Make sweet, rich and succulent homemade Instant Pot Vanilla Extract in only 35 minutes! It's so easy, inexpensive and quick to make extracts using your pressure cooker, every home chef should know how to do it! Use vanilla extract in your favorite recipes or make it for gifting during the December holiday season.
With creamy and rich notes of vanilla, vanilla extract is a pantry staple for bakers and often used daily in many recipes. For those of us that enjoy making vanilla extract at home rather than purchasing it from a store, the process, while easy, proves timely. It can take many months to a year for your extract to be ready to use.
But with the Instant Pot, vanilla extract can be made and used in the same day. It's genius!
And it's one of my favorite extracts to use, along with homemade cinnamon extract.
You may be wondering- is it really safe to make vanilla extract in a pressure cooker? The answer is yes, with a few caveats. Never use a stovetop pressure cooker and never make extracts near an open flame. Always make your extract in glass jars rather than directly in the inner pot. If you follow these 3 rules, you should be able to successfully and safely make extracts in your Instant Pot.
Before you get started making homemade Instant Pot extracts, make sure to read through my simple, yet comprehensive, guide to making all flavors of extract in your pressure cooker. It has a lot of helpful information and tips for the process. Not that it's difficult at all, but there are some minor details to be mindful of.
Ingredients and Tools Needed
- Vanilla bean pods: for the richest vanilla extract, I recommend Madagascar whole vanilla bean pods that are of grade A quality.
- Vodka: other neutral tasting alcohols can be used, such as brandy, rum or bourbon. Make sure to use alcohol that is at least 70 proof.
- Electric pressure cooker: never use a stovetop pressure cooker when making extract.
- Canning jars with lids: as written, the recipe calls for 1 pint jars. You can use smaller mason jars if making smaller batches.
- Trivet or sling
- Oven mitts
STEP 1: Use a sharp knife to slice the whole vanilla beans sticks to expose the inner beans. Place in the canning or mason jar. If the length of the vanilla beans don’t fit into the jar, cut them into smaller pieces.
STEP 2: Pour 1 cup of vodka into the jar. Secure the lid by tightening it but don't lock it in place.
STEP 3: Pour 1 cup of water into the inner pot. Place a trivet or sling inside and set the jar on top. You can pressure cook as many jars at one time as you can fit. Close and lock the pressure cooker lid. Set to pressure cook/manual on high for 35 minutes.
STEP 4: Complete a full natural pressure release. Remove the lid and carefully take the hot jars out of the pot using oven mitts. The extracts are ready to use immediately.
How To Store Homemade Vanilla Extract
Store vanilla extract in a cool, dark and dry place in an airtight container. It will last indefinitely but is best if used within several years. It can be left right in the mason or canning jar or transferred to other glass bottles.
FAQs About Making Vanilla Extract At Home
Any type of vodka works to make extract, although you probably shouldn't opt for the cheapest one. The less expensive the vodka is, the more harsh the alcoholic taste may be, the poor the quality, and it may contain artificial flavors.
Bourbon, rum and brandy all make good choices. However vodka remains the most popular choice because it's odorless and flavorless, meaning that the vanilla flavor of your extract will shine through more intensely.
Madagascar vanilla beans labeled grade A are by far my favorite. They are pure and of high quality and will provide the richest flavor. Madagascar vanilla has higher levels of vanillin that other countries, the compound responsible for creating warm and sweet vanilla notes. Madagascar vanilla beans are more richly flavored than others and will make the best vanilla extract in my opinion.
If you can't find vanilla beans at your local grocery store, try and international foods store of health foods store. Organic grocery stores may have them too. If all else fails, I order mine from Amazon where I've never had an issue with stock or quality yet.
You can but you don't have to. If the extract is hazy and you can see particles of vanilla beans in the liquid, feel free to strain it through a cheesecake to remove some. Those particles won't affect the flavor or quality of your extract, however. And you won't be able to tell their there once you add it to a recipe.
You can, but I suggest leaving them in the extract as the vanilla flavor will become stronger as it's stored.
Yes you should always use covered glass jars to make extract even if you're making a big batch. The reason is that less alcohol vapors will be released into the air while the pressure is releasing.
Yes, although I have not yet done this. To make alcohol-free extract you can use food grade vegetable glycerin.
Vanilla extract has an indefinite shelf life, although it's quality is optimal if used within a few years. Keep it stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark and dry place. After a few years, the alcohol begins to break down and the flavor may become more intense. If you're an avid baker, you'll likely use your homemade vanilla extract well before this.
Tips For Making Homemade Extracts
- Never use a stovetop pressure cooker- only electric.
- Never make extract near an open flame, due to the alcohol vapors that are released into the air.
- When removing the lid from the mason jar, keep your face away from it. The release of hot alcohol vapors can burn your eyes when too close.
Recipes That Use Homemade Vanilla Extract
Here are some tasty recipes to use your homemade Instant Pot vanilla extract in:
Instant Pot Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup vodka or other 70 or above proof alcohol
- 6 vanilla beans
- Use a sharp knife to slice the whole vanilla beans sticks to expose the inner beans. Place in the canning or mason jar. If the length of the vanilla beans don’t fit into the jar, cut them into smaller pieces.
- Pour 1 cup of vodka into the jar. Secure the lid by tightening it but don't lock it in place.
- Pour 1 cup of water into the inner pot. Place a trivet or sling inside and set the jar on top. You can pressure cook as many jars at one time as you can fit. Close and lock the pressure cooker lid. Set to pressure cook/manual on high for 35 minutes.
- Let the pressure naturally release when finished. Remove the lid and carefully take the hot jars out of the pot using oven mitts. The extracts are ready to use immediately.