Homemade Vanilla Extract

It is July and we are busy making Christmas gifts!   Are you wondering why we are doing this so early?  We are making homemade vanilla and the longer it sits in a cool, dark, place, the better it will be!  Homemade vanilla is so easy to make and makes a perfect gift for anyone who loves to bake.


Bottle of Vodka, whichever brand you prefer
12 Whole Madagascar Vanilla Bean Pods

While we do have a local store that sells the vanilla bean pods separately, we prefer to buy them online as you can save so much money.  We bought them in bulk from a company we found on Amazon.  The company is Amadeus Trading Company in Los Angeles, CA. The beans we buy are the Gourmet Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans and they are wonderful!  They were approximately $25 for 1/2 pound of bean pods.

Take each vanilla bean pod and carefully slice it straight down the pod.  Take your fingers and separate the pod to reveal the tiny vanilla beans that are hidden inside each pod.  You just want to slightly open up the folds so the vanilla beans are revealed.

Take the lid off your vodka and drop your pods into the bottle and they will sink to the bottom of the bottle.  If your bottle of vodka is filled to the top of the bottle, you may need to pour a little bit into a glass to ensure you don’t overflow the bottle once you add all of the vanilla bean pods.  You will notice the tiny vanilla beans will begin to float around inside the bottle.

Screw the cap back on the bottle and shake vigorously.

Store the bottle in a cool, dark cabinet and once a week, shake the bottle.  The vanilla will get darker and darker each week.

Once the vanilla turns dark and when you remove the cap and the vodka smells of vanilla, you can begin using it in your recipes.

If we are adding vanilla to a recipe and we don’t want the tiny beans to be visible, we will take a folded piece of gauze and place it over the spout of the bottle prior to pouring it into a measuring spoon.  This will stop the tiny beans from coming out. When we make whip cream we will do this, but if we are using vanilla in a cake recipe, we usually just add it without straining the vanilla.

To give as gifts, buy pretty glass jars and fill them with the vanilla vodka.  You can stick a few vanilla bean pods that you have sliced down the center into the liquid, attach a ribbon and a pretty tag, and you have a beautiful amber colored vanilla that is the perfect gift for your friends who love to bake!

5 thoughts on “Homemade Vanilla Extract

    • The bottle of vodka pictured in the blog is a 750 mL bottle . Store the bottle in a dark place and shake it every few days. By the end of the week, it will be much darker, and in 1-2 months, it will be very dark and smell of vanilla, just in time for your Christmas baking and Christmas gifts!

      • Thanks for replying. I used a litre bottle so I’ll add a couple more beans to it in the morning. Glad it will be ready in time for Christmas. Can’t wait!

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