Homemade Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is one of those ingredients that’s in nearly every sweet recipe. Until recently, I would just buy whatever vanilla extract was available at my local grocery store without a second thought. I never considered that making homemade vanilla extract would be 1) so easy, and 2) so much better than what you can buy in a store, since you control the quality of the ingredients!

Another DIY project from my kitchen: Homemade Vanilla Extract.

homemade vanilla extract
No one *needs* to make their own vanilla extract. It’s a readily available ingredient at pretty much any grocery store. I always knew that real vanilla extract was head and shoulders above imitation vanilla (please, please for the love of sugar, don’t buy imitation vanilla!!!), and that certain brands of vanilla extract had better flavor than others. The bottom line is that better vanilla extract results in better-tasting sweets!

homemade vanilla extractMuch like my last DIY kitchen project, [Homemade Kahlua], homemade vanilla extract takes time, but the result is outstanding. Add to that the fact that vanilla is SO giftable (it’s a word, right?), and you have all the reasons you need to start making your own bottle (or 2 or 3…).

homemade vanilla extractAll you need is vanilla beans, alcohol, and a glass bottle. I purchased both my vanilla beans and bottles (how cute are they??) from [Beanilla]. I really love the quality of their products, and they’re in Michigan, so I extra love them for that. 🙂 This batch was made with Tahitian vanilla beans, but now that they’ve got organic beans back in stock (yay!), I think I’ll go that route next.

homemade vanilla extractI used vodka to make my extract, but you could use bourbon, rum, or brandy if you prefer. After 8 weeks in your pantry (with the occasional shake of the bottle), your homemade extract is ready for use!

(Beanilla’s recipe says to shake your vanilla extract to the rhythm of “Rock Lobster” by the B52’s. I extra, extra love them for that, and must admit I followed their instructions to the letter.) 😀

homemade vanilla extractGifting little bottles of homemade vanilla extract would make you a total rock star. Just sayin’. I’ll remind you closer to the holidays so you can start a stash in your pantry and surprise your family and friends. 😀

Other posts you may like:

Homemade Chocolate Extract

Homemade Kahlua

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Better than what you can get at the store, since you control the quality of the ingredients! Make some for your own use and make some for a friend--perfect for gifting!
Recipe from Beanilla (link here).
Servings 1 cup (8 oz) vanilla extract


  • 7 vanilla beans
  • 1 cup vodka (8 oz; see note)


  • Split each vanilla bean lengthwise and place in 8-ounce glass bottle. If they don't fit, you can cut them into smaller pieces. 
  • Pour vodka (or alcohol of your choice; see note) in the bottle with the beans. Make sure the vanilla beans are completely submerged.
  • Place the bottle at room temperature in a dark place to do its thing. Pull the bottle out and shake it once or twice a week. 
    After 8 weeks, the vanilla extract is ready for use. The flavor will continue to develop as long as you leave the beans in the bottle.


Note on alcohol: 70 proof/35% alcohol is recommended. If you prefer, you could also use bourbon, rum, or brandy. Any brand and quality will do!

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