How to Make Vanilla Extract at Home! Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Did you know you can make vanilla extract at home??  Yes!  And did you know it requires only TWO simple ingredients:  vodka + vanilla beans.  If you get start on a batch of this Homemade Vanilla Extract soon, it will be in perfect condition to give away during the holidays.  This is quite honestly THE ideal gift for the baker or dessert addict in your life.

Homemade Vanilla Extract recipe -- How to Make Vanilla Extract at Home! DIY Vanilla Extract is the perfect project and gift for the baker in your life (all natural, sugar free, fat free, gluten free, vegan) - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits

Nearly every single baked good and dessert recipe calls for vanilla extract.  I know for a fact that if I got a bottle of Homemade Vanilla Extract for Christmas, I would be over the moon happy and probably want to kiss you eight thousand times.  Thoughtful gifts just do that for ya.

This is a gift so good you will get hugs and thank yous and dancing and clapping.

It smells good too.  Kiddos can have their fun with their scented markers, us adults can live our lives sniffing bottles of vanilla.

Homemade Vanilla Extract recipe -- How to Make Vanilla Extract at Home! DIY Vanilla Extract is the perfect project and gift for the baker in your life (all natural, sugar free, fat free, gluten free, vegan) - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits

Homemade Vanilla Extract recipe -- How to Make Vanilla Extract at Home! DIY Vanilla Extract is the perfect project and gift for the baker in your life (all natural, sugar free, fat free, gluten free, vegan) - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits
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Homemade Vanilla Extract

Servings: 48 servings
Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 56 d
Did you know you can make vanilla extract at home?? Yes! And did you know it requires only TWO simple ingredients: vodka + vanilla beans. This makes the PERFECT gift for the baker or food lover in your life!

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Slice the vanilla beans lengthwise, just enough so that you pierce through one side of the bean.
  • Place the vanilla beans inside a bottle and cover completely with the vodka.  Top with a lid.  Shake the bottle vigorously, then place in a cool, dark place (like a cupboard or your pantry).
  • Shake the bottle every day for 4 weeks (I put a daily reminder on my calendar so I wouldn't forget).  For the next 4 weeks you can shake it less often, like ~3x a week.  Vanilla will be ready to use in 8 weeks.  Shake before using.

Recipe Notes

I’ve made this recipe multiple times using a wide range of alcohols — plain vodka, strawberry vodka, whipped cream flavored vodka, Fireball (yeah, I know, not the most natural product out there), and even bourbon …  the options are endless!  I want to try this using chocolate-flavored vodka and coconut-flavored vodka too (*foodgasms*)
Nutrition Facts
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Amount Per Serving (1 serving = 1 teaspoon)
Calories 11
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: DIY, Fat Free, Gift, Gluten Free, Holiday, No Bake, Sugar Free

Homemade Vanilla Extract recipe -- How to Make Vanilla Extract at Home! DIY Vanilla Extract is the perfect project and gift for the baker in your life (all natural, sugar free, fat free, gluten free, vegan) - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits

^^ Day #1:  the mixture will be clear.

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

^^ Week 8:  the mixture will be dark brown, just like storebought kinds!

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Homemade Vanilla Extract recipe -- How to Make Vanilla Extract at Home! DIY Vanilla Extract is the perfect project and gift for the baker in your life (all natural, sugar free, fat free, gluten free, vegan) - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits

Enjoy!

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– Jess

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70 comments on “Homemade Vanilla Extract”

  1. OMG NUH UH!!!

    OK, so I’ve been making vanilla extract for awhile.

    And Pinnacle Whipped is the only alcohol I will ever say I love.

    And I cannot believe I did not think about combining the two! THIS IS GENIUS! OMG OMG OMG!

  2. OH whoa. This is amazing. It definitely beats using regular vodka!

  3. WHOA WHOA and another WHOA. You may have just changed my life!

    • Jessica | Desserts with Benefits

      😀

    • Most recipes say use a minimum of 70 proof vodka which is 35% alcohol and typically they recommend 80-proof vodka so if you’re using that whipped stuff I highly recommend you counter with some other 100 proof vodka to get your percentage up to at least 70 proof I would go with eighty personally… not to mention you can also make extract with bourbon and Jim Beam makes a vanilla bourbon which makes super awesome vanilla extract, just a thought for you to consider

  4. This is genius. Wanted to make something for Christmas gifts and this is perfect.

  5. I love this idea! I’ve been searching for the best homemade vanilla recipe and I think this one takes the cake…or soon to be cake. Yum! I buy flavored vodkas like this one for drinks like “Smores Cocktail” and then have all this leftover super sweet vodka. This recipe will get rid of that problem. But I wonder how many calories end up in the finished product? Does it give it a whipped flavor too? I wonder if we did this with the Marshmallow flavor, if it would be a marshmallow-vanilla extract? Or would we need marshmallow root too…hmmm! Well thank you!

