Vanilla extract is SO EXPENSIVE these days! Reduce the cost significantly by making it yourself! This homemade spiced vanilla extract is perfect for any diet – only two ingredients!
Who doesn’t love a good vanilla extract?
I don’t drink alcohol, but I’m ok with consuming it as part of something like vanilla extract, where it is used in such a small quantity, and often cooked.
The problem I have is with large amounts of alcohol, since it is a toxin to your body. I notice this each time in the past that I’ve had alcohol, I always have a headache the next day and feel really unwell.
With that being said, there are definitely some things I don’t want to miss out on in this life. One of those is vanilla extract, which is one of my all-time favorite flavors. There is something so magical about the scent and taste, it is such a special ingredient in so many recipes.
So why should you make it yourself?
First of all, have you seen vanilla extract prices these days?! $5+ for just an ounce or two. If you bake only a little, then perhaps that is no big deal. But if you bake a lot, or like to add vanilla extract to your coffee or another use daily, then it can really add up quick.
There is also the benefit of being able to choose what type of beans you want (yes, there are options here!) as well as the type of alcohol that you prefer. Most commercial vanilla extracts are made using either vodka or bourbon.
How do you make homemade spiced vanilla extract?
To make your own homemade spiced vanilla extract, you will need just two ingredients:
- Vanilla beans (I like these ones from Amazon (affiliate link))
- Spiced rum, if you want that extra special spiced flavor. You can also use vodka or plain rum
I recommend using a mason jar (multiple is fine for a big batch) for this recipe, or something you can easily drop your vanilla beans into. Some people like narrow-mouthed glass jars, but I find it very hard to remove the vanilla beans from these, if you ever want to repurpose the jar.
Start by cutting your vanilla beans down to whatever height will fit in your jar, and then slice them lengthwise down the middle, to allow the vanilla flavor to really penetrate into the alcohol.
Drop the beans into your jar(s), and fill with alcohol to cover the beans. Top with a tight-fitting lid and store in a dark place for 3-6 months, or until strong enough for your taste. 3 months will be about as strong as store-bought extract, and 6 months will be extra strong.
Be sure to shake the jars once a week or so, to help strengthen the flavor even more. Once ready to use, remove the vanilla beans and move extract to your cupboards for use.
But don’t throw those vanilla beans away, you can reuse them again for a second round of vanilla extract! Simply repeat the process. After two uses, beans can still be used directly in recipes themselves. Discard beans afrer roughly one year.
How much money does making your own vanilla extract save?
As of early 2022, the prices are as follows:
- $4.50 for one cup of spiced rum
- $23 for 26 vanilla beans (per the link above). However, you will not need to use all of those. I recommend using 2-3 beans per cup of alcohol, which would amount to $2.65 for 3 beans
So per cup of extract, you are looking at approximately $7.15 to make it yourself. 8 ounces of commercially-made vanilla extract can vary a lot in price, I currently see it going for anywhere between $22-$35, depending on whether it is organic and fair-trade or not.
Can I make this recipe without alcohol?
Yes, you can. Vegetable glycerine is an alternative to alcohol. All of the steps are still the same, you simply swap out the alcohol for the glycerine.
Can I use flavored vodka?
Yes, you can! If you want an extra special vanilla extract, then this is a fun way to do it. The sky is the limit, so long as you are using 80 proof alcohol!
You may also enjoy:
Homemade Spiced Vanilla Extract
- 2-3 vanilla beans
- 1 cup vodka, rum or spiced rum
- Select a mason jar or other glass jars that will fit the amount of extract you want to make. Cut your vanilla beans in half, or to whatever size needed to fit into your jar(s). Slice the vanilla beans lengthwise, to allow for maximum flavor extraction.
- Place vanilla beans into jar, and pour in enough alcohol to submerge the beans fully. Cover jar and set in a cool, dry and dark place for between 3 and 6 months, depending on the desired strength of the extract. 3 months will be comparable to store-bought, and 6 months will be an even stronger flavor. Shake weekly to enhance flavor.
- Remove beans and use as desired in recipes. The beans can be reused in a second batch of extract. Simply repeat the process over again. The flavor may be a bit weaker the second time around, so adding more beans, or allowing it to steep longer the second time may be needed.