Picture this – you’re in the grocery store and your healthy chocolate chip cookie recipe calls for pure vanilla extract but you’re trying to save money on groceries and the imitation vanilla is much cheaper. What do you do?
Good news. You never have to choose between pure vanilla extract and imitation vanilla extract again.
By following this simple recipe, you will make your own homemade pure vanilla extract for less than the cost of the store bought imitation.
Making homemade vanilla extract easy and cost effective.
All you need to make Vanilla
- 1 – 750ml bottle of Vodka, rum, or any liquor 80+ proof (80 proof = 40% alcohol)
- 12 – vanilla beans
- Cutting board
- A sharp knife
- A funnel for pouring vodka between bottles (optional but recommended)
- Bottles for storing the vanilla (I suggest glass bottles)
Process for making the Extract
Using the funnel, remove approximately 1/2 cup of vodka from each bottle to make room for the vanilla beans. Using your cutting board and knife, slice each vanilla bean lengthwise along one entire side of the bean. Place the beans in the vodka bottle, replace the lid, and shake. Store the vanilla for 2-3 months in a cool, dark room.
Shake the vanilla once/week to agitate the beans and speed the extraction process.
Making this will save you a lot of money
Savings depend on quantity. I made 76 ounces using 3 – 750ml bottles of vodka and 1/4lb of vanilla beans, which provided the following savings:
Store bought cost
One 2 ounce bottle of store brand pure vanilla extract cost $4.99. Total cost = $2.50/ounce.
3 bottles of vodka (“a fifth” or 750ml) cost $10 each for a total of $30. 750ml x 3 = 2250ml which is equivalent to 76 ounces. 1/4lb of vanilla beans (approximately 36 beans) is equivalent to 4 ounces and cost $10. Based on these calculations, 76 ounces of pure vanilla extract cost $40. Total cost = $0.50/ounce. Imitation vanilla cost approximately $1.00/ounce. This reveals that homemade vanilla extract is 5 times cheaper than store bought pure vanilla and twice as cheap as imitation vanilla.
Pictures of the Project
When we began…
When we finished…
How things look after one week of storage…
Based on the ease and savings of this project, making homemade vanilla extract is a great way to save money and increase freedom.
Where to buy your vanilla beans
Thanks for Trent of The Simple Dollar for pointing me to the Vanilla Products USA eBay store. I purchased 1/4lb of Organic Grade A Tahitian beans for $6.99 plus S&H (at time of writing.) The beans are not certified organic by the USDA, but are claimed to be grown without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
Where to buy your glass bottles
Either use glass bottles you already have laying around your house or purchase them from somewhere cheap. We purchased these 4 ounce glass bottles, filled them, and gave them away as Christmas gifts.