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Homemade Vanilla Extract

How To Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

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  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 mins
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x


Learn how to make homemade vanilla extract with this easy recipe and tutorial. Supplies for making cute gift-able bottles are listed above.


  • 4 whole vanilla beans
  • 1 cup vodka (or see note below for a non-alcoholic substitution)


  1. Open the vanilla beans. Use a paring knife to carefully split each vanilla bean down the middle lengthwise, cutting halfway through the bean so that the seeds are exposed.
  2. Combine ingredients in a jar.  Place the vanilla beans in a glass jar or small bottle.  Pour in the vodka and submerge the beans so that that they are covered.  Place a lid on the jar/bottle, and give it a gentle shake.
  3. Store.  Store in a dark place for at least 8 weeks, until the vanilla is a dark amber color.
  4. Use and enjoy.  Use in any recipes that call for vanilla extract.  If you would like to strain out the vanilla bean seeds, you can do so with a fine-mesh strainer.  But I recommend leaving the vanilla beans with their seeds in the jar.  That way, you can continue to gradually refill the bottle with more vodka as you use the vanilla extract.  (The beans will last for at least two batches of vanilla extract.)


For a 4-ounce (1/2 cup) small bottle:  You will need 2 beans and 1/2 cup vodka per bottle.  (I cut the beans in each in half to help them fit in the bottles more easily.)

For the large 4-cup bottle: You will need 16 beans and 4 cups of vodka per bottle.

Non-alcoholic option: In place of 1 cup of vodka, you can substitute 3/4 cup food-grade vegetable glycerin plus 1/4 cup water.

Cooking time: Cooking time listed above does not include the 4-6 weeks needed for the vanilla to soak.