How to CookVanilla

How to Make Vanilla and Lavender Extracts at Home

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It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Trisha Jones from Sugar Thumb shares a practically effortless way to make your own vanilla and lavender extracts.

Vanilla and Lavender Extract

Vanilla has a fundamental presence in the homes of bakers. It’s the first ice cream flavor I remember -- the Cornish kind of vanilla ice cream with that unreal yellow color. So when I discovered how easy it was to make vanilla extract at home, I wondered why more bakers weren’t doing it. It takes only the smallest bit of effort -- and a good bit of patience -- to have homemade extract that you can use in cakes, cookies, and puddings

For something a little more adventurous, you can also pick some lavender (or buy some at the market), dry it out, and make a delicious lavender extract. My favorite way to use lavender extract is to add it to waffle batter along with white chocolate chips.

More: Try Lavender-Chocolate Chunk Pancakes with Crème Fraîche, too.

While I can buy extracts easily, it makes me so happy to make them myself. They're also great for cocktails: If you put vanilla or lavender in the vodka for just a few days rather than a few months, you can use it as vanilla- or lavender-infused vodka, instead.


Vanilla or Lavender Extract

Makes one 1/2-liter bottle or jar

3 vanilla beans or 3 handfuls dried lavender
2 cups high-quality vodka


Add the vodka to a clean 1/2-liter bottle or jar, followed by either the vanilla or the dried lavender. Invert the bottle to immerse the beans or leaves into the vodka.


Seal the bottle and keep it in a cool place for 1 to 2 months, then use the extract in all of your delicious baking recipes.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Trisha Jones

Tags: DIY Food, How-To & Diy, Small Batch