Make your own Quality Homemade Vanilla Extract in just minutes. Whether it’s a batch of freshly baked cookies, a velvety custard, or a steaming cup of coffee, a dash of vanilla can work wonders, elevating the taste to a whole new level.
In the world of culinary delights, few ingredients hold the same universal appeal and aromatic allure as vanilla. With its rich, warm, and slightly sweet flavor, vanilla has the remarkable ability to transform ordinary dishes into extraordinary ones. Use just a few simple ingredients.
Gather your favorite vanilla pods and a bottle of your finest spirits because we’re about to embark on a flavorful odyssey that will forever change the way you view this pantry staple. Get ready to elevate your culinary repertoire with the magic of homemade vanilla extract!
Crafting the Perfect Vanilla Extract
We’re going to unveil the secrets of making quality homemade vanilla extract. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a budding kitchen adventurer, learning how to create your own vanilla extract is a rewarding journey that will enhance your cooking and baking endeavors.
If you’d rather make a paste than a liquid extract, this vanilla bean paste recipe is a must try.
Post contains affiliate links, and we earn commissions if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, please read the disclosure section under the About Us page.
What is the Best Vanilla Extract Brands for Baking
As bakers, we know there are a few ingredients you always have on hand: flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract for flavoring. We use vanilla in so many recipes, yet how do we know if we are using the brand that is the best?
Here are three things you should consider when choosing your vanilla extract:
Flavor. This is the most important factor. How does it taste? Does it taste of pure vanilla or artificial ingredients?
Smell. Good vanilla extract smells delicious and tempting. Not artificial or off-putting.
Price. Let’s face it, groceries are expensive and so are baking ingredients. What is the best value for money?
Let’s look at what Taste of Home testers think is the best options for brands available at your local grocery store.
According to Taste of Home, the Best Supermarket Find is Simply Organic Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract. Mild with some floral notes, but overall, very good vanilla for the price.
The Smoothest Vanilla Flavor goes to Spice Islands Pure Vanilla Extract. It has a golden in hue and tasted of pure vanilla beans. The flavor was smooth and authentic but not overpowering.
Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract for Baking and Cooking is one of the most popular vanilla extracts. It has a layered flavor profile with creamy and mellow with velvety after-tones, for the perfect all-purpose vanilla.
Which Vanilla Extract Brands are Gluten Free?
Any pure vanilla extract is gluten free. Even homemade vanilla extract made with Bourbon or Vodka is also gluten free if that is also made with real vanilla.
Crafting Perfection: How to Make Quality Homemade Vanilla Extract
While a store-bought version is readily available, there’s something truly special about crafting your own. Homemade vanilla extract not only allows you to control the quality and purity of the ingredients but also imparts a unique personal touch to your culinary creations.
Plus, it just takes two ingredients whole vanilla beans and vodka, or bourbon, or rum. Making your own homemade vanilla extract is the easiest thing.
And it makes for an exquisite gift for friends and family who share your love for exceptional flavors.
Homemade vanilla extract is not only simple to make but also a fantastic way to ensure you have high-quality vanilla extract at your disposal.
To make homemade vanilla extract, you’ll need whole beans. There are different varieties of vanilla beans so get grade A or grade B beans. And you’ll needa high-proof alcohol, such as vodka, rum, or bourbon.
Start by splitting 6 to 8 vanilla beans lengthwise to expose the seeds. Place these vanilla beans in a glass bottle or mason jar, cutting them into smaller pieces if necessary.
Pour 8 ounces of your chosen alcohol over the vanilla beans, ensuring they are fully submerged. Seal the bottle with a tight-fitting lid.
Store it in a cool, dark place for at least 2-3 months, though it’s best to let it infuse for 6 months to a year for the richest flavor.
Remember to shake the bottle occasionally to distribute the flavor. Your homemade vanilla extract can be kept indefinitely when stored properly, providing a delightful and aromatic enhancement to your culinary creations.
Can you Make Vanilla Extract with Rum?
Yes, you can absolutely make vanilla extract with rum! In fact, rum is a popular choice among homemade vanilla extract enthusiasts because it adds a rich and complex flavor profile to the extract. In fact, spiced rum is a great option for adding lovely and unique different flavors.
