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How To Make Gift-Worthy Vanilla Extract In The Instant Pot

instant pot vanilla extract

The idea of making my own vanilla extract had never even crossed my mind until quite recently. I wouldn’t have had even the slightest clue of how to do such a thing! But a couple of weeks ago I came across the idea of making vanilla extract in the Instant Pot while perusing around online. And once the idea was in my head, I knew I would have to give it a try!

While the original recipe called for vodka, I had read elsewhere that you could also make it using vegetable glycerin. As someone in recovery, I figured that I’d better choose the alcohol-free route if I could. But unfortunately, the final product ended up being pretty disappointing. It was a lot paler in color than I had anticipated, and I didn’t love the thick consistency of it.

But I wasn’t going to give up that easily! I decided to try it again using vodka, and the vanilla extract turned out beautifully! It made the whole OGT Studio smell amazing. So I would recommend bypassing the glycerin option and just using vodka instead! It’s the best tool for the job in this case (but that’s probably the only time you’ll catch me saying that about alcohol!) ;-)

instant pot vanilla extract

How Much Does It Cost To Make Homemade Vanilla Extract?

I’m not going to sugarcoat it—it cost me about $30 to buy the 10 vanilla beans I needed for this recipe. (I definitely had a bit of sticker-shock!) But before you write off homemade vanilla extract as being prohibitively expensive to make, consider how expensive it is to buy high-quality bottle of vanilla extract at the grocery store.

Prices for good vanilla extract tend to vary between about $2-4 per ounce. I paid $30 for the vanilla beans, and about $20 for the vodka, for a total of $50 of materials. This recipe yields 32 ounces of vanilla extract, at a cost of about $1.50 per ounce.

instant pot vanilla extract

So not only does it end up being cheaper to make your own, you also end up with a pure, “small-batch” product that will add a ton of flavor to your recipes! :-) It would also make a great holiday gift too! Just pour a bit into a small bottle, add some ribbon and a cute gift tag, and it’ll be ready for gifting!

How To Make Vanilla Extract In The Instant Pot

instant pot vanilla extract

Ingredients:

10 B-grade vanilla beans*
4 cups mid-priced vodka*

*A Note About Ingredients: I knew I would never be able to track down whole vanilla beans in my small town, but it was easy enough to find good quality beans on Amazon! Also, when you’re buying vodka for your vanilla extract, look for a one liter (1L) bottle. A standard 750mL bottle won’t have quite enough for this recipe.

Supplies:

instant pot vanilla extract

Directions:

Step 1 – Prep

Start by splitting the vanilla beans with your paring knife. Cut them in half, then split each half down the center to reveal all the vanilla bean goodness trapped inside.

instant pot vanilla extract

Next, divide your vanilla beans between the two pint jars. Pour 2 cups of vodka into each jar, then place the lids on the jars.

instant pot vanilla extract

Screw the rings on to hold the lids in place, but don’t over-tighten them. Finger-tight will do just fine!

instant pot vanilla extract

Place the trivet in the bottom of your Instant Pot, then set the sealed jars on the trivet. Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the pot, then seal the pot.

instant pot vanilla extract

Step 2 – Cook

Pressure cook the jars on High for 60 minutes. When the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally from the Instant Pot for at least an hour (or as long as it takes if you’re patient!)

instant pot vanilla extract

Step 3 – Cool

When you’re ready to remove the jars from the pot, be sure to use an oven mitt to avoid burns! Remove the jars and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

instant pot vanilla extract

Using & Storing Your Homemade Vanilla Extract

You can open and use your vanilla extract about 24 hours after taking it out of the Instant Pot. However, the vanilla flavor will continue to strengthen for about a week. So for the best results, I recommend waiting until then!

Your homemade vanilla extract should last indefinitely if you store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

What’s your favorite recipe to make that includes vanilla extract?

instant pot vanilla extract

Homemade Instant Pot Vanilla Extract

Jill Nystul
The idea of making my own vanilla extract had never even crossed my mind until quite recently, but once the idea was in my head I knew I had to give it a try. And it turned out amazingly well!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Rest Time: 1 day
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Course Ingredient
Cuisine American
Servings 192
Calories 12 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 10 B-grade vanilla beans*
  • 4 cups mid-priced vodka*

Instructions
 

Step 1 – Prep

  • Start by splitting the vanilla beans with your paring knife. Cut them in half, then split each half down the center to reveal all the vanilla bean goodness trapped inside.
  • Next, divide your vanilla beans between the two pint jars. Pour 2 cups of vodka into each jar, then place the lids on the jars.
  • Screw the rings on to hold the lids in place, but don’t over-tighten them. Finger-tight will do just fine!
  • Place the trivet in the bottom of your Instant Pot, then set the sealed jars on the trivet. Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the pot, then seal the pot.

