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Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Two ingredients and patience will give you the tastiest vanilla extract. All you need is vodka, vanilla beans, and time.

I love using vanilla extract in my baking and I’ve always wanted to try making it on my own. I found a recipe on Sally’s Baking Addition so I gave it a try at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic in early 2020. Using good vanilla beans is important but the type of vodka you use doesn’t matter as long as it’s 80 proof. You need to allow the vanilla beans to infuse the vodka for at least 8 weeks, but for the best flavor, wait at least 6-12 months before using. I waited the full 12 months and my extract has a wonderful rich flavor. I’m so excited to start baking with it!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

What You’ll Need:

  • Good quality vanilla beans
  • 80 proof clear alchohol–Vodka is most commonly used but you can also use bourbon or rum
  • Glass jar with a tight seal
  • Funnel

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract:

  1. Use a knife to split the vanilla beans lengthwise so the beans are exposed. If your vanilla beans are too long for your jar, simply cut them into smaller pieces, if desired.
  2. Pour vodka through a funnel into the clean glass jar making sure the beans are fully submerged in the vodka. Seal with the lid and shake a few times.
  3. Store at room temperature in a dark place out of direct sunlight. Shake the jar every week. Store for at least 8 weeks, but 6-12 months is recommended for the best flavor.
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Allow to sit in a cool dark place for 6-12 months: 365 days
Total Time: 365 days 5 minutes
Course: Miscellaneous
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Pam - For the Love of Cooking / Original by Sally's Baking Addiction

Equipment

  • Glass Jar with Tight Seal
  • Funnel

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vodka
  • 5-6 whole vanilla beans, sliced in half lengthwise

Instructions

  • Use a knife to split the vanilla beans lengthwise so the beans are exposed. If your vanilla beans are too long for your jar, simply cut them into smaller pieces, if desired.
  • Pour vodka through a funnel into the clean glass jar making sure the beans are fully submerged in the vodka. Seal with the lid and shake a few times.
  • Store at room temperature in a dark place out of direct sunlight. Shake the jar every week.
  • Store for at least 8 weeks, but I recommend 6-12 months for the best flavor.
  • Side Note: As you begin to use your vanilla, you can refill with a little vodka each time. Give it a shake after you refill and give it a shake before using, too. If you’re gifting the vanilla or if you don’t have any more alcohol to refill, remove the beans completely after the first use because they will become slimy if they aren’t submerged.
  • Side Note: Unused aged vanilla extract (with the beans fully submerged) will last several years. If it smells good, it is still good to use.
    Aged extract without the beans will last indefinitely.
    Once you start using the vanilla and adding more alcohol after each use, the beans will eventually need to be replaced after about 1 year because the vanilla flavor will become less intense. Simply remove & discard the old vanilla beans, add fresh beans, shake, and continue to use/refill.
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3 Comments

  1. This is one of those DIYs that I keep meaning to do but just haven’t done it yet. Thanks for the inspiration!