Homemade Vanilla Extract

If you are one of “those people”,
that like to start early for christmas gifts, this recipe is for you!
(And if you aren’t, that’s ok. You will want to make this recipe for yourself!)
I have been making Homemade Vanilla Extract
for about two and a half years.
I started off by making several (a dozen!) to give as christmas gifts.
(Yes, this means I am one of “those people”,
and I am not ashamed to admit it!)
And I have continued to make it for myself ever since.
Is it cheaper than buying it from the store? I’m not sure.
The start up cost may make you feel like you are spending more money.
But once you have the supplies, I think you will agree,
that in the long run you are saving quite a bit.
There are only two ingredients in this recipe. Vodka and Vanilla Beans.
I don’t have a preference for Vodka brands.
I think the cheap stuff has just as good
 an outcome as the expensive stuff.
I would recommend buying B Grade Vanilla Beans.
There is no reason to spend the extra money for top of the line.
You may be able to buy vanilla beans in one of your local stores.
 I researched prices and bought mine online.
The great thing about the vanilla beans,
is that you can use them over and over.
In fact, I am using the same vanilla bean’s I started with two years ago!
This is another one of those recipes that
require patience for the best results.
Personally, I think that the longer you wait to use the extract the better.
I leave mine alone for 6 months.

(Yes, 6 MONTHS!)

I know that sounds crazy,
but if I tell you that Martha Stewart recommends the same thing,
will that make you feel better?

Because, that is what she recommends.
If you just can’t or don’t want to wait that long,
 it’s ok to go ahead and use it.
Just keep in mind that it may not be at it’s full vanilla flavor yet.
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Here is what you will need for One 12 ounce bottle of extract:
12 ounces Vodka, any brand
6 Vanilla Beans, any kind
(I use Tahitian Vanilla Beans.)
12 ounce Bottle of choice, to put your extract in.
Slit each vanilla bean, lengthwise, down the center.
You don’t want to cut it all the way through.

Place 6 Vanilla Beans in your bottle. Fill the bottle with Vodka.

Shake jar once a day for the first week, and then once a week,
or when you think about it, after that.
Store in a cool, dark place, for 6 months.

When your Vanilla is ready, use it as you would store bought Vanilla.

You don’t need to remove the Vanilla Beans from your bottle.
It’s better to leave them in there!

When your bottle is empty, just pour more Vodka in there to make more!


(The one on the left was made today. The one on the right is several months old.
The longer it sits the darker your vanilla will get.)

I always have two bottles going at a time.
 One in my cupboard ready to use, and one in the pantry,
 so I never run out!




  1. says

    Robyn, I was just thinking that I should look into a recipe for vanilla and here it is… Do you use a certain brand of vodka… I don’t drink alcohol so don’t know the first thing about it. But I am going to check and see if I can find Vanilla beans and get this brewing.

    • says

      I did! I used cute gold leaf stickers and then glued pretty flowers on the bottles.

      I want to make Lemon Extract and Peppermint Extract this year too. I bought several lemon balm plants and peppermint plants. Can’t wait to see how they turn out!


  2. Tonya792001@hotmail.com says

    Isn’t this just infused vodka then? I’m confused? Does the alcohol evaporate? Or is extract really just alcohol??

    • says

      Yes, I suppose you could say that Extracts are infused alcohol.(vodka, rum, bourbon) I guess I just never thought of it that way before. Store bought extracts usually have added water and sometimes added sugar.

      The alcohol evaporates when the food is cooked.
      I hope this helps!

      Here is an excerpt from Joy The Baker.

      “Vanilla extract is produced by steeping the vanilla beans in an alcohol and water solution for several months, sometimes with sugar added, thereby producing a clear dark liquid with a rich flavor that is highly aromatic. The FDA requires that pure vanilla extract contain 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon of liquid and contain 35% alcohol. This is called one-fold vanilla extract and is what you find in stores.

      There are two fold and three fold extracts, called essences, but these are very strong and are mainly used by professionals.

      The imitation vanilla extracts are made with synthetic vanilla (from glycoside found in the sapwood of certain conifers or from coal extracts) and leave a bitter after taste. Products labeled Vanilla Flavoring are a combination of pure vanilla extract and imitation vanilla extract.

      Read More here: http://www.joyofbaking.com/Vanilla.html

      Here’s what Martha Stewart writes about Vanilla Extract. http://www.marthastewart.com/264110/vanilla-extract

  3. says

    Robyn, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I love this idea and have wanted to try it for awhile now. It looks like I better start this next week just to give it at Christmas, Yes, I’m one of those too :) I love the idea of making my own vanilla because I go through a ton of the stuff and pay top dollar.

    Thanks so much for stopping by Creative Thursday last week. I couldn’t do these parties without you. Can’t wait to see what you link up this week. Have a great weekend.

  4. says


    I’ve never made my own extract, but that would certainly take the making from scratch factor way up! I have made vanilla sugar, where I put a vanilla bean in white sugar. I’ll definitely have to add this to my list of “to try”

    I followed you over from the Sunday Roundup linky party. I would love if you stopped by my blog.

    Thanks for sharing,

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