DIY Vanilla Extract

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I have a confession to make, I’m already thinking about Christmas.

As my husband and I have been slowly steering our lives away from consumerism. In the process, we have learned to make many wonderful homemade goods. So for the holidays this year, we’ve decided to try our hands at a some homespun holiday gifts.

This year it is my goal to make at least one quality gift for everyone on our list. Last year, I had shared a few things I was just trying out, but this year, I would like to put a serious effort forth. Think cute Etsy style, which is a prime example of how thousands of people are already accomplishing this!

Since I’ve set this goal, I’ve started my creative thinking early. I’m starting to test out some recipes, and every once in a while, you might see one pop up on here…just in case you’re thinking about homemade gifts as well!

Lately I’ve been playing with a homemade Vanilla Extract recipe. Which turned out fantastic! This was one of the easiest things I’ve made in the kitchen and if you’re looking for a nice neighborly gift, this could be perfect when accompanied with some Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies!

DIY Vanilla Extract
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • 3 Vanilla beans
  • ~350 ml Quality vodka
  • Bottle with a cap
  1. Slice the pods lengthwise with a knife and loosen the beans.
  2. Place the pods in the bottle.
  3. Fill the bottle with vodka. Place the lid on top and gently shake once or twice.
  4. Store on a cool dark shelf for about 1 month, shaking about once a week.
  5. After a month, smell and taste the extract. If the liquor flavor is still too strong, allow to sit longer.
  6. Remove pods or allow them to remain inside the bottle.
  7. Use in baking or wrap as a gift.
You can easily make any quantity of the extract, just increase the vanilla pods proportionately to make more.

Our extract took about 2 weeks to lose its vodka odor, other extract makers have reported longer times. The key to success here is patience. So plan ahead if this is going to be a gift, and give it all the time it needs to develop.

If you’re interested in making more than 350ml of extract, Amazon sells really affordable beans. I’ve ordered these grade B “extract” beans, which are much more affordable than purchasing them at a super market.

Have you ever received any great homemade holiday gifts?

Last year, it seemed everyone on my side of the family went Pinterest crazy. I felt like I was opening homemade gift after homemade gift. It was really fun, maybe it will be a tradition that continues!


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2 Responses to DIY Vanilla Extract

  1. Ginger says:

    I have not received any homemade gifts, but I love to give them. This Christmas past I made everyone homemade laundry detergent and packed them in 2 litter soda bottles and made a label with brown paper. I spent pennies to make the laundry detergent and used recycled items to contain it and decorate it with. Everyone loved the gift, some thought it was an odd gift to get but loved it still the same.
    I am currently trying to figure out what I’ll give this coming Christmas.
    I’ve made homemade vanilla extract in the past and you are going to love it! It is wonderful. Ginger :)

    • brookeO says:

      I like the laundry detergent idea! I’m brainstorming holiday gifts as well. I’m finding Pinterest and Etsy really helpful in all my brainstorming.

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