How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

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vanilla extract recipe

Homemade extracts are so easy to make! To make vanilla extract you need two simple ingredients – alcohol and vanilla beans. I use vodka to make homemade vanilla extract but I have seen other people use white rum. Making vanilla extract is a lot cheaper than buying quality extract from the store. Plus homemade vanilla extract tastes so much better!

vanilla vodka

The hardest thing about making vanilla extract is being patient. It takes several months for the vanilla beans to steep in the vodka to produce a strong vanilla extract. I have read anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months. Really you just want the color of the extract to be a deep brown and to smell like vanilla! If you are running short on time, use more vanilla beans in the vodka. This will produce a stronger vanilla extract faster.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

1.75 Liter Vodka
25-30 Vanilla Beans

After a little research, I decided to go the easy route for vanilla extract. As a busy mom I did not have time to slice the vanilla beans and half and scrape out the seeds. I found other tutorials that simply stated to cut the vanilla bean into thirds which is what I did. I also just placed the cut vanilla beans directly into the bottle of vodka. Make sure to pour out a small amount of vodka as the vanilla beans will add volume.

Store the bottle of vanilla extract in a dark place. Every few days give the bottle a little shake. It takes a good 2-6 months for the vanilla extract to be finished. You can start using the vanilla extract after two months but for best results a full 6 months is best.

homemade vanilla extract

For gifts, pour the vanilla extract into little glass bottles. If it hasn’t been 4-6 months since you started the extract, add a vanilla bean into the bottle. If it has been several months you can strain off the beans and seeds. Make sure to label the bottle too!

I bought cheap vodka and it was around $12. I bought a 1/2 pound of Madagascar Vanilla Beans on Amazon for $18.49 plus the company sent me 10 free Tahitian Vanilla Beans.  If I purchase 4 oz. bottles I will have enough for 16 gifts!

Have you ever made homemade vanilla extract?

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Renae is a married working mom of two handsome boys. She works as a registered dental hygienist by day and blogs here at How to Have it All by night. She enjoys cooking from scratch, working in her vegetable garden and functional training.

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