Homemade Vanilla Extract

I love the scent of vanilla in anything from candles to soap and the flavor of vanilla in baked goods and desserts is second to none.

If a recipe calls for one teaspoon vanilla extract, I use at least two; but likely more and use a slow, heavy hand when pouring.

All that pouring makes my food taste amazing but my wallet doesn’t like it. Storebought real vanilla extract is pricey and I can make extremely fast work of a two- or four-ounce bottle that sells for $8.99 to $10.99, and up.  Two ounces, that’s for one batch of cookies, right?

Homemade vanilla extract saves money and even if it didn’t, when it comes to taste and flavor, there is just no comparison. It’s like making Homemade Peanut Butter. Price per ounce not withstanding, the taste and flavor of homemade is second to none. When it comes right down to it, homemade everything is almost always better than storebought, and vanilla extract is no exception. I once briefly mentioned that vanilla extract is nearly effortless to make and had quite a few people comment who were surprised by how easy it is or how it’s created. It’s the non-work DIY project, actually.

The only thing special that’s required when making vanilla extract is patience. It won’t be ready for at least six weeks to eight weeks, and if you have the time, longer is fine; preferred actually. If the vanilla beans are left in the jar, the flavor will continue to evolve and mature. If you start today, your extract should be ready to give as holiday gifts. A homemade, thoughtful gift that everyone uses, that costs you very little in terms of money on an ounce-for-ounce, gift-for-gift basis, and is virtually effortless on your part. Sounds like my kind of gift.

To make vanilla extract you need vanilla beans. Beans hail from Mexico, Madagascar, Tahiti, India, Indonesia, Tonga and a handful of other countries. The country of origin of the bean impacts the final flavor of the vanilla extract but like coffee, unless you have a supersonic palate, discerning a Madagascar bean from an Indian bean is like discerning a cup of Kenyan from a cup of Colombian coffee, easier said than done for the average person. Select a bean that sounds good to you. There are no wrong choices here.

When selecting beans, they should be soft, pliable, tender, and flexible. Oily is good and bans that are dried out, hard, have mold on them, or look like dried out sticks should be avoided.

Next, you need alcohol (at least 35% by volume)  in order to extract the vanilla from the vanilla beans, thus the name, vanilla extract. I use vodka that I’d use in a cocktail rather than frathouse bargain vodka that produces hangovers. Skyy happened to be on sale at the grocery store the week I started this batch of extract and was $13.99 for a 750ml bottle (about 25 ounces). There are times I have paid $13.99 for a four-ounce bottle of vanilla; do that bad math. And then make your own vanilla.

Bourbon, rum, or brandy may be used instead of vodka. Vodka produces a cleaner and lighter vanilla extract; bourbon produces a heavier, more complex and moodier, if you will, type of extract. Dark rum, light rum, spiced rum, or brandy will all effect the taste of the final extract compared to vodka, which imparts almost none. In certain chocolate-based recipes, such as brownies or chocolate cake, bourbon-based vanilla is nice and complements the chocolate but in general, and for most baking, vodka-based vanilla extract is my preference.

You need a glass jar that seals in which to make extract. It doesn’t have to be fancy and any clean glass jar with a lid will do. This 8.5-ounce swingtop bottle is perfect for the job and I added five Tahitian Vanilla Beans to it and topped off with one cup (8 ounces) of vodka and sealed it off. The rule of thumb is 5 beans per 1 cup vodka.

I figured as long as this was a two-month project, I may as well extract in bulk. Into a 12-ounce Ball glass jar, the same type you’d use for canning and available from most any grocery store, I added five Madagascar Vanilla Beans. The batch in my swingtop bottle has a slightly higher ratio of beans to liquid, and the resulting extract is just a bit more intensely-flavored. I recommend not skimping when adding beans, and although they can seem expensive, you’ll thank yourself later for not skimping when the taste of your finished extract is robust and flavorful. Plus, think of all the money you’re saving already, overall, by making it at home.

Before placing the vanilla beans in the jar, slice each bean in half lengthwise with a sharp paring knife, stopping one inch before one of the ends so the bean doesn’t split in half, not that it really matters if it would.

