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Vanilla Extract

I’m sure you’ve probably seen this everywhere by now, but since it was part of mine and hubby’s homemade Christmas gift baskets this year, I couldn’t post about it until now or I would have spoiled the surprise! When I first learned how easy it is to make your own vanilla extract though, I was so excited. It’s much cheaper than buying it in the store! And since I was about three months away from Christmas at the time, I knew they would make perfect gifts as well. I’ve been using the homemade vanilla extract in my baking ever since, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to store-bought!

Here’s what you’ll need:

First, grab your favorite type of vanilla beans. These are Tahitian beans.

Split each vanilla bean lengthwise with a knife or with scissors.

Drop the vanilla beans into the bottles. Mine held about one cup of liquid each, so I put in 3 vanilla beans per bottle. Fill up the bottles with the vodka. And, that’s it! Store the bottles in a cool, dark place for 2-3 months before using, making sure to give them a shake every once in a while. The picture below was taken about a week and a half after making the extract; it’ll get even darker over time.

Posted by on January 2, 2010.


Categories: desserts & sweets

33 Responses

  1. Hey there!! One of my new years resolutions was to for me to establish my signature cupcake… and I thought that this recipe for the vanilla might be a super part of it!! Would it be okay if I reposted your blog on my blog? Like as a guest blog post? I’d love to share this recipe with my readers! I think they’d really enjoy it!!

    Let me know!


    by Betsy @JavaCupcake on Jan 2, 2010 at 2:24 pm

  2. Wow is it that simple? I must make some for presents next year. Happy New Year if I’ve not said it already!

    by Sarah, Maison Cupcake on Jan 2, 2010 at 4:13 pm

  3. Love the presentation! This is so on my list to make – I’ve been dreaming about it!

    by Jessica @ How Sweet on Jan 2, 2010 at 4:53 pm

  4. These look great! Perfect little uniform, identical bottles. I’m all about indulging my OCD. Do you have a picture of what they looked like after 3 months? Do they get cloudy?

    What else did you put in your gift baskets along with the vanilla? Sheesh – so many questions.

    BTW – made your Pumpkin Ginger Cranberry Braid for Christmas dinner. It ROCKS.

    by Karen on Jan 2, 2010 at 6:57 pm

  5. I’ve seen it many times but YOU made it look AMAZING!

    by Diane {} on Jan 2, 2010 at 7:15 pm

  6. Wow, this extract looks amazing! I will have to make it so because it looks so beautiful and decorative! I came to your blog from foodgawker and I really love your blog design! 🙂

    by Josipa on Jan 3, 2010 at 5:24 am

  7. I love making my homemade vanilla. I also put vanilla in bourbon and use it to make whip cream for apple crisp and things like that!! YUM.

    by Val on Jan 3, 2010 at 9:53 am

  8. I love this and have been wanting to do it for so long and never have. Love the bottles, they are perfect!

    by shelly (cookies and cups) on Jan 3, 2010 at 11:28 am

  9. Those look gorgeous. Much better than store-bought.

    by Jordan @ Salt Sweat Sugar on Jan 3, 2010 at 11:30 am

  10. LOVE the bottles – where did you get them? I have two jelly jars of vanilla extract going now, but those bottles are gorgeous!

    by Kelly on Jan 3, 2010 at 12:25 pm

  11. Hey! Love ’em bottles. They r adorable. Could you refer me where you got ’em? Love your site!

    by Janine on Jan 3, 2010 at 5:14 pm

  12. I got the bottles at a Christmas Tree Shops store (if you’ve never heard of them, they don’t really have much to do with Christmas). 🙂

    by Tracy on Jan 4, 2010 at 10:16 am

  13. I love making homemade vanilla! Two tips: First, you don’t have to use vodka. Any alcohol will work. My favorite is rum, the flavor pairs really nicely with the vanilla and provides a flavor boost to things like ice cream and pastries. Second, as you use the vanilla, replace the teaspoon or so of liquor. As long as you’re only using a couple teaspoons a week, the vanilla will continue to “cure” and you’ll have a never-ending bottle of vanilla! (plus a use for all those hotel and airplane mini-bottles of liquor!)

    by Peggy on Jan 4, 2010 at 11:40 am

  14. I can’t wait to try this. I can’t use imitation vanilla because it has caramel color in it which has gluten in it…weird, huh? Anyway, I use real vanilla but it is expensive so, I’ll just whip up a few bottles of this and never run out! I like peggy’s tips, too. 🙂
    Thanks, Tracy.

    by G. on Jan 4, 2010 at 12:09 pm

  15. Karen – I don’t have a picture of what the vanilla looks like right now, but it doesn’t get cloudy really, just darker. Unless you drop it on the floor…then it might be a little cloudy until it settles again (not that I’ve done that or anything…). 😉

    I’m working on more posts about what I put in the gift baskets; I’m just getting back into the routine now that vacation is over. Expect more posts soon!

