Since learning about artificial ingredients and flavors, I have wanted to make my own Homemade Vanilla Extract. Well, here it is folks! The recipe for the literally easiest recipe to make vanilla in your own home and not need to buy it EVER again. For real. With just a little patience, you too can then make your own Vanilla Extract for baking.
Published October 21, 2022
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Cost breakdown for this recipe
Now, don’t get scared at the cost for startup, as the bottles are not cheap. However, once you buy them you will always have them, and it does not need to be so high the next batch. Once you have the bottles, then you need your ingredients. To make Homemade Vanilla Extract, you need only two ingredients. Just two! This recipe for Homemade Vanilla Extract is made from Vodka and also Grade A Vanilla Beans.
In addition to the bottles, you need vanilla beans. GOOD vanilla beans. Not just ones from a store that have been sitting on the shelf for who-knows-how long. If you are going to make vanilla extract, and you are investing in the bottles, then I urge you to additionally invest in the vanilla beans.
If you do not have a store near you that sells “Grade A” beans, then I advise buying them online. For a link to the same vanilla beans and bottles I used, click the link below. Grade A vanilla beans are specifically used for extracting purposes. This pack of Vanilla Bean 25 Madagascar Vanilla Beans cost $32.99.
This time around, I used these 8-ounce glass bottles with an airtight seal. They came in a set of 9 and cost $21.89 total. Each 8-oz bottle cost $2.43.
For the sake of cost, these bottles made this recipe just a tad higher than typical.
This blog is meant to help you save money on recipes, teaching tips on how to use fresh ingredients to make recipes from scratch.
As far as cost goes, this recipe for Homemade Vanilla Extract is not cheap. In fact, it is quite expensive. At $13 a bottle, with an investment in bottles up front, and a LONG wait for results, you have to understand that the results will be well worth it.
9 8-oz bottles $14.58
25 Madagascar Vanilla Beans $32.99
The total cost to make four bottles of Homemade Vanilla Extract and two bottles of Burbon Vanilla Extract was $82.80.
This makes each Vanilla Extract 8oz bottle $13.80. Just remember that each bottle contains 8-ounces, making each ounce cost $1.72.
Each Madagascar Vanilla Bean cost $1.31.
Now, breaking down the cost from store-bought vanilla extract, even imitation costs $3.24-per-ounce at ALDI.
In comparison to McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract, made with Madagascar Vanilla beans, a 1-ounce bottle costs $4.79 on Amazon.
If you were paying attention to the numbers, you will see that above my Homemade Vanilla Extract costs $1.72 an ounce while the McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract costs $6.99 an ounce.
If you were to buy 48-ounces of McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract, it would cost $335.52. That makes the investment of $21.89 in bottles worth it, I’d say.
What type of Vodka to use
When making Homemade Vanilla Extract, there is no specific brand of Vodka to use. Since I have never done this before, I literally just picked a bottle off of the shelf.
In doing a little research on making vanilla, it does not actually matter which Vodka you use, as long as it is actually 80-proof.
Typically, Vodka is recommended to be used to make Homemade Vanilla Extract. However, you can also use Bourbon, Rum or even Brandy. When thinking about which bottle to pick, just pick the cheapest and one that is non-flavored.
Literally cost is also not a big deal, so just pick the cheapest and go for it. For instance, the vanilla beans will then flavor the Vodka in making the Homemade Vanilla Extract, and the cost of the Vodka is not very important. Literally, just “buy the cheap stuff”.
Single-fold or Double-fold Vanilla
There are two different types of Vanilla Extract, Single-fold or Double-fold. One main difference is the amount of vanilla beans to use in each 8-oz amount of Vodka. Single-fold Homemade Vanilla Extract is the most commonly sold at stores and uses 4 vanilla beans per 8-oz Vodka. Double-fold Homemade Vanilla Extract has a stronger flavor and uses more vanilla beans per 8-oz Vodka.
Single-fold vanilla extract
“Single-fold vanilla extract contains a minimum of 35% alcohol and 100 grams of vanilla beans per liter of alcohol (or 25 grams per 1 cup/250 ml). The Imperial measurement is 13 ounces per gallon or 1 ounce per cup.
However, most vanilla extracts that you buy from a store are Single fold.
