Homemade Vanilla

Homemade Vanilla
Hope everyone is doing wonderfully on this fine Friday. It was so sunny and mild today I thought I was dreaming when I went outside. Then I visited the horses and oh the mud, the mud is awful. Nothing like rain and melted snow to make for messy animals. Luckily they are cute so I cleaned them all up and came home dirtier than they were.

So I have a fun experiment for you. I did other ones in the summer. This one has been brewing for quite some time. I wanted to share it with you before Christmas but just never got to it. So I am here to present it to you today. But first a story. Oh come on now folks, you know by now you always get some wacky story with the recipes. You’ll like this one.

For those who do not know me well I’ll start this tale with a fact. I do not drink alcohol. Like none, ever, never ever ever. Okay that’s a lie. I have drank alcohol in the past but at present I do not. I rarely drink, maybe once every 5 or 6 years I’ll have a glass of wine. I know it seems like I do. Most of my posts probably make you think I am in the sauce constantly. But I get my happy on naturally, it’s how the Lunatic rolls. I mean if this is me sober can you imagine me loaded? Scary right! The reasons I don’t are pretty varied. Here’s a list, you know I love me some lists. *giggles*

Why the Lunatic avoids the sauce:

1- I am naturally a nut so help is not needed.
2- I actually do not like the taste of it.
3- I am a control freak in a big bad way so doing anything that makes me lose control is not happening.
4- I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, very wicked case of it, alcohol is my biggest trigger.
5- I have a friend who was in an accident involving drunk driving who has permanent brain damage.
6- I have a friend who’s husband was killed by a drunk driver.
7- Alcoholism is in our family, so I’ve seen the dark side of it. Changes your perspective on it.
8- I think it’s wicked expensive and would rather spend our limited excess funds on the horse. 

So there you have it. This is not to say I haven’t gotten loaded a few times in my life. I have on occasion had some drinks. One time in particular my sister in law decided we were getting drunk at a wedding. So we did, had some fun. Then the next day the family and wedding party went to a baseball game. So we took the bus from Windsor over to Detroit. Halfway there I got a tummy ache. By the time we got to the stadium I was a mess and to put it kindly let’s just say I sat by myself close to the loo and knew the bathroom attendant by name by the time the game was done. Yup, I’m a prize people. This girl knows how to party, then embarrass the entire family in grand fashion!

Okay so the story I am suppose to be telling you is this. Since we do not drink here at the Bee household I never buy alcohol. Which means making vanilla meant I needed to hit the liquor store. I have to admit I just wanted to go in as I heard the magazine the LCBO puts out had awesome fall recipes. So I had an agenda before I walked in. So I had mini-me tag along, those who don’t know mini-me is my 18 year old daughter. We hopped in the SUV and headed uptown. Pulled in the parking lot and off we trekked over to the local LCBO. I swear to god people hone in on non drinkers right away. The cashier was staring at us the moment we walked in the door. I’m certain it had nothing at all to do with the fact that I had only been in a liquor store once in my life and was like a deer in the headlights trying to figure out where the vodka was. Within minutes mini-me and myself were in hysterics as per usual. God forbid we walk in a store and not make complete spectacles of ourselves. Now mini-me would tell you it’s just me making a spectacle but she’s an accomplice so she’s just as guilty in my book. We wandered around like complete tools for a minute. I had no clue where the vodka was, mini-me pointed to it and frankly said it’s right there. I then gave mini-me the hairy eyeball wondering how she knew where it was. When I interrogatedcuz they were “so cute”. And off we went to the car, about $12 later and with a free score of a killer cooking magazine. I still have no idea why the cashier had it in for us. I can only imagine saying something like “holy shnikeys this place is huge” is not considered playing it cool. I am also quite certain the very loud “Squee, these little bitty bottles are so cute it just makes me want to start drinking” had anything to do with any of the raised eyebrows by cashiers and customers alike. We kept it classy as always. I mean seriously where’s the LCBO’s sense of humour anyway. Lighten up hairy eyeball cashier, have a drink, life is suppose to be fun. Even an old fuddyduddy like me knows that.

