My favorite pressure cooker discovery yet – Instant Pot Vanilla Extract! Rich, dark, aromatic extract in minutes instead of months!
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The art of making extracts in the Instant Pot never gets old. To see such a fast transformation is so rewarding.
If you like to play around with different notes of Vanilla Extract, try these Gourmet Vanilla Extracts: Chocolate Vanilla, Coconut Vanilla, and Cinnamon Vanilla. The coconut is hands down my favorite!
Now let's talk about the most loved extract of all time – Vanilla Extract. Dark, beautiful, aromatic, heavenly vanilla extract that can be made in less than an hour in the pressure cooker vs the traditional method of vanilla beans soaking in vodka for 2-6 months in the back of your pantry.
I’m 100% impatient, so Vanilla Extract that can be made in under an hour, just speaks to my soul!
Here's a quick video to show you just how quick and easy you can whip up amazing vanilla extract plus a little comparison to the “be patient and wait” Traditional Method. I think the color difference alone will convince you but even the smell of my pressure cooker vanilla was much stronger than the 6-month-old traditional jar. Check it out and then share it with all your suspicious friends!
HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT VANILLA EXTRACT
For this post, I’m gonna cover my most frequently asked questions regarding pressure cooker extract. To read my endearing story about how this recipe/technique came to be, you can return to the original 2016 post for Pressure Cooker Vanilla Extract. Now, in no particular order, let's dive into those questions!
Why make Instant Pot Vanilla Extract in Mason jars vs directly in the pressure cooker pot?
- Make a little or make a lot! You have the choice between making 1 pint of extract or up to 3 pints in a 6-quart pressure cooker.
- Making vanilla in a jar with a “fingertip tight” lid helps prevent the alcohol from evaporating from your extract which means your alcohol percentage will remain nice and high. This is important for 2 reasons:
- a higher percentage of alcohol means the vanilla flavor will continue to extract even more flavor over time
- higher alcohol percentage creates a more antimicrobial environment for safer long-term storage
- Having a lid on the jar prevents condensation from dripping into your extract while cooking which would dilute your alcohol (lower percentage of alcohol = less extraction overtime, dilution in taste, and shorter lifespan)
- I love that after my extract is done cooking and has cooled, I can leave the beans in the jar, tighten the lid and pop it into the cupboard. Easy Peasy!
- The mason jar lid keeps your alcohol from extracting other food smells from your pressure cooker, because vanilla extract + last night's roast = yuck and ewww gross.
*To prevent the incredible disappointment of a jar breaking under pressure, always use canning quality jars like Mason or Kerr and even consider using a new jar, not one that has been used for canning many times over the years.
What supplies do I need to make Instant Pot Vanilla Extract?
Can I use cheap vodka to make vanilla extract?
Yes, but I don’t use the cheapest and here’s why. Pricier vodka means cleaner taste which results in faster, more amazing vanilla extract. However, if you want to make it with the cheapest vodka, just plan on letting it hang out longer in your cupboard for a richer, vanilla taste. I’m partial to red label Smirnoff. Rich Lum, AKA Famous Instant Pot Master Chef (have you heard of him) often times uses Tito’s brand vodka which is pricier but has a very clean taste so the vanilla can shine through. I’ve also heard many praise Costco’s Kirkland Signature Vodka, which I’ve never tried, but has excellent reviews.
Where do you find decently priced vanilla beans?
I hope one day I can update this post with a better answer, but for the moment, there is a serious shortage in vanilla beans so the prices have gone way up. I’ve ordered from several companies and my favorite beans BY FAR are from Beanilla. To get a good price on them, my sisters and I bought a pound of them together. They ended up being about $2 a piece and they are the biggest, most wonderful smelling beans I've ever had. I only use 5 of these beans per jar and it is the best extract to ever come out of my kitchen. I buy the Madagascar Grade B Vanilla Beans. I’ve seen other people recommend Costco, Sam’s Club, and various vendors on Amazon.
What’s the best type of bean to use?
Across the board, the most commonly recommended beans for extract are Madagascar Vanilla Beans, Grade B. Grade A beans will work, but they are typically more expensive and some believe they don’t extract as well. Mexican and Tahitian beans are also quite popular.
How do I store my Vanilla Extract?
Store extract in a cool, dark place. I keep mine in the cold storage room in my basement, but the back of a cupboard or pantry, as long as it’s away from the oven and lights, will work great.
What is the shelf life of Instant Pot Vanilla Extract?
When done in a jar with a loose fitting lid, your alcohol percentage should stay high. This means when properly stored (as discussed in the above question), the life of your vanilla can be infinite.
Do I have to use alcohol to make Instant Pot Vanilla Extract?
Nope! Here is a food grade glycerin version!
Can I use different types of alcohol to make vanilla extract?
Absolutely. I have experimented with bourbon and rum and I thought they smelled amazing! Keep in mind the taste of bourbon and rum will come through more than vodka, of which I wasn’t exactly a fan. However, for some people and certain recipes, that is exactly what they want.
How many beans should I use?
I have tried everything from 3 to 10 beans per cup of vodka and finally settled on about 3 beans per 1 cup of vodka (or 5-6 beans per pint).
How soon will my Instant Pot Vanilla Extract be ready to use?
