Wednesday, January 19, 2011

recipe: homemade vanilla bean extract...

I love reading blogs! If you look on Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe's home page- you'll see just some of my favorites. I find so much inspiration from reading them every so often. A few months ago I came across a neat recipe for homemade vanilla bean extract. How intriguing!!! I just couldn't resist!! And at only 2...yes 2 ingredients, couldn't be simpler!

I use vanilla in almost every single recipe I have. Whether it's the best extract I can get my hands on, homemade vanilla bean sugar, or pure real vanilla beans themselves I can't get enough. Vanilla is one of those flavors that compliments almost everything and anything. Warm and floral, subtly makes any recipe you bake that much better. So naturally when I found a recipe that would allow me to make my own extract- I just had to. Now I can completely avoid any preservatives and additives (at least in vanilla extract) that I wouldn't want in my treats. I'm all about the purest, simplest things possible.

Day One

The only thing about homemade vanilla bean extract takes a while! Just like vanilla sugar it's one of those things you sort of start and just keep adding to. Like a sourdough- you begin with a starter and continue adding as time goes on. Have a vanilla pod you just scraped the beans out of? Don't throw it away, put it into your extract (or sugar). As you use the extract, add more vodka to it, to top off, give a shake...and you're good to go.

One Week

A few times a week, I gave my little 8oz jar a good shake. Not only does it break up the beans and pods a bit more, but it makes sure everything is evenly distributed.

One Month

It was around this time that I couldn't help but open up my jar and give it a sniff! MmmMMm! Although it still had a very pungent alcohol scent, I could definitely smell the vanilla aroma. About this time is where I also removed the pods for a second, pureed everything else (liquid and beans), placed back in jar, and put the pods back inside. I really wanted to make sure everything was getting the most vanilla essence it possibly could.

Two Months

The recipe I used said that at two months, you were free to use! Phew! Finally. I cannot wait! Although I didn't see much change from week one to the final product (just a bit more cloudiness)- the new scent the "final" product has is totally telling me it's ready. Now off to bake some goodies and try my new "toy"!!!

Vanilla Bean Extract
Recipe Courtesy of Muffin Tin Mania

  • 5 Vanilla Beans (Madagascar or Tahitian!)
  • 8oz Good Vodka
  1. Split vanilla pods and scrape out the beans inside!
  2. Place in an 8oz (preferably glass) jar with tight fitting lid.
  3. Fill to top with 8oz really good vodka.
  4. Give a shake and let sit in a dark, heat/cold free space- I put in my spice cabinet.
  5. Every few days give a good shake!
  6. After two months you're ready to use!! Enjoy.
For the recipe I used from Muffin Tin Mania click here or for another great looking recipe from Love and Olive Oil click here


Refilling: If you're just topping off your extract, I wouldn't worry about refilling with more vanilla beans too much. But I would say if you're refilling with your vodka and your extract is half gone (or more!) add another 1/2 or so vanilla bean scraped. IF you're an avid user of vanilla beans in desserts (like I am) once you've scraped seeds out for your recipe go ahead and add that pod to your extract! You cannot have too many beans! Make sense?

Oh and again if its a lot you're refilling, let sit for a couple weeks to remix. That's why I top off every couple of uses. Doesn't have to sit more than a few days.


  1. Nice post, i'm definitely going to try this.

  2. Thank you for the recipes
    Greetings from Indonesia Vanilla Farmer


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