Skip to Content

DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

How to make homemade vanilla extract so you never have to buy it at the store again!

jar of homemade vanilla extract

Seven years ago my friend Brooke gave me a jar of homemade vanilla extract. I haven’t bought any vanilla extract from a grocery store since then!

I discovered that homemade vanilla extract tastes so much better in recipes and is WAY cheaper than store-bought.

So here are the simple instructions for making your own.

All you need are some glass bottle for vanilla extract, vanilla beans, cheap vodka and time. I regularly give this as a gift and it might be my most-requested gift!

Get some vanilla beans10 pack of extract grade vanilla beans

In general, I’ve found that with enough time (at least a few months), you can easily get 8 ounces of extract from four beans, if not slightly more. So that works out to one bean for 2 oz. jars and eight beans for a pint-sized Mason jar.

I recommend these 10 Extract Grade Vanilla Beans on Amazon. Forget buying vanilla extract by the ounce… this will be enough to make 2 CUPS of vanilla extract!

Get your hands on some cheap vodka

vanilla beans in jar with vodka bottle next to it
Some other sites will tell you that you should use high quality vodka or rum. But I have had the best luck with cheap vodka.

All it does is dissolve the oils in the vanilla and burns off when cooking, so don’t waste money on top shelf booze.

I got a handle (1.75 liters) of 80 proof “Aristocrat” vodka on sale for $12.95.

Slice the vanilla beans to expose more good stuff

sliced vanilla beans on cutting board

You will get stronger extract faster if you expose the inside of the vanilla beans.

I sliced into but not through each bean lengthwise to expose the insides. I also cut each bean in half to they would fit into my smaller jars.

Into the jars go the beans and vodka

vanilla beans soaking in a quart mason jar
Now just add the vanilla beans and vodka to some glass jars, seal and wait.  It does help to shake the jars periodically.

I made a larger batch in this quart-sized Mason jar, but any size will do. Again, I recommend using 4-5 vanilla beans per cup (8 ounces).

I suggest waiting four to six months for a rich vanilla flavor. I also recommend shaking the jar periodically which will help the process along. 

Before you use or gift the extract you can filter out the vanilla residue with a coffee filter or cheesecloth, but you don’t have to to this. I like the flecks of vanilla in my cooking but others may not.

4 oz brown glass bottles for vanilla extract

I purchased these brown 4 oz. glass bottles for vanilla extract on Amazon into which I transferred a few pieces of vanilla bean and then filled them up with the extract. They were the perfect size for gifting!

I have to share my absolute favorite recipe for using this delicious extract. It’s the most popular recipe on my site and I know you will love it!

Yield: 4 Dozen

Easy Snickerdoodle Cookies Without Butter

Easy Snickerdoodle Cookies Without Butter

Easy Snickerdoodle cookies without butter. Classic cinnamon sugar cookies with oil.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • For Sugar Coating:
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the oil, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon on top, then mix everything together to form a thick dough. 
  3. Form the dough into walnut-sized balls and roll each ball in the sugar coating.
  4. Place cookies a few inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet, flattening them slightly if desired. 
  5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until slightly brown on the bottom. Do not overcook or they will be hard as rocks!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 101Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 54mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 1g
Have you ever made your own extract? Please leave a comment below and let me know how it went. 

You might also like these posts:

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


Monday 27th of May 2024

When making vanilla the FDA recommends 8 ounces of alcohol to 1 ounce of beans to get extract. If you follow this recipe all you get is flavored vodka.

Leah Crocker Althiser

Monday 27th of May 2024

HI Greg! There are MANY factors that go into making extract other than ounces of alcohol and beans. There's also the proof of the alcohol, extraction time, grade of the beans, humidity of the beans, etc. For example, if you are manufacturing extract to sell, FDA regulations require 13.35 ounces of extract grade vanilla beans of 25% humidity or less to an extraction medium of no less than 70 Proof alcohol (35% alcohol). Since I am NOT making this extract to sell, these recommendations are irrelevant anyway. What I say in this post (and stand by) is that if you buy these particular beans and use this 80 proof vodka, you will get a product that resembles store-bought vanilla extract.


Wednesday 7th of June 2023

Per FDA 1oz of beans to 8oz of Rum or Vodka. I think I actually tried yr recipe many many years ago & even after a year it was not an extract. Just flavored alcohol. Please update yr content. Especially if someone is gonna sell.


Sunday 3rd of March 2024

@Angela, you are correct! The info that is given in this post is incorrect! 2 beans in 8 ounces of alcohol would barely make a flavored alcohol!


Monday 28th of September 2020

what kind of lids should i use on my ball jars?


Tuesday 29th of September 2020

Any kind of lid really - I have used metal lids and plastic lids.


Thursday 13th of December 2018

Did you ever have residue form to the inside of your bottles when making vanill


Friday 14th of December 2018

Hmmm, I have only had little flecks of vanilla that break off and settle to the bottom. I like these in the extract (have you had the Breyer's all natural vanilla ice cream? Looks like that) but you could always strain them out with cheesecloth. I haven't had any other residue, though.


Monday 20th of February 2017

Hi..I want to start making the home made vanilla extract. Could you tell me how much vodka and beans to a pint mason jar? Thank you


Tuesday 21st of February 2017

Hi Cindy! I use 4 beans per cup, so that's 8 per pint Mason jar. I'm updating the post to make this more clear, thanks!

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

Privacy Policy | Disclosure Policy | Contact Me
Skip to Recipe