Some people scrape the seeds from the inside of the beans, then add the scrapings and beans separately into the jar, but I don’t bother. I simply slice the beans in half and place them into the jar.

Below, the bean on top is sliced in half and the bean below is intact.

Fill up the jars 95% of the way full with vodka, seal, shake for about thirty seconds, and place them in a quiet corner on your countertop, on a shelf, or somewhere that they can just be. For a few months.

Once a week or so, twice if I remember, I give the jars a good ten-second, vigorous shake. Other than a few shakes here and there, you don’t have to do anything other than just wait and let the booze do its extraction work to the beans.

Over time, the taste of the alcohol fades and the taste of vanilla replaces the alcohol. After the months have passed, start using the vanilla extract in any recipe you’d normally use it in. Simple as that.

Some people strain their vanilla extract before using it because they don’t want the teeny tiny little seeds in their food but seeing those real vanilla bean flecks and seeds is what I want and desire. To strain those away would be like taking silver polish to a 100 year old silver spoon with a beautiful patina or painting over antique wood; not something I would ever do. I want the rustic character, the homemade and charming aspect of seeing flecks of vanilla beans in the cookies I bake with this vanilla. Not to mention, those seeds and flecks are little flavor bombs that I’d never strain away.

As I use the vanilla extract, I top it off with more vodka to allow the extraction cycle to continue and after 6 months or so, I replace the beans with new ones, so that fragrant, flavorful, and robust vanilla extract is produced. The beans will last quite awihle, but nothing lasts forever and replace the beans as necessary, which will depend on how much of a vanilla extract fiend you are.

Used vanilla beans, past their prime for making extract, can be dried out, and added to a bag of sugar to produce vanilla-scented sugar. Depending on how much ‘life’ the beans had in them will dictate how fragrant the sugar becomes. Vanilla sugar is nice to bake with and adds extra vanilla oomph to recipes.

Since I have a steady and abundant supply of rich, intense, and delightful tasting vanilla extract, I don’t feel bad about adding two tablespoons to a batch of cookies. Or more.

Sticking my nose in this jar and just breathing in the incredibly smooth, fragrant aroma is intoxicating. You’ll never go back to storebought.

Homemade Vanilla Extract - Mindlessly easy & so much cheaper & more flavorful than buying storebought vanilla!

Homemade Vanilla Extract - Mindlessly easy and so much cheaper & more flavorful than buying storebought vanilla! Makes great gifts!


Homemade Vanilla Extract

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 8 ounces vanilla extract

Making your own vanilla extract is extremely easy and between the cost savings and the wonderful flavor of homemade, you'll never want or need to purchase storebought vanilla extract again. This is not a fast project; it takes about 8 weeks for the extract to be ready for use, but in those 8 weeks, there's no work. Patience is a virtue and homemade vanilla extract is worth the wait. Makes fabulous gifts and people are always grateful for this easy yet impressive gift.


5 vanilla beans, split lengthwise

8 ounces (1 cup) vodka (rum, bourbon, or brandy may be used; vodka produces the cleanest-tasting extract)


Split vanilla beans lengthwise with a knife, stopping about 1-inch from one end. (Use vanilla beans that are flexible, pliable, soft, oily, and not hard or dried out). Place beans in an 8 to 12-ounce jar with a lid (rule of thumb is 5 beans per 8 ounces alcohol). Some people scrape the seeds add the scrapings and beans to the jar separately, but I don't bother scraping.

Pour vodka over the beans to nearly the top of the jar, about 95% full. Seal jar, shake vigorously for about 30 seconds, and set in a corner on the countertop, shelf, or safe place out of direct sunlight, where jar will stay for two months. Once or twice per week, shake the jar for about 10 seconds, otherwise just forget about it.

In 6 weeks, the extract may be ready to use, but it will likely take 8 weeks, and longer is better as the extract will continue to mature. As time elapses, the alcohol will fade and the flavor of vanilla will develop and strengthen. Use your nose and if it smells prominently like alcohol, it's not ready. The extract will always have some scent of alcohol, as storebought vanilla extract does, but it should smell like vanilla extract not like a cocktail. You will be able to discern ready from not ready with a sniff test.

