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Ina Garten Just Shared Her Homemade Vanilla Recipe & It’s Astonishingly Easy

Why buy the world’s smallest vial of vanilla for an astronomical price when you can make a clamp-lidded storage jar-sized portion of it at home? And thanks to a special video segment for The New York Times, Ina Garten shared the recipe for just that: her homemade vanilla extract.

After giving viewers the 411 on her favorite, go-to salts and doling out her best kitchen organizing tips, Garten waltzed over to her kitchen pantry and grabbed a jar filled to the brim with her homemade vanilla. And because she’s the culinary saint she is, the Barefoot Contessa host did us all a solid and shared her astonishingly easy recipe.

“This has been going for 35 years,” Garten says of her homemade vanilla.


To start, Garten puts vanilla beans in the jar. “They’re expensive, but you don’t have to do it very often,” Garten assures. Then, she pours in vodka — more specifically, “very inexpensive vodka.” Let it sit for four to six months (yes, you read that correctly, months).

“The liquid, after about four to six months, becomes vanilla extract,” Garten says, “and the smell is just amazing.”

The Modern Comfort Food author continues to say that because the seeds inside the vanilla beans become liquid, you should snip off the top and squeeze the beans out.

“So, if you’re making something like a vanilla pudding or a vanilla cake, you can see the seeds in it, and it’s just so flavorful. It’s like that kind of bitter thing that’s great with something sweet,” Garten says, adding that the homemade vanilla also makes for a great Christmas gift — and we couldn’t agree more.

Before you go, check out these Ina Garten-Approved holiday gift ideas:

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