Do-it-yourself vanilla extract

My full information to creating do-it-yourself vanilla extract! All you want is 2 substances and a bit of little bit of endurance! I’m together with all my ideas and methods, a free printable label, and a tutorial video! This makes a fantastic do-it-yourself present, however begin it now because it takes 3 months!

Three bottles of extract

Do-it-yourself Vanilla Extract

I’ve a whole lot of phrases for you right this moment as a result of I need to present you intimately make vanilla extract at dwelling. In case you like to grasp the main points and the whys of a recipe, learn via the publish, however when you’re simply in a rush to get to the recipe simply click on that huge “leap to recipe” button above as a substitute.

OK, who’s left? Who didn’t click on the button? My type of individuals, it’s so good to have you ever 💜. Let’s dive in.

What You Want

Pure vanilla extract is made merely of alcohol and vanilla beans. Merely, you’ll need vodka (trace: don’t splurge on the costliest one!) and plump (not dried-up!) vanilla beans. Right here’s the nitty gritty:

The place to purchase vanilla beans

My present favourite place to purchase vanilla beans is Beanilla and these are the beans I buy, I’m not affiliated with this store in any approach, however have been shopping for my beans from them for years.

I’ve discovered that vanilla beans are outrageously costly at my grocery retailer (typically bought within the spice aisle) and the standard is typically subpar and dry. Vanilla beans are additionally out there on Amazon, however blended opinions and unhealthy scores have stored me from ever personally shopping for them from there.

Vanilla bean varieties

Vanilla beans are available a lot of varieties, however for baking, you need Madagascar vanilla beans. There are different styles of beans that can impart totally different flavors: Mexican beans are wealthy, barely spicy and heat, Indonesian are smokey and earthy with a woody and typically spicy taste, and Tahitian are lighter, floral and fruity with anise and chocolate undertones. Whereas they are often enjoyable to play with, bear in mind that they are going to every lend a distinct style to your baked items, so select accordingly.

For traditional vanilla taste, stick strictly with Madagascar vanilla or Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans. When you’ve got the selection between “Grade A” or “Grade B”, persist with the Grade B as a result of they’re cheaper (if not as fairly) they usually work simply as nicely for making extract.

Closeup of homemade vanilla extract bottles
Vanilla extract darkens with time. On the left is a darkish bottle of vanilla extract that I’ve had for over 6 months, on the proper is a newly-made bottle that’s nonetheless clear.

Selecting an Alcohol

Vodka is the traditional selection and my private advice, it really works nicely as a result of the true taste of the vanilla bean can shine. If grain alcohol, like 90-proof Everclear, is accessible in your state, that’s one other fashionable selection (and a few purists will solely use this!).

  • Vodka will provide you with the smoothest, purest, most unadulterated and well-balanced vanilla taste and is my choice.
  • Grain alcohol has extra of a chew to it and usually pulls the flavour from the beans sooner than vodka. The ensuing extract will likely be stronger. I don’t like to make use of vanilla made with this alcohol in recipes the place the vanilla isn’t baked (for instance, ice cream, the place the alcohol doesn’t have an opportunity to bake out).
  • Bourbon will yield a clean, heat extract with caramel undertones. Bourbon has an inherent vanilla word to it already, which may improve the flavour of the beans and make the extract richer.
  • Rum will likely be sweeter and smoother (and barely spicy, if utilizing a spiced rum). The flavour will likely be hotter and richer than one made with vodka.
  • Whiskey will vary broadly relying on the whiskey you utilize, it’s normally deeper and smokier.

Actually you need to use nearly any alcohol you’d like, as long as it’s at the least 70-proof (35% alcohol). When selecting a liquor, take into accout what you plan to truly use your vanilla extract for. There’s a purpose vodka is the traditional selection, it provide you with traditional, pure vanilla taste and works finest in traditional vanilla cake!

You do not want to purchase the costliest alcohol! Follow a mid-shelf model (like Smirnoff). You received’t discover the distinction in the long run outcome between this extract and one made with top-shelf.

Different Supplies:

You’ll want a glass container during which to retailer your do-it-yourself vanilla extract. I like to make use of these cute glass bottles that I discovered on Amazon. You may also buy bottles with an amber tint, which helps shield them from the daylight and retains the vanilla from going unhealthy (since I retailer mine in a cool, darkish pantry a transparent bottle is okay).

A funnel helps neatly pour the vodka into the small 4 oz bottle. In case you don’t have one, pour the alcohol right into a measuring cup with a spout first after which pour from that into the bottle. It’s a lot much less messy than pouring straight into the bottle!

Final however not least, slap a label in your vanilla so you realize when it’s prepared! When you can simply write this on piece of tape and stick it to the bottle, I’ve a set of free printables so you need to use the identical labels that I do in these pictures. The hyperlink is within the recipe card, merely print them on sticker paper, minimize, and stick them to your bottles. For a completion, baker’s twine or ribbon provides a pleasant pop of coloration, particularly when you’re giving the extract as a present!

The way to Make Vanilla Extract

  1. Examine your vanilla beans in opposition to the scale of your bottle. They have to match neatly within the bottle and be utterly submerged by the liquid. Mine usually must be minimize in half for this, so minimize as wanted. Then, break up the beans lengthwise with kitchen shears or a pointy knife to reveal all of these teeny-tiny vanilla seeds!
  2. Place the beans in bottles and pour vodka, or your liquor of selection, over high. Be certain that the beans are utterly submerged and go away at the least a small little bit of house between the vodka and the highest of the bottle.