Single-fold imitation vanilla extract is a much cheaper product and is made using synthetic vanillin derived from the residue of sapwood and charcoal.” MBN
Double-fold vanilla extract
“Double-fold vanilla extract exceeds the Food and Drug Administrator’s (FDA) criteria of a pure vanilla extract because it contains 38.5% alcohol, where the Standard of Identity stipulates a minimum of 35% alcohol content.
To double the flavor profile, the double-fold extract uses approximately 180 grams of vanilla beans per liter of alcohol (45 grams per 1 cup/250 ml). The Imperial measurement is 23 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon or 1.5 ounces per cup.” MBN
Thanks to Market Business News for the amazing details on how to tell the difference between the two styles of Vanilla Extract.
Types of Vanilla Beans
Vanilla is a type of an orchid that grows a dark brown pod that is long and skinny. Three-fourth of the vanilla beans come from Madagascar with more coming from Mexico, Tahiti, Reunion, Mauritius, Comoro, Indonesia, Uganda, and Tongo.
Within the Vanilla brand, there are two types that include Planifolia and Tahitensis. Tahitensis is grown in Tahiti and are rarer due to their size. Most Tahitensis vanilla is grown in other places such as Papua New Guinea.
The second type of vanilla bean is Planifolia, which is the typical vanilla found in most supermarkets.
Grades of vanilla
Within the types of vanilla beans, there are two grades. Grade A and Grade B.
Grade A vanilla beans contain 30% moisture while Grade B vanilla beans contain 20% moisture. Each is used for extract; however, Grade A should be mainly used for cooking purposes. Additionally, Grade B vanilla beans are used by cutting the bean pod open and scraping the “caviar” out of the pods using a paring knife.
For the basis of this recipe, I purchased Grade A Madagascar Vanilla Beans.
Ingredients for Homemade Vanilla Extract
In addition to the main ingredients, Vodka and Vanilla Beans, you also need bottles that seal.
There are a few different types of bottles to use to make Homemade Vanilla Extract. For example, there are clear glass jars, amber-colored bottles, and more. However, whichever style bottle you use, make sure the bottles have an air-tight seal.
Directions for Homemade Vanilla Extract
1. Firstly, you need to wash the 8-ounce bottles you are going to use for making Homemade Vanilla Extract.
2. Open the packaging with the Madagascar Vanilla Beans and then lay them on a clean surface.
3. Using a paring knife, or any super-sharp knife with no serrations, slice all the way down the strip of the Vanilla Beans. By using a paring knife, with no serrations, you leave a thin cut on the Vanilla Beans and then not cause any rips or tears in the pod.
4. Once sliced open, place the whole vanilla bean into the prepared jars. If you choose to have 4-oz jars, you can then cut the Vanilla Bean pods in half to fit in the jars.
5. Place a funnel on the bottle and then slowly pour the Vodka into the bottle, making sure to cover the entire Vanilla Bean.
6. Close and seal the bottles and then set aside. These bottles already had seals included, in place, and came with extra replacements.
7. Once per week, give the bottles a gentle shake and then rest them out of direct sunlight. Let the bottles rest for a minimum of 8 weeks, however the best is to allow 6-12 months before use. In addition to using Vodka, I also made two bottles with Evan Williams Burbon. This will be Burbon Vanilla and I cannot wait to taste it. These will rest at least 6 months for the best results.
8. Additionally, make sure to label the Homemade Vanilla Extract with which style you made and the date. These bottles came with their own chalkboard stickers and a marker.
Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe
Homemade Vanilla Extract – How to make it at home
- 8-oz bottles
- Paring Knife
- Madagascar Vanilla Beans
- Wash the bottles and then set them aside to dry.
- Open the packaging with the Vanilla Beans and then lay them on a clean surface.
- Using a paring knife, or any super-sharp knife with no serrations, slice all the way down the strip of the beans.
- By using a paring knife, with no serrations, you leave a thin cut on the vanilla beans and then not cause any rips or tears in the pod.
- Once sliced open, place the whole vanilla bean into the prepared jars. If you choose to have 4-oz jars, you can then cut the vanilla bean pods in half to fit in the jars.
- Place a funnel on the bottle and then slowly pour the Vodka into the bottle, making sure to cover the entire vanilla bean.
- Close and seal the bottles and then set aside.
- Once per week, give the bottles a gentle shake and then rest them out of direct sunlight.
- Let the bottles rest for a minimum of 8 weeks, however the best is to allow 6-12 months before use.
- Additionally, make sure to label the Homemade Vanilla Extract with which style you made and the date.
- These bottles came with their own chalkboard stickers and a marker.
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