Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract is so much better than the store bought alternative. It takes only minutes to put together and will brighten up all your home baked goods!

It only takes two ingredients to create your own Vanilla Extract at home. Alcohol and vanilla beans.

A bottle of Captain Morgan spiced rum and a package of vanilla beans sitting atop a wooden cutting board

You can use whatever alcohol you’d like to make your Homemade Vanilla Extract, however, keep in mind that the alcohol you choose will impact your flavor. For the purest, most original flavor use plain Vodka. I love using Spiced Rum. It adds a delicious depth of flavor to my extract that I have enjoyed in my baked goods.

I purchase my alcohol at a local liquor store and I purchase my vanilla beans here. You want to make sure you use an adequate amount of vanilla beans. In the past, I’ve made my vanilla extract in a pint sized Mason jar. I usually use about 7 vanilla beans for that volume. I go though my vanilla so fast, I decided to increase my amount this go-round. I purchased a 1.75 liter bottle of spiced rum and I’m using 25 vanilla beans for that volume. If you don’t use an adequate amount of vanilla beans, your end result will be lack luster.

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Once you have your alcohol of choice and your vanilla beans, the process takes only a few minutes.

Vanilla beans laid out on a wooden cutting board

Step One

Carefully, use the tip of your knife to slice each vanilla bean open lenghtwise.

A knife beginning to slice open a vanilla bean on a wooden cutting board

Step Two

Use your fingers to splay open each vanilla bean. You are trying to expose the gritty paste inside each bean, so it can better infuse with the alcohol. If you did not do this step, it would still infuse with the alcohol, but it would take a lot longer. By exposing the inside of the bean, you’re expediting the infusion process.

A hand holding a vanilla bean that has been split open lengthwise

Step Three

After you have split your vanilla beans lengthwise, add them to your alcohol.

A hand placing a vanilla bean into a bottle of alcohol.

Step Four

Place your infusion in a cool, dark place and let it sit for a MINIMUM six weeks. Even so, six weeks isn’t an ideal amount of time. Four to six months is really ideal before you start using it. I only mention six weeks because I started using my vanilla extract the very first time I made it after six weeks and it was still tasty. However, for maximum infusion and flavor, try and wait four to six months. Give it a gentle shake every so often.

Vanilla beans in a bottle of alcohol.


Once you start making your own homemade vanilla extract, you will be hooked. It doesn’t contain any artificial flavors or preservatives and the flavor is so pure. When you start using quality ingredients in your kitchen, you’ll start picking up on the artificial flavors of the fake stuff. Something to note, when you get about halfway through your stash of homemade vanilla extract, it’s time to start a new batch. Because the infusion process takes so long, you don’t want to wait until you’re almost out of your current supply to begin a new batch. You’ll end up having to supplement with store bought in the meantime and I promise, you won’t enjoy it. You’re spoiled now, store bought just won’t do.

For recipes using your homemade vanilla extract, click HERE!


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