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. :)


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

Homemade Whole Wheat Vanilla Wafers

We have become a household of the “eat it while you can because it won’t be around long, hurry they’re almost gone already” sort. That’s definitely how it was the day I first made homemade vanilla wafers. Now I double the recipe when I make these.

Homemade Whole Wheat Vanilla WafersYum

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Whole Wheat Vanilla Wafers
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sucanat or brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (this is a great recipe to use with your homemade vanilla extract!!)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground whole wheat flour made from hard white wheat)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  1. Cream butter and sucanat together. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scrape the dough into a pastry bag with a large, plain piping tip.
  3. Pipe nickel sized amounts of dough onto the parchment paper. (If you don't have the tools you need to "pipe" these onto your cookie sheet...I think just plopping tiny plops down with a spoon will work okay too.)
  4. If, after you are done piping dough, you have a big pan full of ugly, weird shaped blobs, you have done very, very well.
  5. Bake at 325° for five to fifteen minutes. (This is a broad range of time, but each oven is different. Check them after five minutes to see how they're doing!)
  6. Turn off the oven and let the cookies sit inside for a half hour or so to crisp up.




See? The ugly blobs spread out while they bake and make nice circle shaped Vanilla Wafers that your children will devour before their daddy comes home.


And two days later when their daddy hears about the homemade vanilla wafers he will say to you, “What?  Vanilla wafers? You made vanilla wafers? I never saw any vanilla wafers.”

Or something like that.

I have got to remember to set some of these aside next time.

Other snacks you might be interested in making:  Homemade Graham Crackers; Crispy Cheese Crackers; Chewy Granola Bars