How to Make Non-Alcoholic Vanilla Extract?
To make non-alcoholic vanilla extract, you can use an alternative solvent like food-grade glycerin or vinegar.
Start by selecting 6 to 8 high-quality vanilla beans, preferably Madagascar Vanilla Beans. Grade B vanilla beans or Grade A Vanilla beans both work.
Split the beans lengthwise to expose the seeds. Place the split vanilla beans in a glass bottle or glass jar.
Then, choose your solvent:
Glycerin-based extract, fill the bottle with food-grade glycerin until the beans are fully covered.
Vinegar-based extract, opt for white or apple cider vinegar.
Seal the bottle tightly with a lid.
Store the mixture in a cool, dark place for a minimum of 2-3 months, although it’s best to let it infuse for 6 months or longer for a robust flavor.
This non-alcoholic vanilla extract is a great alternative for those avoiding alcohol and can add a delightful, sweet, and aromatic note to your recipes. Shake the bottle occasionally to distribute the flavors.
Recipe Tips for The Best Flavor
Homemade vanilla extract adds a gourmet touch to your baked goods and desserts, and it’s a great gift for fellow food enthusiasts.
Choose High-Quality Beans: Select high-quality vanilla beans for the best flavor. Madagascar Bourbon or Tahitian vanilla beans are popular choices, but feel free to explore other varieties for unique flavor profiles.
Use High-Proof Alcohol: opt for alcohol with a high proof (at least 35%) to ensure efficient extraction of vanilla flavor.
Be Patient: The longer you let the vanilla extract rest, the better it will taste. It’s worth the wait for a more robust and aromatic result.
Storage: Store your homemade vanilla extract in a cool, dark place. Amber glass bottles are ideal for preserving the extract’s quality by protecting it from light.
Reuse and Refill: As you use the vanilla extract, you can keep refilling the bottle with alcohol as needed, ensuring you always have a batch of homemade extract on hand.
Enjoy experimenting with different beans and spirits to create your own unique flavor profiles!
What is Double-Fold Vanilla Extract?
Double-fold vanilla extract, sometimes referred to as double-strength vanilla extract, is a concentrated vanilla extract that contains a higher proportion of vanilla beans to alcohol compared to regular vanilla extract. While there isn’t a standardized definition for double-fold vanilla extract, it typically contains about twice as many vanilla beans per unit of liquid as standard vanilla extract.
The term “double-fold” implies that it is twice as strong in terms of vanilla flavor and aroma. This concentration of vanilla beans results in a more intense and robust vanilla flavor, making it an excellent choice for recipes where you want the vanilla flavor to shine through prominently. It’s particularly popular among professional bakers and pastry chefs who require a strong and consistent vanilla flavor in their creations.
Double-fold vanilla extract can be used in a variety of recipes, including cakes, cookies, ice creams, custards, and more, but it’s often used sparingly due to its potency. When substituting double-fold vanilla extract for regular vanilla extract in a recipe, it’s typically recommended to use half the amount specified in the recipe, as it packs twice the flavor punch.
How Long Can You Keep Homemade Vanilla Extract?
Homemade vanilla extract has an impressive shelf life and can be kept for a long time when stored properly. Here are some guidelines for how long you can keep homemade vanilla extract:
Homemade vanilla extract can last indefinitely if stored in a cool, dark place and kept sealed in an airtight container. The high alcohol content acts as a preservative, preventing spoilage. Over time, the flavor may continue to intensify and improve.
Best Flavor After Aging:
Many vanilla extract aficionados believe that homemade vanilla extract reaches its peak flavor after aging for at least 6 months to a year. During this time, the vanilla beans infuse the alcohol, resulting in a richer and more aromatic extract.
Check for Quality:
While vanilla extract doesn’t typically spoil, it’s good practice to periodically check its quality. If it smells and tastes as expected, it’s still good to use. However, if you notice any unusual odors, flavors, or changes in color, it’s a sign that the extract may have deteriorated.
