How To Make The Best Homemade Vanilla Extract

by Sarah - Craft Invaders
43 comments

Regular readers will know that we are huge Pinterest fans. Every visit, I find something new and different to inspire us; whether it be a craft project, recipe, an amazing up-cycling project or a beautiful holiday destination. It’s like the perfect, endless, glossy magazine full of amazing images. I am aware, of course, that some of these glorious images must have teams of designers behind them, and that not everything that we see on there has been thrown together on a kitchen table, in the way you and I might!

There are a few pins that I come across again and again, and each time a little voice in my head says ‘I wonder if that really works?’ Well, there is only one way to find out! Welcome to our series of Pin-Tested; where Craft Invaders try out crafty pins that inspire us, and find out how easy it is to recreate that pin at home.

 

Homemade Vanilla Extract is super easy to make. In this DIY tutorial we test out 3 different base alcohols and share which one we think is the best.

 

There are lots of pins on Pinterest for making home-made extracts, and each one recommends using a different base spirit. Since we couldn’t establish which one would give the best result, we decided to make 3 batches. Brandy, Irish Whiskey and Vodka.

How To Make The Best Homemade Vanilla Extract

The process itself is super simple.

Simply split or cut up some good quality Vanilla pods, and add to your spirit base, ensuring the pods are totally immersed in the spirit. We used Madagascan beans, which have what most of us would consider the traditional vanilla flavour.


Homemade Vanilla Extract is super easy to make. In this DIY tutorial we test out 3 different base alcohols and share which one we think is the best.

 

We used 3 large pods per jar, and approximately 100-150mls of spirit. Cut the pods into lengths that will sit easily within the spirit, place in a clean, glass jar, and pour the spirit over the top. Some recipes add a little water or sugar at this stage, but we didn’t.

 

Homemade Vanilla Extract is super easy to make. In this DIY tutorial we test out 3 different base alcohols and share which one we think is the best.

 

Pop the jars in a dark, cool cupboard, taking them out a couple of times a month (or whenever you remember) and give them a shake. The general consensus is that you need to leave it to steep for 4-6 months. We have just started using ours and it’s about 5 months old.

We are really pleased with our results. Our homemade Vanilla extract  has a lovely concentrated vanilla flavour. We are keeping ours in the jars we made it in, with the vanilla pods, so it can continue to mature. And as for the one we like best? We had a family vote, and we all agree that the Brandy base smells and tastes the nicest, so that’s the one we would recommend!

If you have enjoyed this Pin-tested Post, why not check out our Pin-Tested! Bleaching Pine Cones and our Pin-Tested! Homemade Firelighters Posts.


Homemade Vanilla Extract is super easy to make. In this DIY tutorial we test out 3 different base alcohols and share which one we think is the best.

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43 comments

Kelly September 21, 2019 - 10:09 pm

Hi….just found this. What brand of brandy did you use, please?

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Sarah - Craft Invaders September 24, 2019 - 9:18 am

I just use a supermarket own brand Kelly. I tend to buy my spirits for infusions from Aldi 🙂

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Denise Miller January 27, 2017 - 4:53 am

I make mine with bourbon. I love it. I think I will experiment with brandy for a different profile.

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Sarah - Craft Invaders January 31, 2017 - 2:48 pm

Oh Bourbon sounds great Denise, I’ll try that next time (for scientific purposes only!)

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Fabric Scraps Turned into Gorgeous Gift Bags - NIKKI FRANK-HAMILTON January 13, 2017 - 10:23 pm

[…] Homemade Extracts from Craft Invaders: Christmas Extract, Homemade Vanilla Extract […]

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Sarah - Craft Invaders January 13, 2017 - 10:42 pm

Thank you so much for featuring our extracts Nikki, we’ll have to do a swap – I can send you some over and you could send me one of your gorgeous gift bags!

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Nikki Frank-Hamilton October 18, 2016 - 1:38 pm

I love this. Christmas is coming up and this would make a lovely addition to a gift basket. I’ve never tried to make my own, so I appreciate that you tested out the best ways to make vanilla extract. I really love a concentrated Vanilla taste in baked goods, and the aroma throughout the house is a definite plus! Thanks for sharing!

