Vanilla Extract is something nearly every baker has in their pantry but not many bother to make it themselves. It is ridiculously easy to make with only two ingredients! The homemade extract will have a richer, pure, “clean” flavor, and the store-bought extract is easily twice as expensive as making it yourself!
Ready to get started? Here is what you will need:
- a bottle with lid (anything will work, from a mason jar to a pretty decanter)
- sharp knife
- vanilla beans
You can use any alcohol to extract the flavor from the beans. Vodka is most commonly used, as it has a neutral flavor and will not distort the pure vanilla taste. It does not have to be high quality, Smirnoff will work just as well as Grey Goose. You can also try experimenting with rum or bourbon for a richer or sweeter extract.
You will want to use 3-5 beans for every 8 ounces of alcohol. I ordered Madagascar vanilla beans on Amazon. I have found excellent quality beans online for much cheaper than in stores. A few will go a long way, and they can be stored for up to two years.
How to make vanilla extract
Measure your alcohol and pour it into your container (use a funnel if needed)
Slice each bean open lengthwise, then cut to size to fit in your container
Put the cut beans in the alcohol and give it a shake. That’s it!
Now you have to let it sit
Crazy easy right?? Now comes the hardest part though. It needs to sit for about 4-5 weeks. Put it in a dark cabinet. Give the bottle a shake every now and again. After 4-5 weeks is up, you can remove the beans and strain out any remaining vanilla seeds if you like, but I don’t. The longer you let your extract sit with the beans in it, the better it gets. When it starts to run low, just top the bottle off with some more vodka, pop in another bean or two (and remove an old bean or two to avoid overcrowding). If you leave the beans in the bottle, just make sure they always stay submerged in alcohol so they don’t grow mold.
Homemade vanilla extract makes a great gift for the avid baker, and with the holidays just around the corner, you will want to have plenty on hand for your own baking!