DIY,  Extracts

Homemade Chocolate Extract

You’ll find vanilla extract in nearly every sweet recipe. However, you pretty much never see any love for chocolate extract! I am here to tell you that this overlooked extract can be your secret weapon in your chocolate baked goods! Homemade Chocolate Extract is easy, delicious, and it makes a fabulous gift!

Homemade Chocolate Extract

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Lots of folks make Homemade Vanilla Extract, but I want to get Homemade Chocolate Extract on the map! There was a time when I hadn’t considered adding chocolate extract to my chocolate sweets. I mean, they *already* taste like chocolate, either from the addition of cocoa powder and/or actual chocolate, right? Then I learned that I was missing out!

Homemade Chocolate Extract

Why Use Chocolate Extract?

Chocolate extract doesn’t just make your baked goods taste like chocolate. It makes them taste like all the flavors that the cacao *had* (past tense!) before being processed into cocoa powder or chocolate. The depth of flavor that you get with the addition of chocolate extract is just lovely, and for me, was eye-opening!

Homemade Chocolate Extract

Why Make Homemade Chocolate Extract?

As with nearly everything homemade, it’s just better than the store-bought stuff! You control the ingredients, and you control the depth of flavor through the amount of time you wait before starting to use it. The recipe calls for letting the extract sit for at least three months, but the longer you wait, the more flavorful it will be. I typically use raw cocoa nibs for my extract, but it’s also delicious using toasted nibs! (Directions to toast cocoa nibs are included in the recipe!)

Homemade Chocolate Extract

Making Chocolate Extract

You really only need three things: cacao nibs, alcohol, and a glass bottle(s)!

  • Cacao nibs can be tricky to find. I’ve never seen them consistently in a grocery store. If you can’t find them, you can buy them online here.
  • For the alcohol, any quality will do–so no need to break out the expensive stuff! I used vodka, but you could use bourbon or rum if you prefer.
  • Note on glass bottles: You’ll want to make sure that the bottle is large enough for the nibs and the alcohol. I use 12 oz bottles like these, then transfer the finished extract to smaller, 4 oz bottles like these.
Homemade Chocolate Extract

One thing to keep in mind if you’re planning to gift the chocolate extract is that a large amount of your bottle’s volume will be taken up by the cacao nibs. If you want the bottle to be full when you gift it (after the cacao nibs have been strained out), you’ll need to make more than one bottle and then combine them later, or gift the extract in a smaller bottle than you made it in.

Homemade Chocolate Extract
From left to right, top to bottom: High Hat Cupcakes, Coconut Mocha Pie, Oatmeal Brownies, Neapolitan Cake, Blackberry Lavender Brownie Pie, and Chocolate Cherry Pie

How to Use Chocolate Extract

Lastly–but importantly–what can you use chocolate extract in? Think amping up the chocolate flavor in chocolate cake, brownies, or mousse. Add some to your hot chocolate! Add chocolate extract instead of, or in addition to, the vanilla extract in a recipe.

Check out my “Chocolate Dessert Recipes” board on Pinterest, or click the links below to see some of my favorite chocolate recipes!

Cookies & Brownies

Cakes & Cupcakes

Pies & Tarts


I can’t wait for you to try Homemade Chocolate Extract for yourself! It really does give your chocolate bakes a little extra oomph–and who doesn’t want that? Please let me know all about your chocolatey adventures! Go ahead and leave a rating/comment below, and tag me on Instagram to I can see what you’ve been up to! 🙂

Other posts you may like:

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Kahlua

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

(Last updated 9/17/2021)

Homemade Chocolate Extract

Take your chocolate sweets to the next level with Homemade Chocolate Extract! This (sometimes overlooked) extract adds amazing depth of flavor!
4.5 from 2 votes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Extracts
Servings 8 ounces


  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs, crushed (see note)
  • 8 oz vodka, bourbon, or rum