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Sarah - Craft Invaders October 23, 2016 - 11:10 am

Vanilla is such a wonderful aroma isn’t it, we had lots of fun making our own. Got loads of things infusing in spirit atm – trying coffee beans in vodka which tastes amazing already after just a couple of days!

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Michelle October 18, 2016 - 7:43 am

MMmmmm, I’m just imagining brandy infuses vanilla extract. Sounds really interesting. I’d love to make my own vanilla extract, but it’s almost impossible to find the pods here in South Africa. Thanks for the tips on getting them on Ebay Sarah, I’ll have to try that.

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Sarah - Craft Invaders October 23, 2016 - 11:07 am

If they’re not readily available then they’d make a great gift – vanilla sugar is ridiculously easy to make too Michelle if you get your hands on some – literally just split the pod and leave it to infuse in sugar!

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Linda at Mixed Kreations August 20, 2016 - 11:15 pm

I’ve been wanting to try and make my own homemade vanilla extract some time. It would make a great gift for my mom, she uses a lot of vanilla. Few weeks back I was looking for a vanilla bean for another recipe I wanted to try. Thinking it as a bean (like a pinto bean) not a pod. I sure was surprised when I seen the price, $10 for one pod. Well I didn’t buy it. I’m sure I can find it less expensive elsewhere and maybe even get more then one pod.
I guess it’s to late now to make it for her for Christmas this year if it takes 4-6 months. But if I get busy finding some pods I can have it made by Mother’s day. Thanks for sharing your review!

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Sarah - Craft Invaders August 21, 2016 - 11:25 pm

I don’t know if you know Linda, but it grows on an orchid – I did look once to see if I could purchase a plant but couldn’t find them for sale anywhere. I bought my pods of Ebay and found they were much more reasonable than in the shops – especially if you were buying a few at once 🙂

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Midgie February 21, 2016 - 9:32 am

Oh my – this looks amazing and so simple! def going to try it!

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 21, 2016 - 9:43 am

It’s the perfect make – literally takes 2 mins to throw in the jar 🙂

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Regina L. L. Wells February 13, 2016 - 5:56 pm

Sarah, I am absolutely in love with this. I love healthier living, and what healthier living than sourcing your own food and cutting out the middle man in processing? Love it! Thank you for sharing! I never would have thought to make my own vanilla extract and use it quite a bit.

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 14, 2016 - 3:11 pm

Thank you Regina 🙂 There are so many things we have got into the habit of buying which are really easy to make at home. I take the approach that lots of little baby steps will all add up to something significant over time 🙂

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Regina L. L. Wells February 14, 2016 - 3:39 pm

You are absolutely right!

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Tracey Abrahams February 13, 2016 - 3:44 pm

Oh this looks like a really simple way to make vanilla extract. I think I am going to enjoy your Pin Tested series.
Thanks for sharing with us, Tracey xx#abitofeverything

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 14, 2016 - 3:14 pm

Thanks Tracey, its lots of fun looking for pins to try out. I’m waiting for the weather to warm up for an outside one which I’m pretty sure will be difficult to get to work – but you never know!

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Silly Mummy February 10, 2016 - 2:41 pm

Never even considered whether you could make this at home! Well done on successfully making things from pinterest – I’m sure I couldn’t! #abitofeverything

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 11, 2016 - 2:20 pm

You definitely could, you just have to pick the right pin 🙂 In my experience if they look impossible they probably are!

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Rhyming with wine February 9, 2016 - 12:37 pm

Such a great idea. This is the kind of thing I would just naively think was not possible to make at home? Brilliant and simple!

#abitofeverything

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 9, 2016 - 11:20 pm

It never occurred to me how it was made until I saw a pin on it – was amazed at how simple it is 🙂

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Stephanie Robinson February 8, 2016 - 8:29 pm

How fab. I’m a big Pinterest fan too and pin loads, thinking I’ll get around to it one day. I often wonder how do-able some things are, so it’s nice to hear they do work. Thanks for linking up to #PoCoLo x

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 9, 2016 - 11:28 pm

I do see quite a few things that I’m pretty sure I couldn’t get to look anything like the pin – got a couple more I want to try but need the weather to warm up a bit 1st!