Homemade Vanilla

Yup, so there you have it. More wisdom from the Lunatic. Aren’t you glad you read me? It’s like the most educational blog out there right. Or whatever.

Homemade Vanilla
Home Made Vanilla
How to make your own homemade vanilla extract.
  • 1 huge a** bottle of Vodka (hairy eyeball not included)- okay I'll be "politically correct" and tell you it's a 375ml bottle
  • 2 to 3 vanilla beans
  1. On a cutting board slit the vanilla beans down the middle. Open them up carefully and scrap all the bits into the vodka.
  2. Pop the whole bean in the bottle.
  3. Give it a good shake.
  4. Store it in a cool, dark place for about 2 months.
  5. Now it's ready to use. Enjoy!


Homemade Vanilla

I have to say this was pretty cool. My only complaint would be the colour. I would think using a darker alcohol would be nice. Since I have no idea what would work I’ll take any advice you can offer. Perhaps rum? No clue!

For other vanilla experiments check out my other vanilla posts:

Vanilla Salt

Vanilla Salt: Click Photo for the Recipe!

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla Sugar: Click Photo for the Recipe!

Vanilla Brown Sugar

Vanilla Brown Sugar: Click Photo for the Recipe!

Vanilla Oats

Vanilla Oats: Click Photo for the Recipe!

Toodles and smoochies! xx

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  1. Anne Regalado says

    I've been planning to made my own concoction 😛 😀 eons ago but too cheap to buy vodka hee hee My 3 vanilla beans has been giving me an evil eye every time I open the fridge tsk tsk Throw me some of that here ! ;D

  2. Kim Bee says

    @giz- Good question, love that you asked that. I really liked the flavour but didn't LOVE it. If I could find something with a touch of sweetness to it I think it would push it to love. Hope that helps!

    @Anne- Lol, I am the same way. I almost passed out over a whooping $12. Rofl! I found vanilla beans at costco, best and freshest ones I've come across so far. And cheap.

  3. Ann says

    I make something very similar to this! I use 6 beans and it sits for six months….but I suspect that I'm just doing over kill! I'm almost done with my bottle…time to make some more!

  4. Kim Bee says

    @Ann- Lol, overkill is good for vanilla if you ask me. 2 months is a minimum timeline, I think the longer you leave it the darker and stronger it gets. You know me and patience. Not my strong suit. lol

  5. Katherine Martinelli says

    Kim, you crack me up! Love the story of you going to the liquor store. I've been meaning to make my own vanilla extract for some time now, need to get on it!!! Bet yours came out great.

  6. The Harried Cook says

    Hey there, Kim! I am finally back from my extended blog-break… your homemade vanilla looks awesome… Been meaning to try it for ages! Thanks for the inspiration :) Can't wait to go through your other recipes that I've missed! Happy New Year!

  7. Terri @ that's some good cookin' says

    Funny story! I have a similar one involving my only visit, ever, to a liquor store. (We don't drink at my house, either.) My husband had horrific cold and cough one year on New Year's Eve, which meant that he wouldn't be able to see a doctor for several days. My mom said to give him whiskey, honey, and lemon for the cough. We were so desperate for something to help John, that we agreed to try mom's idea. Since I was clueless about alcohol, my mom offered to go to the liquor store with me. Just like you, I had no idea what I was doing. After a few minutes of wandering around the store I spied the mini bottles and lucky me there was a cute little bottle of whiskey. Now mind you, this was New Year's Eve and the store was packed with people. I meekly stood in line with my tiny little bottle of whiskey while all around me people were obviously getting prepped for an alcohol blow-out for the new year. I handed my bottle to the sales clerk and saw the corners of his mouth start to twitch as if he were going to explode with laughter. Trying, obviously, to stifle his laughter he looked down at my mom and me and said, "You gals are really going to tie one on tonight!"

