vanilla beans

Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

I’m on a mission to make as many things myself as I can. I don’t bake as often as other people I know, but I do enjoy vanilla extract in pancakes and in my coffee from time to time. It’s one of those products that’s getting increasingly expensive, so I wanted to see how easy it is to make on my own. Turns out, it’s super easy and makes a thoughtful gift (if you love a baker)! You’ll only need two ingredients and 6 months to a year to let it sit.

You’ll need:

  • Mason Jar or some kind of container
  • Vodka or Bourbon
  • Vanilla Beans
make your own vanilla extract

I’m using Madagascar Grade A vanilla beans that I bought from a co-op and the vodka is a cheap bottom shelf option in a plastic bottle. Everything I’ve read says you don’t need to go crazy with the alcohol you use. But I’ll let you know! Choosing bourbon over vodka is a pallet preference. Since this is my first time trying to make this myself I decided to keep it simple.

The vanilla beans themselves can be a little pricey, but if you find a good co-op group on Facebook you can catch a great sale. If you’re not interested in a co-op, I did a little digging and Amazon seemed to be the most expensive compared to other retailers like Costco.

Cut your vanilla beans

This part smelled out of this world. Like a warm vanilla cloud parked itself in my kitchen for hours. Using a sharp pairing knife, I made a slight cut in the beans. I didn’t cut through entirely, just enough to pierce the outer membrane on one side and expose the center.

Once you slice all the beans, place them in a jar with the vodka or bourbon. You’ll need 8oz of alcohol for every 1oz of beans. If you want a stronger batch, you can do 2oz of beans per 8oz of alcohol. These are referred to as “single” and “double” fold.

That’s it! IIn 6 months to a year I will have successfully made my own vanilla extract. Originally I had a piece of wax paper at the top of the jar, but I ended up removing it because it’s not really needed.

Here’s a one month update!

make your own vanilla extract

After one month you can see how much it’s changed already! Every now and again I’ll give it a gentle swirl and place it back on the shelf in my pantry. I cracked the lid open just to give it a quick sniff test. The vanilla is apparent, but the vodka is still the prominent smell. It takes at least six months for this to turn into extract, but the longer it sits the better it will be. If this ends up being as delicious as the vanilla lovers say it is, I plan on bottling this for Christmas gifts next year.

I’ll check in from time to time to give you a progress update throughout the year!

If you like this blog post and want to read more, check out more from our kitchen!

Would you like to subscribe to our monthly newsletter? We’ll send you more blog posts just like this one once a month! Subscribe here!


  • Preparation Time: 00:05


  • Vodka (8 oz)
  • Vanilla Beans (1 oz)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.