Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

So, I have decided that I am going to start making my own vanilla extract.  I had no idea how simple it was until I started researching the subject.  There are two ingredients- vodka and vanilla beans.
Now that's my kind of recipe. 

Commercial vanilla extract usually has simple syrup (sugar water) added to the extract to give it a sweet aftertaste. You can do this if you want, but if you are using the vanilla for baking, there really is no need.


  • 3 vanilla beans
  • 1 cup vodka
  • glass jar with tight fitting lid


1 Use kitchen scissors or a sharp paring knife to cut lengthwise down each vanilla bean, splitting them in half, leaving an inch at the end connected.

2 Put vanilla beans in a glass jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid (mason jars work well). Cover completely with the vodka.

Yes, I am using Burnett's vodka.  This is a great way to get rid of that cheap vodka you've got lingering in your liquor cabinet. I had some left over cheap vodka from my college years and was happy to get rid of it.
The finished product on day one.  As the months go by, the color will get darker and darker.
3 Give the bottle a good shake every once in a while. Store in a dark, cool place for about a month.

This is said to last for years. You can keep topping it off with vodka once in a while as you use it, just remember to give it a good shake.
You can also make vanilla sugar by putting a split vanilla bean into a jar of white, granulated sugar. It can be used for baking, and I think it would be great for putting a sugared rim on cocktail glasses.  I'll be using that when I make sangria this summer.

Recipe Courtesy SimplyRecipes.com

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