  6. I love homemade, do all vanilla extracts have alcohol in them!

    • Yes, the majority of extracts contain alcohol 🙂

      • There is ‘imitation’ vanilla extract in every store, right beside the ‘pure’ vanilla extracts. For people who cannot safely ingest alcohol, this is a great option. It tastes just as good and works just as well. I’ve used it for years in all of my recipes calling for vanilla extract.

    • Most recipes say use a minimum of 70 proof vodka which is 35% alcohol and typically they recommend 80-proof vodka so if you’re using that whipped stuff I highly recommend you counter with some other 100 proof vodka to get your percentage up to at least 70 proof I would go with eighty personally… not to mention you can also make extract with bourbon and Jim Beam makes a vanilla bourbon which makes super awesome vanilla extract, just a thought for you to consider

      No not all vanilla extract have alcohol there is a way to make them without alcohol I think people use glycerin to do that but personally I use alcohol

  7. Flavored Vodka? Really? I didn’t even know they made that… perhaps it was better that way… 😉

    Not sure I like the idea of using it for my vanilla extract as I find it would make it very “fake” and “unnatural” tasting, but you just gave me an idea: I have this Cuban cherry liquor at home… now that could be totally fan.tas.tic! Have to give it a try!

    By the way, thanks for sharing the love, Jessica. I truly appreciate that! And glad you enjoyed making your own vanilla. Bet you’ll never go back to store bought! 🙂

    • All of the recipes I read say the quality of vodka does not matter but I 100% disagree and use high quality liquor. There are high quality flavored vodkas (& bourbons) that will not destroy the taste of your extract. I’m currently making numerous bottles vanilla extract and one of them has Ciroc black cherry vodka ..mmmm! cherry vanilla extract? how could u go wrong? if u want u can find me on Etsy in a month or so when it’s ready for sale– SweetSanitary ….I think I’m gonna try vanilla scented hand sanitizer too…if it works you’ll see small batches of that for sale too.

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  9. I just finished making my homemade vanilla extract just in time for a big to do list if baking 🙂 I also used this as a gift and my friend loved it! Thanks Jess 😉

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  11. Hi Jessica, You are aware that the sweet tasting vodkaa like this Whipped does actually have sugar in it, yes? This one has 6.8 sugars per 1.5 ounces.

  12. Ok, thanks for confirming. I was on a low carb website and the folks were giddily mixing the sweet vodkas with diet sodas “wondering how many carbs” were in them. Oops! 🙂 Your website is great btw!! 🙂

  13. Love this idea. Most Vodka is made from grains (potato, corn and quinoa vodka is harder to find). If you use pinnacle, whipped cream vodka is it gluten free?

    • Slee-
      Wow, quinoa vodka?! Oh, the alcohol these days, it’s amazing 😉
      And yes, Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka is gluten-free. The majority of their products are GF actually!
      Hope you like the flavor-infused Vanilla Extract 🙂
      -Jess

  14. What do you do with the vanilla beans after the 9 weeks? Do you need to strain them out?

    • Mazzie-
      You can either keep the vanilla beans inside the bottle or use the beans to make Homemade Vanilla Paste!
      http://dessertswithbenefits.flywheelsites.com/homemade-vanilla-bean-paste/

      This way you can make TWO different types of vanilla without the waste 🙂
      -Jess

    • you can also add the beans to sugar container to make vanilla sugar(but they have to stay in the sugar. you can add more sugar anytime… you can also ground up the beans after using the cavier to make powdered vanilla -used in baking as well. also to correct a few post I see The FDA requires 35% alcohol min… or above. so if you use 30% you have to add another alcohol that brings it up to 35 for the total batch. so like 5% of 100% and so on. MATH??? LOL But always weigh
      your beans do not ever count beans- the FDA requires 13.35 OZ of vanilla beans in every gallon of 35% or higher Alcohol to be considered extract. anything less is flavored booze and you can get in big trouble for selling- giving etc booze..

  15. Jessica…….did you cut the vanilla beans in half? Will the seeds escape if you do?

    • Martha-
      I sliced through the beans lengthwise, but leaving the ends intact so they hold together. It’s okay if the seeds come out in the bottle, the more it does the more flavor you’ll get 🙂
      You don’t want to scrape the seeds out of the pods though.
      My bottle held 1 cup/8oz. If yours only holds 3/4 cup/6oz, you’ll only need 6-7 beans (6 large or 7 smaller).
      I hope this helps! Have fun making the vanilla extract 🙂
      -Jess

  16. Also, if you halve them do you still need 9 beans? And also, what ounce bottle do you use for your vanilla? I think mine is about 3/4 cup.