When extract is ready, use it directly out of brewing jar for all your cooking and baking needs. Some people strain extract prior to using to remove the vanilla bean seeds and flecks but I do not. If strained extract is desired, strain it through a fine-mesh filter or sieve). Store extract in the jar in which it's being made or pour into smaller jars (save storebought jars, ask friends and family, they'll be happy to give you old storebought jars if you refill them with homemade). Vanilla extract will keep for many months and year(s) stored at room-temperature out of direct sunlight.

As vanilla extract is used, top off brewing jar with more vodka to allow the vanilla-making cycle to continue. Every six months or so (depends on how fast you're going through it), replace the vanilla beans so they continue to produce flavorful extract. Retired vanilla beans may be dried and added to sugar to make vanilla-sugar. Vanilla-sugar adds extract vanilla oomph to anything it's used in.


As long as the alcohol used is vegan and gluten-free, this recipe is vegan and gluten-free.

I have read about making vanilla without using alcohol by using glycerine and warm water but have read that the extract isn't as flavorful. I cannot speak to this method or the results because I have not tried it.



Some of my favorite recipes using vanilla extract include:

Puffy Vanilla and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies – These puffy, easy, cookies are intensely vanilla-flavored, just the way I like things

Baked Vanilla Donuts with Vanilla Glaze – Vanilla is used twice, both in the donuts and in the glaze, and if you’ve never made donuts before they’re extremely easy and fast. Batter can be baked as muffins rather than donuts if you don’t have a donut pan

Banana Bread with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze – I used vanilla four ways, yes four, in this bread. I love it. No mixer is required, just one bowl, and it’s my favorite banana bread recipe of all time. It’s the jumping off recipe for all other banana-based bread and cake recipes I make

Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars (GF with Vegan adaptation) – I use vanilla twice when making these gooey, rich, easy bars. Full of caramel, chocolate, chewy oats, and vanilla. Keep the napkins handy

Homemade Peanut Butter (vegan, GF) – I add a heavy-handed stream of vanilla extract to my homemade peanut butter, which takes just 5 minutes to make. Homemade peanut butter, like vanilla, is another thing that once you start making it on your own, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing this your whole life because it’s so easy and ridiculously good

Spiced Apple and Banana Bundt Cake with Vanilla Caramel Glaze – This is my favorite frosting of all time. It’s caramely, rich, and has an incredible depth of flavor and vanilla plays a starring role in it. The cake is good, but the vanilla-caramel glaze is heavenly

Do you like vanilla extract or vanilla-scented things? Have you ever made your own vanilla extract?

I love vanilla in everything. Body spray, candles, food, stevia drops, room spray, you name a way to use it, I probably do, and love every last drop of it.

Consider this the first in a three-part vanilla series. Check back this weekend for two, fun, vanilla-themed giveaways.


194 Responses to “Homemade Vanilla Extract”

  1. Diane — December 15, 2012 at 5:23 am (#

    Hi…sort of a silly question… you suggest topping off the vanilla with more vodka as it’s being used; then is it still ready to be immediately used, or should that bottle sit for a few weeks before being used again? It should be ready to be used, with the newly added alcohol not taking over the vanilla flavor, correct?

  2. Morgen — December 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm (#

    A vanilla made with dark rum would be excellent in homemade tiramisu too. I always put vanilla in my coffee, and being a Seattle native I drink quite a bit of coffee.. Can’t wait to make some homemade vanilla! Hopefully then my husband won’t give me dirty looks for using up our vanilla in my morning routine! ;] Thanks for this guide!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — December 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm (#

      I would love to try a dark vanilla with homemade tiramisu! Sounds stunning and glad you love your coffee (and vanilla) just as much as I do!

  3. Gail Plaskiewicz — December 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm (#

    I like the idea of the homemade vanilla but my dad has a drinking problem. I’d totally have to hide the vodka and then he would probably find it anyway. Wish there was another way to make it.

    By the way, even if I could make it, I’ve never seen vanilla beans in my local supermarket. Where do you get them? In the baking isle?

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — December 30, 2012 at 7:26 pm (#

      Yes you can get them in some groc stores in the baking aisle, some TJ’s, or order from the site I linked – Beanilla. Their stuff is awesome!