You could use it that same day. However, after a week or 2, the alcohol smell will mellow significantly and the vanilla taste and aroma will be more intense.
How did you settle on 30 minutes for the cook time?
I experimented with times from 15 minutes to 90 minutes. My experience was that I didn’t have much difference in taste for anything after 30 minutes, but the breakdown of the vanilla bean was more pronounced at 60 minutes leaving the extract quite hazy. So 30 minutes it is!
Is it okay to cook with alcohol in an Instant Pot AKA Electric Pressure Cooker?
I questioned several engineers, the health department, and the Extension Services before I felt comfortable doing just that. After I posted the recipe, I was met with a lot of questions about it. Long story short, I would never ever ever do this with a stovetop pressure cooker or anywhere near an open flame. Always, always allow for a full natural release so you're not releasing alcohol vapor into the air and make it in a Mason jar with a lid to decrease the amount of alcohol vapor that could be released. You can find more details on my research on this post: Vanilla Extract Research.
Why does my vanilla extract smell really strong of alcohol?
First off, any pure Vanilla Extract will have a bit of alcohol smell and taste. For this pressure cooker method, your extract may still smell strongly of vodka right after you make it (especially if you use a cheaper vodka). I suggest letting it sit for 1-2 weeks and then give it another whiff. The alcohol smell should have mellowed and the vanilla smell should be lovely and rich. If not, throw it back in the pressure cooker for another 30 minutes.
What do I do with used Vanilla Beans?
See this post, How to Get the Most out of Your Vanilla Beans, for several ways to get the most out of your beans.
Why do I want to make my own vanilla extract?
Because you can! And you can make it in the world's greatest appliance – the Electric Pressure Cooker/AKA Instant Pot. Plus homemade vanilla extract is just plain incredible. For me, it’s a truer, more rich vanilla flavor and depending on where you buy your supplies, it can be more cost-effective. It also makes the best gift ever! A homemade bottle of vanilla extract with a custom label and a pretty bottle is the ultimate gift for any occasion.
I hope that covers it! If I’ve missed anything, please leave your question in the comments and I will add it to the post. Beanilla is a great source for questions and has absolutely amazing customer service.
Finally, a shout out to my Hawaiian friend, Rich Lum, a kind and classy sort of guy, who spreads a contagious love for cooking incredible food for friends and family to thousands of people. He’s done so much for me by sharing his experience and knowledge of making vanilla extract in the pressure cooker for which I’m extremely grateful. The wit and humor of this man is unmatched. Seriously, if you haven't had the pleasure of a run in with Rich on Instant Pot facebook, just search his name and marvel at his delicious creations. He created a Teriyaki Salmon for my blog as well as an incredible fish taco recipe for me and Cami’s Master the Electric Pressure Cooker cookbook. You rock Rich!
Also, Cami has designed the most perfect extract labels for all your gift giving! There are 2 looks for each flavor of extract so be sure and check these out!
TOOLS/INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT VANILLA EXTRACT
- Vodka – try your local liquor stores
- Food Grade Glycerin
- Mason Jars
- Pourable Mason Jar Lid
- Reusable Mason Jar Lids
- Small hand-held glass bottles for beautiful Vanilla pictures and perfect for gift giving.
- Instant Pot electric pressure cooker
- Beanilla Vanilla Beans
- Amazon Vanilla Beans
- Kitchen Shears
This recipe was originally posted in 2017. I've updated the images, text, and recipe to make it even better!Print
Instant Pot Vanilla Extract
Instant Pot Vanilla Extract! Rich, dark, aromatic extract in minutes instead of months!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 60 minutes
- Yield: 1 pint 1x
- Category: Miscellaneous
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
- 5–6 Grade B Madagascar vanilla beans
- About 2 cups Smirnoff Vodka 80 proof (40% alcohol) or Food Grade Vegetable Glycerin
- Using a sharp pointed knife or kitchen shears, cut each bean in half and then split in half lengthwise leaving about an inch still connected. If beans are too dry to split, cut them into 1 inch pieces.
- Place the vanilla beans in a pint-size Mason jar and add vodka or glycerin, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Top with a canning lid and ring and barely tighten.
- Add 1 cup of water to the pressure cooker pot and place trivet inside. Put the Mason jar on the trivet. Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, unplug the pressure cooker and use a natural release.
- Carefully remove the Mason jar, swirl it lightly to release more vanilla seeds from the pod, and place on a cooling rack overnight.
- Once cooled, top with a pourable lid and use in all your favorite recipes that call for vanilla extract.
- Caution: Never make Extract in a stovetop pressure cooker or near an open flame. My recipes are written for electric pressure cookers only. Always use a Natural Release, never a quick release. Avoid any type of open flame for the entire duration of cooking, including when the lid is removed after the natural release.
- Alcohol smell may be strong at first but will diminish over a week or two. If still overpowering at that point, return to the pressure cooker for another 30 minutes.
- When vanilla extract is gone, let the beans air dry, then add to sugar for vanilla infused sugar.
- The pressure cooker will fit up to three jars at a time, so feel free to double or triple the recipe.
Keywords: instant pot, electric pressure cooker, instant pot vanilla extract, alcohol free vanilla extract