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How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

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I would guess that since you are reading My Baking Addiction, you probably have some form of vanilla extract in your pantry. Some of you may use imitation vanilla, while others may fork over the money for higher quality pure vanilla extract.

Regardless of your vanilla choice, I wanted to share an effortless “recipe” for pure vanilla extract using two easy ingredients; liquor and vanilla beans.

I don’t expect everyone to use high quality products when baking or cooking because let’s be honest, we’re all on a budget and high quality almost ALWAYS signifies high prices. Nevertheless, vanilla is one of those ingredients that I never skimp on. The difference between pure vanilla and imitation vanilla is simple. Pure vanilla extract is made from vanilla beans, while imitation vanilla utilizes imitation flavors to impart that vanilla goodness; the difference in flavors truly cannot be compared.

If you have ever purchased vanilla beans from you local grocery store, you know they come in a glass bottle and retail anywhere from $8-10 for one dry bean. Personally, I refuse to pay such a ridiculous price for such low quality ingredient. In the past, when friends of mine have gone on a Mexican fiesta, I have pleaded with them to return back to Ohio with some vanilla stashed in their luggage. Last year, Rob, from Beanilla, sent me a variety of high quality beans from all over the world, including  cherished Mexican Vanilla Beans , and I have not looked back since. Although, I love the Mexican Vanilla Beans, I have thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with the numerous varieties of beans that Beanilla has to offer. Much like wine preferences, every baker’s tastes will vary with their choice of vanilla.

I now make my own vanilla extract to use in all of my baked goods and could not be happier with the results. Although this may seem an intimidating and unnecessary process, I can tell you that the results are unrivaled.

Other than having to go out and purchase the alcohol, Beanilla provides everything you will need to embark on this simple task, down to the glass bottles for making and storing the extract.

Be sure to come back later this week for some fun gift ideas including adorable labels that can be personalized for your favorite baker.

Step One: Gather your ingredients.

Step Two: Use a knife to split the vanilla beans.

Step Three: Place beans in bottle and cover with liquor.

Final product after 6 weeks.

Homemade Vanilla Extract


-Sterilized Jar or Bottle with a tight, secure lid
-Vanilla Beans in your favorite variety (rule of thumb is 1 bean per 1/3 cup of alcohol)
-Vodka (I used Three Olives), but you can also use Bourbon, Rum or Brandy)


1. Use a knife to spilt the bean in half, leave about ½ inch at each end intact.

2. Put your vanilla beans in your glass bottle or jar and cover with vodka.

3. Close jar or bottle and store in a cool, dry place for at least 6-8 weeks. Give the bottle a shake every week or so. As you use the vanilla, simply add in more liquor to replace what you have used.

All images and text ©

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Leslie Burnell

Tuesday 4th of July 2017

Thank you so much. I am glad I chose your site to get your carmel sauce recipe. The homemade vanilla extract was an added bonus. I went right out to the local grocery, they did not carry vanilla beans. However, there was a product from simplify that had a glass jar similar to yours with 3 beans in it. A bit pricey, and not enough beans for my taste. I am sick to death of paying high prices for good vanilla and end up using way more than I should of the imitation. So I ordered more beans online and headed for the liquor store to get some vodka. I was pleasantly surprised to find a brand of vodka that was also vanilla flavored.(natural) To wrap this up, my bottle is in the cuboard and I just can not wait to try this. 6 to 8 weeks will put me at fall baking and I will be ready. Thanks again.


Friday 7th of July 2017

You're welcome, Leslie!

Rae Sandberg

Saturday 4th of October 2014

I have been making homemade Vanilla for my daughters and myself for a year now. I have wanted to try more beans but now I have different beans and I'm not sure how to store them. .. I have one of those nice glass containers from Beanella but I don't want to mix them up... If anyone has any ideas, please let me know. I love looking at them.. this year I have mixed Tahitian Beans with the Madagascar beans.. so we'll see how that turns out. .


Saturday 4th of October 2014

Rae- Let us know how the mixture of vanilla beans turns out! Thanks for stopping by.



Monday 18th of November 2013

My vanilla has been brewing for 6 weeks now, but it looks so grainy in the jars. I have 6 pints in hopes to give some as Christmas gifts to my neighbors. Do I have to strain it before transferring to the smaller bottles? My recipe said to scrape the seeds, but to put them in the jar with the beans. I bought Madagascar Beans.


Wednesday 20th of November 2013


You can strain it through cheesecloth to get rid of the grainy bits. No worries, nothing is wrong with the extract! Thanks for stopping by!



Thursday 14th of November 2013

Thanks for the bean addrest


Thursday 14th of November 2013

Use a good bourbon or rum last for years. Ask the people who work at the store. Watch the price. I do mine a year.barcady gold is good, I'm not a drinker so don't want something that tast like rubbing akahol.

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