weeks, it should be ready to use!  When we first made it, the color was a light brown,but the picture was taken after about 2 weeks and you can see how dark it had gotten.  It has been about a month now and it's even better.

If you look around on Pinterest, you can find some variations on doing this, and some free printable labels for the bottle (very cute ones!).

Linked up here:

The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

The Self Sufficient HomeAcre


  1. Laughing! I made some bath fragrance stuff years ago and needed cheap vodka to mix the water and oil. First time I was ever in a liquor store. And yes I ran into someone I knew from church. The look on his face was classic!

  2. This is really cool :) I want to taste those waffles someday. That's quite a boast.;) Also does all vanilla extract contain vodka? Like the kind you buy in the store. Mine by the way tends to last me a few years. lol I don't bake from scratch often. :)

  3. The stuff at the store has alcohol in it too. Not sure if it's vodka. Vodka doesn't really have a taste, so it doesn't compete with the taste of the vanilla beans.

    Renita that is funny!

  4. Who knew that vanilla extract was so close to homemade Kaluha!

    At our local Bi-Mart, they keep it behind the counter. I guess that people were stealing the vanilla extract for a buzz.

    Thanks for the great post,

    Kathy M.

  5. I use so much with all the baking I do. I have seen this before and seeing your homemade vanilla is a reminder that I should try. Nice post andi thewednesdaybaker

  6. Good for you :) I have some vanilla beans ordered from Frontier Herbs and I need to get busy and do this soon! Thanks for the reminder :)
    Thanks for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you this evening at: