Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade vanilla extract. Happy New Year! You may be wondering why I’m sharing a homemade vanilla extract recipe as the first post in 2018. Well, if you want to make homemade vanilla extract, you need to give it at least 6 months or up to a year to make the really good stuff! So since I just finished up my first batch, I thought it was appropriate to share in case you want to make some for the holidays in 2018! PS if you’re looking for other DIY gifts to make, check out some of my DIY plans!

close-up of 5 bottles of homemade vanilla extract

If you bake at all, you make have noticed the huge price increase in vanilla extract and vanilla beans in the past year. Part of it is based on a severe store that wrecked havoc on Madagascar and destroyed vanilla bean farms, but it’s also party due to increase demand in real vanilla. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like vanilla prices will be dropping anytime soon.

close-up of 5 bottles of homemade vanilla extract

While buying a small bottle of vanilla extract for $10 was part of the motivation to make my own, I was also inspired by my father-in-law. For the past couple of years, he had made homemade vanilla and gave it out to family. The problem is even making it homemade, vanilla extract could be quite expensive when you add the price of alcohol to it. Luckily for us, we had a ton of leftover vodka and bourbon from our wedding! So I decided to use both in making this. This isn’t necessary though. Most are just made with vodka, but you can use bourbon, rum or brandy as well. You don’t need to good stuff for this! I just used Smirnoff vodka and Jim Beam bourbon.

close-up of 5 bottles of homemade vanilla extract

Admittedly, the cost of everything will probably be around $100 these days, but it’s still slightly less per ounce than if you bought the cheap stuff at the store. Plus it’s homemade! Hope you give this a try!

close-up of 5 bottles of homemade vanilla extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins

This homemade vanilla extract is an easy DIY gift that everyone will love.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Homemade Vanilla Extract, Vanilla Extract
Servings: 12 (4 oz) bottles
Calories: 300 kcal
  • 36 oz vodka
  • 12 oz bourbon
  • 40 vanilla beans (Grade B - better for extract)
  1. In a large glass bottle that can hold 48 ounces liquid, pour vodka and bourbon. 

  2. Cut vanilla beans in half. There is no need to split or scrape out the vanilla as the alcohol will extract it. Place all 40 vanilla beans in bottle and shake. Place in cool, dark area and shake every couple of weeks. You want in dark area, as light will dilute the vanilla aroma. The longer it sits, the better the vanilla. I'd recommend at least 6 months or up to a year.

  3. Once ready, clean and sanitize the 4 oz bottles. I recommend using amber bottles so the vanilla aroma stays and lasts! You can add a label and give as gifts!

  4. Alternatively if you don't have a big glass bottle you can just place 3 vanilla beans in each bottle and pour 3 ounces of vodka and 1 ounce bourbon. Keep in dark place for 6 months and label when ready. (Note - you want at least 3 vanilla beans for every 4 ounces alcohol. The more the merrier but obviously vanilla right now is pretty pricey)

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