Homemade Vanilla Extract

Posts for vanilla extract have been flying around the blogosphere for quite a while. Reviews are always great – wonderful flavor, a fun and create gift… but I held back from trying it myself, mostly because vanilla beans are so expensive. I finally ordered myself a bunch from the highly recommended and economical Beanilla, and decided to make vanilla extract myself. (It helped that my jar of vanilla extract was running dangerously low!) I’ve seen instructions where as few as 3 vanilla beans can be used for 8 oz. vodka (i.e. on Joy the Baker, Chocolate & Zucchini, and My Baking Addiction) or even with run. I started off this way, using vodka and Tahitian vanilla beans, but after 2 months, I ended up with a vodka strongly flavored with vanilla rather than vanilla extract. I added two more vanilla beans and within a few days, the vodka had turned into vanilla extract.

Homemade Vanilla Extract: Starter


  • 8 oz. vodka
  • 4-5 medium vanilla beans

Pour vodka into a clean airtight container.

Split the vanilla beans lengthwise. Add split vanilla beans to vodka.

Close and shake. Store in a cool, dark place for about 2 months, shaking once a week.

Homemade Vanilla Extract: Reuse

You can keep adding to vanilla extract. When other recipes call for vanilla beans, throw the remaining bean into the jar and add a little more vodka. This way, your jar will never be empty.


When jar of vanilla extract is empty, remove vanilla beans and dry them out and reuse them in another vanilla extract starter set or throw them in a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar. The beans can be used up to 3 times for vanilla extract, as the vodka soaks up only so much flavor.

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