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Our Raleigh Baker Explains How to Make Your Own Vanilla Extract 

If you’ve ever browsed the baking aisle for ingredients, you’re probably already familiar with the steep cost of genuine vanilla extract. Making your own at home allows you to make a lot more, for about the same price; you can then either stockpile your extra bottles, or give them out as gifts or wedding favors. Get the recipe below from our Raleigh baker.   

DIY Vanilla Extract Recipe 

This recipe makes five one-cup batches of vanilla extract. Note that typically, vodka is the spirit of choice for making flavoring extracts, because it’s got little flavor on its own and absorbs other flavors very well. Bourbon, rum or stronger spirits can also be used, but they’ll impart a flavor (so make sure that’s what you want!) In total, you’ll need: 

  • 25 vanilla bean pods
  • 5 cups of vodka, bourbon, or rum*
  • Kitchen scissors 
  • Glass bottles or jars with an airtight seal
  • A small funnel

Step 1: Gather your vanilla bean pods. Use scissors to slice each pod down the middle. 

Step 2: Add about 5 pods to each jar. 

Step 3: Add about one cup of alcoholic beverage to each jar, submerging the beans completely. 

Now, all you need to do is allow the beans to steep. A window should be fine, though your fridge or cupboard works just as well. Feel free to give the bottles a little shake every few weeks, though this isn’t necessary. In a few months, the clear color will turn a beautiful amber color, and you’ll be ready to get cooking! 

Why is Vanilla So Expensive?

Over 80% of the world’s vanilla is grown on the island of Madagascar, which has suffered from terrible weather in recent years. Failed crop yields have caused the prices of vanilla beans to soar to nearly $600 per kilogram—making vanilla about 10 times more expensive than it was a few years ago. 

Since vanilla has become such a risky crop, many vanilla farmers are giving up their trade and turning to more profitable options. As the global climate worsens, pure, genuine vanilla extract may become a thing of the past. All the more reason to make your own—and store it somewhere safe! 

Get More Baking Tips & Advice from Our Raleigh Bakery!

Got a big event coming up? Planning a wedding or engagement party for a loved one? Sweet Cherry Bakery can help! Our Raleigh bakery can prepare any wedding cake, cupcakes, personalized cookies, or cake pops you might need. To schedule an appointment, click here.