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Homemade Vanilla Update

Back in March, I posted about making homemade vanilla extract. I know several many people thought this was a strange idea. I am pretty sure my sisters thought I was a bit crazy for making it. But I really want to make most of our food from scratch and making homemade vanilla is so simple to do. I figured it was an easy thing make myself.

I started using my vanilla a few months ago and I love it. I really, really like the homemade vanilla. It has such good flavor. You can just tell by smelling it how much better it is.

One tip though is that I really should have let it sit longer. I was out of the store bought vanilla and I really hated to buy more when I had some almost ready to go. I started using it when it was about 4 1/2 months old and I really should have waited a while longer. The longer it sat the better it got. So, I am enjoying it even more now that it has sat longer and developed an even better flavor. It now has a much stronger flavor than it did when I first started using it.

I have been enjoying the vanilla so much I started my second batch. I even have a friend from church now making it for herself. In fact we ordered vanilla beans from amazon and split them in order to make them cheaper for us to buy. I was not sure about ordering vanilla beans through amazon, but I read the reviews and decided it was worth the savings to give it a try. I was really happy with them, especially since they were so much cheaper.

One other thing that I did different this time was to use more expensive vodka. I know nothing about vodka, so last time we just bought cheap vodka. After talking to a friend and reading comments and emails from several of you, I realized I should not have used the cheapest vodka. So, this time I used better vodka and I think it will make a difference.

I can’t imagine why I would ever go back to store bought vanilla. This is so simple to make and it is so much better.

Do any of you make your own vanilla?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I have also made homemade vanilla this year for the first time with organic vanilla beans ordered from Frontier. I was extremely pleased with the results, don’t think I will ever go back to store bought again! I read somewhere that you should try pouring rum into the mixture when you use about half of it. Not sure if I am going to do this or not. Thanks again for your great info!

  2. I haven’t tried this, but it has been in my mind a while to try.

    With the order from amazon, how much did that make? Did you only need to buy one bottle of vodka? I guess I need to go back to the original post and check amounts.

    Thanks for the heads up on the amazon link!

  3. The amount I oredered and linked to from amazon is enough for 4 or 5 batches. Which is why I split it with a friend. But you can order smaller amounts from the same company. And yes the amounts are in the original post. 🙂

  4. I have been making my own vanilla for years now. I just love the way it tastes in baked foods. I split the beans to distribute the seeds in it because I like the little seeds!

  5. This sounds so fun. I think I might have to try it! 🙂

  6. I made some, but I haven’t tried it yet. It’s been sitting for about 4 months now so I can try it soon. I’m getting impatient to try it too.

  7. I was just wondering how long this would keep for, particulalry once you have opened it, do you think it has a shelf life? I would love to have my own homemade good vanilla extract but would take a long time to use a bottle that size! Any thoughts?

  8. Lindsay, from what I can tell real vanilla has a pretty long shelf life b/c of the high alcohol content. I also have wondered that, but could not find a good answer. Most said well over a year, some said quite a bit longer. Here you can also find smaller bottles of vodka which might be an option for you. I am also planning on giving some as gifts. I am going to find some small nice looking bottles to put it in. I think it will make a nice gift for a couple of people that I know that love to bake. I hope that helps. Let me know if you try it and how it turns out.

  9. I like the gift idea, I found a UK website today that looks reputable and sells 10 premium vanilla pods for £4.75 ( just under $8!) and free postage so I think I will give it a go. Some nice local cheeses and some “no cook homemade chutney” that I have a good recipe for could be a lovely Christmas gift for family and friends this year. 🙂

  10. Now that I know your results I will definitely give this a whirl. So your consensus is to go with the higher end vodka–like maybe a middle price one?? And amazon for the beans? I can use my swagbucks on those dudes!

    Thanks, Lynn! 🙂

  11. I’m so glad you posted this update! I had been wondering. Glad it turned out well and had wondered whether you would decide to upgrade your vodka. Is the pic you posted the new one or the old? I don’t know that brand name, but it looks Russian! How bad can it be? Vodka is what they do! haha. Maybe I can get Faith to make some of this for me… I lack patience.

  12. Pheobe, I would def. go with a med priced Vodka. I think the one I used this time was about $12, so about twice the price of the one I tried the first one. And yes I was quite happy with the beans I got from Amazon that I link to.

  13. drinking glasses says

    Great post – thanks for sharing!

  14. mixed drink glasses says

    Great post – thanks for sharing!

  15. My sister and I just purchased vanilla beans from Costco (10 for about $12). We are planning to make vanilla for Christmas presents, but it looks like we’d better get on it right now 🙂 (or maybe include a note that says to wait a month before using!)
    I love your blog! I’m planning to use several of your recipes this month and will be back to find more later 🙂

  16. i wanted to add this to both vanilla topics to make sure it was seen by as many as possible. below is what i posted in the other thread

    “I just wanted to comment on this old post. i just got in to making vanilla and researched the heck out of it.

    i found Madagascar extract grade B beans (ideal for extract) from a reputable seller on Ebay for 20 dollars a POUND. i got over 150 beans. these are extract grade high quality beans perfect for this task. and only 20 dollars. there is one specific seller i recomend. (Vanilla products usa) they have a web site and are power sellers on ebay with 100% positive feedback.

    good luck.

    PS. i use high quality vodka. “kettle one” with the low price i paid for vanilla beans i thought i would splurge on the vodka.

  17. I use Bourbon-richer flavor- same idea. And mimiks the high vanilla sold at the kitchen stores at the mall.
    🙂 Enjoy your site!
    .-= Barb in Palm Beach, FL´s last blog ..Yes- it’s been a while… =-.

  18. tracy olson says

    I really want to try this, could the links (websites, you ladies have purchased the vanilla beans at be posted or e-mailed to me) a few have been mentioned amazon, but not the website address. ?????

  19. I am doing the vanilla project. How many months total would you recommend? I started mine at the beginning of November and it does smell great, but isn’t very dark yet.

    • I like to wait at least four months, but six is better. I have used it at four and it is fine, but the flavor is much stronger six or more months. If you did a large bottle, I would start using it at four months and it will get darker and stronger the longer it is. I hope you enjoy it!

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