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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 a few simple ingredients.
4.75 from 4 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.)


  • 1 cup Vodka or other alcohol like bourbon or rum (should be 35%+ ABV)
  • 7 Vanilla Beans actual number of beans may vary slightly (1 oz. by weight is the goal)


  • 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 more easily, 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 beans. The standard is 1 oz. of vanilla beans (by weight) per 8 fl oz. (1 cup) of alcohol. Traditionally vodka is 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).
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!