After twenty years of use in humans, customized idiotypic vaccination yet remains a non-approved, experimental therapeutic option for patients with lymphoma and myeloma. Potentially applicable to all B-cell malignancies whose cells express a clonal immunoglobulin or its epitopes on their surface, this treatment is designed to prevent disease recurrence or progression. Mostly used in follicular lymphoma patients so far, idiotype vaccines have clearly shown biological efficacy, clinical efficacy and clinical benefit in this setting, although no study aiming at regulatory approval of the procedure has been able to meet its main clinical endpoints. In mantle cell lymphoma, only biological efficacy has been proven for idiotypic vaccination, while in multiple myeloma a limited number of studies support the notion of biological and perhaps even clinical efficacy, although no credible evidence of clinical benefit has still emerged. Idiotype vaccines have been produced and administered in a number of substantially different manners. Therefore, the results of most clinical trials cannot be easily compared, and even less pooled together in meaningful meta-analyses. A more creative and yet scientifically sound way to design clinical trials of customized active immunotherapies will be key to the future development of idiotype vaccines, particularly considering that we currently lack any clinical or biological indicator to possibly predict which patients are more likely to respond to idiotypic vaccination from an immunologic point of view. This review aims at summarizing the multifaceted success achieved by idiotype vaccines, as well as at outlining the challenges awaiting them in the near future: how to improve feasibility, immunogenicity and efficacy, as well as how to confirm benefit and gain regulatory approval.