Homemade Vanilla Extract *Toot Tuesday*

November 2, 2010 at 1:51 pm Leave a comment

With the holidays quickly aproaching, many of us will do a ton of baking. I love it when I can make some of my own ingredients and save a some money in the process. What a better way to save some major dough than to make your own homemade vanilla extract. Make enough, and you could be passing it out as gifts to friends and family! 

By following this simple recipe, you will make your own homemade pure vanilla extract for less than the cost of the store bought imitation.

Making homemade vanilla extract easy and cost effective.

What you’ll need


  • 1 – 750ml bottle of Vodka, rum, or any liquor 80+ proof (80 proof = 40% alcohol)
  • 12 – vanilla beans


  • Cutting board
  • A sharp knife 
  • A funnel for pouring vodka between bottles (optional but recommended)
  • Bottles for storing the vanilla (I suggest glass bottles)

How to do it

Using the funnel, remove approximately 1/2 cup of vodka from each bottle to make room for the vanilla beans.  Using your cutting board and knife, slice each vanilla bean lengthwise along one entire side of the bean.  Place the beans in the vodka bottle, replace the lid, and shake.  Store the vanilla for 2-3 months in a cool, dark room. (Hurry and get started to use for those holiday gifts and dishes) I have made it in less time and used it, it may not be as strong so double the vanilla use.

Shake the vanilla once/week to agitate the beans and speed the extraction process.

How much you will save

Savings depend on quantity.  I made 76 ounces using 3 – 750ml bottles of vodka and 1/4lb of vanilla beans, which provided the following savings:

Store bought cost

One 2 ounce bottle of store brand pure vanilla extract cost $4.99.  Total cost = $2.50/ounce.

Homemade cost

3 bottles of vodka (“a fifth” or 750ml) cost $10 each for  a total of $30.  750ml x 3 = 2250ml which is equivalent to 76 ounces.  1/4lb of vanilla beans (approximately 36 beans) is equivalent to 4 ounces and cost $10.    Based on these calculations, 76 ounces of pure vanilla extract cost $40.  Total cost = $0.50/ounce.  Imitation vanilla cost approximately $1.00/ounce.  This reveals that homemade vanilla extract is 5 times cheaper than store bought pure vanilla and twice as cheap as imitation vanilla.

Pictures of our homemade vanilla project

When we began

When we finished

How things look after one week of storage

Based on the ease and savings of this project, making homemade vanilla extract is a great way to save money and increase freedom.

Where to buy your vanilla beans

Thanks for Trent of The Simple Dollar for pointing me to the Vanilla Products USA eBay store.  I purchased 1/4lb of Organic Grade A Tahitian beans for $6.99 plus S&H (at time of writing.)  The beans are not certified organic by the USDA, but are claimed to be grown without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

Where to buy your glass bottles

Either use glass bottles you already have laying around your house or purchase them from somewhere cheap.  I will probably purchase these 4 ounce glass bottles, fill them, and give them away as Christmas gifts.

*IMPORTANT CHEAP TRICK!!! Do not throw away those vanilla beans when your vanilla extract is finished!!! Re-use them in the next bottle!! They are good for about 6-7 years….YES, YEARS!!  of use!! Now talk about a major savings…

Giving credit where credit is due… this tutorial came from an awesome blog http://diynatural.com/homemade-vanilla-extract/ who has some more recipes and thrifty living recipes…check him out!

Entry filed under: Recipes for cheapness. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Take the HANDMADE Pledge!!! Handmade Dishwasher Detergent Powder *Thrifty Thursday*

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