How to make homemade vanilla extract with just 2 ingredients

vanilla extract

You can easily make vanilla extract at home for an economical and extra tasty solution for your sweets. With only two ingredients, vanilla pods and alcohol, you have a great all-purpose sweetener ready with a taste few can resist.

Whether you use it instead of sugar to sweeten cakes and cookies or add it to yogurt or ice cream as a syrup, it will win you over from the first taste test.

Why make it at home?

vanilla extract

Why make vanilla extract at home when you can easily find it in the store? The reasons are not only financial but also qualitative.

While many prefer it as a healthy alternative to sugar, it is quite an expensive option in practice. In contrast, a bottle of homemade vanilla can last a year with frequent use, while only a teaspoon is needed to sweeten your recipes.

And as far as its taste is concerned, you will hardly find a product of the same quality and low price. It is undoubtedly a lovely and value-for-money option for your kitchen!

Ingredients for 240ml (25 teaspoons):

Six vanilla seeds (15g in total)
240ml of vodka (or bourbon, brandy, or even rum)
Glass bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid (to be airtight)


Using a sharp knife, open the vanilla pods lengthwise. You don't need to cut them completely; just tear them lengthwise, creating an opening. If their length does not fit our bottle or jar, cut them into smaller pieces. Then, place the pods in the bottle/jar.

Pour the vodka, ideally through a funnel. Use as much vodka as needed to cover the pods completely. Close the bottle/jar and shake well several times. Store it in a shady place.

The vanilla will be ready to eat in 8 weeks. Until then, remember to shake our bottle very well once a week.

6-12 months make a difference

vanilla extract

You must wait at least eight weeks before using it. However, the longer you leave it in the bottle, the better its taste will become and the more intense its colour.

If you have enough patience, you will find that in 6 months, it will have acquired a wonderful sweetness, while in 12 months, the result will surprise you even more.

A zero-waste option

vanilla extract

The truth is that vanilla pods are quite expensive (usually, on average, a little more than 2 euros each). However, they can be used again and again inside the bottle.

This practically means that when using the vanilla, and since you have not removed the pods from the bottle, you can constantly add a new amount of alcohol. For six vanilla pods, refill the bottle at regular intervals for about a year.

Evi Tsiropoulou is a columnist for Cantina. Translated by Paul Antonopoulos.

READ MORE: Zucchini flowers stuffed with rice and yoghurt-dill sauce.

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