Step 2 – Cook

  • Pressure cook the jars on High for 60 minutes. When the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally from the Instant Pot for at least an hour (or as long as it takes if you’re patient!)

Step 3 – Cool

  • When you’re ready to remove the jars from the pot, be sure to use an oven mitt to avoid burns! Remove the jars and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Using & Storing Your Homemade Vanilla Extract

  • You can open and use your vanilla extract about 24 hours after taking it out of the Instant Pot. However, the vanilla flavor will continue to strengthen for about a week. So for the best results, I recommend waiting until then!

Notes

I knew I would never be able to track down whole vanilla beans in my small town, but it was easy enough to find good quality beans on Amazon! Also, when you’re buying vodka for your vanilla extract, look for a one liter (1L) bottle. A standard 750mL bottle won’t have quite enough for this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 12kcal

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


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  • Hello! I’ve been making homemade vanilla extract for years, and giving it as Christmas gifts. First off, if you have a Costco close by…they sell Madagascar vanilla beans usually starting in early November. I start checking the the baking isle about then; they usually have them at the beginning of the baking isle (not the end cap). They sell them until they are sold out, I don’t think they restock them. I buy quite a bit and kinda hoard them, and use them throughout the year. They are VERY reasonably priced, and come in pretty cool glass tubes and stay fresh for a long time. I make at least 2 gallons of extract at a time, and give most of it as gifts. I have used vodka, with Everclear added in for zing. I have also tried out vanilla flavored vodka, but that’s kind of cheating! I let it soak for at least 2 months in a back closet, go in to swirl the gallon bottles every once in a while and then bottle it in 16 oz brown bottles that I buy on Amazon. (8 oz is a pretty small amount as a gift) I order labels on Tiny Prints with ‘ Homemade Vanilla Extract’ printed on them, and put the date on the label. I’ve even bought a small funnel from Amazon to help fill the brown bottles. My friends look forward to this vanilla every year, and they save their bottles for a refill throughout the year!

    • I’ve actually never tried to make almond extract from scratch. I don’t see why you couldn’t… I suggest you use raw, unsalted almonds and cut them in small pieces. Let me know how it comes out!

  • Jillie, I bought some of the little glass bottles so that I can give some as gifts, as well as use some, while letting the rest continue to “mellow” in the bottles. I can’t wait to make it. I do have a question though. How long should I wait before transferring to the small bottles? Is it okay to do after it has cooled on the cooling rack for 24 hours, or should I wait longer? I have 4 oz bottles to use. How many vanilla beans would you suggest I put in the gift bottles when transferring? Thanks!

  • I get my beans on eBay. Lots cheaper. I don’t pressure mine or split the beans. Just break into about 2” and put into vodka bottle. Been making it for years.

  • I recently did this, with amazing results!! Just a note, you CAN use cheaper vodka, just plan to let it sit longer before you use it. So pleased with my final product!

  • I’ve made vanilla flavoring with the the pods after they were scraped or stepped in liquid for another recipe.
    Save the pods in a freezer bag until you have 8 to 12. I used grain alcohol (Evergreen was the brand available to me. I put the pods in the alcohol in jars and let them steep for several weeks in a north-facing window until the liquid was dark. It worked just like the store vanilla.
    Penzeys.com in the Milwaukee area is a good source of bulk spices

  • I don’t have an instant pot but have been using a pressure cooker all of my life! Is there any reason the extract couldn’t be made in the pressure cooker? Thank you for another great idea!

  • I’ve made my own vanilla for years but not this procedure. I just cut the beans as described above, get a cheap bottle of vodka, pour a little out, then drop the cut beans into the bottle of vodka and let sit for about 3 months. Store bottle in dark place and shake every so often. It is wonderful and requires no “cooking”. Also when bottle is empty I dry the bean pods (very dry) and put them in a container filled with sugar. When baking I use this vanilla flavored sugar.

    • A different method would be to sterilize your jars, then follow through opening the beans and putting them in the pot, adding the alcohol. Put the jars in the fridge and let it sit for about a month.
      Here in Canada, we can obtain plain alcohol which is used in place of Vodka as the latter has other ingredients and is not a pure product.

    • Without an electric pressure cooker, the “traditional” method is your best bet. Simply prepare the jars like you would for this recipe, but then let them sit for at least a month :-)

  • Thanks I will try this method. I make my own but have always done it the many months infusion method.
    I like this faster way.
    Did you leave the vanilla beans in the jar? I always do but I read that you can actually reuse the vanilla beans for another batch but I have never tried that. Logically it seems to me a lot of their flavor would be gone for a second go round. What do you think?

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