  • If you would rather make your extract with raw cocoa nibs, proceed to the next step.
    If toasting cocoa nibs (see note), preheat oven to 350° F. Spread nibs out on a baking sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes, or until fragrant, stirring every few minutes. Allow the nibs to cool before proceeding to the next step.
  • Slightly crush cacao nibs, helping them to release their flavor in the alcohol. Pour crushed cacao nibs in glass bottle (see note).
  • Pour alcohol (vodka, bourbon, or rum) over the cacao nibs. Seal bottle and shake slightly.
  • Store the bottle in a dark location for at least three months. Occasionally give the bottle a shake or stir (I stir mine with a chopstick). The longer you let the mixture sit, the more flavorful the extract will be.
  • Once the extract has sat for at least three months, strain out the cacao nibs. The mixture may be a bit cloudy, but will smell only of alcohol and chocolate. Pour extract back into a glass bottle and store in a dark place until you make something chocolatey!


Note on cacao nibs: Cacao nibs can be tricky to find. I’ve never seen them in a grocery store consistently. If you can’t find them, you can find them online here.
Note on glass bottles: You’ll want to make sure that the bottle is large enough for the nibs and the alcohol. I use 12 oz bottles like these, then transfer the finished extract to smaller, 4 oz bottles like these.
Tried this recipe?I’d love to hear all about it! Leave a review below, then snap a pic and tag me on Instagram!


    • Amee

      Terry, so happy to hear! Your family and friends are in for a treat! Check out the recipe for Homemade Vanilla Extract, too—another great Christmas gift! 😊

    • Amee

      Yes! Roasted cocoa nibs can have a more complex flavor than raw—similar to how you might toast nuts for best flavor. Roasted cocoa nibs make lovely extract. 😊

    • Amee

      Hi Amy! You can absolutely make a larger quantity! I’ve doubled the recipe and had it turn out fine. I’ve always frozen the extract to be sure that it doesn’t have any fat that needs to be removed. That said, I’ve never gotten any after freezing! I think you’re pretty safe to skip that step. If you find the extract greasy/oily, you can always freeze it after the fact. Hope you love it! <3

  • Maria

    4 stars
    I made and I froze, it still looked very cloudy. Almost like chocolate milk.
    I strained through a coffe filter and it now looks great.

  • Gloria

    Im working on my first chocolate extract but it smells like it is fermenting it’s only been going for a couple of weeks am I doing something wrong I use Tito’s vodka and organic raw cocoa nibs that I crushed a little bit before I added to the vodka should I just throw them out and start over do I need to use Everclear instead of vodka do you have any thoughts on this thank you

    • Amee

      Oh no! I’ve never had anything like that happen before! 🙁 I’m not sure what could have happened. The extract should definitely only smell of alcohol, and eventually, chocolate! It sounds like you should throw it out and start over to be safe, but you definitely don’t have to use Everclear. I’ve used vodka, bourbon, and rum. Any quality alcohol will do! I hope everything goes perfectly this time around!!

    • Rich

      It definitely isn’t (should not be) fermenting. Since you are using vodka (40% abv) fermentation would not occur. That’s far too high for alcohol fermentation to continue (the process where yeasts convert sugars into alcohol and CO2). Alcohol fermentation stops around 18% abv, after that point it becomes toxic to the yeasts which die off and fermentaiton ceases. Thus beers/wines etc do not have higher alcohol levels than that. Often quite a bit lower in fact. Distilling is used to increase abv amount from there for liquors of course.

      The other relevant type of fermentation would be acetic acid fermentation where a bacteria converts ethanol to acetic acid (vinegar), but that too is limited to a range of alcohol from about 5-12%. So acetic acid fermentation probably isn’t what is happening here and if it were you’d definitely sense a vinegar smell. Unless something nafarious has happened to your vodka.

      I once noticed a bottle of vodka I stored in the freezer had mostly frozen. This shouldn’t happen of course and after a little interrogation I learned that a someone had been nipping into the vodka and replacing it with water.. thus eventually bringing the alcohol content in the bottle much lower to where it could now freeze a bit. If this were to continue to a point where there was more water than vodka then you could concievably use that ‘vodka’ and still have fermentation occuring in your extract.

      Just a thought. I don’t know what is happening in your case of course. But it would not be fermentating if in fact that was ‘pure’ vodka being used.

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