How To Make Vanilla Extract


Have you ever gone around isles and isles at the supermarket and not found one vanilla extract that does not seem like flavored water? Well, I have…

That’s why I decided to make my own homemade vanilla extract. This must be, by far, the easiest thing to make in the world. Once you make one, you will never buy imitations.

All you need: vanilla beans and 80 proof unflavored vodka.

I recommend the following Vanilla Beans:

  • Bourbon: This is one of the most popular vanilla beans, because of its accessibility. These beans have a mellow but traditional flavor. Approx. 6 inches long.
  • Madagascar: Rich in flavors and aromatics and are the most popular and sought after vanilla beans. Approx. 8 inches long.
  • Tahitian: Perfect for gourmet and pastry chefs. The limited availability of Tahitian Vanilla reflects in its price. They are often described as fruity with a liquorice aroma. Approx. 5 inches long.


With the help of these cute little glass bottles, I am going to make my own extract. I used Madagascar vanilla beans. I cut them in half and then I split them lengthwise, exposing the caviar. You will get 4 equal pieces out of one bean.

Place five of those pieces in the bottle.


Fill up the bottle with 80 proof unflavored vodka. Seal tight. Let it sit for about two months in a dark place at room temperature.


The one on the right, I made it today.

The one on the left, I made it four days ago. See how rich in color it became in just those four days? It is already starting to smell less like alcohol and more like vanilla.



I shook the one on the left to help loosen up the caviar. No need to scrape them before placing the beans in the bottle.


No more imitation vanilla extract for you. If the liquid has evaporated with time, just add a little more vodka to it. You can also add a more vanilla beans pieces down the road when the extract is not that intense anymore.

Bon Appétit!

7 Responses to “How To Make Vanilla Extract”
  1. 1
    Adrianne said:

    Im going to start making my own too. Around here, you cant get good vanilla extract too. They look like water. Thanks for the tip. Let us know how yours turn out in 2 months.

  2. 2
    Tamara said:

    This is the second recipe I’ve seen in the last month for homemade vanilla extract. I have to be destined to make this soon! Where did you find the bottles?

  3. 3
    Lisa said:

    Vanilla extract is quite expensive around my house and it sucks. I should really try to make it too. Can I use any jar? Thanks

    • 3.1
      Katherine said:

      Yes you can. As long as you can seal it tight and store it at room temperature, it’ll be fine. :)

  4. 4
    Barbara Larsen said:

    Where do I find vanilla beans? Love your site. Looking forward to your we TV show!

    • 4.1
      Katherine said:

      I buy mine at I bought a really big bag back then, made around 2 dozens of vanilla extracts and I still have a lot of beans left. If kept in a sealed bag, they could last a bit. Mine still look, smell and feel like I bought them yesterday. Thanks for stopping by (:

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