Related Products

24 May

How To Make Vanilla Extract (Homemade)

How to Make Vanilla Extract

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make vanilla extract? Homemade vanilla extract is prized for its full, rich, complex flavor and an incredibly smooth aroma and is truly in a different league than what can be procured from most grocery stores. The difference between pure vanilla extract and imitation vanilla is simple. Pure vanilla extract is made from whole vanilla beans, while imitation and clear vanilla utilizes imitation flavors and chemicals.

All photos courtesy of

Making vanilla extract is fun and simple! Simply take 5-7 whole vanilla beans (depending on size/length/variety), split lengthwise and add to 8 ounces of 35%+ alcohol (70+ proof). Any type of alcohol can be used, but bottom shelf vodka is most common because it will not add any additional flavors to the extract. Bourbon, rum and brandy can also be used. After 8 short weeks the extract is ready to enjoy.

Homemade Vanilla Extract - Step 1Step One: Gather your ingredients


Split Vanilla BeansStep Two: Use a knife to split the vanilla beans


Homemade Vanilla Extract - Step 3Step Three: Place beans in bottle and cover with liquor

What makes homemade vanilla extract so much better than "store bought"? First, you have control over the quality and type of vanilla used in the extract. Using premium grade vanilla beans will provide significantly better flavor and aroma than commercially produced extracts. It is also now possible to make vanilla extract from different types of vanilla beans, each of which has a unique flavor!

Do you prefer bold and smokey? If so, try Mexican vanilla beans. Rich and creamy? Use Madagascar Vanilla Beans! Floral aroma and unique cherry-chocolate? Venture to the Tahitian vanilla beans. Each type is excellent for homemade vanilla extract.  You can even blend various varieties together. The floral, fruity, cherry like notes of the Tahitian variety blend wonderfully with the nutty-chocolate character of the Bourbon varieties.

After 8 weeks the vast majority of the extraction process is complete. At this point the the vanilla is ready to use and the vanilla beans can be removed. If the vanilla beans are left in the jar, the flavor will continue to evolve (just be sure the beans are always submerged in alcohol).

In addition to premium vanilla beans, we also offer decorative glass bottles to display your creations.

We also carry a Homemade Vanilla Extract Infusion Kit that already has enough beans to make 8 ounces of Vanilla Extract. Just choose the vanilla variety you want and in 8 weeks, you will have pure vanilla extract. They make great gifts too!


From all of us at Beanilla Trading Company, we sincerely hope you enjoy this recipe.

Happy Extracting!

How to Make Vanilla Extract


-Jar or Bottle
-Vanilla Beans in your favorite variety (rule of thumb is 5-7 beans per 1 cup of alcohol)
-Vodka, but you can also use Bourbon, Rum or Brandy


1. Use a knife to split the bean in half, leave about ½ inch at each end intact.

2. Put your vanilla beans in your glass bottle or jar and cover with vodka.

3. Close jar or bottle and store in a cool, dry place for at least 8 weeks. Give the bottle a shake every week or so.

45 thoughts on “How To Make Vanilla Extract (Homemade)”

45 Responses to How To Make Vanilla Extract (Homemade)

  • Posted on 24 May at 11:33 AM

    Looking forward to trying this - what a great gift idea!

  • Posted on 07 Jun at 7:14 AM

    Hi Brent,

    This is a fantastic. Thanks so much for posting it!

    All the best, Alex

  • Posted on 14 Jun at 4:11 PM

    Planning on making this extract for Christmas, and love the square stopper bottles. I'm wondering if clear glass is ok to use for extracts? Also, I thought I'd blend Bourbon, Mexican and Tahiti beans with bourbon, just because I like it better, and thought the blend of beans would give it more dimension! Can't wait to try it.

  • Posted on 16 Jun at 9:50 PM

    just recieved my 10 madagasacar beans yesterday. came back to the site to be sure I had the bean to liquor ratio correct. Beans look so fresh and wonderful. Can't wait to put my vanilla extract together and start using it. Appreciate the value of the beans and glass jars. I will be back for more.

  • Posted on 18 Jun at 12:19 PM

    Am so excited about making homemade vanilla extract. One question - should the beans be discarded after the extraction process is complete? Or, is it possible to use whatever's left for something else?

  • Posted on 22 Jun at 9:51 AM

    I bought your sample package of vanilla beans and plan on making extract out of all of them. First question, can you make extract without alcohol, also when making with alcohol, what goes best with each type of bean?

  • Posted on 22 Jun at 9:55 AM

    What if I only have 3 beans and put them in a pint jar, how much alcohol do I use, plus I was told to use 100 proof not low proof. Which is better?

