How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

When it comes to baking, vanilla extract is a staple ingredient. It adds a rich, warm flavor to cakes, cookies, and pastries. But did you know that you can easily make your own homemade vanilla extract? Not only is it cheaper than store-bought, but it also ensures that you’re using high-quality ingredients. In this article, we’ll take you through 12 easy steps for making homemade vanilla extract.

Steps how to make homemade vanilla extract

Step 1: Choose Your Beans

The first step in making homemade vanilla extract is choosing the right beans. You’ll need about three vanilla beans for every cup of vodka. Look for high-quality, plump beans that are moist to the touch and have a strong vanilla scent.

Step 2: Prep the Beans

Once you’ve selected your beans, you’ll want to give them a quick rinse and pat them dry. Then, using a sharp knife, split the beans lengthwise to expose the seeds inside.

Step 3: Pick Your Alcohol

Vodka is the most commonly used alcohol for homemade vanilla extract, but you can also use rum, bourbon, or brandy. Just make sure it’s at least 80 proof (40% alcohol) and of good quality.

Step 4: Combine Beans and Alcohol

Place your beans in a clean jar or bottle and cover them with your chosen alcohol. Make sure the beans are fully submerged, and then give the jar a quick shake to distribute the vanilla seeds.

Step 5: Store in a Dark Place

Vanilla extract needs time to infuse, so store your jar in a cool, dark place for at least 2-3 months. The longer you let it sit, the stronger the vanilla flavor will be. Shake the jar occasionally during this time to help distribute the flavor.

Step 6: Strain the Extract

Once your extract has infused for long enough, it’s time to strain out the beans. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl or measuring cup and pour the extract through, pressing on the beans to extract as much flavor as possible.

Step 7: Bottle the Extract

Pour the strained vanilla extract into a clean jar or bottle and label it with the date and type of alcohol used. Your homemade vanilla extract is now ready to use!

Step 8: Reuse the Beans

Don’t throw away those used vanilla beans! Rinse them off and let them dry, then put them in a jar with sugar to make vanilla sugar. Or, add them to your coffee grounds for a delicious vanilla-flavored brew.

Step 9: Experiment with Flavors

While plain vanilla extract is delicious, you can also experiment with different flavor combinations. Try adding cinnamon, clove, or citrus zest to the vanilla beans before infusing.

Step 10: Make Gifts

Homemade vanilla extract makes a thoughtful and delicious gift. Pour it into small bottles and label them with a cute tag or label.

Step 11: Store Properly

Store your homemade vanilla extract in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard. It will keep for at least a year, but you may notice a decrease in quality after six months.

Step 12: Enjoy!

Now that you’ve made your own homemade vanilla extract, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Use it in your favorite baked goods, or add a splash to your coffee or oatmeal for a delicious vanilla flavor.

Explanation how to make homemade vanilla extract

Making homemade vanilla extract is a simple and rewarding process. The key is to use high-quality ingredients and give it time to infuse. Vanilla beans are the star of the show here, and it’s worth splurging on good quality beans. Look for beans that are plump, moist, and have a strong vanilla scent. You’ll also need a high-quality alcohol, such as vodka, rum, bourbon, or brandy. The alcohol not only acts as a preservative but also extracts the flavor from the beans. It’s important to store your jar in a cool, dark place for 2-3 months to allow the flavor to develop. You can also experiment with different flavors by adding spices or citrus zest to your vanilla beans before infusing. And don’t forget to reuse your beans to make vanilla sugar or add to your coffee! Finally, homemade vanilla extract makes a wonderful gift, so consider bottling some up for friends and family.

Tips and Tricks how to make homemade vanilla extract

1. Use high-quality beans and alcohol for best results.

2. Experiment with different beans and alcohols for different flavor profiles.

3. Don’t be afraid to add spices or citrus zest to infuse extra flavor.

4. Shake your jar occasionally while infusing to help distribute the flavor.

5. Don’t throw away your used vanilla beans- reuse them to make vanilla sugar or add to your coffee!

6. Bottle your vanilla extract in small jars or bottles for easy gifting.

7. Label and date your bottles for easy tracking.

8. Store your vanilla extract in a cool, dark place for best results.

9. Use as a substitution for store-bought vanilla extract in all your favorite recipes.

10. Enjoy the rich, delicious flavor of homemade vanilla extract in all your baked goods and beverages.

In conclusion, making homemade vanilla extract is a fun and easy way to elevate your baking game. With just a few simple steps and some high-quality ingredients, you can have a delicious and fragrant vanilla extract that will rival any store-bought variety. So why not give it a try and see (and taste) the difference for yourself?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Making Homemade Vanilla Extract


1. Cost-effective: Making homemade vanilla extract can be cheaper than buying it from the store, especially if you frequently use vanilla in your cooking or baking.

2. Customizable: You can control the strength and flavor of your vanilla extract by adjusting the amount of vanilla beans and alcohol used in the recipe.

3. Preservative-free: Homemade vanilla extract doesn’t contain the preservatives and additives often found in store-bought versions.

4. Fun and rewarding: Making your own vanilla extract can be a fulfilling and enjoyable project, and it can make for a great gift.

5. Sustainability: If you grow your own vanilla beans, making your own extract can reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating the need for transportation and packaging.

6. Freshness: Homemade vanilla extract is made with fresh, high-quality ingredients, giving it a better flavor profile than store-bought extract.

