Homemade Vanilla Extract is about to take your baking up to a whole new level! The flavor that this vanilla brings to cookies, cakes, and desserts is so amazing and so simple to make.
This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission when you make a purchase at NO additional cost to you and helps to keep great content on our site for you. Thank you!
Vanilla is a Must Have Ingredient in Baked Goods
I have been a long proponent of a certain brand of vanilla and vanilla bean paste because, well, it is so darn good in all my baked goods. BUT, this year I decided to challenge myself to make my own and you know what I discovered? It is SO SIMPLE to make vanilla extract! I mean, really, really easy. With a few items, you can make homemade vanilla in 3 easy steps!
This little experiment took hold after watching Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) on the Food Network and her use of the term “use good vanilla.” Here I always thought I was using good vanilla, but then I thought about it and wondered, what exactly made the vanilla good? The bean pods? The vodka? I determined, it requires both; and both are what the user- you and me- decide are “good” for our taste.
So, I set out to find a few glass jars, Madagascar vanilla beans from Penzey’s Spices, and my preferred vodka, Grey Goose. I combed Target for the jars and found a nice small decorative jar for $1 and a nice big Kilner canning jar. I liked this one because of the shape and ridges and because it is so large, I will have homemade vanilla forever and ever! I chose the vanilla beans from Penzey’s because they are ginormous, plump, and for the cost, you get your money’s worth for sure.
And, I’ve basically just shared what you will need for making homemade vanilla in 3 easy steps! Yep. That easy.
Homemade Vanilla Extract Takes Time to Make
Of course, the only extra thing you will need is patience because once you put these items together, you need to wait at least 30 days for the flavors to brew into a glorious amber liquid full of flavor every baker would be envious of having on their pantry shelf. One question you may ask yourself is “How long does homemade vanilla extract last?” and my answer to that is forever, as long as you keep your beans rotated and covered with liquid, you are good for years to come!
So what are the exact steps? Here is the ratio I followed:
I used a sharp paring knife and cut from the midpoint of the bean, cut it in half; so it looked like a “Y”. By splitting the pods, the minute beans fall out and filter into the liquid making it super good.
Shoved the split beans in the jars and then covered them completely with vodka.
Place the jars in a dark cool place and give them a gentle shake every so often. You will see the beans swirl and that is a good thing.
30 days later you have liquid gold! Homemade Vanilla Extract will never go bad- just be sure to always keep the beans covered with vodka. If you take out a bean to use, replace it. Use a few tablespoons for baking, top off the liquid.
Homemade Vanilla Extract Gifts
If you have a baker in your family or on your gift list, this will be a perfect gift for the holidays, or birthday, or any occasion really! Just be sure to plan ahead so that you are ready when the time comes.
Is Vodka the Only Alcohol I Can Use to Make Vanilla Extract?
Nope!! In fact, I encourage you to try different flavors! Our favorites are
Each brings a depth of flavor that is unique and so incredibly delicious!
Homemade Vanilla in 3 Easy Steps
- 5-15 Madagascar Vanilla Bean Pods
- Favorite Vodka
- Find a clean, dry airtight glass jar (such as a sealed spice or canning jar)
- Split bean pods in half from mid-point down forming a "Y"
- Place in jar and cover completely with vodka
- Place in dark cool place and shake gently every few days.
- Allow to steep for 30 days.
- Replace used vanilla beans with fresh and always keep beans covered with vodka.