DIY Vanilla Extract

With my baking habits, I go through vanilla extract like crazy.  I prefer the real stuff to imitation, but it’s way too expensive for a grad student on a budget!  So I was thrilled to find this recipe for DIY vanilla extract.

After making a one-time purchase of adorable (and inexpensive) swing-top bottles, I was ready to assemble the ingredients.  Vanilla beans, check.  Cheap handle of vodka, check.  (It was so cheap that Gabe said we couldn’t drink any or we would probably die.  This stuff is only for baking.)

The equation: 3 split vanilla beans + 8 oz. vodka + 2 months in the cupboard = 8 oz. homemade vanilla extract!

Vanilla beans kinda look like caviar...

I’m bummed that I can’t start using it right away, but in a couple months I will have two bottles of (hopefully) delicious vanilla extract.

Besides the warm feeling I get when I make something from scratch, here’s an added bonus: 16 oz. of vanilla extract cost $10 to make.  The normal price for 16 oz. of high-quality vanilla extract is $30-35.  (Krista for the win!)

I would love to make a bunch of bottles for Christmas presents, but I’m always hesitant to pack breakables in my checked baggage… of course if they broke my clothing would just smell delicious!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

  • 3 vanilla beans, split
  • 8 oz. cheap vodka

Place vanilla beans in an airtight bottle. Add vodka. Store in a cool, dark place for two months, shaking gently once a week or so.

Source: Annie’s Eats

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11 thoughts on “DIY Vanilla Extract

  1. Love it!!! When the vanilla extract is done brewing you can take one of the beans out and put it in a canister of sugar to make vanilla sugar. Either let it permeate the sugar for a few weeks, or throw the sugar and vanilla bean into food processor for quickie solution.

  2. Considering the small amount of vodka you used, I would have bought better vodka and consider the savings on the vanilla as like drinking for free. But what do I know……

    • Well I’m planning on using the rest of the handle to make more vanilla in the future. Plus we already have our drinking vodka in the freezer. :)

  3. Pingback: Cranberry Vodka | Lingonberry Jam

  4. Hi Krista! I stumbled across your blog and couldn’t stop looking at the recipes!!

    I was wondering if the vanilla worked out for you?? If so – I would love to make some of my own.

    Please let me know!

    ~ Ashley w/ gritstheblog.blogspot.com

    • It works perfectly! I’ve used homemade vanilla exclusively for almost two years now and just made another batch last week. :)

      • Oh fabulous!! I will give this a try this weekend!! Can I ask a couple more questions?

        (1) where did you get the bottles shown in the picture above?
        (2) do you have to use more or less in comparison with imitation?

        Please let me know!!

        By the way – I made a few of your recipes this weekend and linked back to your blog. My witches fingers turned out awesome. Thank you!

  5. Pingback: Honey Vanilla Ice Cream | Lingonberry Jam

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