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Pin-Tested! Homemade Vanilla Extract

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.

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.

Home made Vanilla Extract is super easy to make at home. This DIY tutorial show all the steps for this easy recipe. Results are far superior to shop bought, plus we test out 3 different spirits you can use so you dont need to!

 

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.

 

We used 3 large pods per jar, and approximately 100-150mls of spirit. Simply 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.

Home made Vanilla Extract is super easy to make at home. This DIY tutorial show all the steps for this easy recipe. Results are far superior to shop bought, plus we test out 3 different spirits you can use so you dont need to!

Home made Vanilla Extract is super easy to make at home. This DIY tutorial show all the steps for this easy recipe. Results are far superior to shop bought, plus we test out 3 different spirits you can use so you dont need to!

 

Pop the jars in a dark, cool cupboard, taking them out a couple of times a month (or whenever you remember) to 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. We are using our home made extract as a direct substitute to shop bought in recipes (my daughter used it today in her Valentine Cupcakes shown below) and it 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!

 

Home made Vanilla Extract is super easy to make at home. This DIY tutorial show all the steps for this easy recipe. Results are far superior to shop bought, plus we test out 3 different spirits you can use so you dont need to!

 

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.

We test making vanilla extract using 3 different alcohol bases - find out which we think is the best spirit for making vanilla extract!

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41 Comments

  • Reply Denise Miller

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

    January 27, 2017 at 4:53 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

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

      January 31, 2017 at 2:48 pm
  • Reply Fabric Scraps Turned into Gorgeous Gift Bags - NIKKI FRANK-HAMILTON

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

    January 13, 2017 at 10:23 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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!

      January 13, 2017 at 10:42 pm
  • Reply Nikki Frank-Hamilton

    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!

    October 18, 2016 at 1:38 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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!

      October 23, 2016 at 11:10 am
  • Reply Michelle

    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.
    Michelle recently posted…Making a TokoLeena to Scare the Monsters Away – Int’l Bloggers ClubMy Profile

    October 18, 2016 at 7:43 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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!

      October 23, 2016 at 11:07 am
  • Reply Linda at Mixed Kreations

    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!
    Linda at Mixed Kreations recently posted…Craft And Recipe Roundup – June And JulyMy Profile

    August 20, 2016 at 11:15 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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 🙂

      August 21, 2016 at 11:25 pm
  • Reply Midgie

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

    February 21, 2016 at 9:32 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

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

      February 21, 2016 at 9:43 am
  • Reply Regina L. L. Wells

    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.

    February 13, 2016 at 5:56 pm
  • Reply Tracey Abrahams

    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
    Tracey Abrahams recently posted…Happy Diary – Tots And StumblesMy Profile

    February 13, 2016 at 3:44 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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!

      February 14, 2016 at 3:14 pm
  • Reply Silly Mummy

    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
    Silly Mummy recently posted…‘Mummy, There’s Something Wrong With The Baby!’My Profile

    February 10, 2016 at 2:41 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

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

      February 11, 2016 at 2:20 pm
  • Reply Rhyming with wine

    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
    Rhyming with wine recently posted…Things you’ve done at nursery.My Profile

    February 9, 2016 at 12:37 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

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

      February 9, 2016 at 11:20 pm
  • Reply Stephanie Robinson

    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
    Stephanie Robinson recently posted…ART NOW: Gallery standard art to send, give and collectMy Profile

    February 8, 2016 at 8:29 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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!

      February 9, 2016 at 11:28 pm
  • Reply Nikki

    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!

    February 7, 2016 at 11:21 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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 🙂

      February 8, 2016 at 1:11 pm
  • Reply Mudpie Fridays

    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
    Mudpie Fridays recently posted…DIY Valentine’s Paper ConesMy Profile

    February 7, 2016 at 10:02 pm
  • Reply Gina

    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
    Gina recently posted…How to Send Your Kid to College for (almost) FreeMy Profile

    February 4, 2016 at 11:26 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

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

      February 5, 2016 at 7:30 pm
  • Reply Jenny Eaves

    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
    Jenny Eaves recently posted…Organic Mama Teething NecklaceMy Profile

    February 4, 2016 at 7:55 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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 🙂

      February 5, 2016 at 7:31 pm
  • Reply Honest Mum

    Oh love all things vanilla here, fab post. Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays x
    Honest Mum recently posted…The Importance of Self-CareMy Profile

    February 4, 2016 at 9:45 am
  • Reply Linda at Mixed Kreations

    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.
    Linda at Mixed Kreations recently posted…Easy Diy Fall LeavesMy Profile

    February 3, 2016 at 9:16 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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 🙂

      February 5, 2016 at 8:03 pm
  • Reply OneDizzyBee

    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.
    OneDizzyBee recently posted…Carrot and Zucchini FricosMy Profile

    January 31, 2016 at 5:08 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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 🙂

      February 3, 2016 at 6:17 pm
  • Reply Rachel Bustin

    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
    Rachel Bustin recently posted…#MySundayPhoto 31/01/2016My Profile

    January 31, 2016 at 2:46 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

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

      February 3, 2016 at 6:21 pm
  • Reply Sara at Handy Herbs

    What a fantastic idea – I had no idea it was so simple! Will be giving it a go! Have pinned 🙂 #HowToSundays
    Sara at Handy Herbs recently posted…6 healthy fillings for Yorkshire Pudding your children will love.My Profile

    January 31, 2016 at 11:08 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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 🙂

      February 3, 2016 at 6:24 pm

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