Are Vanilla Beans Expensive?

I’ve found it interesting that many of you have left comments on the Homemade Vanilla Extract post stating that “vanilla beans are expensive”.   Vanilla beans do seem expensive at first glance.  I wasn’t prepared for their price when I first looked into making homemade vanilla a few years ago.  They do cost a significant amount more than say…pinto beans.  :)

Ever checked the price of Real Vanilla Extract at the grocery store though?  I’ve found that even the least expensive brands are around $2/ounce.  If you buy your own vanilla beans and make your own Homemade Vanilla Extract, it’ll cost you half that amount.  Plus it will be completely pure, unlike the “Pure” Vanilla Extract you buy at the store that has added…stuff.

So, are vanilla beans expensive?  Not if you are planning to make homemade vanilla for half the price of purchasing it premade!  Investing in vanilla beans to make your own Homemade Vanilla Extract will save you money in the long run AND be much healthier for your cooking and baking!

You can buy very cheap vanilla beans through Ebay…but I REALLY don’t recommend it.  We’ve made several batches of Homemade Vanilla Extract at our house.  One bunch of vanilla beans we ordered (through Ebay) was significantly less expensive than other beans we’d seen.  We decided to go for it, since of course, we’d be saving so much money!

Months later, those beans are STILL sitting in the bag, untouched. They came to us very dry and withered and pitiful.  We may have “saved money” on vanilla beans, but in essence, we wasted money.  The quality of those vanilla beans leaves a lot to be desired.

By contrast, we’ve been so pleased with our vanilla bean purchases through Olive Nation.  They offer high quality vanilla beans, excellent customer service, free shipping for vanilla bean purchases AND a special Heavenly Homemakers discount.  I appreciate Olive Nation very much and recommend them highly.

The special Heavenly Homemakers discount expired at the end of 2010…and I’m very excited to share that Olive Nation has been generous enough to extend their discount for several more months!  If you purchase vanilla beans (or any of Olive Nation’s wonderful products) and use the code home, you’ll receive 10% off your entire order!!  (There will be a shipping cost for other products; Vanilla Bean shipping is FREE!)

So, my response to “WOW, vanilla beans are expensive!” would be:  Yeah, I used to think so too.  But now I realize how much money it saves to buy the beans and how much healthier it is to make my own vanilla.

And did I mention the homemade vanilla is delicious?  Yeah, that’s a pretty nice perk too.  :)

vanillawafers3sm

Homemade Vanilla Wafers!  What a great way to use Homemade Vanilla Extract !

Comments

  1. says

    I woke up this morning thinking about Christmas next year and homemade gifts I could try and make. I was thinking about your vanilla extract recipe and thought exactly that – “well, it might be too expensive.” Thank you for this post!

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  2. Brooke says

    I usually get the stuff from Mexico. My mom has relatives in Texas who send up vanilla for much cheaper than any of the “pure” stuff here. Although, as I look up the brand, I find that the FDA has found a carcinogenic substance in it. They are not supposed to be allowing it across the border. Great, I thought this was going to be good stuff. I’m going to have to send out an email to ladies at our church, because they order this stuff all the time. Something else I have to make for myself! ;)

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    chari Reply:

    Oh great, I’m still using a bottle I picked up last January from our cruise! I have noticed that the vanilla tastes MUCH different than the extract here in the USA. Actually I don’t like it as much and use less in recipes than I normally do. Looks like I need to make my own now.

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  3. Amie says

    I used Olive Nation’s vanilla beans to make homemade vanilla for the girls in my family–I made 16 bottles and they were gone in a flash–everyone really appreciated a homemade consumable gift!! Not to mention the vanilla tastes and smells amazing and is so much better for you!!! I put several “new” split beans in everyones bottle so they can just top off the bottle with vodka–it continues to steep from the fresh beans and lasts a little longer that way (and I gave all of them Olive Nation’s website with the gift so they can get their own beans if they want) I think this next year I will be making vanilla sugar as gifts with my “spent” vanilla beans and maybe combine it with a good recipe and a new wooden spoon or something creative like that!!

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  4. says

    I also gave homemade vanilla for Christmas and it was a BIG hit. Now I am wondering, can I re-use the vanilla beans at all?

    Dr. Laura

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    Laura Reply:

    You can reuse them to make vanilla sugar…I still need to research that a bit more.

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    Priscilla Reply:

    I saw that somewhere too, just put the used beans in white sugar & let it set for awhile

    might have been on passionate homemaker, when she talked about vanilla extract

    I’ve also read, you can use 1/2 your extract and then add more vodka. I’m going to order from Olive Nation & not take my chances on ebay.

