Homemade Vanilla Extract | The Prettiest Vanilla Gift

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  • Learn how to make vanilla extract – a beautiful vanilla gift with free printable labels. Once you have homemade vanilla, you’ll never purchase store bought again! 

    Homemade vanilla extract in an amber bottle on a white countertop.

    Homemade Vanilla Extract

    Vanilla extract is used in most dessert recipes including cakes, ice creams, cookies and so much more. Since vanilla gives desserts most of their flavor, a high quality vanilla extract should be used. If I’m purchasing vanilla, I always use this extract but I love making my own. It’s quick and easy to make vanilla extract and a lot less expensive, especially once you know where to buy vanilla beans. In fact, you can re-use the vanilla bean pods several times.

    Homemade vanilla extract is the best way to get pure vanilla flavor to enhance your desserts. Homemade vanilla smells as great as it tastes, too! 

    Homemade vanilla extract in an amber bottle on a white countertop. #homemadevanillaextract #vanilla #vanillabean

    What Type of Alcohol is Used in Vanilla Extract? 

    Did you know that vanilla extract is made from alcohol? That’s right! Essentially, you are macerating vanilla bean pods in vodka to make vanilla extract. In fact, I spent my early years of baking without ever considering exactly what that extract was! Sometimes when you grow up baking with mom and grandma, you never stop to really think about any of those ingredients we use regularly.

    Homemade vanilla extract in an amber bottle and vodka on a white countertop. #homemadevanillaextract #vanilla #vanillabean

    Vodka is most commonly used to make vanilla extract, however bourbon, rum and brandy can also be used. Vodka has the most neutral flavor which allows the vanilla beans to shine. Most of my recipes feature a classic vanilla extract flavor using vodka. However, a bourbon or brandy flavored option makes a fun vanilla gift, especially at the holidays! It’s a great way to experiment and find out what appeals to you!

    Homemade vanilla extract in an amber bottle on a white countertop. #homemadevanillaextract #vanilla #vanillabean

    Where to Buy Vanilla Beans

    Most grocery stores offer vanilla beans. You’ll find them with spices. You can find them at Amazon, Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma as well. 

    Raw vanilla bean pod on white surface. #wheretobuyvanilla #homemadevanillaextract

    What is a Vanilla Pod? 

    Vanilla is one of the most rare spices on earth- in fact, it’s almost as expensive as saffron. This flavor-rich pod is part of the vanilla orchid, produced in three main regions in the world. (Mexico, Madagascar and Tahiti) The most classic or common vanilla flavor is Madagascar, and that’s the vanilla pod you’re most likely to find when you search! 

    Gold scissors preparing to cut vanilla bean pods. #homemadevanillaextract #homemadevanilla

    Choosing the Best Vanilla Beans by Grade

    Vanilla beans are graded by their moisture and quality. Grade A is the best, and Grade B vanilla beans are generally used for making vanilla extract! Save a little money by choosing a B Grade vanilla.

    White countertop featuring two vanilla beans and gold scissors.

    How to Make Vanilla Extract

    Split vanilla beans lengthwise. By splitting your beans, or snipping into small bits, you expose more surface area, which makes a better extract.

    Place in a bottle.

    Using a funnel, fill with alcohol.

    Store in a dark cabinet for a at least a month. 3+ months is optimal, shaking occasionally.

    Beans can be used for a year – just refill with vodka. If you feel your vanilla extract is weak, just add a few more beans.

    A good rule of thumb is 6 vanilla beans per 8 ounces of alcohol.

    Amber bottle filled with vanilla beans on a white countertop.

    How to Make a Vanilla Gift

    To gift vanilla, you’ll want pretty glass bottles. I prefer amber bottles! Why? Vanilla, like most oils and extracts, is best stored in dark bottles in a dark area to maintain both freshness and flavor. 

    Using sticker sheets, print free printable vanilla extract labels. I’ve created labels with and without “from the kitchen of” if you choose to customize them.

    White surface with an amber bottle of homemade vanilla extract. #homemadevanilla #vanillaextract

    Where to Use This Homemade Vanilla Extract

    This Vanilla Gift is the perfect gift for birthdays, Mother’s Day, shower favors and more! It’s also an indulgent, pretty gift for neighbors and foodie friends on your holiday list. Why not get started now? If you make this homemade vanilla extract, I’d love to see! Please share here or over at Celebrating Simple, my Facebook share group.

    Need help with baking conversions? Check out my Essential Measurement Conversion Chart 

    Homemade Vanilla Extract

    Learn how to make vanilla extract - a beautiful vanilla gift with free printable labels. Once you have homemade vanilla, you'll never purchase store bought again!

    Keyword 2 ingredient, baking, gift, how to, spices, technique, tutorial, vanilla
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 30 days
    Servings 48 teaspoons
    Calories 12 kcal

    Ingredients

    • 6 whole vanilla beans
    • 1 cup alcohol vodka, rum, brandy or bourbon

    Instructions

    1. Split vanilla beans lengthwise. By splitting your beans, or snipping into small bits, you expose more surface area, which makes a better extract.

    2. Place in a bottle.

    3. Using a funnel, fill with alcohol.

    4. Store in a dark cabinet for a at least a month.

    5. Shake occasionally.

    Recipe Notes

    • By splitting your beans, or snipping into small bits, you expose more surface area, which makes a better extract.
    • Storing for 3+ months is optimal, shaking occasionally.

    • Beans can be used for a year - just refill with vodka. If you feel your vanilla extract is weak, just add a few more beans.

    • Vodka is most commonly used to make extract, but try using bourbon or brandy for a fun, flavorful twist.
    Nutrition Facts
    Homemade Vanilla Extract
    Amount Per Serving (1 g)
    Calories 12 Calories from Fat 9
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 1g2%
    Sodium 1mg0%
    Carbohydrates 1g0%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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