Vanilla Infused Oil

Jan 18, 2018 by

Vanilla Infused Oil

 

 

Vanilla bean infused oil is one of my favorite herb infused oils to make!  I always make sure I have a batch around to use in my aromatherapy, herbalism, and natural perfumery creations, especially in the fall and winter.  But it is a wonderful herb infused oil to use year round. Vanilla infused oil is a great base for many natural skin care products.  It is super simple to make!

 

 

 

Ingredients:

 

8 ounces of carrier oil

6 to 8 or more vanilla beans

A small jar

An 8 ounce bottle

 

Directions:

 

Split the vanilla beans in half.  Scrap out the insides and add them to the jar.  Chop up the vanilla beans.  Add the chopped beans to the jar.   Pour in the carrier oil and mix well.  Make sure that the carrier oil fully covers the vanilla beans: some of them may float, but just push them down and do the best that you can.  Cap the jar, and shake daily or as often as possible.  Infuse the beans for six to eight weeks or longer.  Strain the vanilla bean infused oil and pour into a clean bottle.

 

Use vanilla infused oil in aromatherapy, herbalism, and natural skin care products, and perfumes!

Use vanilla infused oil in aromatherapy, herbalism, and natural skin care products, and perfumes!

 

Basic Herbalism And Formulating Notes:

 

In herbalism there are several ways to make herb infused oils.  The folk method is the most basic method, and it doesn’t require any complex measurements.  Basically in the folk method you eyeball the amount of herbs and solvent.  However, I have included some basic measuring guidelines, which are still not the most complex and concise, but they will give you an idea of a good ratio to try.  I recommend trying both the folk method (using no measurements, and a random amount of beans and carrier), and my recipe, and see which one you prefer!

When using the folk method, herbalists usually just place the chopped herbs in a jar, and then pour in enough carrier oil to fill the jar and cover the herbs.  I suggest using 8 oz of carrier oil and 6 to 8 vanilla beans as a guideline to start out with.  But you can use any amount of carrier oil to any amount of vanilla beans you prefer.

The directions are for making an herb infused oil using the cold method, meaning that no excess heat was added.

This recipe will make about 7 to 7.5 ounces of vanilla infused oil: some of the carrier oil will be absorbed by the plant matter, and you might not be able to reclaim it all.

I recommend using a glass jar to infuse your beans.  You can package the vanilla infused oil in a glass or plastic bottle.  But if you use plastic I recommend using PET (or PETE) #1 plastic since it is usually non-reactive.  Make sure that the jar and container are very clean and sanitized before use.

When you are infusing your vanilla beans in the carrier oil, you can keep the jar in a few places.  Some herbalists like to keep the jar in a cool, dark place.  Others will place it on a counter or shelf; somewhere where they see it every day so they remember to shake it.  While some herbalists like to place their herb infused oils in a sunny window.  Try making it in different ways and see what works best for you!

To strain, you can use a number of tools, such as a strainer, cheese cloth, a coffee filter, or a french press.

Store the vanilla infused oil in a cool, dark, non-damp place.  I personally like storing mine in the fridge, since that greatly helps extend its shelf life.  But you can store it in any cool, non-damp, dark place.  I do not recommend storing vanilla infused oil or any cosmetic or natural ingredient long term in the bathroom, since the constant changes of humidity and the potential for contamination greatly reduces shelf life.

 

Infusing Vanilla Beans In Fractionated Coconut Oil!

Infusing Vanilla Beans In Fractionated Coconut Oil!

Vanilla Infused Oil Uses And Properties:

 

The fragrance of vanilla is calming yet exotic.  Vanilla is used in both children’s products (to bring comfort) and love potions (since it is considered an aphrodisiac).

Vanilla infused oil can be used for many uses! Although it is an herbalism product, you can use it as the carrier in herbal, aromatherapy, and skin care products.  It is a wonderful addition to aromatherapy scent blends and perfumes.  And if you have made it with a food grade carrier oil then you could use it in cooking too!  Please note that not all carrier oils are food grade or edible. So if you want to use vanilla infused oil in foods, make sure you use a carrier oil that you can consume.

 

Vanilla Bean Notes:

 

You can use as many vanilla beans as you want.  The more beans you use, the more fragrant the infused oil will be!  When making herb infused oils, I usually pack the jar half way full of herbs, but since vanilla beans are expensive, this isn’t practical for most people.  So I would use at least 6 to 8 vanilla beans (or more) in 8 ounces of carrier oil for a good aroma. So roughly 3/4 to 1 bean per ounce of carrier oil. In the past, I have used way more beans than this because I like a very strong smelling vanilla bean oil.  However, because of the recent shortages, I use less vanilla beans than I used to, and I’ve found that this ratio still makes a very aromatic vanilla oil.    But if you only have 2 or 3 beans, then use what you have; your vanilla bean oil will still be vanilla scented (just maybe a tad less potent). If you use less beans you may want to infuse for a little longer than stated above.

