How To Make Instant Pot Vanilla Extract Plus FREE Labels

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instant-pot-vanilla-extract

Traditional vanilla extract is done through a cold infusion. Basically, you take some vanilla beans and place them in vodka (or your favorite alcohol) and wait. And wait! It can take up to 6 months for your infusion to produce vanilla extract.

There is a faster way!

It’s called hot processed vanilla extract and it’s a perfect method for using the Instant Pot. Using this method your vanilla can be ready in 2 weeks, not 6 months. It makes a perfect relatively inexpensive homemade gift.

I say relatively, because vanilla beans can get expensive. However, they can often be purchased in bulk and you don’t have to use grade A beans to make extract. You can use grade B beans. Also, if you think ahead and hold on to some bottles that you might otherwise throw away, you’ll be bringing the cost down even more. I used some leftover kombucha bottles to store some of my extract. Then I found these nifty silicone bottle caps and had a really inexpensive container. Of course, if you’re making a lot of extract you can purchase bigger bottles that are still relatively inexpensive.

To be even more frugal you can use cheap vodka or bourbon to make your extract. You could also use a mid-tier alcohol, but you definitely don’t need to use the expensive stuff.

Difference Between Cold Infused and Hot Processed Vanilla

Foodies and connoisseurs might argue about the taste. Some prefer cold infused and others actually prefer hot processed, arguing that it brings the vanilla flavor out even more. Since most of us use our vanilla extract in other recipes, you’ll probably be satisfied with the taste you get using either method.

There are a couple of differences, though…

Most of the time vanilla extract is made with 80 proof alcohol, in other words spirits that are 40% alcohol. In a cold infusion none of the alcohol escapes. You’ll wind up with a product that is 40 alcohol. When you use the hot process method some alcohol will cook off. Technically, according to the FDA, pure vanilla extract can’t fall below 35% alcohol. So you might need to call your extract vanilla flavoring or something like that.

But the bigger issue is that if the alcohol does fall below 35% then the shelf-life comes into question. The shelf-life of extract made this way may not indefinite, like pure vanilla extract.

So in order to prevent as much of the alcohol from cooking off or dissipating, I recommend using Mason jars. I like to use half pint jars, but you can use the 4 oz jars too  (just cut the recipe in half). There will still be some alcohol that escapes but it will be minimal. It should still be above 35% alcohol. You could use a special hydrometer (called a proofing hydrometer, which is different than a brewing hydrometer) to determine the final alcohol content, but that’s really not necessary. As long as you start with an 80 proof alcohol (40% alcohol by volume), and your Instant Pot has a good seal, your extract should stay above 35%.

This method is for electric pressure cookers only. DO NOT attempt to use this method with a stovetop pressure cooker!

Instant Pot Vanilla Extract

  • 4 half pint Mason jars
  • 16 vanilla beans
  • 4 cups vodka or bourbon (32oz, 80 proof)

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Cut vanilla beans in half, then with a sharp knife split them down the middle.

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With a dull knife scrape out the seeds, then place seeds and bean pod in your jars.

instant-pot-vanilla-extract

 Place a total of 4 beans in each jar.

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Fill the Mason jars with vodka or bourbon. Place lids and rings on your jars.

instant-pot-vanilla-extract

Place 1 ½ cup of water in your Instant Pot. Then place the steaming rack in. Put your jars on top of the steaming rack. Close the lid on the Instant Pot. Cook on manual for 60 minutes. Let the Instant Pot release all the pressure naturally after cooking.

A Note About Canning

It is not safe to pressure can or water bath can in the Instant Pot. The Mason jars we used sealed because of the heat, but this is not a safe canning method. The only reason this method is safe for extract is because we are using alcohol and bacteria cannot survive in alcohol. This is not a safe canning method for any other kind of food.

You can leave the vanilla in the sealed Mason jars. However, you’ll want to store them in a dark place so that light will not deteriorate your extract. Unsealing the Mason jar will not cause the vanilla extract to spoil again because of the alcohol. The best way to store vanilla extract is in an opaque (like an amber or dark blue bottle) airtight glass container.

If you’d like to see me do a live demonstration on making this vanilla extract, take a look at this video.

With that in mind, I designed these labels for you to put on your homemade vanilla bottles. They are perfect for gift giving or just keeping track of your own homemade goodies.

Instant Pot Vanilla Extract Plus FREE Labels

The first set is meant to go on smaller bottles (the bigger one on the front of the bottle and the smaller one goes on the back). Then there is a bigger label for bigger bottles.

Get your FREE Vanilla Extract Labels here:



 

How to make real vanilla extract in the Instant Pot in a fraction of the time!
  • Tina Ward says:

    Could you do this in a pressure canner! I have enough kitchen gadgets for now and not planning on purchasing an insta-pot anytime soon. I won an All American 921 canner recently and still haven’t used it….just keep looking at it in all its beauty ; )

    As for not using the good stuff to make vanilla extract….I use Makers Mark Bourbon for my personal use extract. Recipients of my Bourbon Pecans can’t figure out why theirs don’t taste the same when they try making them their selves (recipe just calls for bourbon ; )

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      Hi Tina,
      NO!! Please do not do this with a pressure canner!!! Do not do this anywhere near an open flame or a stove!!!

      • Amber says:

        I actually tried this with an electric stove and a pressure canner. Nothing broke, or blew up. ( I hid behind the wall just in case)

        I am now the proud owner of vanilla extract, coffee extract, lemon extract, and blood orange extract.

        Alcohol near an open flame is a bad idea, but withe the seal of the mason jars, and the seal of the canner , on an electric stove . Nothing went wrong( at my house) please be careful whenever attempting something new. Safety precautions are our friends.

  • Joan Osborne says:

    I ordered some vanilla beans and want to make this as soon as they come. Wouldn’t 4 cups of vodka or bourbon be 32 ounces not 16 ounces? Since there are 8 ounces in a cup of liquid.

  • Melissa says:

    Thank you for this post- I can’t wait to try it! Early on in this post you said the extract could be ready in as little as 2 weeks… So does the vanilla extract need to set for 2 weeks after using the pressure pot before I can use it?

  • Julia says:

    Love the Vanilla Extract labels! Thank you for the recipe and the cute labels! Julia

  • Joanna Walker says:

    Jennifer, I want to make the vanilla but bottle them in 4oz bottles…how would I do this? Can I just make a big batch in the liner pot, then place vanilla beans in each bottle and ladle vanilla into bottles when it’s finished? Or should I make it in the jars and then separate it into smaller bottles.

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