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How To Make Your Own Homemade Vanilla Extract

02 October 2022

Making your own homemade vanilla bean extract is actually really simple and so rewarding! You only need a few ingredients, put it together, and toss it in the pantry or cupboard for a few months…just enough time to use up that stuff you bought at the grocery. ;)

The idea is simple. Use alcohol to extract the vanilla flavor from the vanilla beans. Let’s get started!

First, you’ll need to order your vanilla beans or source them from a vanilla bean farmer. We don’t have any of those in my area so I just ordered them online.

Once the vanilla beans arrive, choose which alcohol you’ll use to extract the flavor. The most common are vodka, brandy, or rum. I’ve tried all three and they all produce great results. I just use what’s on hand from whatever other concoction I’ve made recently.

Next, make a slice in the vanilla beans lengthwise so you open up the entire bean. You will notice the little seeds that sometimes show up in vanilla ice cream. Keep these! You’ll want everything to go into the jar with the alcohol.

So that’s the hardest part! I told you it was easy! :)

Put 5-7 vanilla beans in your glass jar or container (I reused an old Patron bottle for mine). Pour in your alcohol, put on the lid, and give it a good shake.

Next, label it! I normally just write what’s in the bottle, when it was made, and when it will be ready to use. Your homemade vanilla extract will be done in about 3 months so mark today’s date and the date 3 months from now on your container.

Store it in a cool dark place. Every now and again give it a good shake.

Once it’s done, it can be used in your cooking projects, baked goods, and even homemade ice cream! I used mine right from the bottle with the vanilla beans but you can put yours in smaller bottles to use if that’s easier for you.

I did one batch in these small 2 oz. bottles to give away as gifts to friends and family by putting 1/2 vanilla bean in and topping with alcohol. I kept them in the box, shaking them whenever I would remember until they were ready. Then I put on these cute bottle labels for fun!

If you keep your vanilla beans in the bottles with the alcohol, you can reuse them for your next batch of homemade vanilla extract! I’ve reused my several times and they keep producing awesome extract.

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