How to Make Vanilla Extract

How to Make Vanilla Extract

Somehow vanilla has become synonymous with boring and bland. When, in fact, it is anything but. Vanilla is rich, exotic, fragrant, and quite expensive! It imparts a unique flavor and aroma into anything you add it to. I almost never bake without it. If you go through vanilla extract anywhere near the rate I do, I highly suggest trying your hand at making it yourself. Let’s learn how to make vanilla extract!

Vanilla is my absolute favorite scent. I have several perfumes, lotions, and candles that all smell like vanilla. It’s such a comforting and delicious smell. And I love using vanilla in the kitchen even more. Homemade vanilla extract adds a special touch to baked goods and desserts. I’ll show you how to make vanilla extract so that you can have the best possible vanilla flavor for your treats!

Making vanilla extract is such a simple process! It requires two ingredients and a bottle with a tight-fitting lid. That’s it! You have some choices in types of vanilla beans and alcohol. In the picture, I’ve used Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans on the left and Tahitian vanilla beans on the right. There are slight differences in flavor, scent, and size depending on the variety and quality. As for the alcohol, I prefer using vodka since it’s neutral taste doesn’t compete with the vanilla. No need to use an expensive brand here.

I’ve given quite a large range in the amount of vanilla beans because I’ve found that they vary so much in size. Four large vanilla beans may be about equivalent to eight smaller vanilla beans. Use your judgement depending on the size of vanilla beans you have.

When you use your homemade vanilla extract, you’ll find that you get some of the little vanilla bean flecks along with it. I love the visual appeal, but feel free to strain them out if you prefer.

The process to make vanilla extract is really simple. Fill a glass jar or bottle with vodka. Split your vanilla beans, leaving them connected at the ends, if you’d like. I often scrape out the vanilla beans inside to add to the vodka, but that step isn’t necessary. Add your vanilla beans, close the lid tightly, and shake! Make sure to store it out of direct light or heat, and shake every day or two. That’s it!

Wait at least a month before using your homemade vanilla extract. I prefer it around the six month mark since the flavor becomes more intense the longer you allow it to infuse.

The hardest thing about making vanilla extract is waiting a few weeks for it to be ready to use so start yours today! 🙂


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Vanilla Extract

2-ingredient DIY vanilla extract that is perfect for baking and adding a special vanilla flavor to so many recipes!


  • 4-8 Vanilla beans
  • 8 oz. Vodka


  1. Split vanilla beans in half lengthwise with a sharp knife.

  2. Add vanilla beans to a glass bottle or jar that has a tight-fitting lid. 

  3. Cover with vodka, close the lid tightly, and shake vigorously for a few seconds. 

  4. Store the extract in a cool, dark place. Shake every day or two. 

  5. After about 4-6 weeks, it's ready to use!  

Recipe Notes

Leave vanilla beans in the extract past the initial month or two to continue to infuse flavor. You may also remove them to use in another recipe, if desired. 


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