With the High Price of Vanilla Beans, Should You Make Homemade Vanilla Right Now?

I’ve been making Homemade Vanilla since 2009. Why?

  • To save money
  • So I can trust my vanilla to be pure and healthy
  • Because Homemade Vanilla is ridiculously delicious

How To Make Vanilla Extract

See, most vanilla extracts on the market have sugar added. I don’t want that, of course. Also, most have been watered down, so they aren’t as strong and flavorful as I’d like. But Homemade Vanilla is completely pure, extremely flavorful, easy to make, and makes awesome gifts! However…

The price of vanilla beans has risen drastically.

In the past three years, the price of vanilla beans has gotten crazy high! Making Homemade Vanilla used to be super cost effective, saving oodles of money compared to buying it. Since there are so many other benefits to making it, it became a no-brainer to me!

But now there’s a major vanilla bean shortage, so the price has risen dramatically. (This stinks for those of us who want to make vanilla, but my research tells me that this is a much worse situation for farmers whose livelihood depends on good crops. We are simply inconvenienced; but these farmers are hurt deeply by this. With this news, suddenly my concern for my homemade vanilla price takes a back seat in the world of “what actually matters.”)

With the high cost of Vanilla Beans, does it still make sense to make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Does it still save money to make Homemade Vanilla?

Having said all of this, I wanted to share that I recently crunched some numbers again to see if it even made sense to make a batch of homemade vanilla right now. I was pleasantly surprised, and want to share my findings with you!

The upfront cost still seems high, but read all the way through to discover how to get the most bang for your buck.

It is most cost effective to make a gallon of Homemade Vanilla at once, instead of making a small batch. A gallon will last a very long time, or you can use it for gifts! (Homemade Vanilla is an awesome gift at Christmas for friends, family members, and teachers!!)

Price Break-Down to make a gallon of Homemade Vanilla

50 Vanilla Beans: $200
3.5 liters of 35% alcohol Vodka: $30
Total Cost: $230
Price per ounce: $1.80

This makes an 8-ounce bottle cost $14.40.

Remember, the quality of vanilla is ultra strong, not watered down, with no added sugar.

Cost of High Quality Purchased Vanilla

Imitation Vanilla is made of nothing real, so I recommend avoiding it even though it’s cheap. The best pre-made “pure” Vanilla Extract I could find at Azure Standard costs $2.20/ounce.

This makes an 8-ounce bottle cost $17.60. This is more expensive than homemade, but more importantly —–>

Note the ingredient list of this purchased vanilla (listed in this order):

  • water
  • 35% alcohol vodka
  • vanilla bean extractives

Not only is purchased vanilla extract more expensive, it is watered down, so not nearly as strong.

So Homemade Vanilla Extract wins the prize for being lower in cost and entirely pure.

Which leads me to my best advice and even better news about the cost:

Use Half the Amount and Cut the Cost in Half!

Because the Homemade Vanilla Extract is so very potent, I recommend that you use half the amount called for in a recipe. Doing this will double how long an 8-ounce bottle will last!

Therefore, the $14.40 it costs to make 8-ounces of Homemade Vanilla will last you twice as long, giving you what store-bought 16-ounce bottle gives. In this way, you can think of your 8-ounces of homemade vanilla being broken into TWO 8-ounce bottles which cost only – drum roll please –

$7.20 each.

And with that, I absolutely recommend that we all still make Homemade Vanilla Extract!

vanilla_beans

I forgot we get 20% off!!!

Good grief. I can’t believe I wrote this entire post and forgot to figure in the fact that Olive Nation gives Heavenly Homemakers readers 20% off! Time to crunch new numbers! I’ve been working with them for many years now, and they are happy to give us a discount. (They’ve been keeping me up to date on vanilla bean shortages and prices too. I love working with them.)

Get the best quality vanilla beans at the best price here. Use the code home to get 20% off, a code made exclusively for Heavenly Homemakers readers! Get free shipping when your order is over $50.

Discounted cost for Homemade Vanilla Extract

50 Vanilla Beans $160.00
3.75 ounces Vodka $30.00

Total cost: $190.00 (woot!)

Per ounce breakdown: $1.48/ounce
Price for 8-ounces of Homemade Vanilla: $11.84

vanilla

Make Vanilla For Christmas Gifts

One last note! Most everyone loves receiving Homemade Vanilla Extract as a Christmas gift! Because it takes 4-6 months for vanilla beans to “extract” I recommend you start a batch right away to have it ready to give in December.

I think that about covers it. Any questions? (I’m actually at church camp right now so answers will probably be delayed!) I’m so glad I finally crunched the numbers instead of continuing to cringe over the bean prices!

What Are Your Favorite Family Games?

Our family loves playing games, especially now that all four kids are old enough and able to play games we all enjoy. Finding a chunk of time that works for all six of us to sit down and play together is rare, so when we find it, we jump on it!

What Are Your Favorite Family Games

We are trying to come up with a new family game or group game to get our kids for Christmas this year. Because you are all brilliant and always full of great ideas, I thought I’d ask you what games you love at your house. First, I’ll give you a list of what we already have and enjoy together:

Wow, after making that list, it kind of makes me wonder if we actually need another game this Christmas. We have oodles in our closet! Still, tell me your favorites. Our lives may just not be complete yet without one more game. :)

This post contains affiliate links.

Everything You Need to Make Vanilla Extract for Christmas Gifts

vanilla

There’s nothing like talking about Christmas while we’re dripping sweat off our foreheads this summer. The only reason I bring it up in July is that many have been asking about the specifics of making Homemade Vanilla Extract for Christmas gifts. Now’s the time to get this project going if you’re planning to put it under the tree or in stockings in December. Just think – if you get this going now, your busy holiday time preparations will be just a little bit easier! It takes 4-6 months to make strong, flavorful vanilla extract. Therefore, beginning anywhere from May to August is ideal if you want your vanilla to be ready by Christmas.

How to Make Vanilla Extract

I have a detailed post showing you how to cut your vanilla beans and how to get your vanilla extraction process going.  You will not believe how easy it is to make homemade vanilla!

Where to Buy Vanilla Beans

I have tried vanilla beans through the years at a few different places, but none of them compare to Olive Nation. Their quality and price is the best, hands down. When we contacted Olive Nation about promoting them here at Heavenly Homemakers, they were quick to give all of you an ongoing 10% discount (when you use the code home at checkout and click through this link). Plus, they always offer free shipping on vanilla beans.

How to Finish Your Vanilla Extract

After 4-6 months, you’ll simply strain the vanilla beans and bottle your deliciously wonderful liquid gold. Here are the details about how to finish your vanilla extract.

Where to Buy Bottles for Vanilla

I’ve searched many websites for good prices on dark colored bottles for my finished vanilla extract. When I add in shipping costs, the best price I’ve found has been through Mountain Rose Herbs. Here are more details about where to buy bottles for vanilla.  You may be able to find a better price locally, but since I live in a small town with no dark bottle options, I have found it’s best for me to order online.

Fun Labels for Your Vanilla Bottles

You can print your own labels to decorate your vanilla bottles when giving them as gifts, or you can have my friend Char custom design some for you. I love her work!

What have been your homemade vanilla experiences? Have you gifted it to others?