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)

Mildred Yip

I started my homemade vanilla extract in 1988. It is heavenly delicious, dark and the scent is lovely. As I use it I remove spent beans and add new beans and vodka. I do keep it in a cool dark pantry shelf.

June 6, 2023 at 10:36am
Patti Markham

Got my Vanilla beans 2 1/2 weeks ago. Beans were in great shape when they arrived.(nice & moist plus they smelled heavenly! I got grade B Madagasar & grade B Ugandian beans. The Ugandan beans did have a vanilla & a touch of chocolate smell, I really liked.) I started my 1st batch 2 1/2 weeks ago & I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Of course that will take 6 months to a year! But, it will be worth it! I will order Vanilla beans from you in the future. Thanks

May 15, 2023 at 15:41pm
Donna E

I’ve been making my own vanilla extract for years now. I haven’t bought store made in over a decade. I also give my homemade out as gifts.

May 9, 2023 at 06:50am
John Coyle

I have been doing this method for well over a decade. It is so simple and delicious! I use slightly less vanilla (4 oz for a 1.75 liter bottle) but I let is sit for a year or two! Every year I make another one and they just stockpile. There is no such thing as too much aging. Split the beans in half drop them in the bottle and put it somewhere dark like a pantry or basement. After 2 years in the bottle it will be the richest and most amazing vanilla you have every tasted! I like to rotate my batches, tahitian, uganda, etc. Makes for a legendary holiday present (small bottle that is) for people who love fine food. I just purchased from Vanilla Bean Kings for the first time. Very moist high quality beans. So many beans out there are drier, which means less vanilla juice goodness. As silly as this might all sound, it is SOOOOOO worth it.

May 1, 2023 at 17:25pm
Lisa Martin

Purchased my first order/ just did my first 2 jars
Will let you know in 6 months😊

April 12, 2023 at 17:59pm

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