Sous Vide Vanilla Extract (Easy Homemade Recipe)

Sous Vide Vanilla Extract will be ready to use is just a few hours, versus the months it takes to make vanilla extract traditionally. It makes an amazing gift and is so much more flavorful than the store bought stuff! 

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I’m absolutely obsessed with my sous vide.

I’m enamored with the way that I can effortlessly make perfect filet mignons in the sous vide. I’ve also made some amazing sous vide chicken breasts, sous vide pork chops, and an out of this world sous vide ribeye steak

But the sous vide isn’t just for preparing meats.

I’ve also used it to make some amazing sous vide infusions – like this sous vide blackberry infused vodka and sous vide limoncello. And while those concoctions would normally take weeks or months to infuse traditionally, the sous vide turns that process into just hours. 

Which made me think, the sous vide would be perfect for making vanilla extract! 

I’ve been making homemade vanilla extract for years and giving it as gifts during the holidays. But you know what? You really need to plan ahead! The vanilla extract process takes months to really get a good flavor. 

Why I Love This Recipe

With the sous vide, you’ll be ready to cook with (or gift) your vanilla extract in a matter of hours. At least four hours in the sous vide is great, but if you’ve got even more time, I’d give it six hours for maximum flavor extraction. 

Ingredients Needed

  • Vanilla Beans – I purchase the vanilla bean pods on Amazon. You can also find them in grocery stores in the baking section or in the bulk spices section. Look for plump, moist beans that are shiny and flexible. The most common varieties are Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla beans, known for their rich and distinct flavors. Avoid dry or brittle beans, as they may not yield the desired results.
  • Vodka – There is absolutely no need to reach for the good vodka when making this recipe. I use the cheapest vodka that I can find in the store. Just ensure that it is over 40% alcohol (80-proof). 

Note: While vodka will provide the most neutral flavor when making vanilla extract, you can also use other alcohols, as long as they are over 80-proof (40% alcohol). Bourbon, rum, whiskey and brandy are all great options – feel free to use your favorite. 

How to Make It

  • Set sous vide for 130 degrees.

SOUS VIDE MACHINE SET TO 130 DEGREES

  • Using a sharp knife, slice each vanilla bean lengthwise, but leave about an inch intact at one end. Open up the bean and scrape out the tiny black seeds using the back of the knife. These seeds contain the aromatic compounds that will infuse the extract.
  • Add the split vanilla beans to a quart sized mason jar.
  • Fill with vodka, leaving a half inch open space from the top.
  • Seal jar and place in sous vide water bath.
  • Cook for a minimum of 4 hours, up to six hours.
  • Cool to room temperature. 
  • Your sous vide vanilla extract will keep indefinitely stored in a dark place like your pantry or cupboard. 

If you would like to make more (or less) vanilla extract, just be sure to use at least one vanilla bean for every cup of vodka that you’re using, and always leave a half inch of open space from the top of the jar to allow for expansion. 

You can strain the vanilla beans from the mason jar or leave them in. When gifting the vanilla extract, I like to strain the beans and then package the vanilla extract up into small amber jars

Amber jars are beneficial because they prevent any UV rays from penetrating the container and changing the flavor and color of the extract. I also think they’re pretty 🙂 

How to Use It

Use your vanilla extract in baking recipes like cookies, cakes, and custards to impart a delicious, natural vanilla essence. You can also add a splash of homemade vanilla extract to your morning coffee, hot chocolate, or cocktails for a flavor boost.

Here are some favorite recipes to try out:

FAQ

Can I use something other than vodka to make vanilla extract?

Yes. While vodka will provide the most neutral flavor when making vanilla extract, you can also use other alcohols, as long as they are over 80-proof (40% alcohol). Bourbon, rum, whiskey and brandy are all great options – feel free to use your favorite. 

Do you need to refrigerate vanilla extract?

No. The alcohol will prevent bacteria from growing, so it can be kept at room temperature.

How long does vanilla extract last?

Your sous vide vanilla extract will keep indefinitely stored in a dark place like your pantry or cupboard. 

BOTTLE OF VANILLA EXTRACT NEXT TO VANILLA BEANS

More Sous Vide Recipes

Did you try this sous vide vanilla extract?

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Sous Vide Vanilla Extract Recipe

Sous Vide Vanilla Extract will be ready to use is just a few hours, versus the months it takes to make vanilla extract traditionally. It makes an amazing gift and is so much more flavorful than the store bought stuff!
4.80 from 5 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours
Servings: 1 jar

Ingredients

  • 3 cups vodka (or other alcohol)
  • 3 vanilla beans (split)

Instructions

  • Set sous vide for 130 degrees.
  • Add split vanilla beans to a quart sized mason jar.
  • Fill with vodka, leaving a half inch open space from the top.
  • Seal jar and place in sous vide water bath.
  • Cook for 4-6 hours.
  • Cool to room temperature. If desired, strain vanilla beans.

Notes

Your sous vide vanilla extract will keep indefinitely stored in a dark place like your pantry or cupboard. 
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Sous Vide Machine
Mason Jar

Nutrition

Calories: 10kcal

This post was originally published in 2020. It was updated in 2023 to add new content. The sous vide vanilla recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

19 thoughts on “Sous Vide Vanilla Extract (Easy Homemade Recipe)”

  1. The last time I put a Mason Jar in a Sous Vide bath, it broke. Are you putting it in when the water is at temp or do you let the jar warm up while the water is being warmed? Thank you. Can’t wait to try this but want to eliminate the mess!

    Reply
  2. I’ve seen recipes for vanilla in the Instant Pot and now sous vide version, but haven’t tried either yet. Have you tried both? If so, which do you prefer?
    I’ve wanted to make this for gifts for the holidays, but didn’t want to do it the old fashioned way.

    Reply
    • I have made vanilla extract in my instant pot and it was amazing, I was able to use the beans a second time with great results as well so it really brought the cost per ounce down. I am getting a Sous Vide for Christmas:) and can’t wait to begin using it!

      Reply
    • The IP method works perfectly. And is dark and flavorful. It’s 4-6 beans per 8oz vodka. Any less and is flavorless and dull. This recipe wouldn’t please my baking crew at all.

      Reply
  3. I am looking forward to making this for holiday gifts! Is there any reason I couldn’t use more vanilla per batch? I want it to have that nice strong vanilla flavor. I am assuming you have played around with the ratio? Thank you!

    Reply
  4. I make vanilla extract every couple of years (it goes so far!), but decided to divide it up into smaller bottles to gift at Christmastime. I just made some about a week ago, so it has its 2 months of processing ahead of it. A friend of mine told me about using an Instant Pot, which I have, but I prefer to use the sous vide on something like this so I can actually visually gauge my progress. I will be making another batch as (more) gifts, so I will use this method using a Mason jar and then disperse into the smaller bottles after that, but I wondered, if you know, could I take my plastic-lidded glass gift bottles that I already have filled and put them in the sous vide, or do you think it would be too hot for them?

    Reply
    • Hi Amber – I would be a little bit weary with the strength of the plastic lids. With the heat over an extended period, they could crack unfortunately. 🙁

      Reply
4.80 from 5 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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