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)

Debra Rhoades

In your directions for recipe you suggest slicing open the beans and then cutting them into smaller pieces before putting in bottle of Vodka or alcohol of choice. Later you say that after a while the beans will need to be removed when it has been fully extracted or if it is going to be given as a gift. My question is how do you remove the pieces of vanilla bean if you use the small neck bottles. Or should we make in quart wide mouth jars and transfer once vanilla is fully extracted?

January 28, 2024 at 23:21pm
Kim Wishon

I purchased a bottle (8 oz) from Amazon. I received it today and the product seal was broken and was all over the bottle and in the box. I would like to get a replacement bottle. Please have someone respond back to me with a timeframe on a replacement.

January 18, 2024 at 18:17pm
Kim Wishon

I purchased a bottle (8 oz) from Amazon. I received it today and the product seal was broken and was all over the bottle and in the box. I would like to get a replacement bottle. Please have someone respond back to me with a timeframe on a replacement.

January 18, 2024 at 18:17pm
Miriam Dees

I really want to start vanilla extract but I’m a little slow at really understanding. I want to make mine in a quart jar( 32oz) . So 1oz is 8 to 10 beans with 8 (1 cup) of vodka. So do I need 32oz of vanilla beans and then 32 cups of vodka to make a quart jar full. Sorry math has never been my best subject 🤦‍♀️.
Then to make it last for years and years do you say I take out 4ozs over time do I just put back 4ozs of vodka in the jar and every time you take out you put back same amount of vodka back in . Do you every add more vanilla beans are over time take out all beans and put in new ones are will the same vanilla beans keep working for years.

January 18, 2024 at 10:59am
Bill Bagwell

Wonderful beans and I believe the best pricing anywhere. VBK makes it easy to order and to answer any questions. I have some extract that is 3 yrs and smells great.

January 15, 2024 at 12:02pm

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