Homemade Vanilla Extract


Homemade Christmas Gift #25: Homemade Vanilla Extract

Do you have a friend who loves to cook? This homemade vanilla is a perfect gift. You only need two ingredients to make it, Vodka and vanilla beans.

It is actually very easy to make, but it takes a few months to turn into vanilla so make it now and save it for Christmas. The Thrifty Mama shows you how in her photo tutorial.

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  1. Awesome!! I had no idea it took two ingredients to make Vanilla. I love to bake so this would be cheaper for me to make my own. Thanks for posting this.

  2. tamyra murray says:

    This is so cool! Real vanilla is so expensive at the grocery store. I love the homemade gifts!! Thank you

  3. I tried this about a month ago, but I used Bourbon because when I buy “expensive” Vanilla extract, it always says ‘Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla’…so I figured you’re ‘supposed’ to use bourbon — by the way, I actually used Jack Daniel’s Whiskey because apparently you can only call your ‘Mash’ bourbon if it’s from a particular place in Kentucky. So, what I actually have waiting for me is: Jack Daniel’s Vanilla 😀 lololololol ! ! !

  4. Dumb question…Where would one get vanilla beans?

  5. I was super excited to see this! BUT then I saw on the other websites that it takes FIVE to SIX MONTHS for the vanilla to be made!!! 🙁

    So if one makes it now for Christmas, they need to put a label or tag on the bottle that says not to use until March or April 🙁 Thought you’d want to know…

  6. So vanilla has alcohol in it? Wow…will not be letting my kids have it now…

  7. Michael Harding says:

    Excellent gift. You might want to peruse another blog that addresses vanilla extract production even more thoroughly:


  8. While I used to agree with all the alcohol cooking out, its actually been scientifically proven that all the alcohol doesn’t. I won’t fret about feeding it to my kids up till now, but after today I will not be using it in cooking until they are “of age”. :-p Thanks anyway! I can still make this for my “adult” friends! 🙂

    • Do you have a link to that research? I’d like to investigate further; I’m actually a culinary chemist and I have not heard the research of which you speak. If it is true, then the FDA should have labels on everything with any type of extract, because they ALL use some sort of alcohol–pregnant women need to be warned! BUT, on the other hand–2 tsp of Vanilla in an entire batch of cookies isn’t going to hurt anyone (unless you had the whole batch yourself.)

  9. Making extract for Xmas gifts this year. The 6 month wait time bugged me.

    But, I found a recipe on “Cooks Illustrated”!! They tested and found this:

    1 bean per 3/4 cup of vodka (cheap is fine), heat the vodka til hot, add the split beans and seeds. Let it cool, then cap it and shake it. The recipe says its ready to go in 1 week!

    And I get my beans from http://www.indrivanilla.com. Only $0.50 each!! And I like that they’re a fair trade sorta operation!!

    The extract is awesome.

  10. Kathy, it’s the USDA who did that research. One more thing–regarding the “bourbon” in bourbon vanilla: it’s called that because the vanilla beans are the bourbon varietal, or Vanilla planifolia, not because the alcohol is bourbon. 🙂 Tahitian vanilla beans, for instance, are not bourbon vanilla beans. Bourbon vanilla beans are known for their delicious potency and rich vanilla aroma and flavor–they’re considered the best of the best.

  11. I started my bottle in January (saw tutorial last christmas on a different site) and has been brewing for 10 months. It smells divine! You really have never had good vanilla until you’ve tried homemade, it’s THAT good!

    Also, ladies, give Nicole a break, it’s her choice what she feeds or doesn’t feed her children. It’s not our place to judge 🙂

  12. kathy here are just a few links for you to check out. being a food chemist, i thought you would know this information. not trying to be rude, but a simple google search would have given you the info.

  13. @Nicole….if you are concerned about the little bit of alcohol left behind in cooking….check out what sugar does to our bodies. I’m attaching the youtube link from UCSF called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”. It’s worth sitting thru.

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