    I’m glad you enjoyed the pumpkin ginger cranberry braid! 🙂

    by Tracy on Jan 4, 2010 at 1:13 pm

  16. I’ve never made my own vanilla. I need to! Great post!

    by Maria on Jan 4, 2010 at 4:54 pm

  17. I’ve always wanted to do this…now I think I have to! Do you buy your vanilla beans in bulk?

    by bridget {bake at 350} on Jan 4, 2010 at 7:26 pm

  18. Bridget – I definitely do; there’s no way I could justify the $10.99 for one vanilla bean that my grocery store charges. Instead, I ordered them here, and got about 80 vanilla beans for $30! I still haven’t opened two of the three packages and I bought these back in August, so you will definitely be set for quite a while! 🙂

    by Tracy on Jan 4, 2010 at 8:30 pm

  19. You’ve made them look beautiful, Tracy. What a great idea!

    by Small Town Runner Karen on Jan 5, 2010 at 9:41 am

  20. This is amazing!! Must have to try this 🙂

    by Rhiannon on Jan 6, 2010 at 9:50 pm

  21. Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear. I had STUFF to do today!! Well. All that is lost now that I found you… I have a feeling I could be here for awhile… everything is so beautiful!! And the recipes! And the pictures!! And the treats!!!

    You are amazing. Really, really amazing!


    by Amanda on Jan 8, 2010 at 11:42 am

  22. What a great idea! Your homemade vanilla extract looks so elegant- a perfect homemade gift. I might have to give that a try next year.

    by Tokyo Terrace on Jan 8, 2010 at 10:32 pm

  23. Tracy, This is a great idea. I actually haven’t seen anyone do this yet, so this is certainly on my list for next year!!! Your pumpkin butter and jams are too!!!!

    by Kim on Jan 11, 2010 at 4:12 pm

  24. I am such a vanilla addict. I will be making this ASAP!! 🙂 Thanks.

    by Tickled Red on Jan 14, 2010 at 10:11 pm

  25. We love this post. We have been working on a report about the vanilla bean. We like to teach kids and grown ups about the ingredients we all use for cooking. Now we know how easy it is to make! Thanks for sharing.

    by Lilly Audrey on Feb 4, 2010 at 5:11 pm

  26. My sister, who has been making her own vanilla for a while now gave me a bottle once to use. Oh my….. after tasting that, you never want to go back to buying that ‘weird’ stuff in the grocery stores.

    When she found your recipe, she promptly sent it to me…. and I’m eager to try it.

    Thanks for sharing……….. May your day be as sweet-smelling as vanilla!

    BTW, I’m going to post your link on my recipe blog (It Tastes Good)!

    by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life on Apr 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm

  27. PS. Here’s the link….

    by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life on Apr 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm

  28. Instead of vodka try using brandy. It is wonderful.

    by Forrest on Apr 15, 2011 at 9:31 am

  29. I CANNOT wait to try this!!!

    by Kim on Aug 10, 2011 at 8:05 pm

  30. I made one batch of this and it was wonderful. I went a little crazy and tried to make it in a larger batch I did 3 large vanilla pods and about 2 cups of vodka. After two months it still smelled like vodka more than vanilla. Any advise on what to do? Should I just wait. Also, I have been purchasing my vanilla from Penzy spices and they come in really cute little test tube like viles. I decided to put one of the vanilla beans back in and fill it with the vodka. The viles hold liquid well and are very cute. If anyone is looking for a creative way to do this. Thanks!

    by Rebecca Bartz on May 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm

  31. Rebecca – As the recipe states, you’ll need 1 vanilla bean per every 1/3 cup vodka, so if you’re making a batch with 2 cups of vodka, you’ll need at least 6 vanilla beans. Hope that helps!

    by Tracy on May 7, 2012 at 11:40 am

  32. Hi there, sorry for a really duh question, but what do you use this extract for? Is it used when cake recipes etc ask for ‘1 tsp vanila extract’ or is it for something else? Thanks!

    by jan on Dec 7, 2014 at 11:17 pm

  33. Jan – Yes, you can use homemade vanilla extract in any recipe as you would use store-bought extract. Hope that helps!

    by Tracy on Dec 15, 2014 at 12:35 pm

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About Sugarcrafter

Hi there! I’m Tracy, and I live in upstate NY. My husband and I met in college and have been married since 2005. A Canning, baking, writing, photography, and even cleaning (yes, cleaning – it can be oddly relaxing), are all things that I enjoy. This blog brings all of those passions together – but […]more →