Make Your Own Vanilla Extract



  • 1 cup vodka (You can also use rum or bourbon, as long as it's at least 80-proof) 
  • 3 vanilla beans (vanilla beans can be purchased quite reasonably online) 
  • A mason jar or any sealable glass jar

If you’re a big baker, chances are you’ve used vanilla extract more times than you can count. The aroma and flavor of vanilla bean is irresistible in anything from those guilty-pleasure blondies to your favorite buttery pound cake recipe. With just two simple ingredients—vodka and vanilla beans, you can make your own vanilla extract at home. Well, just one more ingredient…patience. The extract will take about two months to develop that sweet, fragrant vanilla goodness. Once it’s ready, though, you’ll have a homemade, chemical-free extract that will give the supermarket-bought version a run for its money!


Simply cut a slit down the center of each vanilla bean, leaving about an inch uncut at the end. Put them in your jar or container with the vodka. Shake up your mixture and place in a warm, dry spot (such as a pantry or closet) for two months. Shake the jar every week or so. Voilà! At two months’ end you will have the most delicious vanilla extract your taste buds have ever experienced.

This is also a great gift idea for your baker friends. By creating cute labels and placing them on small keepsake bottles, you can really impress your friends and loved ones with a sweet, homemade gift. Throw in a batch of freshly baked chocolate cookies and you’ll be forever remembered for your gift-giving prowess!

Have you ever tried making vanilla extract from scratch? How about other extracts? Peppermint? Cinnamon? Almond? We’d love to hear about it! Comment below and review this recipe.

Image: Flickr, Paul Jacobsen

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Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

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