Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Invoke your inner kitchen alchemist and richly reward your patience with this pure and delicious homemade vanilla extract recipe.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Servings 8 oz


  • 1 cup vodka (Stick to something around 70 to 80 proof)
  • 7 vanilla beans


  • Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise to expose the seeds. Depending on the height of your container, it may be worth it to cut the beans in half or more as needed.
  • Place the beans in the container, then pour the vodka over them, making sure the beans are completely submerged. Shake the container, then set in a cool, dark place.
  • The longer it sits, the better it gets, even up to a year. But you can start using it after about 6 to 8 weeks. Shake it 3 or 4 times a week while it's resting, and feel free to give it a smell every once in a while to check the progress.


Making vanilla extract at home gives you the final say on quality since you're able to choose the specific types of beans you'd like to work with as well as the alcohol you use. This version will give you about the same strength as most store bought, "single-fold" vanilla extracts, but feel free to add to or even double the number of vanilla beans you use to get a proportion that you like the best. And if you'd like help picking a vodka, check out our handy taste-testing experiments. But don't feel limited to vodka, there's plenty of tasty territory to explore with bourbon, rum, and even brandy.