How To Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

With the holiday season approaching many home bakers will begin to plan their baking schedules and some will even start to stock the supplies they will need. And one important ingredient for baking is Vanilla extract. Learn how to make your own vanilla extract ensuring that you always have this ingredient on hand.

Last year I really had a hard time finding vanilla extract.  And when I did, it was so expensive. I didn’t want to find myself in the same situation this year so I decided to make my own vanilla extract.

I did my research, bought my supplies, and started my first batch in March (5 bottles). I started a second batch the next week(5 bottles).

how to make your own vanilla extract

The bottles are currently sitting in a box on my counter where I give them a little shake every couple of days. And I wait in anticipation to when I can start using the vanilla extract.

You have to be patient. Making your own vanilla extract is like making wine.  It gets better with age!

And there are only 2 ingredients to make your own Vanilla extract. Vanilla Beans and alcohol. That’s it. I told you it was easy, didn’t I? Well maybe I didn’t mention that but I am now.  It is easy!

Vanilla Beans, Grade A Or Grade B, What’s The Difference?

Grade A Vanilla Beans

These beans are considered Gourmet and a luxury option. They have a more diluted taste due to a higher moisture content Also more pliable with higher moisture content.

Chefs prefer using grade A vanilla beans in their cooking because the vanilla is quickly infused into the dish. Excellent in making sauces and frostings. It is mostly used in cooking but also can be used to make extract.

Grade B Vanilla Beans

The grade that is used for extraction. These beans are lower in moisture content which helps to achieve a more concentrated vanilla flavor in your extract.

Grade B is visually less appealing because they are much more dry and brittle and are prone to breaking and cracking. Cheaper than Grade A.

Madagascar Or Tahitian?

Not are there only different grades of vanilla beans there are also different kinds.  The two popular ones are Madagascar and Tahitian.

Madagascar Vanilla Bean

Madagascar vanilla beans are grown on the islands of Reunion and Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

They are more frequently used to make extract due to their versatility. They have a rich full-bodied woody flavor. They are commonly used to flavor ice cream, baked goods chocolate, and other sweets.

Tahitian Vanilla Bean

Tahitian vanilla Beans are much rarer. It’s native to Oceania, a cluster of islands in the Pacific Ocean.

A more delicate bean that is not overly sweet or strong but has light floral overtones. They are better used in more delicate desserts that don’t require intense heat to prepare. And because of their light floral scent, they are also added to perfumes and soaps.

What Alcohol To Use For Making Vanilla Extract

Actually, you can use any alcohol to make vanilla extract as long as it is 80 proof. But the most popular choices are vodka, bourbon, or rum.

Vodka-The most versatile because of its neutral flavor that produces a cleaner and lighter vanilla extract.

Bourbon- produces a heavier more complex type of extract

White Rum- Similar to vodka, produces a smooth and pure extract.  It also brings out the greatest levels of sweetness from the beans.

The different types of alcohol will bring out different flavors in your extract.

No need to buy the expensive alcohol when the inexpensive one will do just fine. Just remember to make sure the alcohol is 80 proof.

Is It Cheaper to Make Your Own Vanilla Extract?

In one word-yes.  And it tastes so much better than the vanilla extract you can buy at the store.

How To Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

I used these 8-ounce bottles.

4-5 vanilla beans to each bottle.  I used 5 Tahitian Grade B extract beans.  I cut them in half to fit into the bottle.  I also scored the beans before putting them into the bottle.  Cover them with your alcohol (I used Vodka).  Screw the top on and give them a little shake.  Store in a dark cool place. As I stated earlier, they are sitting in a box on my counter. I give them a little shake about every day.  Sometimes It slips my mind but every other day is fine too.

This is where patience comes into the picture.  Do not use your homemade vanilla extract for at least 8 weeks.  But for the best flavor, it is recommended to wait 6 to 12 months. The beauty is that when you start to use your vanilla extract, remove the vanilla beans and use them to start a new bottle. Genius right?

My homemade vanilla extract will be 8 months old when it’s time to start that holiday baking. And I love that I know the vanilla is sitting there waiting for me.  I don’t have to worry about not having enough.

Vanilla gives flavor to your baked goods.

Have you made your own vanilla extract? I can’t wait to start using mine.


Please leave me a comment below.  And as always

Have A Wonderful Day!

how to make your own vanilla extract




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