How To Make Your Own Home-Made Vanilla Extract

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How To Make Your Own Home-Made Vanilla ExtractPhoto – Antoinette Z

Today’s post is a super-easy and fun way to make a vanilla extract. This might even be the easiest recipe in the universe… 😉

You will need –

8oz vodka
6 vanilla pods (organic is best of course)

Put the pods in the vodka and leave in a closed, labeled bottle / jar for six weeks.

That’s it! I mean, really, that’s it! You’re done! Time to go to the beach! 🙂

Notes –

1. Making this extract should of course be done by an adult or with adult supervision as there is alcohol involved.

2. Important – this is not “Vanilla Vodka”. In other words – do not attempt to drink the vodka after the vanilla has been added! Consider the fact that only a few drops of vanilla extract are typically used for an entire recipe… yes, it will be like that.

3. To make sure no-one else attempts to take a swig, please don’t use the original vodka bottle for your extract! And be sure to label the container “Vanilla Extract” with the date you made it.

4. As this is a natural home-made herbal product, the final strength will not be “standardized” and so the amount needed may be different from that called for by recipes. So you may want to test the strength of the extract by using first of all a smaller amount than you normally use.

Thanks to my fabulous friend Antoinette in Bali for the photo: Local vanilla pods from the Ubud Organic farmers’ market! Ahh, the island life! 🙂

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  • By Arragorn, January 23, 2013 @ 2:41 am

    I’m not easily ipmsreesd but you’ve done it with that posting.

  • By Christine Russell, January 30, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

    My mum used to take a vanilla pod and put it in a jar with sugar, the sugar became infused with vanilla and could be used to flavour different things

  • By jb, March 15, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

    How Long will it Keep?

  • By admin, March 15, 2013 @ 10:41 pm

    Not sure exactly but being alcohol based I would say it’s probably good for at least a couple of years 🙂

  • By cindy, May 12, 2013 @ 6:41 pm

    Pods, you mean individual bean pods vs whole long beans?

  • By admin, May 14, 2013 @ 2:45 am

    Vanilla bean pods

  • By Lisa, October 26, 2013 @ 9:48 pm

    You can use brandy also!

  • By Carole, November 19, 2013 @ 2:17 am

    this is the way I do mine except I run a knife blade down the center of each pod so alcohol can get in easier. Makes it a little stronger. I’ve had mine for several years and its still good. Every couple years I add two extra pods.

  • By Christina, December 5, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

    I made mine a few years ago, it’s still fine, the recipe I used said it keeps indefinitely, you can add more vodka later. I used a liter and ten beans. You can also use Bourbon.

  • By Porsha, December 5, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

    could u make it without vodke ..I can not drink alcohol

  • By Candy, December 5, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

    I am a recovered alcoholic and would like to make this, is there anything else I could use other than alcohol?

  • By Crystal, December 29, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

    Candy, you can use vegetable glycerin; however, it will not keep as long as the alcohol and will add a slight sweetness.

  • By Ohhhdear, December 29, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

    Candy; you could use pure water (reverse osmosis or distilled) as tap water may have city chemicals that will mar the vanilla taste. The product MUST be refrigerated if made with water, as it will not keep.

    If you read the label of most commercial vanillas, they have a large % of water. My old bottle of bourbon vanilla from Trader Joes has “bourbon vanilla bean extractives in water, alcohol 35%. So, 65% of that vanilla mix is water + vanilla bean extract. And I thought that vanilla was strong… The liter of Smirnoff + 10 Madagascar vanilla bean pods (slit and scraped into the bottle) is so strong it scents my whole house when I open the bottle to use some!
    I bought a liter of Mexican vanilla years ago on a cruise and re-purposed that brown bottle when I made my own vanilla so no one would confuse the contents.

  • By GB, December 29, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

    The alcohol will burn off when you bake or cook whatever you are making,leaving no trace of the alcohol.

  • By SweetCheesecakes, December 29, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

    I have made this before, but was not overly impressed by the flavor – I tasted more alcohol than vanilla. Would the grade of vodka effect the outcome? I went cheap as I figured the vanilla would “take over”.

  • By TimH, December 30, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

    Candy, and Porsha, basically the answer is no. The alcohol acts as a solvent to extract the flavor volatiles from the vanilla beans. True vanilla extract purchased commercially also contains alcohol, probably a lesser proof, but alcohol none the less.

    I normally have a bottle of Jim Beam in the cabinet with 7 – 10 vanilla beans in it. It makes great flavoring for recipes, but I would disagree that it can’t be used in drinks as I think it makes a great Beam and Coke. It also makes great flavoring when putting together home-made ice cream.

  • By Jude chiedozie ugwuoke, February 7, 2014 @ 12:33 pm

    Very good nd careble for me.

  • By Penny, June 2, 2014 @ 12:16 pm

    Mosquito repellant. One 8oz spray bottle. To Equal parts distilled water and rubbing alcohol add 1tsp REAL VANILLA EXTRACT. Spray skin, hair, clothes, surrounding air. Rose blood sucking critters hate REAL vanilla. Do NOT use artificial vanilla. Neither any vanillin. Artificial attracts them. Happy picnicking and outdoor activities. Native American roots of this use for real vanilla.

  • By Ash, June 2, 2014 @ 1:49 pm

    You may also use Gin, instead of Vodka.
    Will last up to 3 years. But I finished mine within 2 years, as I used vanilla extract a lot in baking, and making raw desserts.

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