DIY – How to make Vanilla Extract at home


When I started doing a lot of baking, I noticed that recipes call for ‘pure vanilla extract’ when I was using vanilla essence. I didn’t think it made a big difference to use the synthetic essence, but after some searching on the internet, I got convinced that I was missing out by not using the real thing. I couldn’t find vanilla extract in French grocery stores, so I just decided to make my own. And it’s so freaking easy that I’m dying to share it with you all – you’ll never use store bought vanilla essence again!


Things Needed For Vanilla Extract At Home

  • 4-5 vanilla beans (choose plump, oily looking beans and avoid dry ones)
  • 1 cup vodka
  • A clean glass jar

Here’s how to make your own vanilla extract:

1. Place your vanilla beans on a chopping board and cut them lengthwise, leaving about 1 inch intact on each end.

vanilla beans for vanilla extract

2. Put the vanilla beans in the glass jar, along with any of the vanilla scrapings that escaped while you were splitting the beans in half.


vanilla extract at home

3. Measure out 1 cup (250ml) of vodka. I had Absolut vodka lying around, but frankly any cheap vodka will do. If you want to try a different flavour, try bourbon instead. Vodka just gives the most clean vanilla flavour.


absolute vodka for vanilla extract

4. Pour the vodka into the jar and give it a good shake. Place the jar in a cool, dark place.


vodka in jar vanilla extract

5. The vanilla extract needs to be stored for about 6-8 weeks before it is ready to use. Just remember to shake the bottle from time to time.


vanilla extract absolute vanilla how to

6. As you start using the vanilla extract, you can keep adding more vodka to the jar. Every few months, replace the vanilla beans in the jar. And there you have it – a never ending supply of pure vanilla extract!


Isn’t this easy? It takes just 5-10 mins of preparation and while 6-8 weeks is a long time to wait, when you finally open the jar and smell the vanilla extract (trust me, it smells like heaven!), the wait will totally be worth it! And this homemade extract will add the most delicious vanilla flavour to all your baked goods, much more than the artificial vanilla essence!


Have you ever made vanilla extract at home? Does this DIY look like something you would try? Do let me know in the comments! 🙂


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  1. I generally make both vanilla extract and vanilla vodka this way. To make the Vodka, mostly I tend to take one of the beans and 3 tablespoon of the extract, mix it with 1 cup of regular vodka and add 1 cup of light sugar syrup (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon water and 1/2 cup sugar boiled together till sugar dissolves). I screw the bottle on with one bean inside, and leave it to mature for 1 month. Its gorgeous.

  2. I have also made my own vanilla extract recently,I am waiting for couple of months for it to mature and then I will use it.Pure vanilla extract is not available easily in India so its better to make your own.

  3. Its so easy, but I wont get Vanilla beans in my city……and Vodka :X-P: :X-P: even my hubby darling doesn’t drink, but I had it ones during my College days 😀 :evilgrin:


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