Are you wondering how to make homemade vanilla extract? EASY! You only need two ingredients to get started and it’s perfect to add to your cookies and cakes.
I first thought to make homemade vanilla a few years ago when I was thinking about what Christmas gifts to get my kids’ teachers. I wanted something unique AND something they would actually use. Now, teachers are asking me for it because it’s such a great gift. They can use it for months and months and it’s so much better than what you get at the grocery stores.
I remember baking when I was little and the smell of vanilla flavor when my Grandma added it to her cookies. Every time I smell it, it brings back so many memories. Now my kids always ask for a smell it when we’re making cookies and they’ll have that memory forever too.
How to make homemade vanilla extract recipe
When I was updating this post with some new links, I discovered that I was ranking for vanilla essence. I had to google it because I didn’t think vanilla essence and extract were the same things. I was right! They are close, but not the same thing. Vanilla essence is processed using artificial flavors. They call this imitation vanilla.
You can buy this in most grocery stores and it will be less expensive than real vanilla extract. These two products are interchangeable.
Making vanilla extract is VERY easy. All you need is 2 ingredients: vanilla beans and 80 proof vodka. I have so many people ask how I make homemade vanilla extract so I thought I would just type it up!
Ingredients for homemade vanilla
- Vanilla Beans
There are many different kinds, but I usually just stick with Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans. Tahitian vanilla beans, Mexican vanilla beans and Madagascar vanilla beans are all good too.
- 80 Proof Vodka
I’m sure many of you moms already have this in your cabinet and that’s fine to use. 🙂
How to make vanilla extract.
First, you need to split the bean open with a sharp knife.
Next, you need to scrape out the seeds from the inside. It’s kind of sticky, but you can just run your knife along the bean and they come right out.
Once I’ve done all 5, I cut them in half. The jar I use is short, so I do this so they’ll fit in. If you have a taller one then you won’t have to do that. Here’s a pack of cute containers I found that’s the perfect size.
If you don’t want to purchase any new containers, you can just add your split vanilla beans to the bottle of alcohol.
Pour your vodka in and close the lid tight. Store in a cool, dark place, like the back of your cabinet or pantry, and let sit for at least 6 weeks.
That’s it! It’s really easy. I only make an 8 oz jar at a time, but have two jars that I alternate. When I’m using one, the other is sitting so I will never run out.
Leave the beans in and only take them out when it’s completely empty. They will continue to add flavor.
Here are a few recipes of my top baked goods that use vanilla!
- Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
- Yummy Applesauce Muffins
- The BEST egg free oatmeal cookies EVER
- Turtle Poke Cake
Make pure vanilla extract for gifts.
Vanilla is a GREAT and inexpensive holiday gift for teachers and neighbors. To do this, add the correct amount of vanilla beans to a vodka bottle. After the wait time, transfer to smaller bottles.
Make sure to start your vanilla right after Halloween and it will be ready to use when you give it to them at Christmas. They’ll be able to make their Christmas baked goods with it. Here are some cute labels just for vanilla extract you can buy on Amazon.
Homemade Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup vodka
- 5 vanilla beans
- Slice the vanilla beans open with a sharp knife and scrap out the seeds using a sharp knife.
- Add vanilla beans to jar and pour vodka in jar and close tightly.
- Store jar in cool, dark place for at least 6 weeks before using.