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

4.9 from 18 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

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  • September 25, 2017

    Hello! I am trying this now to use as Christmas gifts. A fellow recipe that I originally had seen and was going to follow used less beans. It equals out to about 2 beans per 12 ounces based on their recipe. Do you have suggestions on if using just one bean per 4oz jar would be ok? As that would be about a half bean over what my other recipe says to do. Beans are just so expensive that if one bean per will do the same thing, I’d like to stretch it further! Thanks! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 25, 2017

      Hi Daniela, I think you could make that work with 1 full bean per bottle. I use 1 1/2 beans per 4 oz bottle for the deeper color and flavor and it can be refilled more successfully when using 1 1/2 beans. Reply

  • Nancy Lubin
    September 25, 2017

    I have some 150 proof vodka. Is there any good reason to use that instead of 80 proof? might it extract faster? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 25, 2017

      Hi Nancy, I haven’t read any recommendations for using 150 proof vodka for vanilla so I’m not sure if it would speed up the process or not. Maybe someone else has some insight into this?? (Thanks in advance!) Sorry I can’t be more helpful. If I find a good answer for you, I will report back. Reply

  • Janelle
    September 18, 2017

    I have read several recipes on how to make vanilla extract and some scrape the pods out. Do I need to do that? I’m using Grade B (dry) beans. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 18, 2017

      Hi Janelle, I do not scrape the pods out so there isn’t as much sediment in the extract. Reply

  • Evonne Shawz
    September 10, 2017

    Hi!
    I put a whole Vanilla pod into 90 proof miniature bottle of Ouzo one year ago & have left it. Would it still be ok to use in recipes?
    Or does it go ‘off’ after that long? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 11, 2017

      Hi Evonne, vanilla extract can last for years and doesn’t really have an expiration date that I am aware of. I’m betting your vanilla is pretty marvelous at this point! 🙂 Reply

  • Nicki
    September 8, 2017

    I was wondering after you refill the bottles, do the bottles need to sit for 2 months again? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 8, 2017

      Hi Nicki, if you are refilling after they are completely empty, then yes it would need to sit for the vanilla flavor to grow stronger, but if you are just refilling say monthly as you use it, then no you would not have to wait. 🙂 Reply

  • Susan Irwin
    September 3, 2017

    Hi Natasha….have a question about the labels. How did you get yours round. Seems like the “mailing labels” you indicate on Amazon are square. I’d butcher them if I tried to cut! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 4, 2017

      Hi Susan, it is actually a single sheet of basically 1 full page label and I did cut the circles out with scissors. Reply

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