Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe

Homemade Vanilla Extract – Making homemade vanilla extract is so easy! With just two ingredients and about 5 minutes of hands-on time, you’ll love making this pantry staple at home! Great for gift giving, too! 

Homemade Vanilla Extract - Making homemade vanilla extract is so easy! With just two ingredients and about 5 minutes of hands-on time, you'll love making this pantry staple at home! Great for gift giving, too! // addapinch.com

 

I use vanilla extract in so many of my recipes that I thought it was about high time to share about how to make your own at home!

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Making homemade vanilla extract is one of the simplest things to make and makes a gift that anyone would love to receive – especially if they love to cook or bake!

Vanilla extract only requires two ingredients – vanilla beans and alcohol.

For the vanilla beans, I like to use organic whole vanilla beans as I think they have a tremendous amount of flavor. I use either vodka or bourbon for the alcohol. The choice of alcohol will impact the flavor slightly of the vanilla extract, so you’ll want to take that into account when you decide which to use.

Vodka is the most neutral of alcohols to use and makes for the cleanest tasting and clearest in appearance vanilla extract in my opinion. It allows the vanilla flavor to shine through and is the closest to a classic vanilla extract that you would purchase from a cooking supply store.

For a deeper flavor and coloring with an amazing scent, I like to use bourbon. It makes for more of a signature vanilla extract to use in cooking and baking and one that is different enough from the everyday that friends remember you when they use it.

While technically homemade vanilla extract is great to use and give a month from when you’ve made it, the longer that it steeps, the more flavorful and the darker it will become. I love to make it and give a little note to the recipient telling them just that. Friends have told me that it just gets better every time they use it!

To make your vanilla extract, you’ll want to use about 6 to 7 whole vanilla beans per cup of alcohol. I split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, leaving the tip of one end attached. Then, I place the vanilla beans into clean bottles and fill the bottle with the alcohol of choice. Then, I secure the top to the bottle and give it a good shake, label it, and place it in a cool, dry, dark location until ready for gifting or using. If the vanilla beans are longer than the bottle that you are using, simply cut the vanilla bean in half or even thirds to fit.

For the bottles, I use different size bottles from year to year, but for this year’s gifts, I’m using these 8.5 ounce bottles. If you would like to make smaller portions to give gifts to more people, I love these 4 ounce round bottles.

I think you are going to love making and giving these wonderful homemade gifts to friends and family and I just know they will love receiving them, too! They’ll think of you each and every time that they use it!

Here’s my Homemade Vanilla Extract recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

Yield: 1 cup

Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe

Total Time 5 minutes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Homemade Vanilla Extract - Making homemade vanilla extract is so easy! With just two ingredients and about 5 minutes of hands-on time, you'll love making this pantry staple at home! Great for gift giving, too!
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Ingredients

  • 6 to 7 organic whole vanilla beans
  • 1 cup vodka or bourbon

Directions

  1. Split vanilla beans in half lengthwise, leaving the tip of one end attached. Place into a clean bottle(s). If the vanilla bean is too long for the bottle, cut in half or thirds as needed. Fill the bottle with vodka or bourbon and secure the top to the bottle. Label the bottle and shake vigorously. Store in a cool, dark location for at least a month, shaking once per week. The longer the vanilla extract steeps, the darker and more intense the vanilla flavor and scent.

Notes

Recipe yields 1 cup of homemade vanilla extract. The recipe can easily be increased or decreased based on how much vanilla extract you are making. This recipe yields 1 (8-ounce) bottle or 2 (4-ounce) bottles.

All images and text © Robyn Stone for Add a Pinch

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

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Homemade Vanilla Extract - Making homemade vanilla extract is so easy! With just two ingredients and about 5 minutes of hands-on time, you'll love making this pantry staple at home! Great for gift giving, too! // addapinch.com

23 comments on “Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe”

  1. Hi Robyn,
    Long time reader but first time commenter. I must say I never knew it was so easy to make vanilla extract at home! This looks like such a great idea especially with how fast you can go through vanilla extract when baking. I can’t wait to try it!

    • Hi Rose!
      So great to meet you! I hope you enjoy making your own vanilla extract! I think you’ll love it! The longer that it steeps, the more flavorful it becomes! xo

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  3. Hi Robyn

    What “level” of alcohol would you use? Cheap bottles of vodka or bourbon? Or a high-end bottle? Will the quality of the spirits affect the flavor?

    • Hi Kail,
      I generally like to use at least a 40% alcohol for making my vanilla extract. I use Jack Daniels for my bourbon and just a clear, clean tasting vodka. I hope that helps!

      • Hi Robyn,
        Great recipe. But you need to add a word of warning to it. Once you give this as a gift, they never forget. They will be at your door for a refill!!!LOL. I gave 6 bottles in gift baskets last year and all 6 want more. I use Jim Beam too and I’m going to try a vanilla flavored vodka in a small batch to see how that works. Love the site and all the recipes. ………..Thanks Rochelle

      • So true, Rochelle! But, on the upside, it sure does make gift-giving easy from year to year! 🙂

  4. Where do you get organic vanilla? Love your recipes. Have used many of them. Carol Joy

    • Hi Carol Joy,
      I’ve gotten my organic vanilla beans from a few places, but have included the link on Amazon to where I purchased the last few years. I’ve always had good results with them. When you buy them, they should be vacuum sealed. Just gently press on the vanilla beans to make sure they are soft. If they aren’t, don’t buy them if in the store or send them back if you’ve ordered them. I made that mistake when I first started making my own and bought them from a store. They were overly dried and the flavor didn’t come through much at all in the vanilla. Sorry to have written you a whole book on vanilla beans! Ha! 🙂

  5. Cool pictures and great recipe!

  6. Hi Robyn! I don’t see a link to buy the 8.5 oz bottles — would you mind sharing where you got them? Happy holidays!

  7. I didn’t see the link to buy vanilla beans either. Can’t wait to try this. I’ve been addicted to using Mexican vanilla and can’t wait to see if I can make some close to that. Love your website, love your recipes, love your personal touch! Just proves that at 60ish your not too old to learn new things! Pam

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  9. Is the cake still OK for kids to eat after baking with this vanilla!?

  10. Excited to try this. How long of a shelf life? Best place to store after making? Thanks

    • Hi Monique,
      I’m so excited you are going to make your own homemade vanilla extract. It really is out of this world! The best place to store it is in a dry, dark place – such as a cabinet or in your pantry. While mine is making, I store it in a cabinet that I can easily access for checking on it regularly and turning it. Once it is made, I keep it in my cabinet or pantry like I do with store bought. I usually use mine within a year, but the shelf life is indefinite. If it is exposed to heat and light, it may become a bit hazy, but is otherwise fine to use. I hope that helps and that you love it! xo

  11. This was a great homemade item I made to remember a trip to Tahiti, which is know for it’s excellent vanilla beans. I used a high quality vodka. I didn’t think about bourbon but think it’s an excellent suggestion. The tip .got from a local Tahitian to pick. good vanilla beans is to look for shiny plump ones. The wrinkly shriveled looking ones are old and too dry.
    This is an excellent post! Thank you.

  12. I have made this recipe for years, with vodka, and it is the bomb!!!

  13. Hi Robyn, thank you enormously for your amazing recipes.
    I was wondering, can the alcohol be substituted by anything else?
    Thank you

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