Learn how to make your own vanilla bean infused oil. You only need fresh vanilla beans and your oil of choice. You will also find tips on choosing the best oil and where to buy the best vanilla beans.
Vanilla Bean Infused Grape Seed Oil
Vanilla bean infused oil gives an extraordinary sweet flavor to your recipes, enhancing the aroma of anything you are cooking or baking. I use the vanilla infused oil a lot in my recipes, from desserts to salads and even for beauty recipes. And since many people asked me how to make vanilla infused oil (for baking) I decided to make a separate post entirely for this recipe.
Why Make a DIY Vanilla Bean Infused Oil
If you love the vanilla flavor but you can’t afford to use a whole fresh vanilla bean every time you cook, you have the option to use a vanilla infused oil or extract (alcohol based). Unfortunately, stores mostly sell cheap imitation vanilla (the ingredients often contain artificial flavors, caramel coloring, and sweeteners), or “pure” vanilla extract with added ingredients and a hefty price tag.
I opted for vanilla oil instead of extract because I wanted to avoid alcohol (as well as the glycerin option) for health reasons. Plus the extract separates when used in fatty bases like chocolate and body butters.
Making your own Vanilla Infused Oil is extremely easy, and is much less expensive than purchasing it. This way you know you’re using only high-quality ingredients.
I buy genuine Madagascar Vanilla Beans in bulk here (25 beans, aprox. $3 per bean). You can find them in stores as well, but it’s $5 for one bean! So you see the difference. Yes, it’s an expensive spice due to a labor-intensive and time-consuming process but worth every penny.
What Oil to Choose For Infusing
If you want to use the oil for cooking and baking, make sure you use a food-grade oil as the carrier. I like using grape-seed oil, which has a delicate, subtle nutty flavor and it takes on the vanilla flavor nicely. Due to it’s neutral flavor, the vanilla flavor will come through much stronger.
If you want to use vanilla infused oil as a body oil, then use jojoba or almond oil as a carrier oil, they are stable and do not have a strong smell.
Please note that oils by themselves can grow rancid in certain conditions after a certain amount of time. If you are unsure about the state of the oil, I suggest smelling and tasting it when you make it, and then continue to monitor the scent as time passes.
Keeping it in the fridge can help preserve freshness. Infused oils with dried herbs and spices usually have a longer shelf-life compared to infused oils made with fresh herbs and spices which is much shorter.
How to Make Vanilla Infused Oil
Get a clean (preferably glass) container or a mason jar. Add the desired oil to the jar. I chose cold pressed grape-seed oil due to its neutral flavor, but you can use any oil you like.
Slice the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out the insides. Place in the oil. Cut up the rest of the bean and throw it in the oil as well. Or you can simply cut into small pieces (without removing seeds) and place the pieces into your jar/pot for infusing.
Cover with a lid, then give it a little swirl. Place it next to a sunny window or kitchen counter and let it infuse for 3-6 weeks. That’s it!
There’s a faster method by using a double boiler: place about 1 cup of water in the bottom pot, place the vanilla and oil jar into the pot. Place lid on and set stove top temperature to low (2-3). Leave this running throughout the day (4-6 hours a day) for about 2-3 days.
I always prefer the first method when it comes to herbal infusions, the lower the the temperature the more health benefits you get.
You can choose to strain the seeds but I don’t mind having them floating in the oil.
Alternatively, if you are looking to make DIY personal skin care products like a scrub, soap or cream with vanilla infused oils, you could definitely use this vanilla infused grape-seed oil as well.
Vanilla Bean Infused Grape Seed Oil Recipe
- 1 Cup grapeseed oil
- 3 vanilla beans
- Split the beans open by cutting down the middle of the bean, then cut into small pieces and add to grape-seed oil. Close lid tightly.
- Give it a good shake or stir and infuse the vanilla beans for several weeks, a minimum of two. The longer you immerse the vanilla beans, the more intense the flavor will be.
- Store the jar in a cool dark place.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.
Making your own vanilla extract is extremely easy as well, and much less expensive. Just get 3-4 whole vanilla beans and pour 1 cup of alcohol on top like brandy, vodka, or bourbon. All you have to do is just wait for a couple of weeks. Enjoy!