Due to popularity, we brought this idea back from the archives!
Are you looking for an easy gift to give to neighbors and friends this Christmas? Well, this homemade vanilla extract may just be the perfect one! It’s simple to make and very delicious! However, it does take a few months to properly steep, so you might want to start now.
To make this vanilla extract, you only need a few things—vanilla beans, alcohol (such as vodka, rum, or bourbon), glass bottles, and labels. Vanilla beans can be expensive when bought locally; so to make this gift as inexpensive as possible, consider buying the beans in bulk from an online source like Amazon.com. Our 4 oz. Glass Bottles work really well for this project, and our 4 oz. Glass Bottles with Dropper Caps make it really easy to get the exact amount of vanilla you need when cooking.
The best thing about homemade vanilla is that if you leave the beans in the bottle, it just keeps getting better the longer you let it sit. When gifting this, make sure to leave 1–2 vanilla beans in every 4 oz. bottle so it not only looks authentic, but also so your friends can enjoy a richer vanilla flavor over time.
It takes about 12 weeks for the vanilla beans to infuse their flavor in the alcohol, so this is a great gift to make in advance. If you don’t have enough time to let it sit for 12 weeks, just include a date on a gift tag for when it can be used.
These cute vanilla vinyl labels really add to the charm of this gift!
Homemade Vanilla Extract
- Two 1.75 liter bottles of vodka or white rum
- 60 vanilla beans (about 1/2 lb.)
- 4 oz. glass bottles (approximately 35 bottles)
- Cut off the ends of the vanilla beans, and cut each bean lengthwise. Divide them evenly among 4–5 one-quart glass mason jars.
- Pour the vodka or rum into the mason jars, covering the vanilla beans, and close tightly. Shake vigorously.
- Place in a cool, dark place, and shake the bottles about once a week for a few months (about 12 weeks).
- When ready to gift, carefully fill each glass bottle with vanilla extract and secure the lids tightly. Include 1–2 vanilla beans in each bottle (you’ll need to cut each bean in half to fit).
- Add a label to the bottle, and include any instructions and the kind of vanilla. If it still needs to sit longer, include a date for when it can be used.
- If you have beans left over, squeeze out the bean paste, and save it in an airtight container to use in ice creams, sauces, whipped cream, etc. You can also allow the pods to dry out, then grind them into powder using a coffee or spice grinder and mix with sugar or sprinkle on anything you want to add vanilla flavor to.
- To spice up the gift, you can include your favorite recipe that uses vanilla extract and another ingredient in the recipe such as chocolate chips.
- Use these cute vanilla vinyl labels to really add to the charm of this gift!