    Anyway, thanks for the great ideas about making vanilla infused everything. I had never thought to flavor oatmeal with it. Such a great idea!

  8. Sandra says

    hehehe..I never drink well also for me it's like every few years a drink..so I totally can relate to you, and my husband never even tried it..so no need to buy it what so ever!:)
    Like the presentation and recipe is well not in my valley, but sound very interesting!
    Have a great weekend funny lady..

  9. celiacasaurus.com says

    Looks good Kim. I've never made my own vanilla before, sounds like it would require way too much patience for me….seriously, I'm not so good with the waiting for stuff to happen. Great self control :)

  10. Kristen says

    So my question is, what is the difference, alcohol percentage-wise, between homemade and the store bought pure vanilla? And then, is it actually cheaper to make your own, cuz isn't alcohol expensive? Can you tell I don't know anything about alcohol at all?

  11. Kiri W. says

    Huh, very interesting process!
    I rarely drink, partly due to lack of opportunity, partly due to being a control freak of epic proportions, so I can relate.

  12. Magic of Spice says

    I love infusions and need to stock up…the vanilla oats is something I have not tried but it sounds cool :)

  13. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says

    I have never tried this and now I really want to!! I was wondering the same things Kristen asked above about store bought vs. home made! Very interesting stuff!

  14. Kim Bee says

    Hi guys, first I want to answer Kristen and Stephanie. I dug up all my bottles of everything I could find to do a comparison. So here's the low-down. My bottle of Absolut Vodka was 40% alcohol. That's what I made my home made vanilla with. I dug up my bottle of Watkins Vanilla which is low alcohol and it came in at 8.25%. Now my Watkins Cherry extract was at 38% alcohol. The Watkins coconut extract came in at 17% alcohol. And the Watkins lemon extract came in at a whooping 85% alcohol. I am unsure what a regular bottle of vanilla would be. For some reason my generic one does not give that information. No idea why not. I think each company would be different. Also the cheaper vanilla contains water and colouring. Hope this helps ladies! Great question, I just had to dig out all my bottles. Lol!

  15. Kim Bee says

    @Katherine- I have to say now that I know how to make it I'm not sure I'll buy it again. Lol!

    @The Harried Cook- So happy to have you back my dear. Hope you are well. You gotta try this. Super easy. Happy New Year to you as well.

    @Terri- Lol, that is hilarious. Must have given the guy a good giggle. This is such an easy thing to make. I'll be doing it more often for sure.

    @Sandra- So glad I am not the only non drinker in the bunch. You always make me grin.

    @Lindselicious- You must! It's just such a cool experiment.

    @celiacasaurus/Christie- I am usually not good with patience either so my best advice is put it somewhere you won't look for a few months. Lol!

    @Kristen- Part of the answer is above. I did some digging. I typically buy really good quality vanilla so for me it's cheaper. Probably not by much, maybe $5. For me it's just for the fun of experimenting. Also I find it nice to know there's no colouring or chemicals. Mini-me was horrified when I showed her the alcohol in all of the bottles. She was like "what have you been feeding us". Lol!

    @Kiri- Ah, a fellow control freak. I tried to hide it. But I got busted by my riding instructor years ago. First lesson with him and he had me figured out in about 5 minutes. Stopped me and asked if I was a control freak in other areas of my life. Yikes eh!

    @Torviewtoronto- You must try the oats, it's great for cookies.

    @Magic of Spice- I love the idea of making my own stuff. Any chance I get to experiment I jump all over it. The oats are wonderful. Great flavour for baking.

    @Stephanie- Thanks. I popped the answer to you and Kristen at the beginning since it inspired me to raid the pantry. Hope that helps.xx

  16. momdecuisine.net says

    I loved the story (and the list) I've been wanting to make my own vanilla extract, but our booze is rationed, and we like the sauce, so I haven't gotten around to it. I love all of your other vanilla posts too, I'm off to check out the oats. Have a great weekend!

