May 13, 2011

Back to Basics: Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract

I accidentally stumbled upon a comment once about how someone made their own vanilla extract from home.  I hesitated for a long time but finally gave in and tried it once I came across Simply Recipes' recipe for it.  The result?  The taste is better than store-bought, it yields large quantities at a time, it lasts for years, it is extremely easy to make, and it is cost effective!  Will I ever buy vanilla extract at the store again?  Absolutely not!  In fact, once I tasted the results, I tripled the ingredients to make a larger quantity of it.

Note:  You can find reasonably priced vanilla beans on


  • 4 vanilla beans
  • 1 c vodka or brandy (I use vodka)
  • Glass jar with tight-fitting lid 


Use a sharp paring knife to cut lengthwise down each vanilla bean, splitting them in half and leaving 1/2 inch at the end connected.

Put the vanilla beans in a glass jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid (mason jars work well). Cover completely with the vodka.  You may need to add a little extra vodka to completely cover the vanilla beans.  I had to add an extra couple of tablespoons in my mason jar.

Store in a dark, cool place for 2 months or longer.  Give the bottle a good shake every once in a while.

It lasts for years and you can keep topping it off with vodka once in a while as you use it up.  Just remember to give it a good shake.  

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