Homemade Vanilla Extract (Vanilla-Infused Vodka)

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Vanilla flavour is probably one of the most widely used flavourings in cakes, waffles, cookies and other (low-carb) treats. It's also one of the most expensive spices in the world and that's one of the reasons why most commercially available "vanilla" extracts are synthetic and contain artificial additives.

Making your own vanilla extract cannot be any easier. All you need is high-quality spirit such as vodka and vanilla beans. As you will find out, it's also very economical and you'll spend less, especially if you buy vanilla beans in bulk. You don't actually have to get organic vanilla beans, as most are grown without pesticides and fertilizers.

The best spirit for home-made vanilla extract is vodka, because you get pure vanilla flavour. If you use rum or bourbon, the vanilla taste won't be as strong, as these spirits will slightly mask the flavour.

Tip: It's also a great drink - you can have some vanilla-infused vodka as an occasional treat!

Hands-on Overall

Nutritional values per 1 tbsp

0.1 grams 0 grams 0 grams 0 grams 0 grams 30 calories
Total Carbs0.1grams
Fiber0grams
Net Carbs0.1grams
Protein0grams
Fat0grams
of which Saturated0grams
Calories30kcal
Potassium10mg

Estimated nutritional values include Stevia. This recipe yields ~ 300 ml / 10 fl oz of vanilla extract. Most calories come from alcohol.

Ingredients per small bottle

  • 4-6 vanilla beans
  • 11/4 cup high-quality vodka or rum (300 ml / 10 fl oz)
  • Optional: 15-20 drops clear or vanilla stevia or other healthy low-carb sweetener from this list (vanilla stevia is optional but will add more flavour)
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Instructions

  1. For making vanilla extract, use high-quality vodka. Prepare a glass jar you will use for the extract by sterilizing it in hot water. Homemade Vanilla Extract (Vanilla-Infused Vodka)
  2. Cut the vanilla beans lenghtwise, place in the glass jar and seal well. The more vanilla beans you use, the more flavour and darker colour you will achieve. Make sure the beans are completely submerged.
    Note: Opt for really dark oily beans, as these will give the extract the best flavour. Homemade Vanilla Extract (Vanilla-Infused Vodka)
  3. Infuse for 4-6 weeks. The longer you leave it, the more intense the flavour will be. Homemade Vanilla Extract (Vanilla-Infused Vodka)
  4. Shake 2-3 times while it's infusing to help release the flavour. Homemade Vanilla Extract (Vanilla-Infused Vodka)
  5. After about 4 weeks, the extract will become dark and is ready to be used. You can add stevia if you like - vanilla flavour works best! Homemade Vanilla Extract (Vanilla-Infused Vodka)
  6. Store in a dark cool place for up to 6 months and use in your healthy baking :-) Homemade Vanilla Extract (Vanilla-Infused Vodka)
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Martina Slajerova
Creator of KetoDietApp.com

Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

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Comments (11)

I have done this using beans from "Olive Nation" on Amazon. It's been a few years now. I split my beans from top to bottom and scoop out the seeds into the vodka. Then add the beans. All the flavor is in the seeds so you want them swimming about, lol!! 😊 Thanks for your post.

Reply

Should you slit the pods? Do you remove them or just leave them in the bottle? Can you reuse them? I use a LOT of vanilla. Two pods costs about five bucks here (and that's the cheapest) which is about ten dollars American. So you can imagine the joy of reusing. My mind boggles with questions. I imagine the vodka is a preservative on top of being an infusing liquid. Do you think it would be possible to make paste with vodka and seeds. I guess I could just go ahead and try, but its so very expensive here. Also, I'm not very search savvy - yet.
Keep up the good work Martina! and thankyou.

Reply

Thank you Rowan! I haven't tried that so I'm not sure... But I'd think that infusing whole beans with the seeds will yield more flavour. You can make a cut all the way through or even halve them lenghtwise. Yes, I leave them in until I use it all up. Sometimes I'd just pour more vodka in, add another vanilla bean and leave it for a week. So it depends on how much flavour you can get from it - not all vanilla beans are equal. If they are too expensive where you live, then maybe it's better to get a ready-made product. I get some really good deals on Amazon but I'm not sure how it is where you live.

Reply

I make mine with brandy and it comes out great. I just put the vanilla beans right in the bottle and let it sit.

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I'm actually planning to make it with brandy for this holiday season 😊

Reply

Just curious, do most vanilla extracts include a sweetener?   I made my own extract by putting the vanilla pods in the bottle of vodka.  Didn't add any sweetener and I've not had any problems in my recipes.

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I think it depends but I've seen all sorts of products  - I don't use any sweeteners when I make it either. I know that Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract does include sugar but you'll have to check the label.

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But your recipe uses sweetener? Why does your recipe call for it if you don't use it in yours? I've never heard of sweetened vanilla extract. Even McCormick's vanilla is just beans, water and alcohol.

Reply

Hi Mary, the sweetener is optional - you don't have to use it but some people may like it 😊

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I make my own extract using rum but it does hide the vanilla a bit 😊

Reply

I tried rum but it was a bit too strong for me but not bad at all.

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