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
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.”)
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):
- 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 –
And with that, I absolutely recommend that we all still make Homemade Vanilla Extract!
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
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!