Do-It-Yourself: Homemade Vanilla

Laura from Heavenly Homemakers shows you how to make your own vanilla. She made some for me a few months back and we’ve loved it.

Amy from Gabriel’s Good Tidings made homemade vanilla and gave it out as Christmas gifts. This would be such a great gift to make and have on hand for hostess gifts, too.

Do you have a fun and frugal DIY idea to share? I’d love to hear about it! Read the submission guidelines and submit it here.

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  1. Andee says

    I have made hoemade vanilla for a few years now. I use dark rum and the Vanilla beans and pod. I have given this out as gifts and people seem to love it. I have noticed, that when you use the homemade vanilla in cookies, it changes the cooking time. I cook my cookies at a slightly lower temp and for a few minutes longer.
    Enjoy everyone!!!!!!!!!!

  2. says

    I’ve made this before! It works great!!! It’s so fun too. It’s a pricey start up, but it does come out to way less per oz than retail. :) Go for it!!! it’s do easy and fun. I’ve heard of people putting a little in empty/clean beer or other amber colored bottles and keeping it closed for 20+ years! They say it’s fantastic, might be something worth doing. My husband and I want to! :)

  3. Angela says

    Been making this for two or more years now and it is the only thing I use!! It is cheaper and taste better than anything you can buy.

  4. Chelsea says

    I’m curious to try this out! Any idea how much a bottle of vodka costs? Lol. And can this be made on a smaller scale instead of the large bottles?

  5. Marissa says

    I made this for Christmas gifts last year and everyone loved it. I am always going to make it and use it. It tastes far better then store bought and is better with no added preservatives.

  6. Rae says

    I make mine with rum just because it is soooo much cheaper here. It is yummy :) (the homemade vanilla not the rum lol)

  7. jeni says

    I contacted the company but the place it links sells it by pounds not amount of beans. Anyone order from them?

  8. Celia says

    We tried this about a year ago with a big bottle of Heritage brand of Vodka from Jewel when it was on sale for $7.99. And we bought 9 pods for $15 from a local spice shop here in Chicago. $23 for a huge bottle of delicious vanilla extract is an awesome deal if you ask me! We used 9 pods because my fiance insisted that we go overboard but you can make it with as little as 4 pods too, it depends on the size of the vodka bottle and how strong you want the extract to taste and how long you let it sit in the dark.

  9. says

    This is where we buy our vanilla beans from. Since we’re from Chicago, we just go to the shop and they are a little cheaper that way. And the aromas in there are like none other!

  10. Jasmine says

    I just read an article last night in the Feb 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living on how to make homemade vanilla. The article has a link to a website to buy little bottles and vanilla bean. Also, it said to refrigerate, but Gabriels website didn’t. I wonder if you need to keep it refrigerated. Does anyone know?

  11. charity crawford says

    Im not to big on having to use vodka let alone alcohol. Is there and alternative to making this? I know the store bought has alcohol…but want to make my own but not this way.

    • Katie says

      @charity crawford, I read through the comments on that post and a couple of people mentioned finding recipes for online using glycerin. Google “non-alcoholic vanilla extract recipe” and several different recipes come up, though it seems almost all use glycerin.

  12. says

    The first thing I saw was the Vodka bottle and thought “What in the world is this Christian lady promoting?” I guess it was my judgmental side taking over as we prefer not to drink. All said, I think this is a neat idea, but wonder what the older ladies at church would say if they saw a big bottle in my shopping cart:)

  13. Ellen says

    For some reason, my attempts at home-made vanilla always have a stronger “alcohol” flavoring over the “vanilla” flavoring. I feel like whenever I use it, there’s a slight alcohol-ish flavor to my baking. Anyone else feel the same? I follow the directions exactly and let it sit as directed to no avail.

    • Lisa says

      @Ellen, the recipe I use says to shake everyday for about 10 days and then shake it whenever you remember to, I think that always helps to get the vanilla distributed well.

  14. says

    When I lived in Russia for a year several expat families made vanilla extract this way…vodka was readily available! =O (At the time, only powdered vanilla was available for purchase over there.)

    I’ve never tried it myself, though I think I would if I could get some inexpensive vanilla beans…I’ve got vodka on hand that we planned to use in making homemade ice cream but decided we didn’t really need for that.

  15. Kellie says

    I made my own vanilla this past year after reading about it on Laura’s site. Much better than store bought, and no corn syrup! Yes, buying the vodka was odd because I don’t buy alcohol, but the end product was worth the discomfort in the grocery store. :)

  16. says

    I’ve been doing this for years using Christian Brother’s Brandy. When we use up all of the vanilla, we take the beans & nestle them into a canister of sugar for homemade vanilla sugar for coffee & baking. I absolutely love it!

  17. SPKarenO says

    I’ve been doing this for the last couple of years.

    I use dark beer or root beer bottles (emptied and sterilized) to make it and then we store it in it too with a wine stopper on top. Works great.

    The first year I did it, I bought tiny little vodka bottles. I made the vanilla in bigger bottles, then poured it back into the tiny bottles, removed the labels, replaced with my own and gave them out as gifts. They were a hit!

  18. Natalie says

    We did this back in April of last year and it turned out so yummy that we decided to make it for gifts. We put the beans in the vodka in July and left it until the week before Christmas. Then, we strained it and gave it out as gifts. Everyone LOVED this gift way more than anything we could have bought. Ours from last April is nearly gone and I look forward to making some more in the next couple of weeks!

  19. says

    I’ve researched making homemade vanilla before, but when I priced it out, including the cost of bottles, it’s about the same or even more expensive (not to mention more work!) as my favorite vanilla extract, Trader Joe’s Bourbon Vanilla Extract, which is $4.99/4 ounces. I love the flavor the TJ’s extract gives baked goods and hot cocoa.

  20. Aberline says

    You can make higher quality vodka by straining the cheap stuff through a brita filter several times. It is exactly the same as the $50/bottle vodka.

    That said, if I try this, I want to use the rum-based recipes because rum is tasty. My place of work doesn’t allow employees to drink alcohol, but cooking with it is specifically allowed.

  21. Kristine says

    I have made my own vanilla for several years. I buy 1 liter of vodka or rum and put in 4 beans. Place in a brown bag in a cool place for 6 – 9 months and you got vanilla. When I am done with the vanilla I place the dried beans in some sugar and get vanilla flavored sugar.