Vanilla Extract Recipe

Learn how to make vanilla extract with 2 ingredients! Homemade vanilla extract will be your secret ingredient for baking. The best vanilla extract recipe! | natashaskitchen.com

Learning how to make vanilla extract is the easiest thing ever. It requires only 2 ingredients and makes all of your baked goods taste and smell incredible. Homemade vanilla extract will be your secret ingredient for baking! Once you make your own homemade vanilla extract, there’s just no going back to the store-bought version. As a bonus, you can refill real vanilla extract with more vodka as it runs out so it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

These make for darling and thoughtful DIY Christmas gifts (see tutorial below). My cousin’s wife, Alla, shared this awesome idea with me for gifting homemade vanilla extract and now all my sisters and friends know exactly what they’re getting for Christmas! lol.

I included links to all of the tools and resources that I used to make these from the sweet little glass bottles on Amazon to the labels I designed which you can print at home. There’s also a full visual tutorial on wrapping these in kitchen towels. I really enjoyed making these and I will enjoy giving them away even more!

Learn how to make vanilla extract with 2 ingredients! Homemade vanilla extract will be your secret ingredient for baking. The best vanilla extract recipe! | natashaskitchen.com

Vanilla Extract Ingredients (makes 12 (4oz) jars):

18-20 vanilla beans (I used the two Grade B Bourbon packets from this set, or any of these beans would work as well.
48 oz plain vodka* (80 proof works great)

Learn how to make vanilla extract with 2 ingredients! Homemade vanilla extract will be your secret ingredient for baking. The best vanilla extract recipe! | natashaskitchen.com

It’s easy to scale this recipe up or down, the proportions are 3 whole vanilla beans per 1 cup (8 oz) vodka, or 1 1/2 vanilla beans per 1/2 cup (4 oz) vodka.

*It’s not necessary to get the most expensive brand of vodka; something middle of the road like Smirnoff triple distilled 80 proof will work just fine. I found this at the liquor store and paid $25 for a giant jug. I’ll be refilling my vanilla a long time :). My cousin used the Vodka sold at Costco (Washington Costco’s carry liquor, but Idaho’s don’t).

Tools you’ll need for Homemade Vanilla Extract:

Small funnel or measuring cup with pouring lip
12 (4oz) clear bottles with lids (avoid cork lids – alcohol evaporates through cork)
Labels (click here to save and print the labels I designed FREE!)
Kitchen scissors or sharp knife

How to Make Vanilla Extract:

1. Wash and sanitize bottles and lids. I washed with mild soapy water, rinsed then swirled with boiling hot water to sanitize them.

homemade-vanilla-extract-3

2. Cut beans in half then Split beans. I found this is easiest with kitchen scissors. Cutting them about halfway down the stem. If the beans are too dry to split, cut them into 1″ pieces. Place a total of 1 1/2 whole beans in each jar (or 3 split halves).

Learn how to make vanilla extract with 2 ingredients! Homemade vanilla extract will be your secret ingredient for baking. The best vanilla extract recipe! | natashaskitchen.com

3. Use a funnel or measuring cup to pour vodka to the top of the jar. Cover tightly with lid and let them brew for 2 months, shaking occasionally.

Learn how to make vanilla extract with 2 ingredients! Homemade vanilla extract will be your secret ingredient for baking. The best vanilla extract recipe! | natashaskitchen.comLearn how to make vanilla extract with 2 ingredients! Homemade vanilla extract will be your secret ingredient for baking. The best vanilla extract recipe! | natashaskitchen.com

Apply the FREE vanilla extract labels by printing them on label paper or by gluing them onto the bottles. You should give the vanilla a little shake every now and then for the next couple of months as it sits. It will turn a beautiful amber color when it’s ready to use. The instructions are right on the label so you don’t have to wait that long to gift them ;).

homemade-vanilla-extract-12

Learn how to make vanilla extract with 2 ingredients! Homemade vanilla extract will be your secret ingredient for baking. The best vanilla extract recipe! | natashaskitchen.comLearn how to make vanilla extract with 2 ingredients! Homemade vanilla extract will be your secret ingredient for baking. The best vanilla extract recipe! | natashaskitchen.com

For Creative Gifting:

12 yards of yarn or kitchen string
12 kitchen towels for gifting, preferably tea towel style
12 small/medium cookie cutters

How to Wrap a Gift With a Kitchen Towel:

Fold a kitchentowel in half lengthwise and then in half again lengthwise. Place vanilla in the upper left corner, fold over the bottom flap, roll into a log and tie the top with a string or ribbon directly over the next of where the bottle is sitting inside the towel.

