Homemade vanilla extract recipe

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make vanilla extract? Homemade Vanilla Extract is prized for its rich, complex flavor and incredibly smooth aroma. There simply is no substitute. Enhance your baking to a whole new level with this easy to follow homemade vanilla extract recipe that only needs a few simple ingredients.

Many people are often familiar with clear or imitation vanilla extract. The difference between pure vanilla and imitation vanilla is simple; pure vanilla extract is made from whole vanilla beans extracted using 35%+ alcohol (ABV) - that's it! Don't be fooled by extracts that claim to be pure, imitation and clear vanilla utilize artificial flavors. Pure vanilla extract should be dark brown; the color of Vanilla Beans used in the extraction process.

photos courtesy of mybakingaddiction.com

Making vanilla extract is fun and simple! Here's all that you'll need:


Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract is prized for its rich, complex flavor and incredibly smooth aroma. There simply is no substitute. Enhance your baking with this easy to follow homemade vanilla extract recipe that only needs 2 simple ingredients.
4.45 from 87 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 180 d
Servings 8 oz. Vanilla Extract


  • 1 Bottle or Jar (a little bigger than 8 oz. for this recipe. Use larger/smaller as needed.)


  • 8 oz. Vodka (35%+ ABV)
  • 6-8 Vanilla Beans (1 oz. by weight is the goal. Actual number of beans may vary.)


  • Slice each bean lengthwise and place in bottle. (If it helps to cut them into smaller, tootsie roll-sized pieces so they fit in the bottle better, go for it).
  • Pour one cup of vodka (or alcohol of your choice) into the bottle. Make sure the vanilla beans are completely submerged. No cheating now - the whole cup needs to go into the bottle! Seal bottle with lid or cap.
  • Shake once or twice a week.
  • Wait at least 8 weeks, but 4-6 months is ideal. The longer brewing time allows the flavor to fully develop.
  • Presto, your alcohol has turned into delicious homemade vanilla extract! Store at room tempertaure and out of direct sunlight, and you can enjoy this puppy til' the last drop!


The ratio of beans to alcohol is calculated based on the weight of the vanilla beans. The standard for pure vanilla extract is 1 oz. of vanilla beans (by weight) per 8 fl. oz. (1 cup) of alcohol.
Vodka is most commonly used to make vanilla extract as it doesn't add additional flavor, but any 35%+ ABV/70+ PROOF liquor will work (you can experiment and find what you like - popular alternatives are bourbon or rum).
When your extract is done brewing you can leave the beans in or you can remove them and strain the extract. If you remove the beans you can use the to make vanilla sugar!
Bottle of homemade extract

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. Did you know that you can make vanilla extract from different types of vanilla beans? Each different vanilla variety will create a unique flavor!

Do you prefer bold and smokey? If so, try Ugandan vanilla beans. Traditional, rich and creamy? Use Madagascar Vanilla Beans! Floral aroma with a unique cherry-chocolate flavor? Venture to the Tahitian vanilla beans. 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 vanilla is ready to use and the vanilla beans can be removed. If the vanilla beans are left in the bottle, the flavor will continue to evolve just like a fine wine (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 along with free printable homemade vanilla extract labels to dress up your bottles.

Homemade Vanilla Extract Labels

Whether you are a seasoned baker, procrastinating about making vanilla extract, or looking for the perfect holiday gift this year— then look no further! Check out our Homemade Vanilla Extract Kit.

Vanilla Extract Kit

Making vanilla extract is a fun, easy way to bring a favorite recipe to the next level. Whether you decide to try out our infusion kit first hand or give it as a gift this holiday season, we are sure you will agree that there is no substitute. You found your secret ingredient.

From all of us at Beanilla, we sincerely hope you enjoy our favorite all-time recipe.

Happy Extracting!