Vanilla Beans for homemade Extract

Post from 2008

Do you make your own vanilla extract??? (SEE NOTE AT BOTTOM FOR LATEST UPDATE ON RECIPE)

I had recently read a blog here about making Vanilla Extract from scattertheseeds…I was SO EXCITED to find a GREAT and unique Christmas gift idea! I’ve been thinking about ways to use my Starbucks frappucino bottles and I think this is going to be it! Thank you “scattertheseeds”!

I went to “Fresh Market”, a store in Chattanooga, Tennessee to purchase the vanilla beans. I had no idea they were SO EXPENSIVE!!! I paid about $3.99 per bean!!!! SO, after researching the homemade extract options online, I came across an ebay store that sells vanilla beans in bulk CLICK HERE to go to Vanilla Products USA.

I am looking forward to receiving my beans in the mail soon!!! ALSO, if you buy them at this particular ebay store, they have a sale right now that if you buy over $25 worth of merchandise, you get an extra 1 lb of vanilla beans free (that’s ALOT of beans!). I only purchased 40 beans for now (@4.99 for 20). I think that will be plenty. There was also a $1 discount on shipping when I checked out (instead of $5, it was $4) b/c I am in the USA. Total spent was just a little less than $14…close to the same price I paid at a retail store for only 4 beans!!!

As far as the recipe, I have researched several options. I think I am going to use vodka as my base b/c I read that it is neutral in taste, and I will just add about a Tablespoon of a dark rum to each bottle. I read that the rum can be overpowering if used for the entire bottle, but that adding just a little can enhance the flavor.


I’ve read several opinions on ratio of beans to liquid. I think I will go with 2 beans to every 1/2 cup of liquid and then I can add more liquid or beans in a few weeks depending on my preference for strength. I will slice the beans open lengthwise before putting them in the bottle.

Once the liquid is added, store in cabinet w/tight lid for approx. 6 weeks before using…shake the bottle frequently during the 6 weeks.


Some folks suggest scraping the inside of the bean into the bottle…some suggest cutting up the entire bean into tiny pieces or even 1/2 inch pieces and adding…no matter what method you choose, when you are ready to put it in a jar to give away, you can either syphen it through a filter of some sort (like a coffee filter or tea filter) if you want to remove the bean…or just leave the bean. Who doesn’t like vanilla bean ice cream w/the bits of bean all in it???

Several opinions suggested using the entire bean sliced open, then remove it after 6 weeks, let it dry out, then put it in a sugar bowl w/sugar…then you’ll have VANILLA SUGAR!!! YUM

I hope all is well with you today and that you are enjoying this beautiful day (at least it is beautiful here in N. Georgia today!). I love to hear the birds outside and watch the squirrels play now that they can’t get into my bird feeder! At least some of the birds give them crumbs.

UPDATE: This is how we ended up making ours after we received our WONDERFUL beans: we added 20 beans sliced open to the large bottle of vodka. We added 4 beans to the rum bottle. Keep in dark cabinet for 6 weeks in airtight container. Shake once a day. After 6 weeks, your vanilla extract is ready! Add 4 parts vodka to 1 part rum when mixing. The starbucks bottles worked great for me to hold my extract, especially when others asked for some to use for themselves.

God bless you!