    • jm — October 30, 2014 at 12:41 pm (#

      You can search for non-alcoholic recipes using vegetable glycerin instead. Just make sure it isn’t soy or corn based!

  4. Kt — January 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm (#

    I tried to make my own vanilla a few years back. I let it sit for weeks then months and it never tasted like anything but Vodka. Such a disappointment! Perhaps one day I’ll get up the nerve to try again :) Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 5, 2013 at 5:29 pm (#

      Your beans don’t sound flavorful enough (most aren’t!). The beans from Beanilla I used and that friends have used are worlds apart from other types. You do need a good 6 or so beans for 1 jar and if you’re using other brands, you could need….20 and still not really have the intensity you need. If you try again, make sure you use the best possible beans you can!

    • Beth — June 25, 2013 at 10:48 pm (#

      I got my beans from Beanilla and it smells like vodka 2 months in. Hope it starts smelling like vanilla soon!

    • Averie Sunshine — June 26, 2013 at 5:33 am (#

      If you used proper ratios and followed my directions which are largely based on the Beanilla website, I would call them and talk to them! However, mine did take a good 2+ months to really develop.

  5. Aletta — January 14, 2013 at 8:03 pm (#

    How long will this keep? You meantion topping it off and replacing the beans after 6months. Will this need to be done if the bottle is left longer without using? Thanks

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 15, 2013 at 2:21 am (#

      There are some fancy vanillas that are aged for YEARS, so really; I hesitate to put a timeline to it. A very, very long time. Use common sense, good judgment, and take it from there is my advice.

      You just want to replace the beans so that you’re not using something that’s not really doing much; the same as you’d replace say an old air freshener after it’s past it’s prime.

  6. Jennifer — March 23, 2013 at 3:28 pm (#

    I ordered vanilla beans last week and have started a batch of vanilla extract. I can’t wait! One question-the company sent me a little bag of vanilla powder also. What would be the best use of that?

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 23, 2013 at 3:45 pm (#

      Use it anything you want to be extra-vanilla-ey. Just sprinkle in a pinch!

  7. Brenda — May 10, 2013 at 9:49 pm (#

    I ordered my beans from Beanilla as well and I started my extract in November. It is still in a dark cool place and once a week I shake it a little and still smells like vodka. I also used 25 grade A beans and good vodka what is it that its not working for me?

    • Averie Sunshine — May 11, 2013 at 12:20 am (#

      I don’t know what to tell you, Brenda. I use those beans, too. You may want to call Beanilla and talk to someone there and see if they can shed any light on things for you!

    • Zeo Phillpotts — August 4, 2014 at 3:48 pm (#

      You might want to check the proof of your vodka. Beanilla suggests a relatively lower proof than what is usually used for regular consumption. This may be causing your strong vodka smell.

      …it was mentioned that this extract is vegan and non- gluten. Really? The distillation process would certainly rule out any gluten worries. As for vegan, I’ve never heard of any liquor distilled from meat juices. Sometimes I think the vegan & gluten-free craze has been taken too far. Thanks for the extracting tips, my product is in the pantry now. (Beanilla also has some nice little bottles to choose from for gifting)

  8. Kathi — June 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm (#

    Is there any reason you could not make the vanilla extract right in the vodka bottle as long as you put the right number of beans in?

    • Averie Sunshine — June 5, 2013 at 6:08 pm (#

      Good question – I don’t see why not. You would need a TON of beans…at least 20+ for the avg size bottle of vodka I would guess, but you’d end up having a huge supply of vanilla that would last ages!

    • Amy — October 9, 2014 at 7:17 am (#

      I do it right in the bottle with lot of beans., as i use a lot of vanilla at xmas time and thru the year. or I give it as gifts which then i transfer it to a bottle with fresh beans. Longer you have to let it sit and work its magic the better the vanilla. I try to have them sit for 6 months or longer before i use it. but then thats me and my opinion… but once you make your own you’ll never buy store bought stuff again.

  9. G Fox — June 5, 2013 at 8:02 pm (#

    Using dark colored bottles or jars works best … I’ve kept some red colored wine bottles and then use the rubber bottle stoppers where you pump out the air. Keeping the light and air out helps with the intensity of the extract. Also keeping the bottle in a dark, cool place helps too.

