The Simple Things – Homemade Vanilla Extract

IMG_0021Time has flown by since my last blog post and I feel as though I’ve neglected each of you. It’s been an extremely busy first half of summer with a new job and lots of errands courtesy of my wife. But all of that’s given me time to think lately about the simple things that we take for granted in the kitchen. Each of us is guilty of going through life at a faster pace than we really should, but the “short cuts/conveniences” that we sometime utilize in the kitchen come at a very high price. We could take matters into our own hands, save some money (we all like that), and get a much higher quality outcome.

This is the first part of a series that I will be adding to on an ongoing basis, as items come to my attention. The first post has to do with one of my favorite things to have come across: homemade vanilla extract. The prices charged in stores for pure (why would you ever buy artificial!?) is ridiculous, particularly for those of us who bake and make hot chocolate very often. Several years ago, I was speaking with an associate at one of my favorite stores in the world – World Spice Merchants ( – to find out if they offered vanilla extract. Their spice selection is amazing and I just assumed that they would have fantastic vanilla extract.

The associate informed me that they didn’t carry the extract, but that he could tell me how to make my own. I had never thought of doing this, but the idea intrigued me. That was in 2012 and I have never purchased another bottle of vanilla extract from a grocery store. This recipe (I shouldn’t even call it one because of how simple it is) will give you some of the best extract you’ve ever had. You just have to exercise patience during the process.

Homemade Vanilla Extract


  • 750 ml plain vodka (I prefer Smirnoff, but it’s your choice)
  • 5-6 vanilla beans (get high quality beans from a wholesaler – like World Spice Merchants –  because the outcome is worth it and the price will be much less than beans in the grocery store)


  • Split the vanilla pods in half with a sharp knife.
  • Toss the split pods into the bottle of vodka.
  • Let the bottle sit in a dark spot of the cabinet for 45 days.
  • When time is up, enjoy the extract!

Like I said, it’s that simple. I hope you enjoy the end product!


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