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How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract {Super Easy Recipe!}

Homemade Vanilla Extract is about to take your baking up to a whole new level! Plump vanilla beans soaked in a spirit create a rich deep flavor every baker desires.  Your cookies, cakes, and desserts will taste so amazing you will want to bake with it always. You will be shocked by how simple it is to make.

Homemade Vanilla Extract in 3 easy steps

Vanilla is a Must-Have Ingredient in Baked Goods

I have been a long proponent of a certain brand of vanilla and vanilla bean paste because, well, it is so darn good in all my baked goods. Check out our Desserts page for more recipes!

BUT, this year I decided to challenge myself to make my own and you know what I discovered? It is SO SIMPLE to make vanilla extract!

I mean, really, really easy. With a few items, you can make homemade vanilla in 3 easy steps!

Good vanilla extract from scratch

This little experiment took hold after watching Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) on the Food Network and her use of the term “use good vanilla.”

Here I always thought I was using good vanilla, but then I thought about it and wondered, what exactly made the vanilla good? The vanilla bean pods? The vodka?

I determined, it requires both; and both are what the user- you and me- decide are “good” for our taste.

Related recipes: Nana's Sand Tarts, Classic Sugar Cookies, Cinnamon Swirl Bread, Avocado Chocolate Mousse, Cast Iron Skillet Cookie, Monster Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pumpkin Pound Cake, Zucchini Carrot Muffins, silver dollar pancakes with vanilla bean butter

jars vanilla beans on board

What you need to make homemade vanilla extract

So, I set out to find a few glass jars, Madagascar vanilla beans from Penzey's Spices, and my preferred vodka, Grey Goose.

I combed Target for the jars and found a nice small decorative jar for $1 and a nice big Kilner canning jar. I liked this one because of the shape and ridges and because it is so large, I will have homemade vanilla forever and ever! 

I chose the vanilla beans from Penzey's because they are ginormous, plump, and for the cost, you get your money's worth for sure.

Pouring Vodka in jar

Vanilla extract recipe

And, I've basically just shared what you will need for making homemade vanilla in 3 easy steps! Yep. That easy.

homemade vanilla in 3 easy steps

Crazy, right?!

Homemade Vanilla Extract Takes Time to Make

Of course, the only extra thing you will need is patience because once you put these items together, you need to wait at least 30 days for the flavors to brew into a glorious amber liquid full of flavor every baker would be envious of having on their pantry shelf.

One question you may ask yourself is “How long does homemade vanilla extract last?” and my answer to that is forever, as long as you keep your beans rotated and covered with liquid, you are good for years to come!

Beans in jar
30day jars vanilla with pod

What are the exact steps to make vanilla extract?

Here is the ratio I followed:

For the small jar, I used 5-6 vanilla beans; for the large canning jar, I used about 10 beans.

I used a sharp paring knife and cut from the midpoint of the bean, cut it in half; so it looked like a “Y”.  By splitting the pods, the minute beans fall out and filter into the liquid making it super good.

Shoved the split beans in the jars and then covered them completely with vodka.

Place the jars in a dark cool place and give them a gentle shake every so often. You will see the beans swirl and that is a good thing.

Jars of homemade vanilla extract

30 days later you have liquid gold! Homemade Vanilla Extract will never go bad- just be sure to always keep the beans covered with vodka.

If you take out a bean to use, replace it. Use a few tablespoons for baking, top off the liquid.

Homemade Vanilla Extract Gifts

If you have a baker in your family or on your gift list, this will be a perfect gift for the holidays, or birthday, or any occasion really!

Just be sure to plan ahead so that you are ready when the time comes. If you run out of time, here are some great gifts to give a foodie!

Looking for food and snack subscription boxes? Click here to find the perfect one for you!

Is Vodka the Only Alcohol I Can Use to Make Vanilla Extract?

Nope!! In fact, I encourage you to try different flavors! Our favorites are

  • Vodka
  • Bourbon
  • Rum

Each brings a depth of flavor that is unique and so incredibly delicious!

We love using our homemade vanilla extract when making our baked goods!

Homemade Vanilla Extract in 3 easy steps is great for your baking! Also makes a great gift too! #vanillaextract #baking #recipes #gifts

Homemade Vanilla in 3 Easy Steps

Homemade Vanilla Extract in 3 easy steps is great for your baking! Also makes a great gift too! #vanillaextract #baking #recipes #gifts

Make homemade vanilla extract in 3 easy steps! Plump Madagascar vanilla beans and Grey Goose Vodka make a delicious amber extract perfect for baking.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes



  1. Find a clean, dry airtight glass jar (such as a sealed spice or canning jar)
  2. Split bean pods in half from mid-point down forming a "Y"
  3. Place in jar and cover completely with vodka
  4. Place in dark cool place and shake gently every few days.
  5. Allow to steep for 30 days.
  6. Replace used vanilla beans with fresh and always keep beans covered with vodka.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

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Original post : 12/19/18

Updated Post: 11/5/19

Kelly Pugliano

Tuesday 16th of February 2016

Thanks! It is! I have really noticed a difference (for the better!) in my baked goods using the homemade. I got the jar at Target!

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