  10. Anni — June 14, 2013 at 1:53 pm (#

    Gorgeous pictures! And great info too. :)
    Have you ever tried turning regular bottles into swing-top bottles? Just curious… Is it possible?

    • Averie Sunshine — June 14, 2013 at 4:14 pm (#

      I haven’t tried. I’m sure it is possible with a drill and tons of time on your hands, but I frankly would prefer to spend $4.99 and just buy them :)

  11. janice jakaus — June 14, 2013 at 3:13 pm (#

    Sorry for the stupid question, but isn’t this still alcohol? Is the baking of it what gets rid of that? I am just thinking about giving it to children or putting it in something “raw.” Thanks

    • Averie Sunshine — June 14, 2013 at 4:06 pm (#

      It’s just like any other vanilla extract like McCormick’s or some fancy stuff you’d get from Whole Foods or where ever…yes, it has alcohol in it, which burns off in cooking.

      The vanilla you use now has alcohol in it, too; unless you are buying alcohol-free vanilla which is hard to come by and frankly, never tastes the same. You are using a teaspoon in an entire batch of something…the amount per serving is ridiculously small. There’s far more alcohol in cough syrup or mouthwash. Treat this just like any other storebought vanilla.

  12. janice jakaus — June 14, 2013 at 7:26 pm (#

    Thanks! Turns out it was an even stupider question that I thought! I didnt know the store bought stuff had alcohol! LOL This sounds so yummy

    • Averie Sunshine — June 14, 2013 at 11:24 pm (#

      Thanks for writing back because I thought about your question all day! I was seriously…wondering. I am glad to know you simply just didn’t know! Makes more sense now to me :)

  13. Sunny Nestler — July 18, 2013 at 7:53 am (#

    My daughter was a nanny for years. She never wore perfume, only a tiny drop of real vanilla behind each ear. The parents were astonished that, right from the interview, babies would go to her immediately and snuggle right up. There’s something so intoxicating and deeply soothing about GOOD vanilla, and I don’t mean intoxicating due to the alcohol… just a deep breath of fresh vanilla beans makes my whole body happy!

    • Averie Sunshine — July 18, 2013 at 9:37 am (#

      They make my whole body happy and I loooooove vanilla anything! I have it as a body spray, home fragrance, lotion, candles, you name it, it’s my #1 scent!

    • Cathie Burson — April 2, 2014 at 12:29 pm (#

      Well if it was good enough for Katie Scarlett O’Hara it’s good enough.

  14. NancyC — July 18, 2013 at 8:20 am (#

    I learned this same technique several years ago when we visited the Hawaiian Vanilla company, on the Big Island, and brought home some beans already in a jar. I added some good quality vodka that I keep topping up. Home made is definitely better!! (You can order online from them, too!) And with your tips, I’ll now add vanilla to my new recipe for home made peanut butter – yummy!! Thanks for all the tips!

    • Averie Sunshine — July 18, 2013 at 9:36 am (#

      Glad you like the tips and the Hawaiian Vanilla Co. sounds like quite a great little field trip!

  15. Lori — July 18, 2013 at 11:24 am (#

    Question: I wonder….is vanilla extract & vanilla essential oil the same?

    • Averie Sunshine — July 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm (#

      extract – made with alcohol
      essential oil – made with oil

      No, not the same!

  16. Scheli — July 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm (#

    Where do you buy the beans from? Do you have to order them online?
    Thank you,

    • Averie Sunshine — July 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm (#

      Did you read the post about where I said I got them from? Beanilla. I talked about this at length.

      I find their prices and quality to be excellent; but get them from anywhere you’d like. Just make sure they are FRESH fresh fresh and not old and hard and dried up.

    • Janelle — July 18, 2013 at 8:57 pm (#

      Averie, I so enjoyed this wonderful learning experience until the reply about reading the post, Beanvilla and talking about it at length. Not everyone has experience with the use of hyperlinks and/or search engines. Blessed be, j

  17. Carrie — July 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm (#

    Hi Averie!
    I just got my shipment from Beanilla and plan to get started on both bourbon and vodka based extracts, I can’t wait!

