DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe

02. November 2018

Do you know what the price of gold currently is? Give or take, around $1,200 per ounce. By comparison, do you know what the price of real, quality pure vanilla extract is? $5,263 per fluid ounce, I kid you not. Weeell... maybe a little. For dramatic effect.

It can certainly feel that way when you go to buy vanilla extract at the store and think "Can that price be right?" You may even be tempted to go the "Imitation Vanilla" route, because really, who's gonna know? Your tongue, that's who! You might be cool with lying to your friends or family, but please, don't try to lie to your own flippin' tongue. Not cool.

Good news! You can easily and inexpensively (compared to 5K an ounce) make your own vanilla extract. And it's delicious!!!

DIY homemade vanilla extract recipe | CanningCrafts.com

First, you need Vodka. And not that diluted, 42 proof junk that you use as mouthwash. You need at least 80 proof (40% alcohol) for it to pull the flavor from the vanilla beans. You can also use rum or bourbon, if you want a sweeter vanilla extract. Using the vodka will give you a “true vanilla” flavor. Also, it doesn’t matter what brand of vodka; as long as it is 80 proof, go as cheap as you can.

DIY homemade vanilla extract recipe | CanningCrafts.com

You will also need vanilla beans, of course. The kind you find at the grocery are most likely Grade A beans (meant for use in baking). Ideally, you need Grade B beans. They are meant for this purpose, and you get the most flavor out of them. You may have to search them out online. I purchased mine from a bulk seller on eBay. You need approximately 3-5 beans per cup of vanilla. Since I used a 750 ml bottle of vodka, which translated to a 4/5 full quart jar, I used 15 beans.

DIY homemade vanilla extract recipe | CanningCrafts.com

Okay, this is an extremely complicated & intricate process, so let’s begin.

Cut your beans down the middle lengthwise and put them into the quart jar filled with vodka. Make sure the beans are completely covered. You may need to cut them down to fit.

Annnnd, that’s it.

DIY homemade vanilla extract recipe | CanningCrafts.com

No need to scrape out the flecks from the beans, they’ll all come out over time. Shake-shake-shake it once a month to let it know you’re still thinking about it. Technically you can use the vanilla extract after 6 weeks of infusing, but the longer you hold out, the better the flavor will be. If you can hold out for 6 months, it will knock your socks literally off your feet. If you have the will power of Hal Jordan and can make it to 12 months, your head will explode off your neck from how darn delicious this heavenly elixir is.

Also, you can keep replenishing the mason jar with more vodka as you transfer extract to smaller bottles. After a while, you can replace the beans to freshen it up. Some folks also add bits of the bean to their smaller amber bottles.

DIY homemade vanilla extract recipe | CanningCrafts.com

Homemade vanilla extract makes a great holiday gift. Just transfer the liquid to small amber bottles decorated with our Vanilla Extract Bottle labels. Now think of all those delicious Christmas cookies that you can bake with this homemade potion. And for a fraction of the price!

DIY homemade vanilla extract recipe | CanningCrafts.com

Vanilla Extract Supplies:

  • 80 proof, 40% alcohol vodka (my bottle was 750mL). You can use rum or bourbon instead of vodka.
  • Grade B vanilla beans (3-5 beans per cup)
  • Quart mason jar
  • Small amber bottles
  • Small funnel
  • Vanilla extract bottle labels 

    DIY homemade vanilla extract recipe | CanningCrafts.com

    Do you make your own vanilla extract? If so, have you experimented with different alcohols? Have you made any other types of extracts? Let us know in the comments below.


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