Friday, July 31, 2009

Gluten Free Vanilla Extract

I have decided to embark on a little project to make homemade vanilla extract. I know this is not a ground breaking venture, however, it's something I've never attempted before. I first saw this over at Joy the Baker and decided it looked easy enough for a firefighter to handle. Not to mention this is an opportunity to use up some vodka that has been collecting dust in the cupboard.
I ordered some vanilla beans online from the Boston Vanilla Bean Company. According to their website, 24 grams of beans are needed to make 8 ounces of extract. So I ordered 24 grams of extract quality beans. As I looked for more extract recipes online, most called for 3 beans to make 8 ounces of extract. When my vanilla beans arrived there were about 9 beans in the package equalling 24 grams. I decided to use 4 beans. 80 proof alcohol is needed for the extract. Rum and vodka are usually the alcohols used in making extract. Theoretically vodka is neutral and does not alter the vanilla flavor. We had some 100% potato vodka in the cupboard, so that is what I used. To make the extract; slice the vanilla beans down the center leaving about a 1/2 inch at the top and bottom intact. Place the beans in a sealable jar and add 8 ounces of alcohol.

Store in a dark place for about 2 months. Shake the bottle periodically to mix up the extract. I'll report back on the progress of my extract. You should buy some beans and join me! Take care.


  1. WOW! First off, I had no idea that extract was made from rum or vodka? Second, I am extremely impressed with your culinary sophistication! Third, the pictures are great. Fourth, report back, please.
    Have a great weekend,

  2. Cool, Brian. I've been making my own vanilla for years. Just FYI, you really only need two vanilla beans for that size jar of vodka or even slightly more. I add two vanilla beans (and I usually split the beans just the way you described) to a pint of vodka and don't use it for about a month to six weeks as the vanilla "extracts". I even add more vodka and one more fresh bean to the two old beans when I use up all my extract. These methods have worked well for me. I'm sure you will be pleased with your version, too.


  3. I have made my own vanilla for years. I buy a pint of rum and put the beans right in the bottle. It's easy to pour from. I use 4 beans also. I gave some as gifts at Christmas last year and people seem to like it.

  4. Just realized you are making 8 oz. I use 4 beans per 16 oz. I let it sit at least 3 months (usually more) before using it. Each time I open a new bottle I start another one.

  5. Sounds groundbreaking to me! Way to experiment!

  6. I just did this too!! My beans have been soaking in vodka for about 3 weeks now. I'm very excited to use my own vanilla extract in a couple of months.

  7. Okay. I just read all of the posts. Apparently, I'm your only unsophisticated reader. You know, not knowing about the extract and all. You get a mix of all types when you put your blog out there. Just sayin... :)