Vanilla Extract


You will need to buy vanilla beans.  I ordered my 7-8 inch Grade A Bourbon vanilla beans from   I got a 20-pack of beans for $9.00, plus $2.95 for shipping.  These are currently out of stock.  I’ve been checking back for the last year so my vanilla is getting low.  I could just add more vodka as this doesn’t really go bad but it’s been a few years so I’d like to just start a new batch. 
To make it gluten free, use a potato vodka, either Teton Glacier (I found at Woodman’s for $20) or Monopolowa. 

1.     Split 3 vanilla beans lengthwise with a sharp knife, leaving one inch at the bottom to keep the bean in tact.

2.     Place in glass jar or bottle with 1 cup (8 oz) of unflavored vodka.  A one-quart mason jar works well.  These are in the canning section of most stores.

3.     Be sure the beans are completely covered with vodka.  You’ll have to push them down some.  Seal tightly.

4.     Let stand in a cool, dark place for 4 to 6 months, or at least 8 weeks.  It will darken to a nice amber color. 

5.     Shake jar occasionally during the standing time.  (Once every day or so for about 30 seconds.)


1.     Extract will strengthen upon standing.

2.     Store in a dark colored, air-tight corked bottle in a cool, dark place.

3.   Place a few drops of vanilla extract on a cotton ball. Place in custard cup in back of refrigerator to diffuse odors.

4.   You can also add either 1 TB of dark rum (per cup of Vodka) to sweeten it, or some simple syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water – dissolve in microwave).  Use 1 TB of the simple syrup mixture.

Most vanilla extracts contain gluten because they are made from alcohol.  Read labels.  If it is gluten free, it will say so.  Frontier makes gluten free vanilla while you’re waiting for this one to brew.  I found it at WF.  Keep in mind that alcohol feeds yeast.  Authentic Foods makes a vanilla powder but you need to use ¼ of a tsp when a recipe calls for 1 tsp of regular vanilla. 

One year, I bought the little glass bottles with corks (in picture above) to give out as Christmas gifts with cookies.  I got them online at

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