Vanilla – Make your own

Vanilla is kind of a staple in my house, even when a sweet recipe don’t say vanilla, I think that have made a typo and I put it in anyway 🙂 So I decided to do some research and find out what is in it… turns out 2 ingredient!!!  Fresh Vanilla pods and vodka and time, thats it. I was making it last night and though maybe other people might like to know this little secret, so here it is!

So about 3 years ago I made it for the first time. 6 month later I was using my first bottle of home made vanilla.

I always have two bottles on the go, but it you are a baker I would have three (depending on the size). I like to use fresh vanilla in things and when I have cut them open and used the seeds I just add the used pods to the vanilla vodka brew. The more vanilla pods you use the faster it will turn to vanilla. Above are the same pods I have used for 3 years, I just keep adding the used ones to them all the time.


500 – 750ml bottle
10 – 12 fresh vanilla pods
500 – 700ml Vodka (enough to cover the beans)


1. Cut the vanilla beans in half with a sharp knife and scrape out vanilla seeds and place in the bottom of the bottle
2. Place the cut vanilla beans into the bottle and fill with vodka
3. Leave in the back of your cupboard for 6 – 12 months until it doesn’t smell like alcohol any more, but permeates with vanilla

The first time I did 2 bottles so I would always have one. When the first bottle ran out the second bottle that had been in the cupboard for 12 months so dark and really nice, but the 6 month bottle was still vanilla.

Yeah… I don’t ever have cheap vodka in my house LOL!

Other Vanilla TIPS

Vanilla Sugar
Use the cut vanilla pods to make vanilla sugar.

Put 500g of castor sugar into an airtight container and add a clean used vanilla pod. Keep adding pods until you have 3 then leave it for 3 months and you will have vanilla sugar.

Old Vanilla Beans
Vanilla is too expensive to throw out so, if you have vanilla beans in the back of your cupboard that are all dry and brittle, use them as above or blend them in a high speed blender or thermomix for vanilla powder.

If you have use a whole vanilla pod in a recipe like custard or creamed rice, when it says discard vanilla pod, give it a good and clean allow to completely dry and use as above. 

I hope this is helpful and you can start making your own vanilla, because it is alcohol, it never goes off, so even if you don’t use up a bottle in 12 months it will just keep getting better and better!

Enjoy Irresponsibly and Happy Cooking!









Liz xx




Elizabeth Connolly on EmailElizabeth Connolly on FacebookElizabeth Connolly on Instagram
Elizabeth Connolly
I have been cooking since I can remember. I am a Thermomix consultant, so now (whenever possible) try to give you Conventional AND Thermomix methods for the recipes. I like to share tips on how to save money and how making food from scratch isn't really that hard (especially with a Thermomix). If you have any questions about the Thermomix or cooking/food in general please email me as I'm happy to chat.
Liz xx
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  1. sherry

    oh yes sunshine vanilla was the place i bought them online originally but they only do wholesale now, sadly…

    • Elizabeth Connolly

      Oh….I can still get them under my ABN re thermomix…. I’ll see what I can do… I will be in touch!Liz xx

  2. Mackay Sherry

    Hi liz
    I have been making my own vanilla extract for about six years I think. A few years ago I managed to buy 20 beans for $22!! When I went to buy some recently online they were about $10 for one bean. Do you have any idea where we can buy them cheaper for that online? Cheers

    • Elizabeth Connolly

      Hi Sherry, you should be able to get them straight from the farm where you are… but I buy sunshine vanilla at $72 for 50g its still expensive, but they are great quality… I’m always looking out for cheap vanilla everywhere, as they keep really well in the freezer!
      Thanks for dropping by and saying hi! Liz xx


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