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Nikki February 7, 2016 - 11:21 pm

Sarah, you do so many fun projects as a family or with the kids. I always love coming here to see what you’re up to next, and this certainly didn’t disappoint! Lol I love a really good vanilla extract one that gives a great vanilla punch to whatever you use it in I never thought about making my own. I’ve pinned this so that I have it handy this sounds delicious but also like lots of fun!

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 8, 2016 - 1:11 pm

Thanks Nikki 🙂 I seem to have a particular talent for bunging stuff in alcohol lol, I even tried lichen vodka once! (I don’t recommend it) The extract works really well so I’m planning to try some other flavours soon 🙂

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Mudpie Fridays February 7, 2016 - 10:02 pm

This is such a great idea, I know what you mean about pinterest, I have tried some things and they have been epic fails. But if this works then I am going to give it ago as it can be so expensive and I have some brandy in the cupboard! xx

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 8, 2016 - 1:12 pm

I’m delighted with mine so I definitely recommend it 🙂

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Gina February 4, 2016 - 11:26 pm

I’ve been wanting to make my own vanilla extract. It’s something that’s only crossed my mind this past year. But, it seemed pretty straightforward. I’m glad that yours turned out well. I’ll make sure to use brandy when I make my own. I’m pinning this for later! <3

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 5, 2016 - 7:30 pm

It really is simple, just needs some time. Would be great to make some now for Christmas presents and just forget about it 🙂

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Jenny Eaves February 4, 2016 - 7:55 pm

Ooh, I will have to find some vanilla beans. I use a lot of vanilla extract and would love to use my own in recipes instead, would be a great present with some cake or cookie making things too.
Thanks so much for linking up to #howtosunday 🙂 x

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 5, 2016 - 7:31 pm

You could make it now and forget about it until next Christmas, then use it as gifts. I’m going to try out some other flavours so I’ll let you know how they go 🙂

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Honest Mum February 4, 2016 - 9:45 am

Oh love all things vanilla here, fab post. Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays x

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 5, 2016 - 7:59 pm

Vanilla is delicious and very versatile. Thanks for having us 🙂

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Linda at Mixed Kreations February 3, 2016 - 9:16 pm

One day I’m going to give it a try and make my own homemade vanilla. I bet it is so much better then store bought.

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 5, 2016 - 8:03 pm

It really is delicious, and avoids all the additives that they must put into the commercial varieties – it really couldn’t be simpler to make 🙂

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OneDizzyBee January 31, 2016 - 5:08 pm

Pin tested! Fantastic idea. I always wonder myself if some things work, or if I just failed somehow. It’s nice to find someplace to do the testing for me 😉 Love this extract idea and am very glad it works.

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 3, 2016 - 6:17 pm

Thanks – there are so many pins out there that look so perfect (especially some of the recipes) that you cant help but think ‘there’s no way mine would turn out like that’. We’ve got a few more that we’ve spotted that we plan to try out over the next few months. Just had a little look at your site and love it so look forward to visiting lots 🙂

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Rachel Bustin January 31, 2016 - 2:46 pm

I am huge Pinterest fan as well. There are so many things to find and do on there it is never-ending inspiration! I have never made a homemade extract before but is something I would really want to try! xx

#HowToSunday

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 3, 2016 - 6:21 pm

Pinterest is fab. Turns out the extract couldn’t be easier, I’m planning to try some other spice flavours next 🙂

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Sara at Handy Herbs January 31, 2016 - 11:08 am

What a fantastic idea – I had no idea it was so simple! Will be giving it a go! Have pinned 🙂 #HowToSundays

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 3, 2016 - 6:24 pm

It really couldn’t be simpler – just needs a little time. There must be loads of variations that this method would work for. I’d quite like to try some coffee beans or cocoa beans if I can source them 🙂

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