Home Cooking

Vanilla Extract Extracts

Adventures in Vanilla Extract Making


Live your best food life.

Sign up to discover your next favorite restaurant, recipe, or cookbook in the largest community of knowledgeable food enthusiasts.
Sign Up For Free
Home Cooking 16

Adventures in Vanilla Extract Making

gothamette | Jan 2, 2012 09:09 AM

Elsewhere, I asked which is the best, cheapest tasteless vodka for making home-made vanilla extract. I got a lot of responses, including several to use more higher proof grain alcohol, and bourbon or rum. I ended up using a cheap Polish vodka (Wodka) because it was cheap, came in a big bottle, and was there. I just don't buy the vodka snob thing. It's vodka. I only want something that tastes like nothing.

I then searched around for vanilla extract recipes and methods and was confused by the lack of specificity. Most of them didn't give specific ratios.

Then I got lucky, and found this website:


I highly recommend it if you are interested in making vanilla extract. He gives fairly exact proportions. His vanilla bean to alcohol ratio is quite a bit higher than most, and his reasons are good. Also, he says that it'll take 6 months for a proper extract to be created. This all sounds quite right to me. I never believed that you'll have a usable vanilla extract in a month, and that you can put two or three vanilla beans in 8 ounces of alcohol and have a real product.

Also, somewhere in the pages, which are chock-full of vanilla wisdom, someone claims that a higher proof doesn't necessarily make a better extract. I am not a chemist so I don't know for sure, but commercial vanilla extracts are 35% alcohol, and vodka is 40% alcohol. Perhaps using 90% alcohol (Everclear, Bak Spiritus) damages the delicate chemicals that are necessary to make a great vanilla.

In any case if you love vanilla, the Vanilla Review is your go-to site.

Disclaimer: I don't know the guy, and get no kickbacks.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound