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Making your own large batch homemade vanilla extract is not only easy to do, but it smells and tastes wonderful, makes the perfect gift, and the beans can still be used once you’re done!

vanilla beans in large jar to make extract
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Why this recipe works:

If you’re looking for kitchen tips and tricks to make your cooking delicious and fill your pantry with homemade staples, you’re going to love this!

  • Bottled up, this homemade vanilla extract makes a perfect holiday gift for friends, family, neighbors and coworkers.
  • This recipe makes a large batch of vanilla, providing you enough to use throughout the year as well as share with friends.
  • High quality vanilla beans, two large bottles of vodka, and lots of time are all that is needed to make the most delicious and aromatic vanilla extract.
  • You can pull a fresh vanilla bean from the batch any time you need one from the jar.
  • It won’t go bad plus it is incredibly easy to make. See the video below!
  • Just add more vodka to the bottle once the level goes down – you won’t need to buy more vanilla beans for a LONG time, if ever.

Here’s how to make it:

  1. The process starts with about 80 vanilla beans. Using a sharp knife, you will slice them lengthwise leaving the end in tact. Take care not to remove any of the seeds inside the pod.
  2. You will add all of the split vanilla beans to a glass gallon-sized mason jar with a screw top lid.  
  3. Then, simply pour two 750mL bottles of vodka into the jar. Side note: I had my son help me make the vanilla, but obviously he didn’t consume anything he was pouring!
  4. Shake and wait.  Simply store the jar in a dark location and give it a swirl every so often to distribute the vanilla. The longer it soaks, the more intense vanilla flavor you will get.
step by step process photos of how to make vanilla extract

Helpful information:

  • Cost: Since I originally created my first batch of vanilla, the price of vanilla bean pods has skyrocketed. Although vanilla is expensive everywhere you go, I still think this is the most cost effective way to get vanilla extract because you can continue to add more vodka as the level decreases without having to purchase additional vanilla beans.
  • Vanilla beans: I have purchased them in bulk by the pound from Beanilla and Olive Nation. One pound will give you more than enough. Mexican vanilla beans are the best in my opinion, but Madagascar and Tahitian are fantastic as well.
  • Vodka: I went with something in the low to low-mid cost range and my vanilla was wonderful.  I don’t think it is necessary to buy top shelf.
  • Gifts: I bought a couple dozen 4-oz amber Boston round glass bottles and filled them with my homemade vanilla extract. Then I had a friend who is an amazing graphic designer design some great labels in exchange for a bottle of vanilla. They made the best Christmas gifts!
Labels for homemade bottled vanilla

Quite possibly the best thing about making your own homemade vanilla extract is being able to use fresh plump vanilla beans whenever you want.

Just keep your vanilla extract topped off with vodka at all times and you’ll always have both vanilla extract and vanilla beans available.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that are made using vanilla beans:

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

Prep30 minutes
soak time180 days
Total180 days 30 minutes
Servings 24
Making your own homemade vanilla extract is not only easy to do, but the vanilla you extract smells and tastes wonderful and the beans can still be used once you’re done! Bottled up, this homemade vanilla extract makes a perfect holiday gift for friends, family, neighbors and coworkers.

Video

Ingredients 

  • 80 vanilla beans pods split lengthwise
  • 1500 milliliters vodka
Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email below and I’ll send it straight to your inbox. Plus you’ll get great recipe ideas from me every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Instructions 

  • Split each pod lengthwise with a sharp paring knife, keeping the tip in tact and the seeds in the pod.
  • Add split pods to clean empty gallon sized glass mason jar.
  • Add vodka.
  • Tightly screw on lid. Carefully shake contents of jar. Store in cool dark place.
  • Shake contents of jar weekly.
  • Allow 6-12 months for flavors to properly develop.
  • Use fine mesh filter to separate the liquid from the solids. Use funnel to pour into 24 separate 4 ounce amber Boston Globe glass bottles.

Notes

  • Cost: Since I originally created my first batch of vanilla, the price of vanilla bean pods has skyrocketed. Although vanilla is expensive everywhere you go, I still think this is the most cost effective way to get vanilla extract because you can continue to add more vodka as the level decreases without having to purchase additional vanilla beans.
  • Vanilla beans: I have purchased them in bulk by the pound from Beanilla and Olive Nation. One pound will give you more than enough. Mexican vanilla beans are the best in my opinion, but Madagascar and Tahitian are fantastic as well.
  • Vodka: I went with something in the low to low-mid cost range and my vanilla was wonderful.  I don’t think it is necessary to buy top shelf.
  • Gifts: I bought a couple dozen 4-oz amber Boston round glass bottles and filled them with my homemade vanilla extract. Then I had a friend who is an amazing graphic designer design some great labels in exchange for a bottle of vanilla. They made the best Christmas gifts!

Nutrition

Calories: 183kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Fat: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

This recipe was originally published in November 2017 and has been updated with helpful information, ingredient and process photos, as well as recipe tips. Don’t worry – the recipe hasn’t changed!

Hi! I’m Krissy.

I love to create the BEST versions of your favorite recipes. If you love to cook, love to eat, or just have a deep appreciation for good food, you're in the right place! Stick around... I have hundreds of recipes for you to make.

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29 Comments

  1. Hi, I am a little confused. I don’t know anything about this lol. Do I buy 80 Vanilla Beans and slice them in to halves? Or do I buy 8 Vanilla Beans and slice each bean into 10 slices, to have 80 slices in total? Thank you !

  2. 5 stars
    Your Recipes are fantastic..!! Thank you so much!! Always like new recipes that will last for next generation.

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for responding. I hate to keep asking you questions but I excel at being the village idiot :p You are using 80 beans per 1 gallon jar right? I’m not sure as the recipe shows 80 beans ( pods split lengthwise ) . That just means to split the 80 beans not 40 beans split to make 80. Thank you again.

    1. No questions are dumb! I use 8 whole beans. They’re split but still connected at one end. Just so you know, I just added more vodka for the third time. The last time I had to buy beans was like 4 years ago!

      1. Hi if I follow your recipe and after 12 months pour out into bottles can I re use the beans and start all over waiting another year?

    2. I started years ago with a pint jar and only 10, grade “A” pods. Vodka needs to completely cover and one inch more since any exposed pods can develop mold so cut down accordingly to fit jar. If vaccum pack is broken when vanilla pods arrive, return. Grades of pods you can look up. Also first batch can be twice the potency of “pure” vanilla extract from grocery store in two months of homemade. Time of potency is less for 2nd and 3rd batch, of course, if using same pods or amount of vodka used to top off. So fun to experiment with the time. Don’t get discouraged. It is a blessing to have fabulous pure vanilla.