For some reason, it never occurred to me to make my own homemade vanilla extract. But as I was clicking around the internet one day, I stumbled upon an Etsy shop where a girl was selling DIY vanilla extract for, like, $30/bottle. I paused for a second and thought, why didn’t I think of that? (The making part, not the selling.)
Vanilla extract – homemade or otherwise – is literally two ingredients: Alcohol and vanilla beans. Both of which I happen to have in my cabinet.
I ran and found the 200ml bottle of Absolut vodka sitting in my cupboard (from a chai white russian experiment that never happened), so I thought that this would be the perfect project for it. I also have a ridiculous number of vanilla beans languishing in my cupboard due to a crazy internet sale that I’d found a few months ago, and this would put them to good use as well. Trust me when I tell you that one pound of vanilla is a lot of beans.
How to Make DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract
The directions are pretty straightforward: cut five vanilla beans in half and slice them down the middle lengthwise, leaving the last half an inch in tact at the end to keep the slices connected.
In an airtight glass container, add the beans to one cup of high quality vodka. Place the container in a dark place for a few months and shake it every few days. This stuff will keep forever, so you may never need to buy vanilla extract again.
Can you guess what people will be getting for Christmas this year?
And in case you need it, here’s a printable recipe.
- 5 vanilla whole beans
- 200ml good vodka (Absolut, Hangar One, or Grey Goose if you're feeling fancy)
- Slice the vanilla beans open end to end, leaving one end connected so the two halves are still attached.
- Drop the beans into the bottle of vodka. Tightly cap the bottle and give it a good shake. Keep the bottle in a cool, dry place for at least three months. (Really, you can leave it as long as you like.)
- Once at least three months has passed, pour the extract into smaller bottles. You can leave a piece of vanilla bean in each bottle, if you like.