How to Make Vanilla Extract from Scratch

Homemade vanilla extract is super simple to make. Here's how to make vanilla extract from scratch - you'll never buy it again!

Homemade vanilla extract is super simple to make. Here’s how to make vanilla extract from scratch – you’ll never buy it again!

I am apparently on a kick of making food that I would normally buy: almond milk, marmalade, and now I have a batch of vanilla extract that’s just about finished! Ever wondered how to make vanilla extract? It’s super simple!

Looking for an alcohol free vanilla extract? You can find that recipe right here!

The recipe takes a long time to steep, but most of that time is just waiting, not active cooking, and it doesn’t take much effort to whip up a big batch of the stuff. Normally, vanilla extract comes in those tiny bottles, but my recipe makes a whole pint of extract in just a few simple steps! Ready?

How to Make Vanilla Extract from Scratch

How to Make Vanilla Extract

Ingredients and Supplies

  • 5 vanilla beans
  • 1 pint of decent vodka
  • sharp knife
  • butter knife
  • mason jar
  • something to label the jar


1. Split your vanilla beans open by slicing them in half longways with your sharp knife.

How to Make Vanilla Extract from Scratch

2. Use your butter knife (I used a cheese spreader) to scrape the pods into your jar.How to Make Vanilla Extract from Scratch3. Stick those vanilla beans into the jar too. If your beans are taller than your jar, cut them in half so they’ll stand up in there without having to bend when you close the jar.

4. Add the vodka, put the lid on, and give your jar a good shake.

5. Put a label with the date on the jar.

How to Make Vanilla Extract from Scratch6. Stash your jar in a cool dark place, like the back of a cabinet, and take it out once a week to give it another shake. You’ll have vanilla extract ready to roll in about 3 weeks.

There’s no need to strain your extract or even pull out the vanilla beans. In fact, it will get a deeper flavor over time, and you can even top off the jar with vodka for up to 8 months with the same beans. How fun is that??

20 comments on “How to Make Vanilla Extract from Scratch
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  2. hello, I made my vanilla five months ago and although it’s very brown (not as dark as store bought) it still tastes strongly of vodka, no vanilla. A few months ago I added two more vanilla beans and still the same? I am splitting the beans and scraping them into the vodka and then placing the split bean into the jar as well. Do I need more beans? I hate to waste this and I normally use a lot of vanilla, so would like to salvage it.

    • Hmm this is interesting! Did you shake it weekly? I also wonder if you’re tasting the booze, but when it cooks off in baking it will leave the vanilla flavor behind like you want. Are you sensitive to the taste of alcohol, maybe? Just throwing out lots of possibilities here! :)

      • I do shake weekly. Should it taste like store bought? Maybe I expected that and it seems diluted. I am tasting the alcohol, very little vanilla. Should I add more vanilla beans?

        • Honestly, I don’t remember what store bought tastes like. The alcohol does taste very strong in mine also. Have you tried baking with it yet? I think that’s the big test!

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    • I don’t think I’d use gin, but you can try rum. It will add another flavor profile but rum and vanilla won’t clash. I haven’t tried this, so if you go for it, I’d love to hear how you like it!

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  13. Excellent! I’ve been thinking about making my own vanilla extract. I too have been making things I would normally purchase – it’s fun! Plus I sometimes save some money. The best part is learning something new though.

    Love your blog!

    Peace. ;)

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