The Vanilla Extract Experiment

Can you really make your own vanilla extract? Supposedly it can be done by slicing open a  Vanilla Bean and then letting it set in some vodka for a few weeks. Today I started my mixture and in a few weeks I should know if it was successful.

homemade vanilla extract

I had found two different recipes for vanilla extract. One said to use two vanilla beans and 3/4 cup of vodka and let it set for 3 to 4 weeks. The other recipe said to use one vanilla bean with a 1/4 cup of vodka and let it set for two months. I decided to use the one bean recipe, but think I will let it set only a few weeks rather than the two months.

I’m hoping this is truly a money saver. The only vanilla beans I could find in the grocery store cost over $11.00 for a jar with two beans in it. I waited until the beans went on sale and paid $8.99 (that’s $4.49 per bean!). I think the beans can be used multiple times for the extract which should bring down the cost per batch.

You will probably realize a price savings by using this method if you compare the price to the “pure” vanilla extract in the stores not the “imitation” vanilla extract.

This is a recipe that will require some patience. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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One Comment

  1. Hello,

    I am excited to hear you are experimenting with your own homemade vanilla extract. Homemade vanilla extract is the best way to obtain 100% pure vanilla flavor. It also allows the opportunity to experiment with different types of vanilla beans. For example, http://www.beanilla.com has 8 different types of vanilla beans, each of which has a unique flavor.

    I wanted to let you know that the FDA requirement for a single-fold extract (what we normally find in a store) is to use approximately 0.8 ounces vanilla beans per 1 cup alcohol. This translates into a minimum of 5-8 average size vanilla beans per cup.

    If too few vanilla beans are used, the result will be a delicious vanilla flavored vodka… but unfortunately that will not do well in baking/cooking. When in doubt, use more vanilla beans. The more vanilla beans that are used the more full and concentrated the flavor will be. You can't use too much.

    Also, $4.49 per bean is extremely expensive. Stores like Beanilla.com offer premium Grade A vanilla beans for $1 – $2 each.

    I hope this helps! Please continue to keep us posted on the progress of the vanilla extract.

    Best regards,

    Brent