vanilla extract: make your own!

I have a small confession to make.
When I'm baking anything from a recipe that includes vanilla extract,
I always add a little extra. Sometimes... a whole teaspoon extra.
Which means I go through vanilla extract pretty quick around here.
[I just really love the warm, homey, sweetness vanilla adds.]

But as anyone who bakes knows, good vanilla can be pricey.
A few weeks ago, I found the perfect economical solution:
how to make your own vanilla extract!

Cathy from bright bakes posted this "recipe", which is incredibly simple.
How did I not think of doing this sooner?
All you need are some vanilla beans, a jar, and some booze.

Well, and a little patience...
Homemade vanilla takes 2 months to age.

I decided to use rum, but Cathy says bourbon or vodka would work too.
I just so happened to have some of The Kraken [how awesome is their site?]
on hand and figured since it has a nice spicy, vanilla flavor to it already, 
it would be the perfect thing to use for extract.

Even if you aren't in the market to make your own vanilla,
I would suggest trying this stuff out. It's delicious.
Hot rum and cider? A-mazing.

Anyway, back to the vanilla extract...
Start by slicing your beans lengthwise

Place them in a mason jar or other container with a lid that will seal tight. 
I picked up this cute little jar from IKEA for just $2.99! 
[I may or may not have specifically bought it just to be my vanilla jar.]

Pour in your rum/bourbon/vodka.

And that's it. [No, seriously.]
Just let it sit on your shelf and give it a little shake now and then.

I ended up using more beans than the 2 pictured above.
Cathy suggests using 6 beans per pint of alcohol, which is what my jar is.
[Note: I don't actually have webbed fingers. No, seriously.]

Sadly, the extract won't be finished aging until mid-March.
But it already smells incredible! I can't wait to start using it.


  1. That is great. I found a great deal on vanilla extract at Costco and it seems to be a great quality but I am not vanilla connoisseur. I am going to have to try this though, just because it seems so cool to try!!!

  2. Your photos are lovely. I could certainly learn a few things from you! Keep up the beautiful work!
    cathy b

  3. Release the kraken!

    Sorry, I had to. But it really is good rum :)

  4. Kristen- I normally buy organic vanilla extract, not sure what they have at Costco but this way actually was more economical for me!

    Cathy- thanks for the complements! and for posting the how-to... so glad you gave me the idea :)

    Anonymous- YES, it IS really good rum!

  5. I miss my rum :-(

  6. I went to buy some rum last night to make my rum vanilla extract, and I almost bought the bottle of Kraken because the bottle was just so cool looking, but decided against it because of how dark the rum is. I wanted a lighter colored rum so I could see how the vanilla steeping process was coming along. I may have to buy it next time though. I'm going to make the entire 750 ml bottle into vanilla extract, so it may take me a while to use it all.