Friday, January 7, 2011

You Make Your Own Vanilla Extract?!

That's right.  We started this last year and I can't believe how easy and cheap it is.

The vanilla you buy from the grocery store costs a pretty penny for one little bottle and doesn't last very long when you do a lot of baking.  A trip to your local ABC store, a few vanilla beans and about 6 months time will have you set for a while! 

Prep time:  5 minutes
Age time:  6 months
Makes:  25 ounces

A fifth of the cheapest vodka you can buy  (should be no more than 4 bucks)
4 vanilla beans, slit lengthwise to expose the good stuff

Put slit vanilla beans in vodka.  
Set in a cool, dark spot.  (I keep mine in the cabinets under my kitchen sink)
Let age for at least 6 months before using, taking it out and giving it a shake or two every now and then.

Are you surprised?  I told you it was simple.
It's really neat to watch the clear vodka transform into a dark, yummy vanilla!

Word of advice:
Don't let your vanilla run out before you start another batch!  We have about a teaspoon left and I just started another round.  Oops.
Also, you can get two big bottles out of the 4 initial beans.  Just add another fifth of vodka on top, put in a dark spot and wait another 6 months.

My mom gave me the vanilla beans I'm using.  She purchased them from a lady at our local farmer's market.  There are several online vendors but I've never ordered from any of them.


  1. It would take a lot of restraint for me not to drink the vodka in the six months while I was waiting. Just saying... : )

  2. haha! That would be really nasty. Vanilla vodka. I tasted it... it's not worth it.

  3. Lindsey, this is a great idea. I think this would also make a really cool gift idea for a friend or family member who loves to bake!

  4. @ Laura - just buy some Don Q rum while you're in the store and you won't be tempted by that cheap vodka ; )

    I got my vanilla beans online - like a pound for $15. Next time I won't order so much, because it just takes a few beans and now I have year-old beans sitting in my dishwasher (don't ask - I like to do dishes by hand).