ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Sugar

Updated on October 24, 2009

Making Your Own Vanilla

If you do any amount of baking at home you’ll have a little bottle of vanilla extract at the ready, but vanilla extract gets pretty expensive and using fresh vanilla pods every time you bake is even more extravagant. Conversely though, imitation vanilla can be pretty nasty, so you may not want to economize too much at the expense of your baked goods!

Fortunately, homemade vanilla extract and vanilla sugar can be produced (and perpetuated) very cheaply, and it is every bit as good as anything store bought.

You will need to buy a few vanilla pods to make your own vanilla extract.

Vanilla pods are black seed pods that are about 6 inches in length. They are produced most often in Madagascar, Indonesia and other tropical climes. A single vanilla pod will cost you a couple of dollars (they require hand pollination, hand cultivation and a lengthy curing time – all adding to the costs of the bean!) but with this purchase of 10 dollars or so, you can make enough vanilla extract to last an average home baker for years.

Making Vanilla Extract

  • Take 5 vanilla pods and slit each lengthwise in half, to expose the small black seeds contained within
  • Put the beans in a small glass container (a canning jar works well) and cover with about a cup of vodka. Actually, you can use any other 40% alcohol liquors, if desired, but vodka is often recommended due to it’s neutrality of flavor.
  • Let the beans steep into the alcohol for a couple of months, giving the jar a little shakeroo every couple of weeks.
  • After a couple of months, and after the vodka has turned a rich brown color, use the extract as called for in your favorite recipes.
  • Top up the jar occasionally with vodka, as you use it, to perpetuate your inexpensive supply of vanilla extract. (After a couple of years, you may need to add in another pod or two.

Making Vanilla Sugar

This could not be easier

  • Take one or two used vanilla pods (after you’ve already used the seeds contained within for a recipe) and bury them in a pound of sugar.
  • Let the sugar soak up the aromas for a couple of weeks
  • You now have vanilla sugar!

There is something very satisfying in making your own vanilla extract. Do it once and have top quality real vanilla flavor in your cupboard for years to come!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • WendyYorker profile image


      7 years ago from Southern California

      I can't wait to try this!

    • John D Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      John D Lee 

      9 years ago

      Hi Motorbabe,

      Absolutely, you can leave this out on the counter, not a problem, even in the tropics!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi John, i live in Singapore and just wondering if the weather which is the same as Thailand permits the bottle sitting in my kitchen cabinet or should i stick it in the fridge? i currently have vanilla pods sticking in my fridge and vodka in my freezer so I'm going to have some fun with making my own vanilla extract!

    • judydianne profile image


      9 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

      This is great! I'm going to make my own vanilla extract. The price of vanilla is outrageous. Thanks for this recipe!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)