Photography, Uncategorized, Useful

Homemade Vanilla Extract

vanilla extract homemade

I always wanted to have a homemade vanilla extract. It has only 2 ingredients and is all natural, no chemicals at all. I found so many recipes on the net about the process and all of them had lots of vanilla beans. In my country vanilla beans are very expensive so buying 8 or 10 for a recipe which I wasn’t sure will work wasn’t an option.

So I decided to do a recipe with only 2 vanilla beans. Now I know is working and next time I can use more vanilla beans.

The recipe is easy but takes 6 months, so patience is a must.

You can use any vanilla beans you can find and any Vodka you like. My advice is to use quality vodka so you have a quality extract in the end. I used vodka because has a neutral flavor, but you can use bourbon, brandy or rum for a unique extract.

A 40% alcohol vodka will work just fine.


  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 67 ml Vodka


Split each vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Chop the beans into smaller pieces. It will fit better in the bottle.

Place the vanilla beans in a clean bottle. Cover them with alcohol, making sure they are completely submerged. Give the bottle a good shake.

Store the bottle in a cool, dark place and for a month shake it every day. If you forget a day is not a problem. Just shake it when you remember.

After 6 months you have your own homemade vanilla extract. You can start using it after 3 months but the flavor is not very strong. You will get more a vodka flavor than a vanilla one.

You can remove the vanilla pods and decant the extract into a pretty bottle or you can leave the beans in the alcohol and top off the bottle as you use the extract. Eventually all the flavor will be extracted from the original vanilla beans, so you can periodically add fresh beans as well as used ones for other recipes.

106 thoughts on “Homemade Vanilla Extract”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing the information !!! I have had some vanilla pods ( a friend of mine gave me .. very generous 🙂 ) .. I am going to make it following your recipe. Thank you!!

  2. I have been thinking to make my own Vanilla Extract for a long time and haven’t done it yet. Thanks for reminding the recipe I will definitely make some when the present one is gone. 🙂

  3. I’ve made vanilla extract and it’s a great way to make some for yourself and some for gift giving. I’m lucky to be able to get lovely plump vanilla beans for a good price so I can indulge. And finding a bottle of rye whiskey my dad had brought over in the pantry (he didn’t like whiskey) meant the alcohol was free. 🙂

    I split my vanilla pods in half but left them attached at one end and scraped out the seeds into the big container of rye and then threw in the split pods. After 3-4 months, I pulled out the vanilla pods, let them dry and placed them into a container with sugar so that they could further infuse the sugar with their vanilla essence. This way, you get TWO uses out of the vanilla pods. I transferred the vanilla extract into tall bottles with hinge caps. You can leave a split pod in each one for a more elegant presentation if you want.

  4. I never thought about this process. It is amazing just how much we take for granted. Thank you for sharing as it made me realize I am missing some of these things. Blessings!

  5. I had a coworker who made her own vanilla and brought some for everyone in the office. It was probably the best vanilla I have ever had. and now, whenever I run out, i just make more. It’s so worth the wait to make your own.

  6. Love this!!! We’ve been doing this for a few years after we bought maybe 20-30 beans for $15 off Amazon. Whenever we scrape the seeds from a pod from a recipe, we throw the “used” bean into our extract jar. Now it has maybe 8 or so pods in there!! We also put a spent pod in a jar of sugar as someone mentioned above; I’m not convinced it makes the sugar itself taste better, but the smell when you open the jar makes it worth it!!!!

    1. I think you have to use about 1 tbsp of the ‘vanilla sugar’ to equal 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract but, as you said, the smell of the sugar is amazing. I add it to fresh cut fruit when I macerate them (along with a splash of Grand Marnier). It’s delicious.

  7. I had gone through the effort of making a nice long wonderful comment. Then I couldn’t post it because I couldn’t remember my wordpress password so….. let me recap….

    Homemade vanilla makes EVERYTHING special.

    Husband and I have done it forever.

    Madasgar vanilla beans (source them online… worth the effort and much cheaper than buying those silly glass tubes of beans at the grocer).

    Use bourbon.

    Mmmmmm…… if no vanilla beans? Just drink bourbon. All worrries over…..

  8. Thanks for looking at my blog and liking my post. I really enjoyed reading through your recent post. I’ve never thought about making my own vanilla extract but that is a wonderful ideal. Will follow to enjoy more.

  9. Sometimes someone says something and you think, why on earth didn’t I think of that, it’s impact is like being hit with a cricket bat! Ive been making this for years and the number of times I struggled to get a suitable bottle has been numerous. Duh, just cut the beans up!!! Thank you so much for being the bearer of practical thinking. 🙂

  10. Last night at Costco I was going to purchase a 1 pint bottle of pure vanilla extract for $19.99 a bottle. Wow has the price gone crazy, so after seeing your blog on homemade vanilla extract I’m making my own from now own. THANKS from Just Around The Bend

  11. Thank you for stopping by! This is a great post you have here. Funny, I just got up and was thinking it would have been nice to have vanilla extract for the gluten-free carrot I am planning to make for our (French) Thanksgiving dinner later on… A little too late for today but not for the next Thanksgiving 🙂. Making (almost) everything myself is the safest way for me to feed my sulfite-intolerant husband, so thank you. When I make it I will use whisky, as I see other people have.

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