Top-Up with Alcohol:
As you use the extract, you can keep topping up the container with more alcohol to maintain the flavor potency. This prolongs the life of your homemade vanilla extract, allowing you to use it for years.
Store your homemade vanilla extract in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and temperature fluctuations. Amber glass bottles are ideal for protecting the extract from light exposure.
In summary, you can keep homemade vanilla extract for an extended period, and its flavor may continue to improve over time. As long as it remains sealed and stored properly, you can enjoy its delightful flavor in your culinary creations for years to come.
Did you know that you can also make your own vanilla sugar?
You can find out more about making vanilla sugar for your baking recipes.
What Can You Do with the Top of the Beans?
The top of vanilla beans, which is the end where the stem was attached, can also be used in various culinary applications. While most of the flavor and aromatic compounds are concentrated in the body of the bean, the tops can still contribute some flavor and aroma. Here are some ways to use the tops of vanilla beans:
Infuse Milk or Cream: You can add the tops of vanilla beans to milk or cream when heating it for recipes like custards, puddings, or ice cream bases. This will allow the subtle vanilla flavor to infuse into the liquid.
Make Vanilla Sugar: Place the tops of vanilla beans in a container with granulated sugar to create vanilla sugar. Over time, the sugar will absorb the vanilla aroma and flavor, making it perfect for baking or sweetening beverages.
Flavor Syrups: Add the tops to sugar syrup or simple syrup to create a vanilla-infused syrup for cocktails, coffee, or drizzling over desserts.
Flavor Liquor: Place the tops in a bottle of vodka, rum, or bourbon to make your own vanilla-infused liquor. This can be used in cocktails or as a unique homemade gift.
Decorative Garnish: You can also use the tops as a decorative garnish for desserts or cocktails. Simply split them open and place them on top of your creations for an elegant touch.
While the main body of the vanilla bean is the most prized for its flavor, don’t let the tops go to waste. They can still add a subtle and delightful vanilla essence to your culinary creations.
How to Make Quality Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
- 6 to 8 Pods Vanilla Beans about 1 ounce whole beans, Grade B or Grade A Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans are excellent choices
- 8 Ounces High-proof Alcohol preferably 80 proof such as vodka, rum, or bourbon; choose a spirit with at least 35% alcohol by volume.
Prepare the Vanilla Beans:
- Lay the vanilla beans on a clean cutting board.6 to 8 Pods Vanilla Beans
- Using a sharp knife, carefully split each vanilla bean in half lengthwise. This helps release the seeds and flavor.
Place Vanilla Beans in the Bottle:
- Insert the split vanilla beans into the glass bottle or jar. You can cut them into smaller pieces if needed to fit. The more beans you use, the stronger the flavor will be.
- Pour the alcohol over the vanilla beans, ensuring that they are fully submerged. The alcohol will extract the flavor from the beans.8 Ounces High-proof Alcohol
Seal the Bottle:
- Seal the bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Store in a Cool, Dark, Dry Place:
- Place the sealed bottle in a cool, dark place, like a pantry or cupboard.
- Allow the mixture to rest and infuse for at least 2-3 months. For the best results, let it sit for 6 months to a year. The longer it rests, the richer and more flavorful the extract will become.
- Every few weeks, give the bottle a gentle shake to agitate the mixture and distribute the flavor.
Your Own Private Notes
Recipe Tips for Success:Choose High-Quality Beans: Select high-quality vanilla beans for the best flavor. Madagascar Bourbon or Tahitian vanilla beans are popular choices, but feel free to explore other varieties for unique flavor profiles. Use High-Proof Alcohol: Opt for alcohol with a high proof (at least 35%) to ensure efficient extraction of vanilla flavor. Be Patient: The longer you let the vanilla extract rest, the better it will taste. It’s worth the wait for a more robust and aromatic result. Storage: Store your homemade vanilla extract in a cool, dark place. Amber glass bottles are ideal for preserving the extract’s quality by protecting it from light. Reuse and Refill: As you use the vanilla extract, you can keep refilling the bottle with alcohol as needed, ensuring you always have a batch of homemade extract on hand.
Here are other delicious recipes for you to try.