Homemade Vanilla Extract

Easily Make Vanilla Extract at Home

DSC_4371 Vanilla Extract


What do You Need to Make Vanilla Extract?

After posting a picture of my homemade vanilla extract on social media, and answering a bunch of questions, I guess I should have written up a little bit about how I made the extract.

This is one of those things that gives you a lot of bang for your buck. The process is simple.

One quart of vodka. half a pound of vanilla beans (more or less), a quart mason jar with lid.

The first step is to acquire the vanilla beans. Buying good quality beans is important. They arrive fresh and fragrant.

take each bean that you are going to use and a sharp paring knife. Slice a lengthwise slit down each bean. Your hands will smell deliciously like vanilla for some time after.

Stand all the beans upright in the mason jar. Pour the vodka into the jar. Replace the lid. You can also try bourbon or rum if you prefer. Now for the real test of patience. Put the vanilla jar in a dark cool place and forget about it. Not forever but for at least 8 weeks. Don’t completely forget about it because you need to gently shake it up every couple of days or so. I like to let it steep for 3 months. When you open the jar it should smell like vanilla and not like alcohol. The color should be dark and rich.

When your vanilla has matured, filter it into a second mason jar. I use coffee filters. (save the beans!)

After you filter the beans you can pour carefully into the small bottles. I use SKS Bottles

Label any way you like. I used Avery labels in kraft but it’s really up to you. Add a ribbon or a tag and you have a wonderful homemade gift!

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The beans can be reused to make another batch of vanilla. After the second batch of vanilla, let the beans air dry. Cut the beans in half and place in a pint sized jar. Fill jar with sugar, raw or granulated. Allow the beans to flavor the sugar. And there you have…..Vanilla Sugar!


Alternate method. Choose a small decorative bottle. Add two or three vanilla beans split open to the bottle. Add the vodka. Cap, add a ribbon and present as is with instructions to let it develop over two months or more.