    • Averie Sunshine — July 27, 2013 at 1:53 pm (#

      Enjoy! It will be ready for all your pre-holiday baking! Perfect timing!

  18. Rebecca Flores — August 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm (#

    Can you use gin instead of vodka?

    • Averie Sunshine — August 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm (#

      I’ve never seen it made with anything other than rum or vodka. I personally wouldn’t.

  19. Katie — September 1, 2013 at 5:07 pm (#

    I just got home from the liquor store, where I went to buy vodka to start this today. I left with a bottle of vodka, a bottle of whiskey, and a tiny bottle of this stuff called Kinky – a “tropical non-coconutty delicious drink” according to the cashier. I blame you. :D

    • Averie Sunshine — September 1, 2013 at 5:39 pm (#

      Mmm. Sounds like a successful shopping adventure! :)

  20. Kris — September 16, 2013 at 11:25 pm (#

    You can add leftover beans to this, too. Like when you have a recipe that calls for scraping the seeds out and just using them? Put the outer part of the bean into the bottle of vodka-and-beans, it still has a lot of flavor. Why waste it?

    (I dunno if I’d rely on just the outside parts of the beans to fully flavor a whole bottle of the stuff, though. I just use them to help refresh the existing beans, basically.)

    I also use those cast off outer parts for vanilla sugar – cram in jar of sugar, seal, shake, put somewhere cold and dark and forget about it for a while. :)

  21. Lisa Boyd — September 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm (#

    I noticed on the Beanilla sight they advertised Bourbon Vanilla Beans…have you tried these and do they change the flavor. What is your favorite bean to use for this? Thanks

    • Averie Sunshine — September 17, 2013 at 1:43 pm (#

      To be honest, my palate is not refined enough to tell the very, very subtle differences in beans after being submerged in vodka for 4 months :) I say buy what sounds good to you!

  22. Kelly — September 19, 2013 at 6:02 am (#

    Another great place to buy beams is the savory spice shop. They ship and they have a wonderful selection of all sorts of spices and blends for cheap including vanilla beams.

  23. tran — May 12, 2014 at 2:45 am (#

    Which brand/type of rum do you recommend? Do you have any preference on type Vodka brand names? Thanks! I have no clue on what each of the liquor taste like and wonder how it affect the taste of vanilla extract.

    • Averie Sunshine — May 12, 2014 at 4:09 am (#

      I would just buy what you can afford, middle of the road. Not the cheapest, doesn’t have to be the most expensive, either.

  24. Mohea — June 9, 2014 at 3:03 am (#

    You can find vanilla beans from 16 different countries
    This is the website that offers the largest number of countries and producers in the world!
    This allows for many vanilla extracts with the most delicious aromas and perfumes in the world.

  25. Emilee — July 6, 2014 at 9:15 pm (#

    Vanilla sold in the store is sold in a dark bottle, do you know if its better to getter tinted glass to store the vanilla in?

  26. SALMAN — August 20, 2014 at 9:26 am (#

    Thank you for your kind help to the others,as a Muslim not dealing with alcohol is their any alternative to any other than alcohol.

    • Averie Sunshine — August 20, 2014 at 9:41 am (#

      Most commercially-made extracts ARE made with alcohol except in rare situations where noted and they’re made with glycerin or similar. It’s very difficult to extract the herb/seed/etc. without alcohol. Google for more info.

  27. Karen — August 26, 2014 at 1:22 pm (#

    Have you ever added vanilla pods directly into the bottle of vodka?

    • Averie Sunshine — August 26, 2014 at 9:12 pm (#

      If you have a bottle of vodka, like an average size bottle, you could totally add the beans/pods to it, but based on size, you’d probably need at least 20-25 beans. It could be a little bit pricey up front but will pay for itself on the back end. Be prepared if you do that to let it stand about 6 months before even trying to use it – that’s just my guess, but an educated guess :)

  28. Dubh Aingeal — September 6, 2014 at 4:46 pm (#

    I’ll have to give this a try. I use vanilla extract in all kinds of things. A friend of mine’s parents had made a trip to Mexico and brought me back some vanilla extract that I have been rationing like you wouldn’t believe. :p

    I’ve done similar things like this for home made cordials and liqueurs for christmas, birthday, parties, etc. Never dawned on me to remove the simple syrup from one of the vanilla style liqueurs to make an extract. Its pretty much all it is without the sugar.

