Once you see how easy it is to make homemade vanilla extract, you’ll be hooked and likely never go back to store bought! It’s a quick throw-together process – and then you wait patiently…
To make homemade vanilla extract, you’ll need only two ingredients:
- Ten Vanilla beans
- One quart Vodka (or any mild flavored alcohol)
It’s crazy fast, and so easy. Literally 5 minutes to throw together. The hard part of this whole process is waiting the 2-12 months for it to fully steep.
Two to Twelve months. You can begin using it at 2 months, but honestly, I like to wait at least 6- 12 months for the fullest depth of flavor. I like my vanilla to stand up and smack me in the face. 😉
*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Full disclosure here.
Girls, even the Pioneer Woman is making homemade vanilla!
WHY I choose to make my own vanilla
Did you know that most vanilla extracts on store shelves isn’t really pure vanilla? Even if they say “pure” on the label. It’s true. Flip over the back of your bottle of vanilla and read the ingredient list. Pure vanilla should be nothing more than vanilla and alcohol (used for the extraction process).
What it should not include:
- caramel color (hello, artificial garbage and sludge)
- propylene glycol (google it and see why it’s bad for you)
- water (I’d rather not be paying good money for a diluted product, thankyouverymuch)
- and if you like to be grossed out, read this article on what’s in imitation vanilla. Ew.
Homemade Vanilla Extract How-to
- Find and purchase 10 vanilla beans. I used these, and there are lots of delicious options here.
- Gather remaining supplies needed, shown below. (quart mason jar, sharp knife, cutting board, vodka)
- Scrape out the seeds from a few vanilla bean pods, if you like. This is optional.
- Plunk the split beans into a quart size mason jar and fill with vodka, enough to completely cover bean pods. If any beans are too long, simply push them down until they remain submerged. Alternately, you can cut them to fit.
- Screw on the lid (bonus points if you’ve got a vintage zinc lid) 😉 and stash away in a cupboard, out of direct sunlight. Once every week or two (or whenever you remember), take the jar out and give it a shake.
While I was on the floor of my dining room taking pictures (yes the floor – it had the best light that day), I notice this little dude, giggling and peeking around the backdrop. #bloggerlife I couldn’t resist the snapshot. A little visual that behind everything you see here on this blog…my beloved family is running around and laughing like crazy. 🙂
This is the vanilla after sitting for one day. It’s becoming pretty already.
While I realize the wait time of this makes it not 100% perfect for giving as a finished, ready to use gift this Christmas. However, if you go by the <only wait 2 months method>, you could make it in these small bottles found here, using this method, with small stickers saying “ready to use on (fill in the date)”. Which is still super cute and gives the recipient something else to look forward to.
Creative Packaging Idea for your Homemade Vanilla
If you’re thinking of making small jars to give away, you’ll want to pop over to Natasha’s kitchen to see how she makes her vanilla, specifically for gifting. Her packaging ideas couldn’t be cuter!
Once you’ve tried homemade vanilla extract, and see how easy it is, I bet your gorgeous bottle of goodness will take up permanent residence on your pantry shelves. The best part?? As you use up your extract, you can simply top off the jar with more vodka – ensuring you won’t run out for a very long time.
You’ll know when it’s time to start over with new vanilla beans. You’ll see the vanilla becoming less concentrated in color and that will be your cue to order new beans and start the simple process again.
Fast Fix Fridays
This post is another installment of Fast Fix Fridays where my blogging BFFs and I help you keep life simple and sane. Kim is sharing her favorite tools to be a present and calm(er) mom and Lisa is showing us how to give a side table new life with a fast makeover.
Some of my previous FFF posts covered how we make every day family dinners feel special and free printable place cards for your holiday table. I also show you how to make a five minute wall hanging tutorial (a fabulous gift idea!), and how to host a stress-free soup night. And if you find the season is taking it’s toll on your health? You’ll want to see my homemade all natural cough and cold remedy here.