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NYEmomma 10-03-2012 03:37 PM

Homemade vanilla extract
I'd like to make some vanilla extract for xmas gifts (and for myself!) but have seen SO many recipes online, I don't know the best way to do it. So I was hoping to gather a consensus of opinions on here.

What type of beans do you like best? How many do you use (and how much vodka)? Cheap or expensive vodka? How long do you let it sit for?

loricdietzel 10-03-2012 03:48 PM

I bought some vanilla beans off of Amazon. Took a regular sized bottle of the cheapest vodka I had, threw them, in and let them sit. I think I used 2 beans as I was sharing with someone and that is all I had left. I think I would use 4 in the future, but the extract turned out fine. I am now getting sediment because of the beans sitting in the bottle (like a year later) but it works fine for me!

michelleh1 10-03-2012 07:21 PM

I've made it before. I need to get some more vodka to pour over my beans again (I read that the beans can be used twice). I used the ratio of .8 lb beans/1 gallon vodka. I used Fleischmann's vodka, because it's mild. I also used Madagascar beans, grade B is what I read was best for making vanilla, that I ordered from e-bay. I'm pretty sure I let it sit for at least 6 months before using it. I would occasionally shake it up as well. The longer it sits, the better the flavor.

chris31997 10-03-2012 08:09 PM

Not heard to use vodka :confused3

Anyway, I have used brandy, rum and whiskey. 1 fresh bean to a gallon/liter and let sit for 6 mo. If I can wait that long :rotfl: I do reuse beans but add a fresh bean. I also slit the bean to open it up. I generally will get not the cheapest but the next cheapest because you will eventually cook off the alcohol. But if you are going to do this as gifts, I would go mid-range.

I have found that the different alcohols give the vanilla a different flavor. They always get better the longer they sit.

I will have to try vodka after I finish this batch I am making.

TEK224 10-04-2012 12:44 AM

I was looking at making this for Christmas Gifts, too. I googled and read through a variety of ways to make it as well. I looked at Their prices seemed reasonable. Depending on how much you're making, they have a special of 25 beans for $25.

lost*in*cyberspace 10-04-2012 08:48 AM

I'm curious; is making your own vanilla really cost effective? Vanilla is cheap now. I bought a 16 oz bottle of pure vanilla extract at Costco last week for about $6.00.

Mouseless2Long 10-04-2012 09:45 AM

I made vanilla extract and vanilla sugar to give as Christmas gifts last year. I followed the instructions here ( and bought the vanilla beans and bottles from Amazon. Great!!!

MrsPete 10-04-2012 09:54 AM

I use two beans in a pint. Cheap vodka is fine. Do split the beans open long-ways to expose the insides. I do not re-use beans. The longer it sits, the better -- I usually start a new one "brewing" when I open a bottle, so mine always sits for months.

The quality is much better than store-bought vanilla.

EvangelineG 10-04-2012 10:15 AM

Use a light rum instead of vodka and your vanilla will have better flavour. You can also use the vanilla beans for baking, making ice cream etc. (split your bean lengthwise and scrape out the sticky insides with a small knife), and then put the scraped pods into your rum to make vanilla. This way each vanilla pod is doing double duty and it is even more cost effective. I usually start my vanilla with about six whole, split beans, and then just add in the scraped pods whenever I use vanilla to bake. Over several months it will become a dark rich extract.

I buy vanilla of off ebay and use a combo of Madagascar Bourbon and Tahitian beans for my vanilla extract.

goodfood4ursoul 10-04-2012 11:06 AM


Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace (Post 46345663)
I'm curious; is making your own vanilla really cost effective? Vanilla is cheap now. I bought a 16 oz bottle of pure vanilla extract at Costco last week for about $6.00.

It is a quality issue...
Once you use a really high quality vanilla bean extract, you'll never go back :thumbsup2
But I agree with you on not bothering to make it.
Artisan quality vanilla is being made here in the USA with the best imported ingredients and it is phenomenal. :woohoo:
It will ruin you for anything else.
I buy 3 bottles of Vanilla Bean Crush a year and budget-conscious DH asks if I want to get more :rotfl:
The best ingredients make the best cakes, and puddings and pies...
and he is willing to pay for the difference in out of this world flavor that we enjoy. :cloud9:

Vanilla Bean Crush, made by Sonoma Syrup Co. is available online from King Arthur Flours...

A blend of intensely flavored Madagascar Bourbon and Tahitian vanilla beans, ripened on the vine, carefully cured, and imported to California to be brewed into this high-quality varietal extract. Use anywhere you’d use standard vanilla extract. Big 8-ounce bottle will last a LONG time.
why we love it

“Robust, floral, aromatic, and sweet” is how Sonoma Syrup Co. describes its pure, cold-press vanilla bean extract flecked with finely crushed vanilla beans and vanilla bean seeds.

Adds intense flavor and a great “look” to your baked goods and ice cream!
From Sonoma Syrup Company, a small California company producing handcrafted American artisan extracts.
No sugar.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Vanilla Bean Extract Crush go to support breast cancer research and patient outreach.

Arynrm1 10-04-2012 12:47 PM

This is such a great idea! I'm going to try this and maybe give as gifts. I do have a question about storage though, what kind of bottle do you use? How do you seal it?

Happyjen27 10-04-2012 02:47 PM

If grain alcohol is available in your area, I would use that instead of any other alcohol. It needs to be diluted with water before use, but has a more pure taste then vodka or any other spirit.

VirataMama4 10-06-2012 05:17 PM


Originally Posted by lost*in*cyberspace (Post 46345663)
I'm curious; is making your own vanilla really cost effective? Vanilla is cheap now. I bought a 16 oz bottle of pure vanilla extract at Costco last week for about $6.00.

There is really no comparision! I have used homemade vanilla for the last year and a couple of weeks ago I ran out when I was making frosting, so I used store bought... It changed the color of the frosting and didn't taste nearly as good as it has in the past with homemade. From now on I will only use homemade and will make sure I always keep some "brewing".

I use 4 beans per pint of vodka, because I like it stronger.

EMAW_KSU 10-09-2012 09:11 AM

Any vanilla extract sold in USA stores must meet the following.

Extract is 70 proof/35% alcohol.
Extract contains 13.35 oz. of bean per gallon of alcohol.

On average that is 6 beans to make one cup of extract minimum. Commercial processing equipment is much more efficient ant extracting the flavors than shaking a bottle once a day. Less than that would be considered flavored vodka.

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