Now the toughest half is to attend. For vanilla extract to completely develop its taste, it wants to take a seat for at the least 3 months in a cool, darkish place. The longer it sits, the extra developed the flavour will likely be — some baker won’t use their vanilla extract till it has been sitting for at the least a yr! Personally, I’ll use mine after 3 months and I at all times have nice outcomes.

Be certain that to shake the bottles often (about as soon as every week) to assist infuse the flavour!

SAM’S TIP: By no means run out! As you utilize your vanilla, high it off with extra vodka for a perpetually full bottle, simply maintain the beans lined with alcohol.

Single-Fold vs Double-Fold

I normally use about 4-6 vanilla beans per cup of alcohol. Ideally, to be extra exact, you’ll use a kitchen scale (this is the scale I use, it’s cheap and dependable!) and measure .83 oz /24 grams (many individuals spherical as much as 1 oz) of beans for each 8 oz/cup of alcohol. This yields a single-fold, or customary vanilla which is comparable in power to the one you’d purchase within the grocery retailer.

For a extra intense vanilla taste, you may double the quantity of beans you utilize, that means 8-12 beans or 1.7 oz/50 grams (typically rounded as much as 2 oz) per 8 oz/cup of alcohol. Double-fold is good as a result of it lets you give your baked good a deeper vanilla taste with out growing the quantity of liquid you’re including to the recipe. When following a recipe, you would scale back the quantity of vanilla referred to as for in half when baking with double-fold vanilla extract.

Continuously Requested Questions

Can I double/triple/and many others. this recipe?

Sure! This recipe scales very nicely. I take advantage of 2-3 beans for each 4 oz, so merely enhance this as wanted to make extra vanilla. Typically I’ll make a big batch and retailer it in a mason jar.

How lengthy does do-it-yourself vanilla extract final?

If saved in a clear bottle in a cool, darkish place, it should maintain for a number of years. It doesn’t must be (and shouldn’t be) refrigerated or frozen. I’ve a batch of vanilla I’ve stored going for a number of years now, each time I take advantage of it I simply high off the bottle with a splash extra vodka.
In case your ever discover that the liquid seems to be cloudy or smells unhealthy, discard it.

Can I make this alcohol free?

Personally I’ve solely ever made do-it-yourself vanilla extract with alcohol, nevertheless some sources point out that it may be made utilizing food-grade vegetable glycerin. Chances are you’ll discover this article on making non-alcoholic vanilla to be an excellent information if you’re looking for non-alcoholic choices.

Can I clarify vanilla?

Actual vanilla extract is made with vanilla beans, which is able to at all times tint the liquid that they’re in a brown coloration. Clear extract is made with artificial vanillin and is artificially flavored. It could possibly’t be made utilizing actual beans and so sadly you can not make a “actual” clear vanilla extract.

I hope this was useful! Let me know if in case you have any questions, and revel in!


Extra How-to Tutorials:

Get pleasure from!

Let’s bake collectively! Be certain that to take a look at the how-to VIDEO within the recipe card!

Do-it-yourself Vanilla Extract

Discover ways to make do-it-yourself vanilla extract with my tremendous easy recipe/tutorial! Consists of detailed directions, free printable labels, and a how-to video!


Course: Dessert

Delicacies: American

Resting Time: 90 days

Complete Time: 90 days

Servings: 24 servings (1 tsp per serving, recipe makes one 4-oz bottle)

Energy: 12kcal

Forestall your display screen from going darkish


  • Totally clear, wash, and dry bottles and lids that you simply’ll be utilizing. Lower vanilla beans in order that they are going to match inside your bottles.

    2-3 entire vanilla beans²

  • Break up beans lengthwise in order that the tiny seeds are uncovered.

  • Place minimize vanilla beans in bottle. Match funnel excessive of the bottle and add liquor till the beans are absolutely submerged. Depart a bit of little bit of house on the high of the bottle in order that it is possible for you to to shake the contents as they sit.

    ½ cup (118 ml) mid-shelf vodka, like Smirnoff¹

  • Add label, if utilizing, however ensure that to mark the date that the vanilla was bottled. Retailer in a cool, darkish place and shake often. Retailer vanilla for at the least 3 months earlier than utilizing (the longer it sits, the higher!).



I hyperlink to the clear bottles I take advantage of above, however listed below are the choice amber-colored bottles.


A mid-shelf liquor is ideal for this recipe, don’t hassle with splurging on something costly. Bourbon additionally works nicely. See weblog publish for extra element on utilizing different sorts of alcohol.

²Vanilla Beans

I take advantage of and advocate grade B Madagascar vanilla beans. Two vanilla beans yield a regular and flavorful vanilla, 3 will yield a stronger taste. I usually purchase my beans from and have at all times been happy with the top quality, plump beans. 


Retailer in a cool, darkish place. Do-it-yourself vanilla ought to maintain for as much as 5 years, but when it smells disagreeable or is cloudy you need to discard. You’ll be able to replenish your vanilla extract provide by merely including extra alcohol as you utilize it.


Serving: 1teaspoon | Energy: 12kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Fats: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

Dietary info is predicated on third-party calculations and needs to be thought-about an estimate solely. Precise dietary content material will fluctuate primarily based upon manufacturers used, measuring strategies, cooking methodology, portion sizes, and extra.

This recipe was initially printed June of 2014. The publish has been up to date with higher pictures, extra particulars, and a how-to video!