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Reader Recipe: Homemade Vanilla Extract

Great vanilla extract is made from fresh vanilla beans and can be rather expensive. Sometimes the quality isn't what you expect, and sometimes the flavor is too weak, or too strong. However lucky for us, TeamSugar member Twinkle has shared her recipe for homemade vanilla extract. By making your own extract, you can control all the variables and make it just to your liking. And, the best part? It's super easy, all you need is vanilla beans, vodka and a little time.

To check out her recipe and technique,

Recipe submitted by TeamSugar member Twinkle


This is my vanilla extract after three months. Although it was already this dark after just two months, I just never got around to taking a picture. :lazy: I've used it several times and it's amazing!

Pure vanilla extract is ridiculously expensive and often times hard to come by in Scandinavia, so I decided to have a go at making my own.

Here's what you need:
6 vanilla pods/beans
500 ml/2 cups vodka

Split the pods like so

Stuff them in the bottle

Put the bottle in a dark cupboard and let sit for a minimum of 8 weeks. It will get darker and the flavor will become stronger the longer you allow it to sit.

Join The Conversation
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 9 years
You're most welcome Rancher's Girl. :)
Rancher'sGirl Rancher'sGirl 9 years
Thanks, twink! I am planning to make bags of homemade goodies for Christmas gifts in 2008, and your vanilla extract sounds like just the place to begin! I should probably start making this in September or August. That ought to make it really "wow". :) I might try making limoncello (a lemon liquor) and homemade Kahlua as well. Anyway, thank you for this easy and tasty recipe!
lexichloe lexichloe 9 years
You can get the cheapest vodka available and still have similar outcomes...
audreystar audreystar 9 years
go twink!! she is a kitchen genius. :medal:
wickidgrrl wickidgrrl 9 years
brilliant idea!
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 9 years
Less expensive vodka would work fine too. Finlandia is just what I had on hand. The vanilla pods were pretty pricey at the supermarket - more expensive than the vodka - but I have since found them cheaper online. This is definitely something that improves with age and I wouldn't worry about it going bad any more than I would worry about the ready made kind going bad since they contain the same ingredients.
lexichloe lexichloe 9 years
Wow, neat idea!
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
aren't vanilla pods expensive? i can't find them that fresh and cheap, plus vodka isn't that cheap.
marionettevirus marionettevirus 9 years
I would suppose if the cookies went flat to use a bit more baking powder? just a thought. this looks amazing. I live in Norway and the vanilla comes in 15 ml bottles. I use it in two baking sessions! bloody insane.
wishbone317 wishbone317 9 years
Hey, we tried this at home and love using it. However, we've found that it really affects the texture of our cookies. They are extremely flat (like, you can see through part of them!). The taste is the same, but they don't bake up the same. Is there something we should know when cooking with this?
RedPointyHeels RedPointyHeels 9 years
Fascinating! I am definitely trying this. (And I agree, dh931, I am jonesing for a little vanilla vodka right now)
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I'll have to try this. I love vanilla, but it IS a little pricey. Do you have to use good vodka, or is Fleischmann's ok? I'd think the vanilla would mask any off flavors in the vodka.
Amanda-La Amanda-La 9 years
My parents used to get huge bottles of vanilla from Mexico and it was AWESOME tasting. But I think I will try this way too.
MamaD MamaD 9 years
Mmmmm! vanilla vodka sounds pretty good too!
facecandyblog facecandyblog 9 years
awesome! love the idea, too bad it takes so long, maybe i'll have to do mine next april. That way it will be ready for Christmas, when I use a ton of Vanilla extract.
MindayH MindayH 9 years
No it doesn't get bad. It actually is one of those products that needs to age before it is good. A few years ago one of my friends found cute little bottles, made a lot of homemade vanilla and gave them to everyone she received cookies or wine from at Christmas time. It was a great gift to get, since it is good for a long time and it is thoughtful for someone who bakes, since they obviously use vanilla which is an expensive ingredient.
Amanda-La Amanda-La 9 years
Is there any chance of it going bad? (it is stupid question day) It just seems like that would be something I would be afraid to consume after 8 weeks.
sammyof2 sammyof2 9 years
that is so easy thanks
workofiction workofiction 9 years
This sounds like something I'd want to make a cocktail with!
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