  17. I love making my own vanilla extract, I’m also making lemon-, orange-, raspberry- and chocolate extract. I once tried making peppermint extract, but after one day already, the leafs get all soggy and it stinks.. Any idea what I’m doing wrong here?

    • Lauwchen-
      WOW, great idea making your own lemon, orange, raspberry and chocolate extracts!! I really want to try making a chocolate extract because every time I buy one I really don’t like the flavor. It’s not chocolatey enough and it smells too strongly of alcohol 🙁
      As for the peppermint, I have no idea why that could be happening. I’ve never made peppermint extract before so I’m not sure what it’s supposed to look like.
      I guess all you can really do is make sure your peppermint leaves are extremely fresh. I would choose organic too… maybe pesticides/herbicides don’t do well in vodka? Haha
      Here is a recipe in case you’re curious as to how other people make it:
      http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2013/10/diy-mint-extract-recipe.html

      I hope this helps!
      -Jess

  18. Thanks for your reply, I’m using mint leafs from our garden, but I don’t recall storring the bottle in a dark place. I’ll try the recipe again and hopefully it will work 😀

  19. Hello Jessica !

    You’ve convinced me into making my own vanilla extract

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  21. Do you leave the beans or take them out after the 9 wks?

  22. How long does the vanilla extract & paste last for?

    • Jo-
      Vanilla extract should last for years! 😀
      Alcohol acts as a preservative. But, just to be sure, make sure your vanilla beans are very fresh and check if your alcohol has an expiration date.
      As for the vanilla paste, check your agave for the expiration date. Hope you like the recipes 😀
      -Jess

  23. For those who use sugar, you can also put the used beans inside a container with sugar to make vanilla sugar. Scented sugar scrub anyone?

  24. When making the vanilla been paste do you use the whole been or just what’s in side? Thank you!!:):)

    • You use the WHOLE bean! It sounds crazy, but it works! After making vanilla extract, the beans will be super soft and blendable. You will still need to strain it since it’s so fibrous, but it has a ton of flavor that most people just throw away. Hope you like the recipe! 😀
      -Jess

  25. My fiance made me homemade vanilla extract for me one time as a gift! I still have the giant bottle he made – that stuff lasts forever.

  26. Anyone have a link to buy the bottles like these. Want to makes this as gifts.

  27. Where do you source the beans you use? there are so many places with varying degrees of quality and prices; especially now that there is a world wide shortage ?

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  30. Do you know how much ml a cup is?

  31. Question: So after the vanilla paste recipe it says to use the leftovers from the straining to make the extract. My question is do you put the chunks left from pulsing tied up in the cheese cloth in the vodka? So put the cheese cloth and all are in the bottle? I’m one of those that don’t like to throw out anything if I can make something else with it. Or am I reading directions wrong it seems if I’m pulsing the vanilla beans not much will be left but chunks of bean which I wouldn’t want floating
    around in there, they would pour our when using it. Also since some of the bean is pulsed up in the paste is the ratio right or would I need to add a few more whole beans to get the flavor right?

    • After making vanilla extract, the beans are still valuable, which is why I used them to make vanilla paste instead of tossing them. After grinding up the beans to make the paste and THOROUGHLY pressing out all the liquid, there really isn’t much use for that fibrous black stuff anymore. I toss it, but I suppose you could try to make another batch of vanilla extract with it? I would just be aware of the fact that it would need to steep for much longer than 8 weeks, and definitely wouldn’t have as strong of a flavor. I would mix the ground up vanilla beans straight in the vodka, and when it comes time to strain, pour it all into a coffee filter (I’ve done this and it works perfectly fine)! 🙂

  32. Wow what an awesome website! I am so inspired. Who knew it was that simple? So worth the wait though I’m sure!!

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  36. I’m thinking of making a bunch of extract for Christmas gifts. Would it work to make them in a gallon jug all at once then pour them into gift bottles? Would make shaking & filtering easier at the end.

    Mary5 stars

    • Absolutely! That’s what I’ve done a couple times, but using a massive vodka bottle instead of a gallon jug. If you have a glass container, I think that would be preferable. I’m sure it’s not a big deal, but I don’t like storing alcohol or vanilla extract in plastic bottles. I’m scared the plastic might impart a weird flavor… but I’m sure I’m just paranoid 😉
      Hope everyone LOVES this as a gift!! I know I would <3

  37. Hi, have you ever made the extract in an instapot?

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