Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Featured Ingredient: Homemade Vanilla Extract

With a blog paying homage to the muffin tin, obviously vanilla extract is going to show up in recipes with regular occurrence. Vanilla adds a warm, luxurious scent to baked goods. But top quality vanilla extract that does not contain any added sweeteners and artificial junk can be pricey. Thankfully, as I have recently learned, it’s surprisingly very easy to make your own with just two ingredients: vanilla beans and booze. Plus, a little bit of patience.

You’ll want to start with good quality vanilla beans. There are some good websites (or try ebay) selling them in bulk for reasonable prices. You can either use vodka or rum, with the latter often being the preferred choice of many in the food blog world. I used Havana Club that I picked up on a recent bike trip to Cuba.

Once you have used some of the extract, say 20 to 30 percent, you can top it up with more alcohol and, if desired, more vanilla beans to keep the supply going almost indefinitely. Any spent vanilla beans used in a recipe such as poached fruit can be added to the brew provided they have been washed.

DIY Vanilla Extract


3 vanilla beans

1 cup rum or vodka


Thoroughly was a glass jar or bottle. Split vanilla beans along its length and then slice each in half. Place vanilla beans in the glass jar and pour in the alcohol. Seal the jar with an airtight fitting lid, shake it a bit and leave for 2 months in a cool, dark place. You probably should shake the jar occasionally, but I tended to forget this step. The longer it stands the more aromatic and flavorful the extract will become.


  1. Coming to you via Foodgawker :-) When you said DIY vanilla extract I was hooked! Thanks for the great (and easy) recipe!

  2. I keep meaning to do this for Christmas gifts and now it's too late for this year. I'll need to set myself a reminder at least 2 months before Christmas.

  3. I love this! Even "good" vanilla extract often has some questionable ingredients. A homemade rum vanilla extract sounds awesome.

    Should I store it in the fridge? My house isn't very cool.

    Strange but true: it's almost impossible to find real vanilla extract in this part of Mexico. Now the trick for me is to find some beans...

  4. Hey Patty;

    The fridge is probably best considering the Mexican climate. For beans, I've been told you can find quality stuff on eBay for cheap.

  5. Thanks Matt! It's really tricky to get stuff shipped in these parts, so next time I'm in a more touristy zone I'll score some.

    I was thinking of trying this technique with some roses and jasmine from the yard... maybe lime zest too.


I love hearing from fellow muffin tin fans, so let me know what is on your mind.