Baker’s Essential: Homemade Vanilla Extract

Last year, my husband decided he wanted to make me homemade vanilla extract and it was so good I managed to go through 3 litres of it. He finally made me some more yesterday, and I wanted to share this recipe with you. Making homemade extract is super easy and so much better than the extract you buy. Most vanilla extract is made from Vanillin which is actually vanilla flavor extracted from wood, not from beans! Shocking, right? So what better way to ensure high quality than to make it yourself. The extract takes a minimum of 6 weeks before it’s ready to use so plan ahead.


Homemade Vanilla Extract:

This recipe makes about 1 liter. Multiply or divide as needed.

1 1-liter glass container

750 mL very high quality vodka (Recommend: Tito’s Vodka if you can find it because of how neutral and high quality it is)

16-20 high-quality vanilla beans (Many gourmet vendors sell them in sufficient quantities vacuum packed – you can never have too many)

Simple syrup, to taste

  1. Pour vodka into the jar.
  2. Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Place them in the jar.
  3. Cut the empty beans in four pieces width-wise and add them to the jar.
  4. Place the lid on the jar and shake vigorously.
  5. Store in a cool dark place for at least 6 weeks (the longer the better) occasionally shaking up the bottle
  6. After about 6 weeks your extract will have turned a deep-dark brown color. You can end it here or keep it going.
  7. When you decide its good (or you are too impatient) filter the extract through a fine sieve or cheese-cloth.  Rinse out the jar and then place the extract back in the jar.
  8. Add the simple syrup to taste.
  9. Use and enjoy!


  1. grove good girl ganash says:

    Can’t wait to “put up” some home made vanilla. Thank you for the know how. and yes, I know it’s spelled ganashe but this was a omage to my old Vizsla Mr. Nash.

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