  • Posted on 19 Jul at 4:56 PM

    I bought a pound of Madagascar vanilla beans from this site a few months back. Unfortunately, I did not search your site first to find out how to make my own vanilla extract at home. The site that I found said to put in the whole vanilla beans unsliced for eight weeks and after 8 weeks to remove the vanilla beans and remove one end and press the beans out into the alcohol. My question is what is the safest way to remove the vanilla beans from the alcohol bottle without contaminating or affecting the extraction process. My 8 week time period is 3 weeks away. Please help. Thank you.

  • Posted on 24 Jul at 10:34 PM

    I have been making that for years. It is so good!

  • Posted on 31 Jul at 11:33 PM

    I wonder if you could use this same concept to make Almond Extract or Peppermint Extract, etc.... Vodka and Peppermint sticks, or Vodka and Almonds....

  • Posted on 03 Aug at 12:07 AM

    **The purpose behind using a "lower grade" vodka is that the more expensive vodkas use special characteristics/flavors to make them unique. You don't want those characteristics/flavors in your vanilla extract. You want ONLY the vanilla flavor, nothing else.
    **For almond extract: You need 12 raw almonds, 16 oz of vodka, and a dark, 16 oz bottle to make the extract in. Put almonds in jar, pour the vodka over the almonds and fill the bottle. Shake mixture every 3-4 days (Don't remove the lids) for 8 weeks.

  • Posted on 04 Aug at 7:58 AM

    I would love to make my own vanilla extract but I find that the beans are awfully expensive....what does everyone else think?

  • Posted on 04 Aug at 8:27 AM

    I can hardly wait to make the vanilla recipe for Christmas gifts. I have Barrets disease and am not able to have any alcohol, but I would like to thank you for the wonderful recipe.


  • Posted on 05 Aug at 10:47 PM

    Yes Vanilla beans are pricey but I use to use vanilla bean paste. That was 16.99 foe a 2 ounce bottle. Vanilla made with Bourbon, ans that was 14.99 a 2 ounce bottle. If you make your own you need enough Liquid to cover the beans, so you will get more then the 2 ounces that I am paying 14.99 to 16.99 for. I make mine in August and leave it sit in my spice cabinet until baking for the holidays. And, people who get my baked items want to know how I get so much vanilla taste into my baked goods. It is well worth the time and expense...

  • Posted on 06 Aug at 8:29 PM

    I purchased the vanilla beans last fall and made vanilla extract for myself and as christmas gifts. It is the best vanilla extract. You can definetly taste the difference. I also made vanilla sugar (great to add to coffee or strawberries) and khalua. I've given some beans to a friend who is going to make orange,creamsicle cello (not sure I spelled that right).

  • Posted on 21 Aug at 2:12 PM

    When your vanilla is ready, take a couple of the beans out and put them in a mason jar and fill with sugar. Turn the jar every couple days and in a month you will have THE most wonderful vanilla sugar to cook with!

    Also, if you have a vita mix or high speed blender you can whizz up a couple of your used beans in the extract to make it darker and more flavorful.

    Keep your beans in the bottle of vodka for just a couple of weeks and add a little sugar and you have a vanilla vodka that will outdo any brand name!


  • Posted on 23 Aug at 5:12 PM

    Will it be ok to use pure grain alcohol instead of vodka to make the vanilla extract?

  • Posted on 30 Aug at 11:25 PM

    I did this about 25 years ago and I still have the same beans in the same German vodka bottle. I just add a bit of vodka as the level drops and by the time I need it again, it has aged and mellowed into a lovely flavor and scent. I am thinking of adding another bean or two because the color is getting a little less brown. Twenty-five years on the same bottle of vanilla? I defy anyone to match me with "store bought."

  • Posted on 02 Sep at 10:36 AM

    I discovered this web site and saw the 25 beans for $25. I am anxious how my batch will turn out, however I didn't use vodka but scotch whiskey.
    On hand I have 2 different rums. Dominican and Bahama coconut rum. Anyone experimented w/ flavored rum? Reading earlier post to steer away from flavored vodka due to the makeup flavor. Maybe the same?

  • Posted on 04 Sep at 10:48 AM

    I'm SO EXCITED to get my Vanilla Beans. I ordered the 25 for $25 Madagascar beans. I plan to make extract to put into gift baskets for family this Christmas. I'm trying to save money & believe a gift from the heart & "homemade" is more special (and hopefully, more memorable) than a "bought gift" that they may or may not want or use! I purchased my bottles from a different site (due to cost) and the total (w/shipping) was only $64.70. So...24 bottles of 4 oz. extract will only be $2.70 each (not including the Vodka...I haven't purchased it yet)!!! What a value! I'm confident it'll be much better than store bought extract! Thanks for such a great blog and all the information you’s GREAT!!!

