handmade gift: homemade vanilla extract

i was so impressed when i received this bottle of homemade vanilla two years ago. look how cute it is!

it's really easy to make homemade vanilla extract, and you can definitely go crazy with the presentation and make it as adorable as you like. it's also such a wonderful gift because you'll know exactly what's in there, and though it's expensive to buy commercial vanilla extract, it's not very expensive to make.

you can use whichever alcohol you like, but the two favorites are probably vodka and rum.

vanilla beans
bottles and corks or tops

split five vanilla beans lengthwise down the center to expose the seeds, keeping the ends of the beans intact. place beans in a pint of high-quality vodka, rum or brandy. store in a cool, dark place for at least four weeks. shake the bottle several times a week.

if you fall behind and don't get to start this now, you can just set up the extract and give the gift with instructions to shake and wait. the longer you wait, the better it gets. and, you can add more beans and more alcohol to replenish the stock as you use it up.


vanilla, saffron imports

the vanilla company

specialty bottle

cost plus is a great place to get decorative bottles and jars


  1. I am sooo doing this. I wonder how it would fare against Nielsen Massey and other vanilla extracts!

  2. i have to say i love nielsen massey. this stuff isn't quite as potent, i think.

  3. Samin, I really love this idea and want to do it for some aunties for xmas. Is there a preferred alcohol? For some reason, rum or brandy sounds more appealing than vodka...and do you know if the quality of the booze is important? I don't wanna be giving my aunties some cracked out Popov Vodka extract. (or do I?)

  4. oh, and also... when they use this homemade stuff, is the ratio the same for baking?

  5. i don't think the quality of the alcohol is super important, but i wouldn't use "vodka of the gods" if i were you.

    and you should use prob. twice as much in baking. you'll be able to tell how potent it is when you go to use it--it gets stronger as time passes.

  6. I've seen that bottle before!!! I love it, want to go home and make some myself.