homemade vanilla extract

Vanilla is the second most expensive spice with only saffron carrying a heftier price tag, yet vanilla is called for in most every baked good and dessert recipe. The vanilla bean is an orchid variety and are primarily grown in Madagascar. Pollinating and harvesting vanilla beans is a fine science and thus yield is not plentiful…and the price is reflective.

I buy a new bottle of vanilla extract every 6-8 weeks and spend roughly $9 for pure vanilla extract. Ouch! When Mo posted about making homemade vanilla extract with a link to Madagascar vanilla beans for a bargain on Amazon.com, I jumped on the ball!

Homemade Vanilla Extract from Mo

3+ vanilla beans for every 1 cup of vodka


Cut vanilla beans in half and then cut lengthwise to expose the fleshy insides and seeds. Submurge beans in vodka and store in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry location. Let beans soak for 8-9 weeks or longer, shaking every so often.

You can double, triple, and quadruple the amount of vanilla extract so long as the ration of beans to vodka is 3:1!!

I have only had my beans soaking for a few days, so I can’t attest to taste, but the smells…ahhh! Vanilla beans put off such a wonderful aroma!

I plan to give vanilla extract away to kitchen dwelling friends and loved ones for the holidays. I’m excited! Eight weeks can’t come soon enough!! 😀

Mandoline Winners….!!!

Lisa who said: I would slice up lots of sweet potatoes!


Meredith who said: Homemade beet chips would be on my agenda with a mandolin like that! Paired with some yummy goat cheese for dipping. Yum!

Winners, congrats! :) Please email me your mailing addresses to PreventionRD@gmail.com and I will get those out to you ASAP!

Question: Do you fork over the big bucks for pure vanilla extract, or stick to imitation vanilla extract? Do you notice a difference in quality? Flavor? Scent?

Vanilla bean LOVE,


  1. says

    What an awesome idea to make your own vanilla extract! I had no idea that vodka was involved in the process. I love that you plan to give some out over the holidays :)

  2. says

    I’m so glad it’s going well, and thanks for the shout-out! I’m sure everyone who receives your extract will be very happy. :)

    And congrats to the mandoline winners!

  3. says

    Nicole, your cooking skills and adventures never cease to amaze me! You go girl :) I must say, I always buy vanilla extract, maybe one day I’ll be up to the task! Happy almost weekend!!!

  4. says

    You are my new best friend for posting this! My mom and I are vanilla snobs and never buy anything but pure vanilla extract. Making her some at home would be a great gift idea!

  5. says

    I always pay the big bucks for the good stuff but I may need to try this – I never thought to make my own!

    Thank you for posting – vanilla would make a great holiday gift!

  6. says

    Mrs. Prevention, I’m often impressed with your staying power in the kitchen but now I’m really impressed.

    Since I stopped baking (for the most part), I don’t really use vanilla extract. In fact, I have an almost full and rather large bottle that I got from one of those warehouse stores…

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