  • Posted on 04 Sep at 10:51 AM

    For those of you who are making "extract" what color of bottles are you using to store it in...clear, amber or another color? I ordered amber b/c I had heard once that it should be stored in a dark bottle (plus, when you purchase it in the store, it most always comes in an amber colored bottle). I was just curious! Thanks for any comments/feedback!

  • Posted on 07 Sep at 9:48 PM

    Just received my beans today, 10 Madagascar and 5 Tahitian and they smell absolutely wonderful. I've made extract in the past and there is no comparing to the store bought, so I decided to make and give some as gifts this Christmas. I was going to use a large clear canning jar but Pinnacle has such a pretty blue bottle that I decided that would work just fine to store the extract in until it's ready. Looking forward using and giving this for the holidays this year. Thanks Beanilla!

  • Posted on 07 Sep at 9:56 PM

    I like using the round amber bottles.

  • Posted on 17 Sep at 10:55 AM

    Some recipes tell you to scrape the beans out and then add the pod and to heat the alcohol. Is there a difference. Last year I followed your recipe and did not scrape the beans out and the vanilla seemed to turn out fine. Should I scrape the beans out or not?

  • Posted on 19 Sep at 9:55 PM

    Easy as pie, put your beans in the bottle of vodka. No one after a few weeks in the cabinet will mistake it for liquor - it is pure heaven. I have used the same bottle for years, add a bean or two every year or so, it is great!

  • Posted on 01 Oct at 4:00 PM

    i have a question .. if my bottle are not tall enough for the whole bean to fit in can i cut them in half ??

  • Posted on 05 Oct at 2:02 PM

    I was delighted to find the 25 for $25 + free shipping special on the Madagascar beans - I have a bottle in my cupboard that's been happily marinating for a couple months (I forgot it was there...). It's bourbon with two beans that I paid $30 for total, alcohol plus beans, so it seemed a bit expensive. This will be far more economical and in perfect time to make it before the holidays!

    Now I gotta get home and try out my mixture, see how it's going!

  • Posted on 08 Oct at 11:00 AM

    I have a question. Some of the online vanilla extract recipes call for heating the vodka before pouring it back in the bottle and adding the vanilla beans. Yours does not. Is one method different/better than the other? Does it matter if you heat the vodka? My Madagascar beans should be here tomorrow. I can't wait to start! Thanks for the help. sk

  • Posted on 12 Oct at 10:36 PM

    I just learned about your site from the new America's Test Kitchen D.I.Y. cookbook. It includes a recipe for making vanilla extract and mentioned Beanilla as a good source. However, their recipe does involve scraping the beans and heating them prior to infusing them in the vodka. Your thoughts? BTW, I will be placing an order soon, not just for vanilla beans but also for your coconut extract, which has me very intrigued! It's the only non-artificial coconut extract I've ever encountered.

  • Posted on 13 Oct at 10:02 PM

    We have made two "1 gallon" batches of delicious vanilla with 35 Madagascar vanilla beans and cheap vodka. How many times can you reuse the vanilla beans? Any experiences to share? Plan to use bottles of vanilla as gifts this year!

  • Posted on 15 Oct at 1:32 PM

    I have 24-8oz bottles of homemade vanilla extract "marinating" right now and enough beans to make that many again. Easy gifts for the coming holidays. I like making baked goods and adding a bottle of the extract with them in a basket for friends and family. I'm intrigued by your description of how to make almond extract. I think I will make that next and add both to my gift baskets. Thank you for a very informative site!

  • Posted on 16 Oct at 6:42 AM

    Hello, I just complete my first batch of Vanilla Extract! It's a hit! My family loves it. I have one question though, do you know if it's legal to sell the vanilla? A friend suggested that and I am curious. Thanks for your help.

  • Posted on 29 Nov at 3:13 PM

    I am making vanilla extract for Christmas gifts. Most store bought vanilla has sugar in it. Can I add sugar to the vanilla beans and vodka? I'm using 8 oz. bottles. How much sugar can be added?
    Thank you.

  • Posted on 02 Jan at 8:37 PM

    The glass mason jar I have is way shorter than the length of the vanilla bean. Can I cut it in half or bend it? I want to know what I can do since I can't take back the jars I have, nor can I buy any new jars at the moment. Help please?

  • Posted on 02 Jan at 8:44 PM

    Also, I have enough left over beans to make a batch for myself after gifting. I wanted to experiment with something other than vodka. I'm under 21, so I'm a bit limited when it comes to what kind of alcohol I can use. Currently, I have a choice between the rest of the vodka my mom bought or some cognac no one ever drinks. It's the Hennessy Black Variety. Is this okay to use instead?

Share your thoughts, leave a comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Click for the BBB Business Review of this Spices in Comstock Park MI

See Beanilla Trading Co. Reviews at See Beanilla Reviews at See Beanilla Reviews at

Bizrate Circle of Excellence - See Beanilla's Reviews at