You need only two ingredients to make Vanilla Extract. Good quality Vanilla Bean pods and a decent bottle of Vodka, Bourbon or Gin. It'll take at least 6 months before you have a good optimum flavour.
Because of the length of time, it takes for the flavours to infuse into the alcohol. Why not make a batch now.
After only 10 days you can already see the difference in colour. You can imagine, how luxuriously dark and flavoursome it will be after 6 months and longer.
A little patience is needed while you wait for the flavours to brew. But it'll be worth the wait. Once you've used the contents of the first bottle, you'll be able to top it up with more vodka and additional Vanilla Pods. It'll mature while you're using the second bottle. Although between now and then, I'll probably have more bottles maturing so that I have an uninterrupted supply.
What variety of Vanilla to use?
Vanilla pods have become a very expensive commodity. Many vanilla farmers are having to do what they can to protect their crops from thieves and poachers. There are several kinds of Vanilla Pods that you can use.
- Madagascar Vanilla
- Mexican Vanilla
- Tahitian Vanilla
- Uganda Vanilla
Make sure you buy a good quality product from a reputable supplier. I bought ndalli vanilla beans online from Bakery Bits where the Vanilla Pods are grown by artisan producers in Uganda.
How to make Homemade Vanilla Extract.
Have ready 2 x 250ml bottles with suitable secure tops.
Add 6 large vanilla pods to each one. Fitting them into the bottles is easier if you place the curved end in first. Fill each bottle with vodka. Making sure you cover the vanilla pods as much as you can. Then secure the top and give them a little shake.
Place the bottles in a cool dark place for at least 6 months. Give each bottle a shake every week or so.
Do you need to slice the Vanilla Pods?
I haven't sliced any of the pods before adding them to the bottles. That's because I want to squeeze out the flavoured paste from each of the beans when the extract is ready.
To extract the paste, first snip the end of a pod and then squeeze out the contents. Pop the bean back into the bottle to continue infusing the vodka. You can use the flavoured paste in your baking and cooking as normal.
While you're waiting for the Vanilla to infuse, take a look at some of my Vanilla flavoured recipes.
Keen to Bake More?
If you make this recipe, please leave a comment with a rating, to let me know how you got on.
Homemade Vanilla Extract
- 2 x 250ml glass bottles.
- 12 large Vanilla Bean pods Make sure they are of good quality with no mould.
- 500 ml Vodka Gin or Bourbon are great alternatives.
- Have ready 2 x 250ml bottles with a suitable secure tops. Clean and dried.
- Add 6 large vanilla pods, unsliced, to each one. Fitting them into the bottles is easier if you place the curved end, of the vanilla pod, in first.
- Fill each bottle with vodka, making sure you cover the vanilla pods as much as you can. Secure the top and give them a little shake.
- Store in a cool dry place for at least 6 months. Give them a good shake every week or so.
- The Vanilla Extract will be ready to use after about 6 months.