Make homemade vanilla extract with just two ingredients!
Vanilla extract is a pantry staple that most people keep on hand. Really good, authentic vanilla extract is expensive. But making your own vanilla extract is easy and relatively inexpensive.
All you need to make your own vanilla extract are some vanilla beans and vodka. The ratio of alcohol to vanilla beans is totally up to you. The more beans that you use, the stronger extract you will get. We tarted this jar with just two beans in 2013.
In 2014, we added about 6-8 more beans and the vanilla extract got a lot darker and stronger. Since then we have simply refilled the vodka when the bottle gets low. The beans are the same from 2013 and 2014.
What Kind of Vodka Do You Use?
We started our vanilla extract using a high end vodka, but you can use any brand or quality – go for the cheapest bottle you can get. Just stick the beans in the vodka and let it sit. It’ll take a good 6 months to get nice and dark, but even after a few months you’ll have a decent extract to use.
You can see the difference in the extract in the photo above – the one on the left is taken a year earlier than the bottle on the right. Just keep adding vodka to the beans when it gets low.
What Kind of Vanilla Beans Do You Use?
Generally speaking, vanilla beans are the most expensive at the grocery store. Back when we originally made the vanilla extract Ebay was the best place to get vanilla beans. But now you can find them online fairly easily. You may also find them at Trader Joe’s for a good price and sometimes even Costco carries vanilla beans.
You can use any kind or type of vanilla bean – Madagascar or Tahitian. Our extract has been around for years and the type of bean has not made a huge difference for our baking.
- Vodka (any amount)
- 6-8 vanilla beans
- Place the vanilla beans in the vodka in an air tight container.
- Let sit for 3-6 months.
- Add more vodka to the original jar to replenish the extract.