How to Make Vanilla Extract at Home

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on April 5, 2014

Vanilla extract

Mmm… vanilla. It has to be one of my most favorite flavors in baking and sweet treats. I even add it to my oatmeal some mornings!

A few weeks ago, my brother and his girlfriend came over to visit us, and with them they brought a jar of homemade vanilla extract! How cool is that? My brother’s girlfriend made it.

I usually buy vanilla extract from the store, but when she told me how easy it was to make at home I was inspired to share the recipe with all of you.

All you need is 8 vanilla beans and Vodka. It is super easy to make, but just takes a little patience because it has to sit for at least 1 month to infuse.

As for what type of vanilla beans to use — pretty much any type works! You can even blend different varieties of beans to get a more complex flavor.

vanilla beans and seeds

Here’s how you make vanilla extract at home:

To make 2.5 bottles of extract you need:

  • 16oz Plain Vodka (My brother’s girlfriend used Ketel One)
  • 8 vanilla beans

Time to infuse: 2 months

The Directions:

  1. Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise.
  2. Place the vanilla beans in a jar and cover with alcohol, making sure they are completely submerged.
  3. Cover the jar and give it a shake.
  4. Infuse for at least one month (2 months is great for a stronger flavor) in a cool dark place, shaking it from time to time.
  5. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth when you are ready to pour it into bottles.

Enjoy! (And feel proud of yourself that you created your own vanilla extract!)

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly - LEFT SIDE OF THE TABLE April 7, 2014 at 5:33 am

Ok, this is just awesome! Never thought to make my own. Everything homemade is always so much better. I put vanilla in my oatmeal too…sometimes in my smoothies too šŸ˜‰ Totally have to try this soon! Thanks, Anjali šŸ™‚


Anjali @ The Picky Eater April 14, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Thanks Kelly!! I’m so glad you found this helpful! And yeah it’s just so easy to make — as long as you have a little bit of time to wait it out it is totally worth it! Enjoy!


Tess @ Tips on Healthy Living April 7, 2014 at 10:29 am

This is such a great idea! What sort of recipes have you been incorporating this into?


Anjali @ The Picky Eater April 14, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Hi Tess! I’ve been using this in all of my oatmeal recipes and in a lot of baked goods like healthy muffins and cookies!


Aparna April 9, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Wow! I can’t believe how simple it looks to make your own vanilla extract. Thank you for sharing šŸ™‚


Anjali @ The Picky Eater April 14, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Haha right? I was surprised as to how easy it was too!


Sarah April 11, 2014 at 5:34 am

This is such an amazing idea that I’ve never thought of before! Will definitely be giving this a go soon!


Anjali @ The Picky Eater April 14, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Thanks Sarah!! Hope you have fun making your own at home!


Michelle October 12, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Hey Anjali,
I was on here looking for this recipe and thought I’d leave a little note. I’ve been using the vanilla that you gave me from your sister in all my baking recipes and it makes a HUGE difference! I put it in my (from scratch) pancake batter and it adds so much flavor. I usually use that imitation vanilla because I always thought vanilla is vanilla but not anymore. This one is so flavorful. I just ordered my bottles today and I can’t wait to get started on my vanilla.
Thank you!!


Anjali @ The Picky Eater October 13, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Hey Michelle!! It’s so good to hear from you! Wooohooo – I’m so happy this has made all of your baked goods more tasty! That is great to hear, I’m sure my brother’s girlfriend will love to hear this too šŸ™‚ Hope you are doing well!


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