Homemade vanilla extract/essence is a super simple DIY and infinitely better than store brought. You just need to gather two ingredients a good quality vodka and some vanilla beans.
6-8 vanilla beans
1 cup vodka
Start by selecting high-quality vanilla beans. You want to use fresh, plump vanilla beans that are fragrant and flexible.
Cut the vanilla beans lengthwise with a sharp knife, being careful not to cut all the way through. This will allow the vanilla flavor to infuse into the vodka more easily.
Place the sliced vanilla beans into a clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Pour the vodka over the vanilla beans, making sure they are fully submerged in the liquid. If you need more vodka to cover the beans, add it now.
Give the jar a good shake to mix everything together.
Store the jar in a cool, dark place for at least 4-6 weeks, shaking it occasionally to mix the contents. The longer you let the mixture sit, the stronger the vanilla flavor will become.
After 4-6 weeks, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove the vanilla beans.
Pour the vanilla essence into a clean bottle and store it in a cool, dark place until ready to use.
Your homemade vanilla essence is now ready to use in your favorite recipes!