I absolutely love all of the things that the Instant Pot can do. I have to say, one of my all-time favorite and most used recipes that has come from the Instant Pot is this Vanilla Extract! I have made Vanilla Extract several times before I thought to do it in the Instant Pot, and it takes at least 4 months for the extract to be infused with the vanilla bean. This slow process method uses no heat, and infuses over time in your cupboard, taking 4-6 months, and gets stronger over time since the vanilla bean is still inside.
One of the best parts about making your own Vanilla Extract is that when you leave the bean inside, the shelf life is virtually endless, and you can continue to top off the bottle with alcohol to continue the infusion, and have a never ending supply of Vanilla Extract. I have made my Vanilla Extract using several types of alcohol and have tested the differences in flavor and color as I went along, and I’ve found that Brandy is my favorite base for the extract. A lot of people use Vodka, as it’s probably the most popular for extracts, but I find that using Brandy gives a deeper more caramel flavor, kind of like the difference between Cane Sugar and Brown Sugar, and I’ve also found that the Brandy gives the Vanilla Extract a much deeper color, which looks richer as well. Some people use Rum, or Bourbon, so feel free to experiment! If you are using Tahitian Vanilla Beans, you may want to use Vodka to keep that more floral fragrance, but if you’re using Mexican or Madagascar Vanilla Beans, which are known to be the best beans for extracting, I definitely suggest using Brandy or Bourbon for your infusion. You can also split this recipe up to make a variety of extracts so that you can test them out for yourself. Vanilla Extract in the Instant Pot is also a great last-minute gift idea that’s super easy to make!
You Will Need:
Large 1.75L bottle of E&J Brandy (or alcohol of your choice)
10 Vanilla Beans (I suggest Mexican or Madagascar origin, see links below)
There are two ways to make this in the Instant Pot, you can do it directly in the pot, or you can put the beans and alcohol into Pint size mason jars to cook “Pot-In-Pot” method. I have made it both ways, and prefer to do it directly in the Instant Pot, so that I don’t risk having a jar shatter. It doesn’t happen often, but I have had it happen and it ruined an entire Pint of Vanilla Extract. If you decide to do the Pot-In-Pot method, make sure you put 1 cup of water in under the jars and check for any imperfections or tiny fractures on the jars, which can cause them to shatter under pressure.
Split the Vanilla Beans by cutting them lengthwise with the grain. This helps bring out the flavor of the infusion. If you are using Boston Round Bottles like the ones pictured in this recipe, or a bottle that does not have a long neck, cut the Vanilla Beans in half so they fit in the bottles.
Pour the Brandy into the Instant Pot or other Pressure Cooker. Add the split Vanilla Beans and Pressure Cook on high for 40 minutes with NPR. When the Vanilla Extract has cooled a bit, use a pair of tongs to take out the Vanilla Beans and place them one by one into the bottles. Next, use a funnel to fill the bottles with the Vanilla Extract.
I found the cute tags pictured above here, and printed them out for FREE. I used a hole puncher to attach the twine and tied them to each bottle. My friend used her Cricut Machine to cut out the metallic gold vinyl stickers that say Vanilla, which I stuck onto the bottles. This recipe makes enough Vanilla Extract to fill 14 of the brown 4 ounce bottles, I filled 12 bottles and poured the rest into a slightly larger jar for personal use. If you use the more expensive 8 ounce Swing Top bottles (linked above) you will be able to make 7. If you would like to make enough to fill 24 of the brown 4 ounce jars, you will need to increase recipe to 12 cups of alcohol and 12 beans.