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Homemade Vanilla Extract

I only half-heartily considered making my own homemade vanilla extract in the past until local dad Trent of The Simple Dollar gave a play-by-play last year. That lit my fire and I’ve had it on my list since. The time finally came and I found vanilla beans from the co-op I order from. I was amazed at how simple it was to make but the true taste test will not come for 6 months.
It all started with a 1.75 liter of Vodka and 7 vanilla beans. Sliced the beans.
Slipped the beans into the bottles(I’m making 2 batches to have extra for gifts). Capped the bottles and gave them a good shake. I’ll store them in a dark closet.I will continue to shake weekly for 6 months. At that point I will remove the beans and strain the extract through a coffee filter and into smaller bottles.

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I had NO idea what a good deal was for the vodka since it was honestly the first time I had ever purchased it. I paid $22 on sale(reg. price was $29). I’m not sure that was the best price I could have found but I wanted to get it started. The vanilla beans cost $5.15 for 1 oz. or 7 beans. I don’t have the smaller bottles yet so I can’t really figure how much it will break down to per unit yet. For the amount it will make it will last a very long time though and should supply a decent amount of gifts so I figure it will end up being worth it.

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EDIT:  This post was originally written in April 2011.  The vanilla brewed to perfection by Christmas and is now a staple in our home.  I gifted several bottles to family and friends for Christmas and it was very well received.  Pictures of the super cute bottles are here.  I ended up not straining it at all, the tiny beans add flavor.  After using and giving a good amount of it I simply added more vodka to the same beans and it will continue to brew.  I kept an old bottle from store-bought vanilla and just refill it whenever I need more.  It is amazing and I’ll never need to buy store-bought again!

This post is linked up to Frugal Tuesday TipFrugal Days, Sustainable WaysEncourage One AnotherRaising HomemakersSimply Lives Thursday and Works for Me Wednesday.

9 Comments


  1. //

    Sweet now I don't have to look up the directions for mine!! Thanks for linking up.


  2. //

    My vanilla from Nicole (remember the coupon train days?) is rockin' awesome!


  3. //

    My friend made this and it was awesome! I feel so bad having imitation vanilla now. 🙂


  4. //

    Love this! Thanks bunches fro posting.


  5. //

    There was a coupon in this past Sunday's paper for a mail-in rebate on Smirnoff. If you still have the receipt and can find the coupon, you should mail it in. ($22 is a decent price already.)


  6. //

    I cannot wait to try this! it’s on my “Home-Making” to do list 🙂 Thank you


  7. //

    Please don’t strain the extract. Leave the beans in it. It will just keep getting better and better. I just leave them in there and add new ones as I make more. I have 3 bottles of extract going at any one time. One to use and two that are “fermenting”. I have been making my own extract for years. I also add a tablespoon of sugar to each bottle-it just helps get it going.

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