How to Make Vanilla Extract from Scratch

How to Make Vanilla Extract from ScratchI 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!

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

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??

14 comments on “How to Make Vanilla Extract from Scratch
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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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  10. 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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