Recipe for Homemade Vanilla Extract


Last year I wondered how to make vanilla.  I use a lot of vanilla in my baking so I thought why not look for a recipe for vanilla not to mention, it makes a really cool homemade gift as well!  Download and print a pretty label and you have an easy and affordable gift for friends, family or co-workers! 

How to make Vanilla Extract

With as much baking as I do, I go through a lot of vanilla extract.  Since I prefer the Mexican Vanilla, it can get rather costly at $20+ for an 8 ounce bottle! That’s what happens when you get hooked on the good stuff!  

Thanks to I found out, making your own vanilla couldn’t be easier and it is far more economical than buying the store bought variety.  By making my own vanilla extract, I could also try more varieties than just Mexican.  Beanilla sells bottles and  7 different variety of vanilla beans, each of which has a unique flavor!  Using premium grade vanilla beans will provide significantly better flavor and aroma than commercially produced extracts.

According to

Do you prefer bold and smokey? If so, try Mexican vanilla beans. Rich and creamy? Use Madagascar Vanilla Beans! Floral aroma and unique cherry-chocolate? Venture to the Tahitian vanilla beans. Each type is excellent for homemade vanilla extract.  You can even blend various varieties together.  The floral, fruity, cherry like notes of the Tahitian variety blend wonderfully with the nutty-chocolate character of the Bourbon varieties.

Christmas is just two months away! How did that happen?  So now is the perfect time to start making Homemade Vanilla if you want hand some out during the holidays and have some for your own holiday baking!

Vanilla Extract Recipe

What you need to make Vanilla Extract

How to make Vanilla Extract for a homemade gift

First be sure to wash you bottles in hot soapy water.  Rinse well, then allow your bottles to air dry.

Wash & Dry Bottles for Homemade Vanilla

Using a sharp knife, slice each vanilla bean in half.  then starting about 1/4″ from one end, cut the vanilla bean lengthwise (see picture below)

Place 6-8 vanilla bean pieces (that would be 3-4 whole beans) in each 8 ounce bottle. Using a measuring cup or funnel, pour vodka into each bottle completely covering the  beans in the liquid.

Making Homemade Vanilla at

Next, place the caps/lids on tightly and store bottles in a cool, dark environment (I put mine in a closet) Give them a good shake about once a week. The vanilla will be ready to use as soon as 6 weeks, and the longer you allow it to age, the darker it will become and the more intense the vanilla flavor will be.

Homemade Vanilla recipe at

After 8 weeks the majority of the extraction process is complete and the vanilla is ready to use.  The vanilla beans can be removed or you can leave the vanilla beans in the jar for the flavor to continue evolve – just be sure to add vodka so the beans are always submerged in alcohol.

Homemade Vanilla

Worth mentioning:  Vanilla Beans can be VERY pricey at the grocery store, so if you plan to make more than a bottle of extract I highly suggest purchasing your beans at Beanilla, right now they have 25 Madagascar Vanilla Beans for $25 + FREE shipping! that’s a fantastic price!

Homemade Vanilla Extract FREE Labels to print

If you’d like to  dress up your vanilla extract before gifting, you can head over to and download and print the free Vanilla Extract labels Kelly made for me and YOU!

Free Printable Vanilla Extract Label from

You’ll be seeing more of Kelly around here, she is will be a new contributor here at TidyMom sharing more fabulous printables!


What? you need supplies?  I’ve got you covered there too!

The great people at would like to give four lucky TidyMom & LiveLaughRow readers 5 Madagascar vanilla beans,5 Uganda vanilla beans, and two 8 oz decorative glass bottles and a 2 oz bottle of flavoring (for other baking needs).

 Beanilla Vanilla Extract Giveaway at


To enter simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below (if you are reading this post via email or reader, as always you must click over to the blog to enter)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer:  Beanilla found out I was making my own Vanilla Extract and offered to send me the supplies and some to giveaway.  As always, all opinions, views and love of good quality vanilla are my own.

more by Cheryl »

Cheryl Sousan

A self-proclaimed neat freak, Cheryl chronicles her journey through homemaking on her blog,, where she shares recipes, tutorials, crafting and her ever-growing love for photography. This St. Louis mom juggles her passion for life, her daughters and her tiger-loving husband, all while her obsession with tidiness cleans up the trail blazed behind her. Google+

668 Responses to “Recipe for Homemade Vanilla Extract”

  1. Cheryl posted on June 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm (#)

    Can I use a metal lid or does it need to be plastic or cork? Thank you!

  2. Jmank posted on July 24, 2014 at 12:32 am (#)

    This might be a silly question but is this safe for children considering the alcoholic ingredients?

    • TidyMom replied on July 24th, 2014 at 2:46 am

      all vanilla extract is made with alcohol. –

  3. Deebi27 posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:04 am (#)

    These look so AWESOME and can only imagine just how yummy they are for baking and anything I might need vanilla extract for…Oh the possibilities! ThAnKs!!!

  4. kelly posted on October 10, 2014 at 12:58 am (#)

    found your web page, excited about making this for holiday gifts. But CANT find any small bottles. Where did you buy them from. thanks

    • TidyMom replied on October 10th, 2014 at 9:20 am

      Beanilla sells bottles as small as 4 ounces. But you could also try Amazon or The Container Store

  5. Sheila posted on June 2, 2015 at 1:40 am (#)

    I am a celiac and would love to make my own vanilla extract.  However, vodka has gluten and would like to know if that is the only one I could use.  Do you think I could use gin instead?

    • TidyMom replied on June 2nd, 2015 at 9:23 am

      I checked with some GF bloggers and got these answers for you:

      She can make homemade vanilla. Bourbon and Vodka are gluten free. There is some misinformation in regard to this. If she is super concerned, Tito’s Vodka would be the simplest answer, as it is distilled from corn so has never contained gluten.

      Here is a list of GF Vodka’s… (scroll down)

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