How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

I’ve decided this year to make gifts for my friends and family.  I LOATHE holiday shopping.  It stresses me out.  I always wear too big of a coat and start having hot-flashes about 30 minutes into shopping, then start to freak out from the crowds.  I know…I have issues.

I came across this wonderful food blog when I was searching how to make my own vanilla extract.  Not only are the pictures gorgeous but the food looks delicious!

I pretty much copied what she did on her blog because she gave such great instructions.  I bought my bottle from Specialty Bottles and my Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Beanilla.  I bought the half-pound pack (about 50 beans) and used the extra beans for making Vanilla Sugar (you can find post here).  I even ordered similar labels (hey, why re-create the wheel, ItalianDish did such a fantastic job!)


You might want to know what type of vodka to use.  I don’t think it really matters.  I used Belvedere Vodka RED because 50% of the profits go towards fighting AIDS/HIV in Africa.  I do know that I bought my giant bottle of vodka at Costco for less than half of what it cost at the liquor store.
How to make Vanilla Extract
Makes 18 4 oz bottles




1. Take one vanilla bean and cut it in half.  Then do the same with another vanilla bean.  You will use 1 1/2 vanilla bean per bottle (you will have 3 half pieces).
2. Then cut each half lengthwise.
3. Put the 6 pieces in your bottle, then with a funnel, add the vodka to the curved line in the bottle.
4. Screw on top and repeat with the rest of the bottles and vanilla beans.


5. Store in a dark, cool place.  We put them back in the box the bottles came in and put them in the pantry.


This is what the bottles look like after the 1st day.


This is what they look like 2 weeks after I made it.  The mixture will continue to get darker.  You should wait 2 months before using to get a fuller, vanilla flavor.



26 thoughts on “How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

  1. I have been thinking about making this for over a year, this was the jump start I needed!! Love the labels!!

    1. Lonelle, it is so easy to do and it really makes the BEST gifts. We made some for my son’s school bazaar for charity and it was the first thing to sell out!

  2. Oh my gosh I had no idea vanilla was made with vodka – so interesting! What a cool giveaway for friends and family Tammy – Terrific!

  3. Fantastic! I’ve ordered my supplies! Can you tell me what products or how you made your labels (I will be using 8 oz. bottles)? They are lovely! Thanks!

  4. Hi Tammy I was wondering when you ordered the labels did you have to order one for the front of the bottle and one for the back. This is a great idea for gifts. Thank you for your time.

  5. Do you have to strain the mixture (when you cut the beans lengthwise?). Love your idea and would like to make for Christmas gifts.

  6. This makes me so mad. I find something cool on Pinterest and now I find out it’s a DIY and I can’t purchase it?!? You people do know that some of us have lives and jobs and are not creative right? That we would rather pay someone to do this?

  7. Thank you for sharing. I too use a lot of vanilla extract and will be making some soon. Where do you get the bottles?

  8. I know that this is a crazy question for an old original post but…I was able to make my front labels on Evermine but can’t figure out how to do the back labels? None of the designs allow for that much text. Can you help me out with this?

  9. Hello – I made 12 bottles of this vanilla in Sept of 2020 for cookie exchange guest favors. Due to Covid, the cookie exchange was cancelled and then due to family illness the next year’s exchange was cancelled too. So the bottles have been brewing in my pantry until now. The exchange is on for this December. Is it safe to still use these extracts? They have been sealed in the pantry since 2020 only taken out to flip the bottles every so often. Thank you.

  10. I stand corrected. I have my timeline wrong and actually I made these extracts in September of 2021 so they have been brewing for a little over a year. Same question. Are they safe to use?

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