A quick and easy recipe for making your own Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract to use for all your baking needs.
How to Make Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract
If you do a lot of cooking like I do, you’ll find yourself at one time or other grabbing for an empty bottle of vanilla extract. Buying a quality brand of vanilla extract on a regular basis can get expensive.
But no worries. You can make your own homemade pure vanilla extract or even reconstitute it (fancy word for refilling the bottle), quickly and easily.
Originally, I came across this recipe serendipitously. It happened when I ran out of vanilla extract in the middle of a cookie baking frenzy. I realized then and there I had to find a way to make more.
I refused to stop my baking but I still needed a rich and substantial liquid that could stand up to all of my cooking and baking needs. What to do?
I did the next best thing: I looked at the ingredient list on the vanilla extract bottle. BINGO! I went to my liquor cupboard and brought out a bottle of vodka. I knew from experience that the alcohol would dissipate during cooking and baking but would leave the great vanilla taste behind.
So I filled the bottle and shook it a bit and whola! Reconstituted vanilla extract!
But it didn’t stop there. I began to experiment with adding more vanilla beans, giving the pure vanilla extract more time to cure, etc. And doing so gives this must-have cooking ingredient the best taste–ever!
Now, I use vodka as my starting base but you can also use a good brandy or even rum. The extract’s taste will vary so give each a try and figure out what works for you. For me, I’m a purist and I just want my vanilla to shine. That’s why I like vodka.
I also like to use three (3) fresh whole vanilla beans since you want your extract to be clear and free from any hints of little seeds.
But above all, be sure to store your vanilla extract in a dark bottle. The darker glass the better. This is because it reduces the amount of light that will break down your liquid and will keep the vanilla extract fresh for months on end.
And, when your liquid gets down to the last quarter or so, you can reconstitute your vanilla extract by adding more vodka. If the flavor seems less “vanilla” than you like, remove the pods and replace with a couple of fresh vanilla pods.
But wait–don’t let the used vanilla pods go to waste! You can place the used pods into warm milk or slice and remove seeds to add to a cappuccino, your favorite baking recipe, or even use the whole pods to make Homemade Vanilla Sugar.
For more great cooking tips, be sure to check out my Pinterest Board: Cooking Ideas from Wisconsin Homemaker.
Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract
- 3 vanilla pods
- 8 ounces vodka
- Fill/Refill a 8 ounce dark bottle with vodka, brandy or rum (the better the liquor, the better the extract).
- Add 3 whole fresh vanilla bean pods.
- Let the extract rest unused for 2-3 weeks to allow the vanilla essence to permeate the liquid.
- Use as needed.