    I’ve read either Vodka or Brandy can be used, do you know if there is any taste difference? Or is it more $$ part of it? I’ve read, after the vanilla has sat & ready to be used you can add a little rum to sweeten it (Rum made from sugar cane).

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    Laura Reply:

    I’m not well learned when it comes to liquor…so I have no idea!!! I originally learned to make vanilla using vodka, and I LOVE the taste…so that’s what I stick with!

  5. says

    My Mom and I ordered some beand the other day using the discout from Olive Nation. Can’t wait to start making my own vanilla! Thanks for posting about this or I never would have given it a try.

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  6. says

    I have been thrilled with Olive Nation’s vanilla beans, too. I haven’t had a bad Ebay vanilla experience, but I have tried other, pretty good vanilla beans online and Olive Nation’s beans are just much better. Moister, more fragrant and not expensive at all compared to other good vanilla beans. I sound like an ad, but I would have never found them but for you, Laura. Thanks. The folks on my Christmas list thank you, too.

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  7. Courtney says

    I’ve thought about making my own, but real vanilla extract is so inexpensive at Sam’s Club. I believe it only costs around .43 per ounce. By the time I bought the beans, booze, and bottles, I doubt I could beat that price!

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  8. Alison says

    I used to make my own vanilla extract, but now I just buy it at Costco. I’ve found it is cheaper that way. Not as special as homemade, but an easy, cheap shortcut for me. Beans are pretty cheap at Costco too.

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  9. Anne says

    This is not about vanilla, but I was wondering what kind of Olive Oil you buy?

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    Laura Reply:

    I buy extra virgin organic olive oil in a dark glass bottle. I don’t have a specific brand that I always have to have…I just see what’s the best price!

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  10. Simone says

    On the subject of how to: do you have to ‘can’ it in the bottles? Like should it be ‘sealed’? Or is the alcohol a natural preservative and it’s ok to give it away in just a closed bottle?
    Thanks!
    (Laura-how did you seal the bottles went you shipped the one’s you sold?)

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    Laura Reply:

    You don’t have to seal them or do anything special. The vanilla stays good all on it’s own. I did seal mine before shipping, just to make sure it stayed closed and sealed. I bought some plastic “sleeve” things from SKS bottles and used a heat gun to seal.

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  11. Katie Preisser says

    I just ordered some of the vanilla beans to make my own. They’re so pretty and smell so wonderful all ready. I love that my homemade vanilla will be really pure, and I am so happy that it costs so much less. Thank you for the discount code and the inspiration.

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  12. April C. says

    I have to say, the beans I ordered from Olive Nation were beautiful! If I could have eaten them straight from the package, I would have, lol!

    I didn’t finish my vanilla extract in time for Christmas gifts so I will try again for next year. I love the idea of vanilla sugar, as well. I’d hate for one bit of the vanilla bean to go to waste.

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  13. Holly in Virginia says

    My husband has been begging to try this since I showed him the post last year. I think we will order beans soon and get a batch going, so that we can give it as gifts this coming Christmas. I purchased a pint of pure vanilla extract from a trusted natural foods co-op and I was very disappointed to discover that it was watered down. In fact it is so diluted that I use TWICE as much in recipes to get a satisfactory taste!!!!!!!! :(

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  14. Merrilee says

    Thanks for explaining the quality difference with OliveNation. I got some of the others & although they weren’t bad, I think they could be better.
    On a similar note, are you still using the “cheap” vodka from Wal-Mart? Or are you using something different now? :)

    Thanks!

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    Laura Reply:

    No, the cheap stuff from Walmart (or another grocery store) has been working fine!

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  15. Laurie Plath says

    Some people have mentioned that they are able to buy pure vanilla cheaper than making it. But I just wanted to point out that, “pure” vanilla has high fructose corn syrup added to it. I don’t call that “pure”. I just like the fact that I know exactly what’s in mine, vanilla beans and vodka, that’s it.

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    Priscilla Reply:

    I’m one of those people, who thought it was a bit cheaper to buy the made vanilla, as I got it from Sam’s. Even though the bottle of real vanilla (I have) says there isn’t corn syrup added it does say water is added. I don’t want watered down vanilla. I’m going to try making my own.

    I’m curious to see the homemade stuff tastes.

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  16. Missie says

    I am so jazzed~ just ordered my beans from Olive Nation and cannot WAIT to get started on my extract. Thanks for showing us all how!

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  17. Sophia says

    I saw a very good deal on amazon- 1/2pound vanilla beans for like $23. anyone had an amazon vanilla bean experience before?

    I’ll definitely be making vanilla sugar and homemade vanilla extract soon! (along with more cakes)
    great post!

    thx
    sophia

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