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Homemade Vanilla Extract

Whether it's to save a bit of money, to enhance your baking experience, or to make a thoughtful handmade gift, there's something special about making homemade vanilla extract. Best of all, to make this easy vanilla extract recipe, all you need is a couple of simple ingredients!
Prep Time 10 mins
Ageing Time 185 d
Servings 1 cup


  • 1 half-pint mason jar
  • paring knife


  • 5 whole vanilla beans
  • 1 cup 80 proof alcohol ie. vodka, bourbon, rum, brandy


  • Wash and sanitize the jar, boiling it for 10 minutes (optional)
  • Split the vanilla beans in half.
  • For beautiful flecks of vanilla bean in your extract, scrape the vanilla beans and add the seeds to the jar.
  • Cut the beans in half (so they'll fit in the jar) and add them to the jar.
  • Pour the alcohol over the beans, ensuring they're completely submerged (you may need to fiddle with them a bit or add a bit more alcohol).
  • Close up the jar and shake it up once a week to help speed a long the extraction process. Age for 6 months to a year. When it smells like vanilla instead of alcohol, it's ready to use!


  • The type of vanilla beans doesn't matter. Choose from Madagascar Bourbon, Tahitian and Mexican beans, Grade A or Grade B (Grade B beans are less expensive and meant for extracting, however)
  • It is important for the vanilla beans to be completely submerged. Beans that are exposed to air may get slimy, mould, and potentially ruin the extract.
  • The longer the extract is left to age, the better it will be.
  • To save money, you may use as little as 3 beans to one cup of alcohol. You may also use more for a richer, deeper flavour.
  • Once the vanilla has aged long enough, the beans can be kept in the alcohol so it can continue to develop flavour.
  • For a continuous supply of vanilla extract, top off the jar with more alcohol, although this may dilute the quality over time.
  • Old vanilla beans can be reused in a future extract, or dried and used to flavour sugar.
Keyword Extract, Vanilla