Homemade Vanilla Extract

I wish this blog was scratch and sniff…I really do.



This is my coveted jar of homemade vanilla that I’ve been using for over 4 years.  The smell is so intense and the flavor in baked goods is bar none.  It’s a simple mix of vodka and vanilla beans that I’ve been adding to and refilling for quite some time.   It is by far one of my best ingredients and the scent can be associated with so many amazing things.  Moms cookies, vanilla bean cake, homemade ice cream and marshmallows.  The list goes on and on.


A while ago when I was teaching basic baking classes to some young boys, they always argued over who got to pour the vanilla in.  It’s such a tiny part of most recipes but the flavor it imparts can’t be denied.  It enhances everything else in the bowl.  It’s essential!


It’s also an easy gift to make.  If you started a jar of vanilla extract today you could have a some pretty awesome Christmas gifts for December!  It really only needs a couple of months to steep, but the longer it sits the better.  Keep the bottle in the pantry and give it a shake every now and then.  There are loads of vanilla extract printables on line (like the one below from tidymom.net) and you can cross a whole mess of people off your Christmas list ~ in July everyone!  That’s the best part!


What’s your favourite vanilla memory?

Homemade Vanilla Extract

  • Use 3-4 whole vanilla beans per cup of vodka.  Split the beans in half, place in a sealable jar and pour vodka on top!  Place in a cool dark place for 2-3 months before using.  Give the jar a shake every now and then.  I continue to add beans that I have used in baking (however not if they have been steeped in any kind of milk or cream), and adding more vodka when low.





Filed under Extra Special, Sauces and Syrups, Tutorial

19 responses to “Homemade Vanilla Extract

  1. I friend of mine just started her own vanilla extract jar…I was so jealous. We do NOT have good vanilla beans in my area. (small small small) I would love to know what brand you use if you have a specific one you like!

  2. This really is the best use of vodka I can think of. I have given homemade vanilla as gifts several times and it is always greatly appreciated. Here’s a cheater tip I use when I procrastinate and don’t start steeping the vanilla beans soon enough to get that nice brown colouring: I steep the vanilla in brandy. Instant colour and a lovely flavour.

  3. Diane Ward

    Thank you! Can it be left on the counter in the light, or does it need to be kept in the dark?

  4. wow great! I also wish this was a scratch and sniff, lol. Will def use this. I live in Kenya and it’s almost impossible to find Vanilla extract, usually you find the essence. But since there are Vanilla beans sold, will be doing this for sure. Thanks ^_^

  5. vodka! I just shouted that across the room. I had no idea that’s how this stuff was made. Pretty cool stuff!

  6. Scratch and Sniff blogs…you should write to someone about that hah!

  7. Oh, man! Renee, I saw several recipes for homemade vanilla extract during the holidays last year and I told myself I would definitely try my hand at making some. It takes a few months, doesn’t it? When would you advise starting the process if I wanted to give some as a gift for the upcoming holiday season?

  8. LOL, I guess I should have read your post more carefully before I asked that question! 🙂

  9. ChoklatMunchies

    I really like this idea!
    Quick question, is there anything else you could use in place of alcohol?
    Thank you!

  10. Sharon M

    I love your bottles! Did you get those from Beanilla or somewhere else? They have great deals on beans!

    I swear I read somewhere that direct sunlight has some adverse effect on the beans but I’m no expert, they have darker jars though.

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