The time has come for me to share the easiest recipe with you all! Vanilla extract is one thing that I can’t live without in baking. It adds incredible depth, flavor and richness to recipes, but vanilla extract is expensive. Vanilla extract is also the one thing I always forget to buy at the grocery store. I would honestly say, this recipe has thee longest lead time of anything that I have ever made.
I don’t have a ton of patience but I managed my expectations making homemade vanilla after countless hours of research before jumping in to this process. For 2 months I would go from talking myself out of it to being stoked to continue the process to thinking this was so silly but here we are and I even made custom labels (GASP!). There are many ways you can make vanilla extract from using vanilla beans and alcohol (my long form method) or seeding your extract with store-bought vanilla.
Why Homemade Vanilla?
Being a baker, I use a ton of vanilla extract and it’s something that can get very expensive when you are using the volume that I am. Over the last few years I have dabbled in the thoughts of making my own kombucha to vanilla extract and finally decided to give it a try. Like I mentioned above there are two ways to make a delicious vanilla extract; the slow method of steeping vanilla beans in vodka or the faster method which involves the first method and a bottle or two of store bought vanilla extract to seed the flavor and speed up the process. Not only is homemade vanilla fun to make because after a few months, you have delicious vanilla, but it’s a great gift.
If you are planning to dive into the process, it makes sense to make a few extra jars for quick gifts. Since Vanilla Extract takes at least 3 months to marinate (if you use the slower method), I think it is worth it to make a large batch.
Slow Process Vanilla Extract
There are two routes for homemade vanilla extract and I chose to take it slow. Although, there is a lot of waiting in this method, the work takes about 5 minutes upfront. The slow method of vanilla extract is a steeping method that takes place over 3 months at least. The longer the vanilla extract steeps, the better the flavor becomes. Overtime, the vanilla beans start to infuse the vodka and soften the alcohol flavor. One main goal that I had with my homemade vanilla extract was to create a few jars for friends and family. I even bought labels like I mentioned! I chose to use 8oz jars with a airtight rubber sealed jar for both esthetics and sealing purposes, but in reality, these aren’t great for daily use.
I am working on a second batch for my pantry at the moment and I went with a wider mouth jar so I can easily measure with my teaspoon or tablespoon. After using the small mouth jars, I noticed that they leaked a little when you our so I feel like the wider mouth is better for your own pantry. The small mouth jars make an adorable gift and they really made an impact when I gifted a few this summer.
How to Make Homemade Vanilla ExtractPrint
Arguably the best recipe that you will ever make! Homemade vanilla is easy to make and will save you so much in the kitchen. This recipe never expires if kept sealed correctly in the pantry and is easy to refill for years to come.
Slow Homemade Vanilla Method
- 8oz of vodka (for every 3 vanilla beans)
- 3 Vanilla Beans
Quicker Homemade Vanilla Method
- 6oz of vodka
- 3 Vanilla Beans
- 1 small bottle of store-bought vanilla extract
- Sanitize and dry your jar of choice
- Using a pairing knife, slice your vanilla beans lengthwise just deep enough to open one side of the vanilla bean but not to slice in half
- Add your vanilla beans to your jar with your vodka
- Tighten the lid and place in a dark pantry for 8 weeks to 3 months (you will notice the vodka start to infuse with time and darken in color
- If you using the quicker method, add a bottle of store-bought vanilla extract to your vodka and vanilla bean mixture
- Let this sit for at least 1 week in the pantry before using it for baking
- Enjoy by adding more vodka to your bottle and more vanilla beans as you use them in your baking over time
- If kept sealed after use, this never expires and can be refilled through time
* I suggest making multiple jars at a time for gifts or just to have
* double the recipe for larger jars
Keywords: homemade vanilla extract
How Long Does Homemade Vanilla Extract Last?
The amazing thing about homemade vanilla extract is that is essentially preserving your vanilla beans with vodka. As long as you are keeping your vanilla extract sealed after each use, your homemade vanilla extract will last as long as you want it to. After each use, I suggest filling it back up so you never run out of vanilla extract. If you are a frequent user, I would add vanilla beans semi-regularly as well. I like to add a vanilla bean to my mixture once every 3-6 months based on how much I have refilled my jar. I try to keep a rich amber color in my vanilla extract so that the flavor comes across strong in my baked goods.
I really think this is the most transformative recipe that you can make for yourself in the kitchen. Instead of purchasing expensive vanilla extract every month at the store, you spend a little more upfront on the vanilla beans and the vodka but this extract will give for a lifetime longer.
What are you waiting for? Start your vanilla extract today so you can start using it as soon as possible! I like to order organic vanilla beans (conflict free) and you can either find those online or through your local health food store. Most health-food stores carry vanilla beans in a sealed container. If you are looking to make multiple jars, you can either add more beans to a jar or add more store-bought vanilla extract. The ratio can be adjusted if needed as long as you look for a rich amber color before use.
If you make this recipe, please tag me so I can see your beautiful creations!