Homemade Vanilla Extract

Vanilla is something that I use very often, I seriously use it every single time I bake but I always end up running out of my favourite extract. So I decided it was time to make my own.

Now listen, vanilla beans themselves can be super EXPENSIVE but so can a good quality vanilla extract. Babyyyyyyyyyyy, I often close my eyes when making vanilla bean purchases and depended on the vanilla bean origin it can be the difference between $50 to $100 or even more.

Although it is pricey, I chose to create my own vanilla bean extract because homemade is always best (my opinion) and I control the products I use.

Now let us get into this vanilla bean extract. I love homemade vanilla extract, the quality is always better than store bought (my opinion yet again). I created a batch almost 3 years ago (2018) for the first time, and I never looked back. As time passed, my vanilla bean extract developed such a strong and complex flavour, I had to make it again!

Here is what I did:

  • Get some of the finest vanilla beans, I used 5-6 beans from Madagascar.
  • Cut both ends (I did it this way) then split the bean down the middle. I did it to expose the seeds which contain that good vanilla flavour we all love.
  • Since my bottles where a specific height, I cut the beans in half to allow full immersion.
  • Use a funnel if your bottle has a small lip to transfer alcohol.

That’s pretty much everything in a nutshell, now I must let you know I did not measure my alcohol, I used enough to cover my beans completely. For this experiment (because that is what it was lol) I created 2 different bottles of vanilla extract using different types of alcohol.

Spiced White Rum

For the first bottle, I used a spiced white rum which has a 60% alcohol content. It has a flavour profile that includes nutmeg, cinnamon even a hint of molasses, and those were just the notes I could identify, it is a beautiful blend of spices. The rum itself is strong but flavourful and I was not sure what the results would yield, so I was excited.

Brandy & Rum Mix

The second bottle is where the fun begins. I used 2 types of alcohol, a brandy that has a 40% alcohol content, and the other was a dark spiced rum that had a 43% alcohol content. The flavour profiles of both brandy and rum had notes of spices which you can already tell I love! I honestly believed they would complement the vanilla bean very well.

Things to Note

  • Let your vanilla extract sit for 4 weeks before you use it. I let mine sit for a few months before using it. The longer it sits the better the flavour develops.
  • Vanilla bean extract needs an alcohol content of 40% for it to work. Choose a liquor that compliments vanilla for better flavour (experiments are fun lol)
  • Over the past 3 years I have added vanilla bean shells (after I scraped out seed) to my extract.
  • Vanilla bean pods can be kept vacuumed sealed in the freezer for up to 4 years, (this is something I learned recently). So if you get a good deal for vanilla beans, you better stockpile and freeze them!
1 week after making

Homemade vanilla extracts are perfect gifts for friends and family during the holiday season. Most people use vanilla so why not create a personalized batch for that special someone?  Have fun with your creation!

A detailed step-by-step video on how I created my vanilla bean extract!

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