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. Anne posted on October 30, 2012 at 2:03 pm (#)

    I just started making my own vanilla. I have been using a ball jar, and the lid gets sticky and then it is hard to open. This kit would be perfect!!

  2. Christina Arnold posted on October 30, 2012 at 2:04 pm (#)

    Absolutely would have to be my very vanilla whipped cream!!!

  3. Christina Romero posted on October 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm (#)

    I love to make Vanilla cupcakes from scratch!

  4. Jaci posted on October 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm (#)

    I don’t know what my “favorite” thing is, I put vanilla in just about everything I bake!! I love GOOD vanilla too!

  5. Brisha Teo posted on October 30, 2012 at 2:32 pm (#)

    I LOVE vanilla extract in everything! But my favorite recipe to use it in, where it really shines, is coconut milk vanilla cupcakes. Yumm.

  6. Jennifer Raper posted on October 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm (#)

    I love to use vanilla extract in my sugar-free chocolate and almond butter cookies!!!

  7. Jessica Reurich posted on October 30, 2012 at 2:37 pm (#)

    I would love to make my own vanilla!!!

  8. Chris Bennett posted on October 30, 2012 at 2:39 pm (#)

    I love using Mexican vanilla in my homemade sugar cookies!

  9. Stacy posted on October 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm (#)

    Homemade peanut brittle with good vanilla :)

  10. Rachel Shay posted on October 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm (#)

    I would LOVE to win this, to make vanilla extrast! How fun! Thanks for the chance!

  11. Jessyca posted on October 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm (#)

    I put vanilla in almost ALL of my baked goods. My habit gets expensive! Making my own is a great idea!

  12. charli posted on October 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm (#)

    I use mexican vanilla in my sugar cookies and they are sooooooooooo good! They smell and taste insanely yummy!

  13. Armindy M posted on October 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm (#)

    Chocolate Chip Cookies. A simple recipe but always a favorite. I’ve been on the hunt for some Mexican Vanilla though. Heard some great things about it.

  14. Tina Greenlee posted on October 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm (#)

    Thank you! I’ve wanted to try this and now I have the steps to do it!!

  15. Danielle posted on October 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm (#)

    Winning this would be awesome! I just bought some vanilla beans at Costco, so I could make my own extract…thanks for the instructions.

  16. Linda W. posted on October 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm (#)

    My grandson is addicted to my vanilla milk.

  17. Stephanie K posted on October 30, 2012 at 4:26 pm (#)

    I would love to win this and be able to create my own vanilla. Sounds like such a easy process with fantastic results :)

  18. sharon newman posted on October 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm (#)

    i make biscotti with vanilla

  19. Susan posted on October 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm (#)

    I’ve never made vanilla before, but do a lot of baking, so this sounds like something fun (and yummy) to try. :)

  20. Jen L posted on October 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm (#)

    Pound cake and vanilla sugar – love to use vanilla sugar in whipping cream

  21. MaryLou posted on October 30, 2012 at 4:58 pm (#)

    I would love to try this, it would be a great gift for my “baker” friends too!

  22. Genelle posted on October 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm (#)

    Cookies made w/ homemade vanilla are the best! Thanks for offering a giveaway!

  23. Heather H. posted on October 30, 2012 at 6:38 pm (#)

    wow, homemade vanilla sounds like a fun project to do with my girls. Thanks for the opportunity to participate. I would use homemade vanilla in french toast!

  24. Gabrielle Lowe posted on October 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm (#)

    Oh how awesome! Definitely going to make some next year for Christmas gifts!

  25. Kelley posted on October 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm (#)

    Banana Bread, Coffee Cake…..put the coffee pot on!!!

  26. Julie posted on October 30, 2012 at 6:40 pm (#)

    My favorite recipe with vanilla extract is baked maple oatmeal!

  27. Carole Komp posted on October 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm (#)

    I would love to make my own vanilla. I use it for general baking but I would really like to make some to give away as presents for Christmas. I love making homemade pressies. This is soo unique. I bet the flavour is amazing too compared to store bought!! Baked custards are great with vanilla and smoothies too.

  28. Judith Webb posted on October 30, 2012 at 6:56 pm (#)

    I’ve always wanted to try making my own vanilla. This would be totally awesome to win.

  29. angie h posted on October 30, 2012 at 6:58 pm (#)

    no bake cookie dough is my favorite thing to put vanilla in:)

  30. Candi posted on October 30, 2012 at 7:46 pm (#)

    My favorite recipe to use vanilla in is chocolate chip cookies.

  31. Debbie posted on October 30, 2012 at 9:02 pm (#)

    My favorite recipe to use vanilla in is pecan pie.

  32. gemma bergstrom posted on November 26, 2012 at 3:08 am (#)

    Can u make vanilla extract from a vanilla bean paste?

  33. Shirley posted on December 6, 2012 at 8:57 am (#)

    I don’t think I ever saw how much vodka to use for that many vanilla beans…

    • TidyMom replied on December 6th, 2012 at 9:01 am

      “Using a measuring cup or funnel, pour vodka into each bottle completely covering the beans in the liquid.”

      You just cover the beans with vodka / fill your bottle. If you use a really large bottle, just add more beans.
      I used 8 ounce bottles.

