This will take you step by step through how to make homemade vanilla extract. From the ingredients you need, when you can start using your vanilla extract, and how to keep your supply going for years, this post covers it all.
You’re going to love having your own homemade vanilla extract to use in baked goods and delicious treats. It’s so simple to make and lasts for years to come!!
If you want to know how to make homemade vanilla extract, this is the best way to do it! And trust me, it’s a LOT easier than it sounds.
This post is all about how to make homemade vanilla extract. Check out my YouTube video to see the whole process of making it at home. It was shockingly easy to do.
What you need to make homemade vanilla extract:
The ingredient list is short. You don’t need much to make vanilla extract at home, but there are a few speciality ingredients involved that you probably don’t have sitting around.
This is the most important ingredient. Vanilla beans are what gives vanilla extract its flavor. That’s why it’s so important to have high quality vanilla beans that you know are coming from a good place.
These Heilala Vanilla Beans are amazing quality, and they come from a company that has a humanitarian mission to support the people who farm these vanilla beans.
This isn’t necessarily a traditional ingredient in vanilla extract, because obviously it’s a little bit counterintuitive to get a bottle of vanilla extract when you’re trying to make it at home. But it’s a really helpful ingredient if you want to be able to use your vanilla extract right away.
Without it, you have to wait for at least a month before you can start using your homemade vanilla extract, because it takes time for the vodka to extract the vanilla flavor from the vanilla beans. When you pour in a bottle of vanilla extract to help get the process started, you can start using your vanilla right away.
The Heilala Vanilla Extract is amazing. It helps to have the highest quality vanilla, because it will keep the flavor pure. Since homemade vanilla extract lasts so long, I always say that it’s worth buying the best vanilla beans and vanilla extract so that it tastes how it should.
I like to use Tito’s Vodka because it has no added flavor. It’s simple and gets the job done well. I definitely copied Claire Saffitz on this (and this entire recipe, because it’s all based off of her YouTube video) and so far it has worked really well. I’ve been using my homemade vanilla regularly now.
One thing about making homemade vanilla extract is it takes up a lot more space than your standard bottle of vanilla extract at the store. It lasts way longer though. Think of it like making it in bulk. The reason I say this is because you need a pretty big jar. Your jar needs to be able to seal air tight.
I used this 32 ounce jar, but I think that these smaller jars would work well too. Or whatever you have on hand. As long as it can be sealed closed, you’re good. And you want the vanilla beans to be able to stand up as straight as possible, without having to bend too much. Mine are a little bent in my jar, but that’s ok.
How to make your homemade vanilla extract, step by step:
You are going to be shocked by how easy it is to make homemade vanilla extract. Once you do it, you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner, and why more people don’t do it. It’s simple and it’s such a smart way to have the best quality vanilla that lasts for years.
Step one: put the vanilla beans in your jar
I know, this seems too easy, but it really is this simple. Place your vanilla beans in your jar to make sure they fit. That’s it! That’s step one. Putting the beans in a jar.
Step two: pour in your vanilla extract
If I were to make this again, I would pour in my vanilla extract first so that I knew exactly how much vodka I needed to fill the rest of the jar.
Pour in your vanilla extract that’s from the bottle so that you can pour in the whole thing. This will make your homemade vanilla ready to use right away. It probably won’t fill the jar very much, and that’s totally fine.
Step three: pour in the vodka
Up to the top!!! Pour pour pour. You need to fill up the rest of your jar with vodka. This will eventually all turn into vanilla extract. Leave a tiny bit of space at the top so that it doesn’t spill easy when you put in a spoon to get some out.
Step four: enjoy!!
You’re all done. You can give it a stir, and be sure to put your lid on, but that’s really all you have to do to make your vanilla extract. The key ingredient is time, because the longer the beans sit in the vodka, the better your vanilla extract will taste.
When you can use your vanilla extract
You can use it right away!!! As long as you added the store bought vanilla extract to help get it started. Otherwise, you’d need to wait about a month at least for the pure vodka to extract enough vanilla from the beans for it to be ready to use. Again, the more time your vanilla beans sit in the vodka, the better your vanilla extract will taste.
Can you use the vanilla beans?
Yes! You can pull out one of your vanilla beans and slice it open to scrape out vanilla bean paste from inside. If you do, save the skin of the vanilla bean and put it back in the jar.
Vanilla bean paste is a great addition to a frosting, ice cream, or anything where you want extra vanilla flavor. I think it’s especially good to use when you want the visual effect of vanilla bean flecks – those beautiful brown dots. To me, it would almost feel like a waste to use it when you can’t see those vanilla flecks, because they’re so special. But you can use it however you want!
How to keep your vanilla extract going for years
Your vanilla extract can last you for decades. I know this because I watched Ina Garten’s YouTube video about making homemade vanilla extract (I did my research, okay???) and she said that she’s had hers going for 25 years!!!
All you have to do to keep your vanilla extract going is add more vodka (and occasionally add some more vanilla beans). When your jar gets below full, you can add a splash more of vodka to keep your vanilla extract going. You want to do this whenever it starts to get close to being an inch or two below your full line.
Definitely don’t let your vanilla extract get lower than 1/4 gone before you add in more vodka. The sooner and more often you add in the vodka to keep it full, the better. It will help keep the vanilla flavor as strong as possible without having to start the extracting process over again.
You can add in more vanilla beans if you want a darker color to your vanilla extract. You also can add in more vanilla beans for more flavor, or if you want to take some out to get vanilla paste. Make sure you have at least 10 vanilla beans in your jar at a time. You can easily have as many as 24 beans in there at a time.
I hope that you learned everything you wanted to know about how to make homemade vanilla extract. It’s so simple. While it does cost a little extra upfront, it saves you money on buying vanilla extract at the store, and it tastes so good. It’s also so much better for the environment to make vanilla extract at home.
This post is all about how to make homemade vanilla extract. Comment on this post if you make your own vanilla at home!! We can start a movement together 🤗
Tag me @garlandcollections on Instagram if you try this recipe. I really hope you love it as much as I do.
Alright, that’s it from me (for now)!
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