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How to Make Vanilla Extract

This is quite possibly the easiest instructional blog post in the world, but when I last posted on Instagram about my homemade vanilla extract, I had a lot of people asking me how to make it. Hopefully, you’ll forgive me for making such an unbelivably easy tutorial, but maybe you didn’t realize just how easy it was? If that’s the case, well, you’re going to enjoy this.

What You’ll Need:

First things first, cut the ends of the pods off and then slice the pods in two down the middle. Sometimes I cut them into fourths, but it’s not necessary. If you want you can skip this step entirely, but it takes a lot more time for the vodka to become vanilla extract, which is why I prefer cutting the pods in fourths.

Take your bottle, fill it halfway with vodka, put the sliced vanilla pods in, fill the rest of the bottle with vodka, close the lid and that’s it! If you want you can give it a shake once a day to get the process going a little faster, but you barely even need to do that. Normally I just make a batch once the first bottle is roughly halfway finished and leave it in the back of the cupboard till I need it.

Extra Tips: 

  • If you don’t want to buy a bottle just for this you can just take the vodka bottle and put the pods in there with the vodka.
  • If you want a mint or citrus flavor to your vanilla extract add mint leaves or citrus zest in with the vodka too. One small thing to note here is that you need to make sure that neither the mint or the citrus fruit have been sprayed with pesticides, of they’ll end up mixing in with your lovely homemade vanilla extract. Kinda defeats the purpose really.
  • Sometimes, if I’m just using one bottle for making vanilla extract, I’ll add two fresh vanilla pods every couple of months and re-fill the bottle with vodka if it’s getting low. Then I’ll just go right ahead and use it if I need to. It’ll be slightly weaker at first, but after a week or two it’ll be up to the same strength as before. Since I use vanilla extract as a treat (those pods are expensive!) this works perfectly for me. But if you like to regularly use vanilla extract then I suggest you have two bottles, one to use and one to mature in the meantime.
  • I like to add an oil pourer to the vanilla extract bottle. It makes it so much easier to pour the amount I want, not to mention it’s faster and doesn’t leak everwhere. The old bottle I used to use would spill everywhere and it drove me nuts! Btw, that link above is an affiliate link.
  • You don’t need expensive vodka. Of course, you can if you want to, but I’ve never noticed a difference in taste.

And that’s it! Easy, isn’t it.

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