How to Make Vanilla Extract from Vanilla Beans (Homemade Vanilla)

In Vanilla Bean Recipes, Tips, and Helpful Information Blog 95 comments

As any serious baker will tell you, pure, real, homemade vanilla extract can be the difference between a normal cookie and an award-winning confection! It is so much better that you probably think it must be difficult, expensive and time consuming to make. The reality is, it takes less of your time and effort to make real vanilla extract than it does to bake the cookies you add it to, and the cost is comparable or less than just buying vanilla extract.

To make things even easier for you we have created an all in one Homemade Vanilla Extract Kit that you can purchase on our site and create your own vanilla in 4 easy steps.

Homemade Vanilla – Better than Store Bought

When it comes to food, the idea that something homemade is better than something store bought isn’t hard to imagine. What is hard to imagine is just how much better homemade vanilla really is. It’s not just a bit better. It’s not even just a lot better. It is so much better that anyone who has ever made their own vanilla from vanilla beans, will never buy vanilla extract again. It’s THAT good.

What Makes Homemade Vanilla Extract Better

The most significant factor is the vanilla beans. When you make your own homemade vanilla extract you can choose the quality of vanilla beans you use. Premium grade vanilla beans simply have a richer, fuller flavor than any commercially produced vanilla extract.

How to Make Your Own Vanilla Extract at Home

It's surprisingly easy to make your own vanilla extract. You only need a few ingredients, and some patience.

The ingredients:

  • 1 oz Premium Vanilla Beans (about 8-10 of vanilla beans)
  • 8.5 ounce Glass Jar or Bottle with lid (we suggest a swing top bottle with attached lid)
  • 1 cup (8 oz) alcohol (at least 35% alcohol (70 proof)-vodka is common; also try rum, bourbon or brandy)


FDA standards call for at least 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon of liquid. This equates to approximately .9 oz of beans per 8 ounces of alcohol! Many people really like to use rum, bourbon, or brandy. The quality and brand of the alcohol are not important. The quality of the vanilla beans is extremely important which is why we use a blend of gourmet quality or Grade A vanilla beans and beans specifically grown for extract purposes.

The 4 Steps for How to Make Vanilla Extract

Step One – Slit the beans long-ways then cut into smaller pieces. Place them into the jar or bottle.

Step Two – Completely submerge your beans by adding 8 oz of your favorite vodka, rum, bourbon, or brandy.

Step Three – Secure the lid on the jar or bottle and give your new delicious concoction a shake 1-2 times weekly.

Step Four – Try not to run out of patience. It takes about 6 - 12 months for the vanilla beans to magically turn the alcohol into pure, homemade vanilla extract. After 6 months, most of the extraction is finished. The vanilla beans could be removed, but if you leave the vanilla beans in the bottle, the flavor continues to evolve like wine does.

Store your vanilla extract out of direct sunlight and at room temperature and it will last literally forever, if you don’t use it up.

Premium Madagascar Bourbon Gourmet Vanilla Beans

Madagascar Bourbon Gourmet Vanilla Beans have a strong, deep, rich, vanilla aroma. The traditional, rich and creamy vanilla flavor that you expect is exactly what these beans deliver. They are ideal for making your homemade vanilla extract. In fact, Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans are highly sought after because the region in which they are grown is known to produce the best quality beans.

Your Homemade Vanilla Extract

Perhaps you will just make enough vanilla extract for your own baking. Many people find that small bottles of homemade vanilla extract make ideal gifts. Make a large batch and repackage it into pretty jars or bottles. They make great hostess gifts, gifts for teachers, holiday gifts, or any occasion you have to give a gift to your favorite baker.

Making vanilla extract is quick and easy, aside from the waiting part. Yes, the waiting is the hardest part.


95 thoughts on “How to Make Vanilla Extract from Vanilla Beans (Homemade Vanilla)

Debbie S

Just getting started with making vanilla. I’m not sure how many ounces of beans are in a bag. ( ordered 5 beans- Tahitian). How much alcohol to a container of V. beans?

February 10, 2022 at 20:14pm

Your instructions state using approximately 1 oz (approx 28 grams) per 1 cup (approx 237 mls) of 35% alc. (vodka). Is this equivalent to using 1 oz (28 grams) per 500 mls of 95% alc (grain)? Will the two have the same potency after 6 months? I am trying to decide whether (1) I need more beans in each container and (2) what will happen if I dilute the grain solution to 35% alc by adding water.

For example, when I made limoncello with grain, my taste buds couldn’t really tell a difference in the strength of the lemon flavor from the straight grain solution (95%) to the heavily diluted limoncello at 35% with the additional of sugar water. Obviously the second is much sweeting and doesn’t burn like crazy, but they both tasted very lemony. Or like smelling a skunk from 1 foot is really not that different than smelling it from 10 feet – the smell is so overwhelming that one cannot distinguish either distance!

January 19, 2022 at 10:55am
Carol Weston

I just opened your package of vanilla beans I had ordered several months ago. I had vanilla beans left from an order I placed with another seller earlier, so I just waited until they were gone before trying yours. I was half expecting your vanilla beans to be a little dried up since I have had them quite awhile. To my pleasant surprise, when I opened the package all the beans were so fresh, soft and supple. To me, that is proof positive that your vacuum-sealed bags work wonderfully! And the beans smell so fresh and sweet!

Thank you for your excellent product. I will definitely be ordering more very soon.

Warm regards,

Carol Weston
Cedar Falls, Iowa

December 13, 2021 at 20:01pm
Anita Jackson

I just received my order of vanilla beans. I have cut them in half and very carefully took a razor blade and slit them lengthwise..Where are the little seeds that are supposed to be inside.? I only found 1 bean that had 2 in it. I watched a video on YouTube and saw a few in hers. Would you please check the lot # for me? SEP 2023…N6996. I was so excited to make my own Vanilla. I am an avid canner and was excited to give this a try as I bake a lot.
Many thanks in advance,

December 13, 2021 at 20:01pm

Does the quality of the alcohol matter when making Vanilla.

November 23, 2021 at 08:05am

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