7. Health benefits: Vanilla extract has been associated with a range of potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties and improved mood.

8. Pure flavor: Homemade vanilla extract is often preferred by chefs and bakers for its pure, rich flavor and aroma.

9. Long-lasting: Homemade vanilla extract can last for years if stored properly, making it a cost-effective investment.

10. Extra ingredients: You can experiment with adding other flavors, such as cinnamon or citrus, to create your own unique blend of extract.


1. Time-consuming: Making homemade vanilla extract requires a few weeks of steeping time, so it may not be the best option if you need vanilla extract right away.

2. Alcohol content: Homemade vanilla extract contains a high percentage of alcohol, which may be a concern for those who avoid alcohol for health or personal reasons.

3. Equipment needed: You will need a few specific tools, such as a glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid and a funnel, to make homemade vanilla extract.

4. Quality of ingredients: The quality of your vanilla beans and alcohol will affect the flavor of your extract, so using subpar ingredients may result in a less flavorful end product.

5. Risk of contamination: If not made and stored properly, homemade vanilla extract may be at risk of contamination from bacteria or mold.

6. Yield: Depending on the recipe, making homemade vanilla extract may only yield a small amount, which may not last very long if you use it frequently.

7. Wait time: The steeping process for making homemade vanilla extract can be lengthy, which may not be feasible for those who have limited time or patience.

8. Availability of ingredients: Vanilla beans and high-proof alcohol may not be readily available in some areas, making it difficult to make homemade vanilla extract.

9. Lack of consistency: Homemade vanilla extract may not have the same consistency or strength from batch to batch, making it difficult to replicate recipes exactly.

10. Storage requirements: Homemade vanilla extract needs to be stored in a cool, dark place to maintain its flavor profile, which may be a challenge for those with limited storage space.


What is homemade vanilla extract?

Homemade vanilla extract is simply a combination of vanilla beans and alcohol that have been allowed to infuse over time.

Why make your own vanilla extract?

Making your own vanilla extract allows you to control the quality of vanilla beans and alcohol used, resulting in a higher quality and more flavorful extract. It is also often less expensive than store-bought vanilla extract.

What type of alcohol should I use?

You should use a high-proof alcohol such as vodka or rum. Avoid using low-proof or flavored alcohol as it can affect the flavor of the vanilla extract.

What type of vanilla beans should I use?

You can use any type of vanilla bean, but the most common are Madagascar, Tahitian, and Mexican.

What is the ratio of vanilla beans to alcohol?

A general rule of thumb is to use 1 to 1.5 vanilla beans per 1 cup of alcohol.

Do I need to use fresh vanilla beans?

No, you can use dried or older vanilla beans for making vanilla extract. In fact, using older vanilla beans may give your extract a stronger flavor.

How long does it take to make homemade vanilla extract?

It takes about 8 weeks for the vanilla beans to infuse into the alcohol. However, the longer you allow it to infuse, the stronger the flavor will be.

How do I store homemade vanilla extract?

Store homemade vanilla extract in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.

Can I use homemade vanilla extract in baking?

Yes, homemade vanilla extract can be used in any recipe that calls for vanilla extract.

Will homemade vanilla extract expire?

No, homemade vanilla extract does not expire, but the flavor may weaken over time.

How long will homemade vanilla extract last?

Homemade vanilla extract can last for several years if stored properly.

Can I reuse the vanilla beans after making vanilla extract?

Yes, you can reuse the vanilla beans to make a second batch of vanilla extract or you can use them in other recipes such as homemade vanilla sugar.

Can I make flavored vanilla extract?

Yes, you can add different flavorings such as cinnamon, citrus zest, or coffee beans to the vanilla extract to create flavored vanilla extract.

Making homemade vanilla extract is a simple and rewarding process. With just a few ingredients and some patience, you can enjoy high-quality vanilla extract for all of your baking needs. Vanilla beans and vodka are the two main ingredients needed, and with the right ratios and time for steeping, you can create a flavor that is superior to most store-bought extracts.

When starting the process of making homemade vanilla extract, it is important to use high-quality ingredients. Look for fresh, plump vanilla beans with a deep aroma and smooth texture. The vodka used should be at least 80 proof to ensure that it can extract the full flavor from the vanilla beans. Once you have gathered the ingredients, it’s time to begin the process of making your own extract.

The first step is to slice the vanilla beans lengthwise down the center. This will allow for the vodka to penetrate the bean and extract the flavor. Place the sliced beans into a glass jar and completely cover with the vodka. Seal the jar tightly and give it a good shake. Store the jar in a cool, dark place for at least 6-8 weeks, shaking it occasionally. The longer the extract sits, the stronger the flavor will be.

After the extract has had time to steep, it is time to strain it. Simply pour through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth and into a clean jar or bottle. The vanilla extract can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature, and it will keep for several months to a year.

Conclusion how to make homemade vanilla extract

In conclusion, making your own vanilla extract is a fun and easy project that can save you money in the long run. With high-quality ingredients and a simple process, anyone can create a superior vanilla extract in the comfort of their own home. Not only will the flavor be better than most store-bought extracts, but you can also feel good about knowing exactly what is in your extract and where it came from.

Closing how to make homemade vanilla extract

Thank you for reading this article on how to make homemade vanilla extract! We hope that you found the information informative and useful. Making vanilla extract is a fun and rewarding process that anyone can try. Give it a try and you won’t be disappointed with the results!