Homemade vanilla extract

Yes, I decided to make my own vanilla extract.

My husband came into the kitchen and asked me what in the world was I doing with a full bottle of brandy out on the counter. When I told him I was making homemade vanilla extract he apparently thought I had lost it. Not to worry people, I still have it.

I am still lusting over this cookbook written by Chef John D. Folse. I have too many pages marked in the 800+ page book to mention. But, I do intend to get through at least a few of them a month. All of the good recipes/kitchen successes will be mentioned on here, such as this recipe for vanilla extract. All of the others will be buried forever.

Let's get started, shall we?

There are many thoughts on making your own vanilla. Some people think you should use a dark glass bottle and others prefer only using vodka, since it is a neutral flavor that won't mask the vanilla. You can also use brandy or bourbon, but understand that these liquids will impart a bit of their flavor to your extract.


4 vanilla beans, split, scraped and chopped into 1-inch pieces.
1 pint bourbon, vodka, or brandy

Split and scrape the beans and get out all of that mushy goodness in the middle.

Pour your liquid into a bottle of your choice. I used an old bottle with a cork-based stopper. It is frosted glass, but will sit in a dark corner of my kitchen.

Place vanilla beans and scraping into your bottle of preferred liquid. Place cap on bottle and tighten. Allow to steep 1-6 months, depending on the strength you wish to achieve, longer is better. Shake bottle occasionally to disperse ingredients. It will keep indefinitely. You can continue to add alcohol to the bottle as extract is used. When your mixture has reached idea flavor for cooking, you may strain beans from the liquid using a coffee filter and return extract to the bottle. There is no need to refrigerate.

Mine will sit in this darkish spot, where I can still see it to remember to shake it from time to time. This project took mere minutes and will form an extract with a richer flavor than store bought.


  1. Well, that is very cool! I've never heard of making your own! I bet your kitchen smelled wonderful as you put those ingredients together!

  2. I'd love to try making my own vanilla extract. I wonder where I'd find the beans. I see you have a Whistle Stop Cookbook. That restaurant is very near me. I had one of their books, too,before the fire. I may still have it, but it may be partially burned. I had about 200 cookbooks stored in a special made bookshelf in my kitchen, and that was the end of the house that was burned the worst.

  3. Love the photos and that sounds like it is going to be delicious. Have a wonderful Sunday!

  4. I think it must be long to do! but the result must be pleasant and especially the taste!
    Bye !!

  5. I had no idea you could do that! Cool. We use vanilla extract all the time!

  6. I agree. Would have loved to have been in the kitchen. LOVE the aroma of vanilla! I'll pass on the recipe though... but that last image of your stacked cookbooks and bottle, a keeper!.

  7. I'm with ya on this. Only I used Vodka. I bought some vanilla, some Vodka and some decorative bottles. I made the vanilla extract and tied a raffia bow around the neck of the bottle with instructions to shake occasionally and would be ready for use in 3 months (I added the date it would be ready) and gave them as gifts.

  8. Sawn - The vanilla beans are located in the spice aisle. Typically they come two in a small jar.

  9. I had forgotten that I did this eons ago....I'm thinking easy Christmnas gifts! Thanks for the reminder!

  10. Ooohhh...I'm gonna do this! I love the idea of making my own vanilla. Now, to just find the right bottle. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Thanks for sharing the recipe! I'll try it.

  12. This is a neat idea. I've used vanilla extract before as an attractant to pull and hold wildlife in front of my trail cameras. Never thought of making my own and I may have to give it a try. The hardest part is going to be getting the wife to let me in the kitchen:).


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