The price of vanilla beans and vanilla products has sky rocketed in the last few years, due to a shortage. Though vanilla beans are a bit pricey, it is less expensive to make vanilla bean infused oil instead of buying the vanilla aromatics.  Vanilla absolute, vanilla CO2 extract, and vanilla oleoresin cost way more than the beans!  So making your own vanilla infused oil is a more economical choice to make vanilla scented products!  In addition, not all of the vanilla aromatics are oil soluble, so if you want vanilla scented oil then making vanilla infused oil is one of the best choices!  Because there is a shortage, buy and only use what you need.

Since vanilla beans are pricey, there is a current shortage, and the infused beans are still pretty fragrant once you use them in this recipe, I like to reuse the spent beans.  I usually add the spent beans to scrubs, masks, and other skin care products for my own personal use (if you are making products as a gift to others or to sell, please use fresh vanilla beans in your products).

Vanilla bean infused oil smells amazing!

Vanilla bean infused oil smells amazing!

Carrier Oil Notes:

 

You can use any carrier oil you like.  I like using jojoba or fractionated coconut oil for their long shelf lives, but I have used carrier oils with shorter shelf lives when making vanilla infused oil too.  If you use a carrier oil with a short shelf life, be sure to use your vanilla bean infused oil quickly, keeping the shelf life of the carrier oil in mind.    Every carrier oil has a different shelf life, but in general I recommend using vanilla infused oil within six months to a year of making it.  If you make it with a carrier oil with a long shelf life, it can last much longer than a year.  If you use a carrier oil with a short shelf life, I recommend adding an antioxidant to prevent rancidity, such as vitamin E.

When using the folk method, you can use any amount of carrier oil you desire. I just recommended using 8 ounces of carrier oil to start with, since 7 to 8 ounces is a good amount to work with: not too little and not too much!  The next time you make it, you can make less or more, depending on how often you use it! But if you only wanted to make a few ounces or you wanted to make a pound, then go ahead and use the amount of carrier oil you want.  Just make sure the vanilla beans are fully covered by the carrier oil!

 

 

More Information:

 

For more about vanilla, I wrote an article on All Natural Beauty’s website a few years ago on making different vanilla products: vanilla infused oil, vanilla extract/tincture, and vanilla glycerite.  https://allnaturalbeauty.com/eco-living-vanilla-extract-vanilla-glycerite-and-vanilla-infused-oil-recipes/

 

*This article is copyrighted and it may not be used without permission.

 

6 Comments

  1. Divya

    Thank you so much for the post. I have been wanting to make this and have finally gotten my hands on some vanilla beans. But I have been wondering if I should dried or fresh vanilla beans. When using fresh beans, do we have to consider the moisture content of the beans? Are there any precautions I must take? Would appreciate your advice on this. Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Divya, thanks for your comments! The beans you buy at the store are dried (even though they are a bit moist); drying them is part of the curing process. Mature, fresh vanilla beans are actually green. They turn brown and fragrant when they are cured. So you can just use the vanilla beans as they are. You don’t need to worry about the slight moistness since there really isn’t a lot of water content in them (compared to other plants); a lot of the moisture is reduced when they are cured. Just follow the instructions, good manufacturing practices (such as wearing gloves when making it, and using clean, sanitized containers and equipment) and you’ll be fine!

  2. Angie

    Dear Li,

    Thank you so much for the extraordinary guide to making vanilla infused oil! To be honest, I’m normally am not a fan of vanilla scented things. However, since you wrote such a thorough and inspiring guide… I of course had to give it a try, and I’m so glad that I did!

    Last week I finally got my infusion started. Today I opened it up to smell it for the first time, and I was absolutely blown away by what an alluring, elegant, and irresistible aroma it was! I can already tell that it will be one of my favorite ingredients to formulate with. Of course, I love the aromatic quality without any added ingredients too.

    You’re such a great teacher and writer. It’s wonderful to see your beautiful website coming along.

    Wishing you all good things!

    • Hi Angie, I just saw your comment. Thank you so much for your sweet thoughts! I am glad you tried making vanilla infused oil and love it! Stay tuned for a new article that will feature a recipe with vanilla infused oil! Have a great night!

  3. Angie

    Nice! I’m looking forward to seeing that. Have a great day!

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