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 MyBakingAddiction.com

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.

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45 Responses to How To Make Vanilla Extract (Homemade)

  • Posted on 24 May at 7:39 AM

    They do make great gifts! Especially around the Holiday's. Jamie from MyBakingAddiction has Free Downloadable labels for your homemade extract. You can
    download them here

  • 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 18 Jun at 3:08 PM

    @WendyK - Just keep your bottle stored in a cool dark place and it will be just fine. Amber and Cobalt colored bottles block out UV light that can damage the contents, but more than likely your extract will be stored in the cupboard/pantry where than won't be an issue.

  • Posted on 18 Jun at 3:21 PM

    @Robyn S.
    I personally leave the vanilla beans in the extract container and do not take them out. Like fine wine, the contents will get better with age. If the beans are left in, just top the container off with more alcohol as you use the vanilla extract for baking. This is an economical way to make your extract last for years! However, it will start to thin out after awhile, but you can always just drop in another vanilla bean or two and it will be back up to strength.

    If you do decide to take the beans out of the extract mixture, do not discard them! Simply throw them in with a cup of sugar and after a few weeks... Vanilla Sugar!

  • Posted on 22 Jun at 6:10 AM

    Hi Tracy, Great question. If you have 3 vanilla beans I would recommend putting them in a 4 or 5 ounce jar and filling it with 70 proof alcohol. The 100 proof alcohol will also work well, in fact, the extra alcohol will provide more "extracting power" so you can add more vanilla beans for the same volume of alcohol. This will provide a stronger extract.

    In general, the rule of thumb is 5 vanilla beans per 8 ounces of 70 proof alcohol. If you would like to make 1 pint of vanilla extract, 10 beans would be recommended.

    Hope you enjoy!

  • Posted on 22 Jun at 6:16 AM

    Thank you very much for the order! The sampler package is a great way to sample many very unique varieties of vanilla. If you received the sampler with 3 beans of each, this will be great for a 4-5 ounce bottle of extract. I would recommend using 70 proof vodka. Vodka is great because it will not add any additional flavors to the extract. This will allow the true flavor of each type of vanilla to really shine! It will also make it easier to compare each variety. Please keep us posted on this, I am very interested to learn what you think of each type.

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