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Making your own vanilla extract is easy and delicious

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I have been using my own vanilla extract for a while now — and it is amazing!

Vanilla extract needs to sit for at least two months — though six months is best — and the store-bought kind often is only soaked for a couple weeks!  You can absolutely taste and smell the difference between this and the store-bought kind.  And this is easy.


All you need is two simple ingredients:

  1. A big bottle of vodka — in a glass bottle — I felt weird about doing this at the store with two little ones — we don’t buy liquor ever, but just swallow your pride and do it — ha.
  2. 16 vanilla beans.  {They are about $12 for 16 beans.  This is a steal — considering those little crappy vanilla bottles cost about $8!!}

You have to pour out a bit of the vodka in order to get the correct ratio of alcohol to beans.  You should have 3 beans for every 8 ounces of alcohol.  So I needed about 40 ounces for my 16 beans.  I weighed it all out, but you really can just approximate.


Cut the vanilla beans down the middle to get the juices flowing.  I have a friend who “tenderizes” her beans and beats them to hell.  I didn’t take that approach — and I’ve also heard of people not cutting them at all and still making excellent extract.


Of course, my son loved helping with putting the beans in the vodka.  Do you see how much I poured out?  Not very much, but that was how much I measured out — so if you buy “Burnett’s” (crappy but not too crappy, according to the hubs), just pour out just above the logo — very scientific.


Here it is at the beginning.

And here it is after two months. We are now at 4 months and it is much darker!


I still have most of it in my vodka bottle {ha}, but I am putting them in these super-cute 4 oz bottles for family for Christmas and such. My mother-in-law already got hers and she loves it! Super cute gift idea.


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  1. Very cool! I just shared this post with the hubs. xo

  2. I’ve always wanted to do this! I love how you just put the beans right into the bottle. And I didn’t know that the store bought ones could possibly have only been soaked for such a short time, boo! I can’t wait to try this.

  3. The left over vodka could be used in Pie dough. It makes a flakier crust according to America’s test kitchen.

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