  34. Ashley Wood posted on December 28, 2012 at 4:37 pm (#)

    Hi, I love this idea and will be trying it soon. I am one of those people who checks expiration dates frequently, so how long can you use this vanilla extract (safely)? Also, I would love some ideas for use of vanilla extract other than baking. That’s usually all I use it for (plus homemade ice cream), but I love the smell and taste, so what else could I use it for? Thanks!

  35. Lisa Baus posted on February 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm (#)

    Thank you! My son is splitting the vanilla beans, and we’re getting ready to make our extract. I love vanilla in everything, so I can’t wait to try this. Turns out I’m out of vodka, so I wonder if I can use rum? Hummm.

  36. Jenny posted on February 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm (#)

    Hello – I was just wondering what size bottles you used for the 3-4 whole beans. Thank you!

    • TidyMom replied on February 17th, 2013 at 7:30 am

      8 ounce

      • carole replied on October 21st, 2013 at 5:39 pm

        where can I find bottles………small ones?? any idea?

  37. Pam posted on March 14, 2013 at 5:48 pm (#)

    I use clear vanilla for my frosting. Do you make that the same way?

    • TidyMom replied on January 15th, 2014 at 10:52 am

      i believe clear vanilla is actually imitation vanilla, and not pure

  38. Patricia posted on April 20, 2013 at 8:01 pm (#)

    Charli and Amindi and others, beware of so-called Mexican vanilla. More than 99% of it is synthetic. That not only is harmful for your body, it is really hurting the farmers there. buy pure! Or make your own. :)

  39. Jackie posted on April 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm (#)


    I just purchased the Avery 8165 printing labels, after I cut them out do I have to tape them to the bottles. Or are they self-adhesive.

  40. Jeff posted on May 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm (#)

    I tried two different alcohols, Absolut Vodka and Bacardi Rum. I also used Mexican beans for this experiment and placed 1 1/2 beans in each. I found that after six months the vodka had a nice vanilla smell and taste. The Bacardi at the same time, still had the rum smell and only slight taste of vanilla.

    After the vodka bottle was all used up , I went back to the rum (total of 9 months steeping) and I was surprised to find it had come around. The flavor is very present in everything I have baked so far, but not over powering.

    I’m trying bourbon next, the alcohol not the beans I’ll let you know

    • TidyMom replied on January 15th, 2014 at 10:53 am

      thanks Jeff – I’m wanting to try the bourbon this year, guess I better start it soon.

  41. Jesse posted on June 19, 2013 at 9:47 am (#)

    i was wondering where you sourced the resealable bottles at i like them but am having trouble finding them

  42. Brandi posted on August 2, 2013 at 7:55 pm (#)

    I was searching for something(s) to make for Christmas gifts and am soooo glad I found this. I love how you give easy step by step instructions and also included the “handy-dandy” links to purchase everything I need. So I just wanted to say thank you for the inspiration and opportunity to make this for my loved ones, as well as for myself!

  43. eychn posted on September 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm (#)

    I use vanilla extract in my weekly homemade almond milk. I make my almond milk thicker because I use it as non-dairy creamer in my daily breakfast tea. Yum!

  44. BARBARA MALONE posted on September 12, 2013 at 9:03 pm (#)

    Barbara Malone

  45. Elaine Rysner posted on September 13, 2013 at 3:04 pm (#)

    As an avid baker, it would be near impossible to choose a favorite recipe using VANILLA, but I can say that I use ONLY PURE VANILLA – never imitation – and I ALWAYS double the amount of VANILLA in all recipes. I’m a great lover of strong VANILLA flavors in all recipes.

  46. Dee posted on October 12, 2013 at 11:06 pm (#)

    I never knew a homemade vanilla extract was possible! I wonder what flavor vanilla bean to buy that would produce the flavor most commonly found in stores? Just point me in the right direction and I will get started!

    • sammye thacker replied on December 4th, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      what variety vanilla bean can I buy that will give me the same flavor as a good over the counter vanilla extract? thanks.

  47. Jamie Irwin posted on October 23, 2013 at 10:08 am (#)

    How long will the vanilla stay “good”? Thanks for the great idea.

  48. Brandi posted on October 25, 2013 at 8:23 pm (#)

    Hi! I’ve actually got a few bottles “brewing” now for Christmas gifts. I wanted to ask if it is normal for the bottles to have floaty bits in them? They all also have a “filmy” layer at the top and a layer of “grit” on the bottom. I followed your instructions exactly and am a little nervous and really hoping they’re all okay and will still be good to give as gifts. Just wanted to check to see if this is normal or should I redo everything?

  49. Emily Roberts posted on January 12, 2014 at 8:01 am (#)

    Is the vanilla supposed to still smell like vodka? What do i do to fix it. Do i add more vanilla beans and let it store longer. What do i.or is it supposed to smell like vodka

  50. emily posted on January 14, 2014 at 8:01 pm (#)

    does anyone know how it should smell? mine still smells like vodka . do i need to add more beans and let sit longer? or is it supposed to smell like vodka / or will it just taste good in anything

    • TidyMom replied on January 15th, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Vodka is odorless, so you should be smelling the vanilla – how long has it sat? did you follow the instructions on vodka/bean ratio?

      • emily replied on January 25th, 2014 at 12:27 pm

        how should it smell? and or taste


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