Price Check Experiment | Homemade Vanilla Extract vs. Costco Vanilla Extract

Price Check Experiment | Homemade Vanilla Extract vs. Costco Vanilla Extract

There seems to be a lot of alcohol sitting around in my liqueur cabinet and the thought of hosting a cocktail party for friends until 2-3 am doesn’t seem like a good idea – being 5 months pregnant.  What can I do with all the alcohol? When I asked my husband what can I make with all this alcohol, he suggested vanilla extract since it’s made from alcohol. We also have lots of vanilla beans in the house. Perfect… Only how do you make Vanilla extract?


After much research I was able to locate a recipe. Actually all the recipes I looked at where all the same. 3 vanilla beans to 1 cup of alcohol. Easy!

I decided to use my favorite vodka, Van Gough Espresso Vodka. The retail price of this vodka is roughly around $45 a bottle however we picked up a bottle while shopping across the boarder for $20.

I have nearly a full bottle and two packs of vanilla beans (2×10 vanilla beans) I’ve decide to make 2 cups. The vanilla beans have been sitting in my pantry now for roughly 6 months and I keep wondering who to use these long strong scented vanilla beans,  until now!

Price Check Experiment

Cost of Grocery Alerts Vanilla Extract (500 ml) = $21.14

Cost of Costco Vanilla Extract (473 ml) = $12.99

  • 1 bottle (750 ml) of Van Gough Espresso Vodka. $20 or $6.67/ cup
  • 10 Vanilla Beans. $12.95 or $1.30/ bean

Total: 2 cups of  Van Gough Espresso Vodka $13.34 + 6 Vanilla Beans $7.80 = $21.14

Vanilla Extract Recipe:

As I mentioned the ratio is 3 vanilla beans to 1 cup.  I’ll demonstrate making 2 cups of vanilla extract.

  • 2 cups of alcohol – any kind of will do providing it’s at least 40% alcohol content. Choose an alcohol that you like providing it doesn’t over power the vanilla bean.
  • 6 Vanilla Beans


  • Clean large glass jar to use for storing vanilla extract.
  • Split vanilla beans in half lengthwise.
  • Put vanilla bean halves into the bottle and pour the alcohol.
  • Tightly close the lid and leave the mixture  in a dark cool place for at least 1-2 months. The longer the mixture stands for the stronger the aromatic the vanilla extract will become.

Over time the vodka will begin to develop a brown colour. Mine started to turn colour as soon as I mixed the two together. Only time will tell if my Vanilla Extract experiment will become just a flavorful as the store bought Vanilla Extract. For now we do know that it’s a cheaper option to purchase Vanilla Extract than make your own. It also may be on sale over the Christmas season along with all the baking goods.

I’ll keep you posted on how my Vanilla Extract turns out!

Lina Zussino

Lina Zussino, is a co-founder of Grocery Alerts Canada. encourages real whole foods cooking while helping Canadians save money with grocery deals and coupons.