Learn how to make vanilla extract with 2 ingredients! Homemade vanilla extract will be your secret ingredient for baking. The best vanilla extract recipe! | natashaskitchen.comLearn how to make vanilla extract with 2 ingredients! Homemade vanilla extract will be your secret ingredient for baking. The best vanilla extract recipe! | natashaskitchen.com

Vanilla Extract Recipe

5.0 from 20 reviews
Prep time:
Total time:
How to make Homemade Vanilla Extract - it's so easy and only requires 2 ingredients! This will become your secret ingredient for baking.
Author:
Skill Level: Easy
Cost To Make: Varies by amounts and packaging
Serving: 12 (4oz) jars

Ingredients

Vanilla Extract Ingredients (makes 12 (4oz) jars):

  • 18-20 vanilla beans (I used Grade B Bourbon)
  • 48 oz plain vodka* (80 proof works great)

Tools you'll need for Homemade Vanilla Extract:

Instructions

  1. Wash and sanitize bottles and lids: Wash with mild soapy water, rinse, then carefully swirl with boiling hot water to sanitize them.
  2. Cut beans in half then Split beans (it's easiest with kitchen scissors), cutting them about halfway down the stem. If the beans are too dry to split, cut them into 1" pieces. Place a total of 1½ whole beans in each jar (or 3 split halves).
  3. Use a funnel to pour vodka to the top of jar. Cover tightly with lid and let them brew for 2 months, shaking occasionally.

Notes

It's easy to scale this recipe up or down, the proportions are 3 whole vanilla beans per 1 cup (8 oz) vodka, or 1½ vanilla beans per ½ cup (4 oz) vodka.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

Learn how to make vanilla extract with 2 ingredients! Homemade vanilla extract will be your secret ingredient for baking. The best vanilla extract recipe! | natashaskitchen.com

 

Learn how to make vanilla extract with 2 ingredients! Homemade vanilla extract will be your secret ingredient for baking. The best vanilla extract recipe! | natashaskitchen.com
Learn how to make vanilla extract with 2 ingredients! Homemade vanilla extract will be your secret ingredient for baking. The best vanilla extract recipe! | natashaskitchen.com

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • julie
    November 22, 2017

    where did you get the towel??? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 22, 2017

      Hi Julie, I purchased them at Cost Plus world market and I believe they were standard tea towels. Reply

  • gloria
    November 21, 2017

    where do you buy your vanilla beans. I would like to try your recipe. Thanks Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 21, 2017

      Hi Gloria, I purchased them on Amazon (see links above). I find that to be the best pricing compared to what I was able to find locally. Reply

  • Lynne
    November 18, 2017

    Is it ok to use extra dry beans? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 18, 2017

      Hi Lynne, I have used some pretty dry beans and it just takes a little longer for the extract color to form and you might need an extra bean or half a bean in there 🙂 They are a little more difficult to split when they are extra dry and shark kitchen scissors are probably the best bet to get it done safely. Reply

  • Lynne
    November 18, 2017

    I have grade a beans, will these still work? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 18, 2017

      Hi Lynne, yes they will work. Grade A is the highest quality and most expensive which is why most people reserve them for baking and cooking but yes they will work in extract. Reply

  • Denuka
    November 17, 2017

    Hi Natasha

    Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    I think this is an amateur question: what is the shelf life of a bottle? Would love to note a expiry date on the bottle as well. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 18, 2017

      Hi Denuka, great question! Vanilla extract can last for years and doesn’t really have an expiration date that I am aware of. Reply

  • Lori
    November 16, 2017

    My first batch looked great. My second batch was cloudy. I used a different brand of vanilla beans. Does this mean the extract is bad? I was going to give for Christmas gifts but afraid there is a problem with the beans. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 17, 2017

      Hi Lori, I haven’t had that happen before so I’m not 100% sure. Maybe someone else can share some insight into this question? (Thanks in advance!!) I found this article which references cloudy extract, but it seems to be more referring to vanilla that has expired or been kept too long (while other articles I’ve read state that vanilla in vodka doesn’t really expire). Sorry I can’t be more helpful. Reply

  • Diana
    October 31, 2017

    Hi Natasha,
    Is it possible to do it without alcohol? Maybe substitute with other liquid…

    Thank you Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 31, 2017

      Diana, I’ve heard people using glycerine to make it alcohol free but don’t have any personal experience with that. Reply

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