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

In Vanilla Bean Recipes, Tips, and Helpful Information Blog 78 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.


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

Teresa Baker

This is my first purchase and my beans have an oily scent I haven’t found in other beans? The beans do not have a vanilla scent when split open?

February 27, 2023 at 10:38am
NancY H Hughes

This will be a new adventure for my daughter and I!

February 5, 2023 at 15:31pm

I have been making homemade vanilla extract for years. I have been searching for a good source of affordable vanilla beans. I am excited to have found you and I will become a regular customer

February 1, 2023 at 21:49pm

I just received my second order of grade A beans and finished making the vanilla extract. My first order came about 20 days ago. With both orders the beans were amazing! This time around I was going to save some of the beans to make a vanilla syrup but I decided that I’ll make a syrup with my next order. Even after I wash my hands, I can still smell that incredible vanilla aroma. Double thanks for such a great product.

For anyone with questions about the amount of beans per ounces of vodka (or any other drinking alcohol), this site has a card that gives the answer in a chart. You will find it in the misc list under the Shopping tab. You can see it easily here or add it to your order. It’s a magnet so I ordered it with my first order and it was right on the refridge for me when I made this batch.

November 21, 2022 at 11:16am

I just put these beans into a 5th of Bourbon. I split the beans and just dropped them in including the ends at both ends. I put it in a dark closet and shake them once a week. I hope they do well and by next year this time, I can give smaller amber bottles full of awesome vanilla, to my friends and family.

November 16, 2022 at 14:12pm

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