The first time I made homemade vanilla extract, I was so excited to finally try making it myself. Someone had given me some homemade vanilla extract for Christmas one year and I loved it! It had such a rich flavor and less of a cheap alcohol scent. i felt that a little bit went a long way as well.
I can never pass up an opportunity to make something for myself.
Complicated or not, I like to give things a try at least once to see if it’s something that I can continue to make, or something where I say, “I learned how to do that and can if I have to, but I may not make it again unless I have to.” Vanilla extract is definitely not complicated. It’s super easy and just requires 2 ingredients and a little bit of time.
Homemade Vanilla Extract Ingredients
Not one to buy vodka very often, or at all, before making extracts, I really didn’t know what brand to buy. I had to do a lot of research. Basically, you can buy the cheapest kind of vodka that they make and it will make excellent homemade vanilla extract. But, I would rather have vodka that was made from non-gmo corn, so I either look for organic vodka (expensive) or buy vodka that was made in a country that bans gmo’s – like Finland. Doing this skis the more expensive organic costs.
At one time, finding Madagascar or Bourbon vanilla beans was not difficult and not very expensive. All that has changed. Costs have come down a tiny bit, so search around. I’ve found some at a little less than a dollar per bean when buying in bulk (yes, you read that right). Here’s a few here.
You can use Madagascar or Bourbon beans. I have used both and have loved both. I can’t say that I noticed a significant difference.
homemade Vanilla Extract
- 2 – 1.75 liter bottles vodka
- 40 beans Madagascar or bourbon vanilla
- Pour a little bit of vodka from each bottle into a separate jar. This will free up space to add the vanilla beans so that it doesn't overflow.
- Slice each vanilla bean in half
- Place 20 beans in each bottle. Optional, leave a few beans out to add to your separate jar of vodka. Seal the bottles and shake well. Shake daily for 4 months for optimal flavor.
When you are done, you will have an amazing, dark and delicious extract that is far better than any store bought vanilla extract. I now ONLY make my own because it is that different.