The (mis)Adventures of a Homesteadin' Mama

The knowledge, skills, and encouragement to homestead where you live. Down to earth and full of humor!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I love to bake…. a lot. It seems like many of my recipes call for vanilla and I go through a lot of it. Well I am finally tired of paying out the nose for tiny bottles of vanilla and I refuse to use the artificial kind. So what is a girl to do? Make her own vanilla extract that’s what! And honestly it is so simple to do, I wonder why I haven’t done it sooner!

You only need three things to make your own vanilla extract….. Vanilla beans, vodka or Everclear (which is what we used) and time. For me the alcohol was easy to find, but seeing where we live, finding Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans at a reasonable price was a little tougher. So of course I turned to the internet to source the beans. We found a really good deal on Amazon and the beans arrived in no time flat

So now what? Do you just pop the beans in the bottle? No!! You need to split the beans. So with knife in hand I started the “hard work” of making my extract. Start by pouring a little of the alcohol out of the bottle to make room for the beans. Don’t worry if you pour too much out, it can be added back in. Next we “split” our beans, simply scoring the bean with a knife. Now many folks stop right there and plop the beans in the alcohol. But you know me, gotta be different! I wanted to make sure to get the full potential from my beans.

vanilla pod and seed

Next, we turned our blade sideways and scrap down the pod in both directions. This released the seeds inside which are full of that delicious flavor we are after. We placed both the seeds and pods in the bottle. Replace as much of the alcohol as will fit in the bottle, screw the top on, and shake it up. Now put the bottle on a shelf and wait! The extract will be “ready” in a few months but for the maximum flavor longer is preferred. I know waiting is hard to do, but it will so be worth it!!! Shake your bottle about once a week (or more if you just like having fun!)

We used a used a fifth of Everclear (750ml) and around 12-14 beans to make our extract (which was less then half of the package of beans we bought.) When I did the math, each ounce of vanilla extract I made cost me just over $1 to make compared to the prices you pay in the store. Now I say that is a winner!!!


39 thoughts on “Homemade Vanilla Extract

  1. Seriously. I am moving in with you. That is so interesting that this is made with Vodka. Hmmm. Since this is so cheap, I may have to try it. I am so sick of the ridiculous prices I pay for this and Anise.

    1. Make it, start it now so it will be ready sooner then later. And unless you are going to cook, clean and care for the country kids, I am not taking any more boarders, human or critter LOL

  2. Great post. I've got some of my own 'aging' now. I'm with you, I refuse to use the imitation and I always have vanilla beans lying around because I love using the seeds for baking as well…come to think of it I always have vodka around too!
    Lisa
    Fresh Eggs Daily

  3. I have wanted to make this for ages and still haven't made the jump because I don't have vanilla beans or vodka in the house. My mother in law lived in Mexico and one time came back with this gift of Mexican vanilla which she was so pleased to give me this huge bottle. I thought it was a little weird so it went into the cupboard until I used all of the stuff from the store. I decided that I would give it a try. It was so different then the store bought one. I finished my whole 17 oz bottle and I asked my mom if she finished hers and she laughed because she hadn't even opened it. It was a happy day when she brought me the second bottle which I have already made quick work of so I am going to have to make some when that runs out. Glad to know to check amazon for the beans. I had my parents check amish country and I don't remember how much the beans were but I am going to have to double check and start soon!! What is everclear?

  4. This doesn't sound that hard to do. Going to save this info and try it. Great information and very helpful.. Will share on google, pinterest. Visiting from Tuesday With a Twist Blog Hop.

  5. This is a wonderful! I have a lot of Vodka lying around. Since I don't really drink Vodka but I do use vanilla extract, this is the perfect idea. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I love making homemade vanilla. I need to make more next time and ahead for gifts this holiday season. Thanks for sharing at My Favorite Things party! Theresa @DearCreatives

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On a 1/4 acre in a small town lives a slightly deranged woman who never thought she would be a Farm Girl again, then her son asked for a chicken! Welcome to my (mis)Adventures! My name is Mindie and I'm glad you're here!

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