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. Rachel @ Architecture of a Mom posted on October 23, 2012 at 6:41 am (#)

    I’ve never made vanilla extract, but I’m intrigued!

  2. Heather @girlichef posted on October 23, 2012 at 6:48 am (#)

    Homemade Vanilla Extract is such a wonderful gift – and these labels are simply gorgeous!

  3. Patrice posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:02 am (#)

    I’d make vanilla cupcakes.

  4. Nick @ Bakingbeardy posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:06 am (#)

    Chocolate chip cookies! Always my favourite. :-) But homemade vanilla ice cream is pretty delicious too.

  5. Wendy W. posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:09 am (#)

    I love those round bottles!! I never thought of combining different vanillla beans … I will give that a try for my ne xt batch!

  6. sue @ cakeballs, cookies and more posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:11 am (#)

    oh I would love to try making this!

  7. Leanne posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:12 am (#)

    This would be awesome in my husbands creme brule recipe!

  8. danielle posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:16 am (#)

    I would love to try making this.

  9. Caryn s posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:17 am (#)

    I would bake delicious caked especially for Christmas time!

  10. Ali | Gimme Some Oven posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:21 am (#)

    Mmmmm…I LOVE Beanilla! Your jars look so cute!!!

  11. Miranda C. posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:22 am (#)

    sugar cookies.

  12. Jessica Hackman posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:22 am (#)

    gotta me mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies

  13. christopher sorel posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:23 am (#)

    love to make shortbreads

  14. kelly walker posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:25 am (#)

    Buttercream Icing<3

  15. Rhonda Cunningham-Phillips posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:26 am (#)

    I’ve never made vanilla extract either, but I’m going to give it a try. Love the cute storage bottles! Thanks for the opportunity to win this giveaway!

  16. Heather @ What Does She Do All Day? posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:28 am (#)

    My favorite thing to make with vanilla? Cake, cookies, frosting, anything sweet!!!

  17. Rhonda Cunningham-Phillips posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:29 am (#)

    I left out, I’d make my grandmother’s sugar cookies!

  18. Sourkraut posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:29 am (#)

    How cool! My little brother did this and said it turned out wonderfully. I’d love to give it a try myself.

  19. Deanna posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:29 am (#)

    I love making homemade banana pudding with vanilla.

  20. LoriN posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:30 am (#)

    I mostly make cookies with vanilla.

  21. kam posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:31 am (#)

    This is a great idea, thanks!

  22. Angel posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:31 am (#)

    I just had to buy more vanilla and I couldn’t believe how much it cost. My girls and I are getting ready to do a cake decorating class and so I know I will have to get more:(
    how perfect it would be to get this just in time to do the class as well as Christmas cookie decorating too. I love the label design, beautiful

  23. amber j. posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:31 am (#)

    I would love this!

  24. Heather posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:32 am (#)

    My sister recently started making her own and she loves it! I think the first thing I’d make would be fudge-holidays coming up! :-)

  25. Rosanne posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:32 am (#)

    I have always wanted to try this. Thanks for the inspiration!

  26. KellyR posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:32 am (#)

    I’ve been wanting to try this for ages, but the initial cost always makes me put it off.

  27. Anna posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:32 am (#)

    looks super easy! can’t wait to try it :)

    • Anna replied on October 23rd, 2012 at 7:34 am

      Favorite recipe to make…there are so many :) buttercream frosting

  28. mandy regina posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:33 am (#)

    my mom use to make vanilla extract when i was little! i had forgotten about it until i saw this post, it brought back so many wonderful memories! i want to make some like my mom and this would be a fantastic way to get me started!

    • mandy regina replied on October 23rd, 2012 at 7:37 am

      a favorite recipe is so hard to come up with. i use vanilla extract in everything! i guess i really love homemade vanilla icecream, so rich and creamy. i have also been making my own vanilla coffee syrup! the thought of using homemade vanilla extract in my coffee syprup is enough to make me happy to get up in the morning! 😉 homemade coffee syrup is 2cups sugar 2 cups water bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissovled. then add vanilla extract. i don’t know the measurements for this i kind of just add as much as i want which is always more than each recipe calls for!

  29. Demitria posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:34 am (#)

    Vanilla Buttercream! I’m more of a chocolate person, but vanilla buttercream with vanilla beans is just….amazing!

  30. Kathi posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:35 am (#)

    I’ve always wanted to try this! Now I know how, THANKS!

  31. Stephanie posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:35 am (#)

    Sugar cookies!

  32. Deb posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:35 am (#)

    I would love to try this !!

  33. Karen @ The Quaint Cottage posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:37 am (#)

    This looks great and so easy. I’d love to try this for all my baking.

  34. Selena Van Klompenberg posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:37 am (#)

    I have wanted to do this so bad!! Sounds like fun!! :)

  35. Wendy posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:38 am (#)

    Can’t wait to give this a try, but a little late for gifts at 8 weeks until done. :-)

  36. Margie Visnick posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:38 am (#)

    Chocolate chip cookies!!

  37. karen posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:38 am (#)

    I love good vanilla. I need to try this.

  38. Selena Van Klompenberg posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:39 am (#)

    Chocolate chip cookies….my kiddos fave!

  39. Jan posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:39 am (#)

    What a treat for someone – homemade vanilla! I love this idea as a teacher gift, welcome to the neighborhood present, etc. Thank you!

  40. karen posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:41 am (#)

    I most often use vanilla in frosting. I like to add a little vanilla to my pancake batter.

  41. Parsley Sage posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:41 am (#)

    Genius! I had zero idea that you could make vanilla extract at home! And it appears to be pretty dummy proof so that’s even BETTER news for me :)

  42. marla posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:42 am (#)

    This is such a beautiful gift idea Cheryl ~ had to pin it twice!!

  43. Lisa posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:42 am (#)

    I love anything with vanilla, but I’ve wanted to try my hand at creme brulee!

  44. Amy @ A Little Nosh posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:43 am (#)

    Cookies, of course!

  45. Tracey posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:43 am (#)

    Wow! I had no idea there were different varieties of vanilla! That changes least as far as baking… 😉 Seems like I’ve been using lots of vanilla cookies, caramel, granola and muffins. Great giveaway. Definitely going to try making me own this year! Thanks!

  46. Michele N posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:43 am (#)

    I would love to try homemade vanilla in my sugar cookies and in my buttercream frosting.

  47. Kim S. posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:43 am (#)

    Chocolate chip cookies!!!

  48. Patti Keil posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:43 am (#)

    Vanilla is the “secret” ingredient in my famous Rice Krispie Treats!

  49. Barb Key posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:44 am (#)

    Need great vanilla for Grannies poundcake recipe. Happy to have the source for great looking, down loadable labels and the quality vanilla beans-THANKS.

  50. Sierra Geier posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:44 am (#)

    I use vanilla extract all the time but love it in cookies!

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