  29. Mammie — October 2, 2014 at 11:28 am (#

    I can’t wait make this. Where can I find those cute bottles? Hoping to give as gifts……. you know 2 for me 1 for you ÷)

    • Averie Sunshine — October 2, 2014 at 2:11 pm (#

      I got them on Amazon but honestly, I find it easier to use glass mason jars because the mouth is so much wider so you’re not trying to cram all those beans down that skinny neck!

  30. Anna Politan — October 16, 2014 at 4:14 pm (#

    Hi! Thanks for publishing this great recipe (I just found it on Pinterest). Wondering if you’re making it in bulk, could you just stuff 15 beans into a 750 ml bottle of vodka and decant it into smaller jars later?


    • Averie Sunshine — October 16, 2014 at 4:21 pm (#

      I think that would probably be fine, although I haven’t tried. For a large bottle of vodka though, I would use more than 15 beans. In my experience, more is better and 15 I think just sounds a little skimpy. I’d go with 20+. I know they’re expensive but it pencils out in the long run.

  31. Dan Mawn — December 30, 2014 at 1:14 pm (#

    Vanilla flavored vodka is lower in proof content. I’ve been making my own since 2007 . Beanilla is the best place for madagascar beans, the more you buy the cheaper the price!! I no longer buy store vanilla!

  32. Jill Kleckner — January 1, 2015 at 6:22 am (#

    This could be a great site if not for the incredibly annoying pop-ups. Please know I will not be visiting your site for this reason only. I understand the blogging-for-money concept, but the pop-ups on your site make it almost impossible to read and view content.

    • Averie Sunshine — January 2, 2015 at 1:52 am (#

      I’m sorry that you experienced popups. That is not my intention and sometimes advertising partners insert them into the ad rotation and it’s not my intention.

  33. ellie — January 16, 2015 at 9:26 am (#

    I have been wanting to try this for weeks after a friend of mine gifted me some! Thanks for sharing!

  34. Jan Simpson — February 23, 2015 at 5:56 am (#

    What a wonderful article! I cannot wait to try this recipe.

    The “Pop-UP” issue is with the browser the person is using. Google, Yahoo, or Mozilla Block Pop-ups for your browser and follow the instructions. It is difficult to understand someone would not come back to this site due to their lack of research experience.

    Thank you for your wonderful ideas and guidance!

    Warmest regards,

    Jan Simpson

  35. nancy — March 1, 2015 at 3:54 pm (#

    Where do you buy your vanilla beans from? is there a good online store? TIA :-)

  36. Sherie — April 12, 2015 at 9:27 pm (#

    Question ? You said when used to top
    Off and complete the cycle , so after every teaspoon or two add more vodka and wait 2 months , or transfer the completed batch to another jar, and add more vodka to the fist jar and wait 2 months ?? Thanks

    • Averie Sunshine — April 12, 2015 at 9:30 pm (#

      After my bottle is about halfway used, I top off with more vodka and then wait another month or two. It’s not really an exact science. I definitely don’t use 2 tbps of vanilla and then add 2 tbsp more vodka. It’s more of just, okay this is looking low-ish, I need to top it off. Then I wait until it develops, a month or two. I have many bottles in rotation so it works out for me.

  37. Mary — April 15, 2015 at 2:08 pm (#

    This is the first time I see someone mentioned tonga vanilla beans – I come from the kingdom of tonga and I don’t know too many of my kind using tonga vanilla beans here in the states in their cooking. I will try making my first homemade vanilla extract with your recipe – thanks for sharing!

  38. Barka — July 26, 2015 at 3:25 am (#

    Can’t wait to try this! Is it possible to substitute the alcohol for something else? I understand it will affect the flavour but what’s the next best thing?

    • Averie Sunshine — July 26, 2015 at 10:07 am (#

      Not really. You can google for how to make homemade extracts without alcohol. It usually involves glycerin and to me, I’ve tried them, they never taste as good.

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