Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I wanted to do something special for my family and friends at Christmas time, so back in early November I started brewing my own homemade vanilla extract. I ordered Madagascar Vanilla Beans, bought some Bell Jars, and headed to the liquor store. I have to say the experience of   purchasing two half gallons of vodka was an experience in itself, especially because it was about 11 am.  I think the clerk was either very impressed with me or very scared for me, or maybe it was all in my head. Oh well, you and I know the true reason why I was lugging around enough vodka for a small army. 

Everyone I gave the vanilla to seemed really surprised and happy. I guess most people don't realize that vanilla extract is mostly alcohol. I haven't used the vanilla myself yet, but I am really excited to see if I can notice a difference in the flavor. I love that I will never run out of vanilla again - - all you have to do is top it off with more vodka when you start to get low!
I have lots of left over vanilla beans so please share ideas for using them! Vanilla sugar is already on my list. 
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Printable Version

1/2 gallon vodka 
20 vanilla beans

Slice vanilla beans lengthwise and place into vodka bottles.
Shake every week and store in a dark, cool place. 
Vanilla is ready when it has darkened. 


  1. I've been meaning to do this forever! Nice job, and what a thoughtful gift idea!! Don't worry about your extra vanilla beans - just keep them in an airtight container and store in a dark place. They'll keep almost indefinitely. You can freeze them as well.

    Happy New Year,

  2. What about vanilla vodka? You could make some great winter cocktails. The jars turned out beautifully.

  3. I did this in the summer. At first I didn't use enough beans, so it still tasted mostly like vodka. I added a bunch more and let it sit for another month and it was great. I've had great success with it in baking. As for the leftovers, I suggest making panna cotta (I have a couple of recipes on my blog) and googling pork recipes that involve vanilla. I've always found them intriguing.

  4. I have really got to try this. I hate paying so much for a tiny bottle of pure vanilla extract at the grocery store.



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