  17. Lizzy Do says

    I've made it a couple times…but I think I put more like 12 beans in the bottle…talk about expensive vanilla!!! And don't stop telling your stories…I LOVE your antics :) I think your mini-me is more tolerant than mine!

  18. Heidi Loebig says

    I am so getting one big a** bottle of vodka and making this. Sadly we live in a town so small if I walk into the liquor store, they'd be on the phone callling hubby at work. Can you say road trip??

  19. Maggie says

    Oh you make laugh every time! I love this post and I appreciate your honesty regarding why you do not drink…totally respect you for that one. Your mini-me sounds like one awesome daughter.
    As for the vanilla…right on! That is so cool. I love making things from scratch and this is ridiculously easy! Can you use it in the same amounts you use store-bought vanilla?

  20. forever growing says

    I have been making my extracts for years, wouldn't have it any other way. Flavors also come from the vodka used and the bean, herb, or spice. Most people expect that horrid fake vanilla taste, but being a baker by trade it is the best for all cooking to use your own. The oatmeal is a fantastic idea and will be doing that tomorrow OOH how the cookies will taste!

  21. Deliciously Delilah says

    I have a similar recipe. I haven't made it yet. It calls for 3 vanilla beans to one fifth of vodka. For color it calls for a teaspoon of chocolate syrup. My recipe says that when you start to run low, just add more vodka. No need to start over. I take this to mean that you get a never ending bottle of vanilla. Almost too good to be true. Love your story too!

  22. Kim Bee says

    Lol, I am a cheapskate so I rationed. I love telling stories and am pretty lucky the kids don't read the blog much. Mini-me has photo approval though. Lol!

  23. Kim Bee says

    Rofl! I have the same problem. I am sure people were all over the phone that day saying "hey did you see Kim at the liquor store". Happy road trip!

  24. Kim Bee says

    Thanks so much. She is pretty cool. I would use it the same as store bought. The flavour is still the same. Although we might be a little tipsy after with the content of this one. Lol!

  25. Kim Bee says

    I am so glad to have your input. I am a home cook so always interested in a baker's perspective. The oats are the bomb. Really, really good.

  26. Kim Bee says

    I hate the idea of adding syrup to it but might try it. Thank you so much for the tips. It's amazing how this bottle will never run out.

  27. mjskit says

    Love the idea of making my own vanilla extract! Great story, recipe and process. I'm going to have to make this for sure!

  28. Kim Bee says

    It's so easy. I was so surprised. Hope you make some and it turns out perfect. The consensus seems to be more beans than I used. I am a cheapskate and scrimped. Lol!

  29. Lonna says

    We love making our own vanilla! I worked as a chef for a number of years and always used Nielson-Massey because of it's superior quality, but at $30 per quart it was much more economical to make my own! Also, the flavor of my homemade is phenomenal compared to anything I have ever tried commercially! I paid about $25 for a gallon of the cheapest 70-90 proof vodka (certainly doesn't have to be good or "name-brand" because the ethanol is what does the trick!) Then I bought 1 lb of good extract grade madagascar bourbon vanilla beans online for $30! You don't need to take the time to split and scrape the beans as with other bean recipes, just cut the beans into 2" pieces and shake the extract everyday for a month, the beans will slide out on their own! The best part is that it is so dark you can't see through it after a week, and the extract is ready in one month! I like to use a very fine cheesecloth to strain out the beans/seeds and then I use them for my vanilla sugar making it a win-win! Also, 1 gallon of extract seriously lasts FOREVER! So to recap, $120 for commercial not as tasty vanilla when bought in bulk (I'm sure the price would be crazy to buy in those tiny bottles) and about $55 for the best tasting homemade that lasts me about a year (but I do a stupid amount of baking and almost always add more vanilla than is called for)… Sounds like a no brainer to me! Happy vanilla experimenting!


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