Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Making homemade vanilla extract is so easy and you only need 2 ingredients:

Vanilla Beans and Vodka

I have been making my own vanilla for years. The price of vanilla beans has skyrocketed in the last few years, so now is the best time to start making your own vanilla.

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How long does it take to make the extract?

I like to make my vanilla in the early Fall and then give the small bottles to friends and family who like to bake. It only takes about 5-minutes to prepare, however, the extract needs to “marinate” for about 2-months before it’s ready to use. If you want to give it as a gift for the holiday season make it by October, or just make it and remind the recipient to wait a few months before using.

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Best alcohol to use for vanilla extract:

You can use vodka, rum, or bourbon to make vanilla but make sure it is 80-proof.

Anyone who loves to bake knows how important vanilla extract is in recipes, so you simply cannot be without this ingredient. The beauty of homemade vanilla is that you can keep the same bottle going for years! As you use up your vanilla you simply top it off with more vodka and let it marinate again.

Eventually, you will want to add new beans and pull out the old beans. If you like your vanilla double strength just double the number of beans needed. Keep beans fully submerged at all times with the vodka.

Ingredients for homemade vanilla

Vodka, Vanilla Beans and Bottles are all you need

Packaging and labeling vanilla to give as a gift:

Once the vanilla is fully marinated you can add your own label and a ribbon to make the perfect gift. If you want to ensure your vanilla is gluten-free just use Tito’s brand vodka.

You can easily order these perfect sized jars on Amazon. I made my labels on the Avery website which makes it easy to customize them.

I also order my vanilla beans on Amazon. Use grade B beans to make the extract. Grade A vanilla beans are prettier and longer, but pricier than grade B.

How to make homemade Vanilla Extract:

  • Sterilize the bottles and caps before using
  • Cut your vanilla beans in half (do not slice open) and place them in the bottles
  • Use 1½ beans for each 4-ounce bottle
  • Using a funnel, pour the vodka into the bottle until full
  • Seal tightly and shake
  • Store bottles in a cool dry place and shake your bottles every day, for about 2 months
  • At the end of 2 months, your vanilla should be ready to use

How long can I store homemade vanilla?

The great part about making your own extract is that it lasts forever, as long as you keep adding more alcohol and beans. Be sure to store it in a cool, dark place. Give the bottles a shake every day or two while its “marinating”

Homemade Vanilla Extract in bottle
Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract

I use this extract in all my recipes. Here are a few recipes using vanilla extract that you might like:

Homemade Vanilla Extract in bottle
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe

Homemade Vanilla Extract is simple and you just need 2 ingredients: Vodka and Vanilla Beans
Prep Time15 mins
2 months resting time60 d
Total Time60 d 15 mins
Course: Dessert, Extracts
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24 ounces
Calories: 26kcal


  • Six 4-ounce bottles or One 24-ounce bottle
  • Small funnel


  • 10 Vanilla Beans, Whole, Grade B type
  • 24 ounces Vodka, 80 proof


  • Sterilize your bottles and the caps and dry them prior to use
  • Cut your vanilla beans in half (do not slice open) and place in the bottles. Use 1½ beans for each 4-ounce bottle.
  • Using your funnel, pour the vodka into the bottle until full. Seal tightly and shake.
  • Store bottles in a cool dry place and shake your bottles every day, for about 2 months. At the end of 2 months, your vanilla should be ready to use.

Ongoing Vanilla:

  • As you use the vanilla you can refill with more vodka. As you continue to top off your bottle with vodka you will want to add another vanilla bean.
    If you want double-strength vanilla just add double the beans! You can keep filling indefinitely but you will want to pull out the older beans as you add vodka.


Calories: 26kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

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