Homemade Vanilla Extract

Who doesn’t love a little vanilla in their homemade waffles or cookies?
Did you know Vanilla Extract is really easy to make, lasts longer, costs much less, and is just as good as the expensive stuff you buy in the gourmet food stores?
 How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

~You need three simple items~
Vodka (cheap stuff will do)
Vanilla beans
Airtight jar
Split the vanilla beans in half using a knife and add them to your air-tight jar.
Pour vodka into the jar.
For every vanilla bean, I’d add approximately two to three ounces of vodka.

Place the jar in a dark cupboard and shake it every once in a while.  Eventually, the vanilla seeds will loosen from the pod. Shake the jar once a week or every few weeks. Your vanilla extract will be ready in eight weeks.


As you begin to use your vanilla, you can top it off with a little vodka each time. Give it a shake after you refill and give it a shake before each use.
It does not need to sit for another 8 weeks.

The vanilla will last several years, if it still smells good, it’s still good to use!  When the vanilla does not smell and taste as intense, simply remove the old beans, add fresh beans, shake, and continue to use.  When you replace the beans, it will need to sit for 8 weeks again.
How to Make Delicious Homemade Pure Vanilla

Think of what a fabulous homemade gift this would make, it truly is the gift that keeps on giving!


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  1. This looks yummy Kristin! And you are right, it would make a nice gift for any occasion. Thanks!

  2. Great tip! I was surprised about the vodka, didn't know vanilla extract was made with vodka. When I run out of my current stock, I'll certainly give it a try.

  3. This is cool!! 🙂 I have to do this vodka vanilla extract.. do you use it also in cakes?
    Thank you kristin!

  4. I've had the ingredients for this for a while but just haven't made it yet. Can't wait to taste it though, so maybe soon I will get it done 🙂

  5. This is awesome, Kristin! I can't wait to try it! We love vanilla in pancakes, etc. The bottle you used makes quite a bit. Worth the 8 wks. Love the label from Graphic's Fairy!
    Thanks for the idea!

  6. This is a lovely gift and I love your label that you put on it. It makes a pretty presentation.

  7. I have NEVER heard of doing this but I am totally going to try it! And, the best part is that after you make the vanilla extract you can use the leftover vodka for a cocktail, right? 🙂

  8. OMG now i can make vanilla vodka and coke! just kidding! but seriously i am going to make my own vanilla ex. thanks kris

  9. I gave this to all friends and family for Christmas this year and they loved! I should have kept a bottle for myself to make sure they were actually edible.

  10. What a wonderful tip! The imitation vanilla tastes so…….cheap. This will add a little luxury to my kitchen! I know my local co-op sells vanilla beans in bulk, so this is definitely on my to-do list for tomorrow! Thanks!

  11. What a wonderful gift idea, Kristin! Thanks for the recipe, tutorial, and graphic! I'm saving this one for sure! 🙂

    xoxo laurie

  12. This is great! With as much baking as I do this is perfect. Thanks for the recipe

  13. Just popped over from Graphic Fairies and so glad I did this is great! I will definitely bet trying this! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Love this, I think I will give this a try. I also think it would make a nice gift..


  15. Do you need to let it sit for another 8 weeks after you “top it off” with more Vodka? How many times can you do that before you need to start over or add more beans? And does this vanilla work for any and all recipes that call for vanilla?

  16. Just remember that you have to use a Gluten Free vodka if you are going to label the vanilla extract as Gluten Free. There are Gluten Free vodkas out there, so no problem.

  17. Um, can you please respond to some of these comments/questions? Everyone is asking questions that I have, but you only responded to three, kinda useless comments. lol It would really be nice to get some answers. I’ve never seen a blogger abandon a post like this. lol

    1. Seth, my apologies, many times I answer comments via e-mail to make it more personal. It looks like I missed one question on this thread and for that, I am so sorry. Since you did not leave a direct question I will answer the one question that I did not answer directly in the comment section.

      As you begin to use your vanilla, you can top it off with a little vodka each time. Give it a shake after you refill and give it a shake before each use.
      It does not need to sit for another 8 weeks.

      The only time you need to let it sit for another 8 weeks is When you replace the beans, usually after 2 years.

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