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!

OUR LATEST VIDEOS

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.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

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.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

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.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

Vanilla Extract Recipe

4.91 from 30 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
How to make Homemade Vanilla Extract - it's so easy and only requires 2 ingredients! This will become your secret ingredient for baking.
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: Varies by amounts and packaging
Servings: 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:

  • Small funnel or measuring cup with pouring lip
  • 12 4oz clear bottles with lids (avoid cork lids)
  • Labels click here to save and print the labels
  • Kitchen scissors or sharp knife

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 1 1/2 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.

Recipe 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 1 1/2 vanilla beans per 1/2 cup (4 oz) vodka.

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

  • Sandy
    May 17, 2018

    I am going to try this. I am ordering the vanilla beans.
    How do you store the vanilla beans that have not been used yet?

    Thank you Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 17, 2018

      Hi Sandy, I keep them in a food saver bag, removing as much air as possible for airtight storage. Here is another helpful article on storing them if you don’t have a foodsaver. Reply

  • Paddy
    May 16, 2018

    Hi Natasha.
    I’ve just come across your recipe. I’m definitely going to try thisone and many of your other recipes, but wanted to ask you what makes it a vanilla extract and not just vanilla flavoured vodka?
    Reading all of the previous comments has convinced me that it works. I just wondered what the difference might be? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 16, 2018

      Hi Paddy, when vanilla beans are not soaked long enough, it will be vanilla flavored vodka. The lengthy marinating extracts vanilla and you will end up with vanilla extract. Reply

  • allie
    April 19, 2018

    Hi Natasha, I am making these for teachers appreciation month gifts in May. I clicked the link to print the labels and they are tiny?? Can you tell me how to adjust this?
    thanks!
    Allie Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 19, 2018

      HI Allie, try downloading the file first or click the print button within the google drive application rather than File –> print. I am seeing it load on the full page of labels. Reply

  • Karen Carver
    March 16, 2018

    Hi, I’m a first timer and I have a question. I have the Madagascar beans. They are very dry and seem very thin. I put 12 down in my Vodka bottle last night and put it in a cool dark place to cure. Now I read that I should have split the beans. Do I need to pull them out and cut them or can I just leave it be? I plan on leaving it to cure for 6-8 months. Thanks, Karen Carver Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 16, 2018

      Hi Karen, from what I have read, it is important to split the beans. I haven’t seen any advice not to split and I have done quite a bit of research on this. I would probably open and split them – it won’t harm anything to do it the next day, just use a clean surface and clean hands. Reply

      • Karen Carver
        March 17, 2018

        So ended up doing just that. I was surprised to see that in just 24 hrs, it was already a nice light Amber color. Split the beans and put it all back in the bottle. Safely tucked away in the cabinet once again. It was interesting to note that the beans were plumping up and pliable already. My hands smelled so wonderful. It broke my heart to wash them after 😉 Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          March 17, 2018

          Thats awesome! I’m sure it was much easier to slice them after they were plumped up 🙂 Reply

  • Judianne
    February 15, 2018

    Natasha, have you ever used vanilla vodka when making your vanilla extract? Thank you Judianne Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 15, 2018

      Hi Judianne, I haven’t tried that so I can’t advise on that substitution. You might google to see if anyone else has tried? Reply

      • Judianne
        February 15, 2018

        Thanks. so far I have not found anyone who has tried it. Would hate to mess up making vanilla extract due to the cost of the beans. Vanilla vodka does have a very destinct vanilla take and BTW, it makes a great vanilla coke if you like the taste of old fashion vanilla cokes. Again thanks for the reply. Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          February 15, 2018

          You’re welcome Judianne! Reply

  • Julie
    February 15, 2018

    I just ran across your recipe for making vanilla extract. Love your labels and images! Most recipes are very similar but love finding more info in the comments. A point I’d like to make regarding refilling the bottles as you use the extract (which is what I’d like to do) is that the beans need to always be submerged in the alcohol or you can risk the beans developing fungus. But back to replenishing the vodka… does it need to sit and be shaken weekly for minimally another 8 weeks after you top it off? We go through a ton of vanilla extract! I’m desperately hoping to get a long life out of the vanilla beans. At least to make the cost more affordable Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 15, 2018

      Hi Julie, if you are topping it off, you don’t have to go back in consistently to shake the bottle. You can invert it or swirl the bottle every time you use it. Also, when I refill, it’s nice to add a little more vanilla into the bottle for the color to remain that lovely dark tone. I’m so glad to hear you are enjoying our recipes. It’s great to hear from you. Thank you for sharing your tip! Reply

  • Jackie
    February 14, 2018

    Would it be possible to maybe water down the alcohol or something to have less alcohol smell/flavor? My mom and I’s favorite vanilla extract brand is only 8.25% alcohol, and most of the ones you buy in the store are 20-30% alcohol, and this is 80 proof (so 40% alcohol). Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 14, 2018

      Hi Jackie, I suppose you could use a lower proof of alcohol, this is just the recommended one from all of my research so it is the one I went with. Reply

  • Veronica
    December 20, 2017

    LOVE these! And the labels are so perfect – simple and adorable. 🙂
    I made extract this year using bourbon instead of vodka. What font did you use for the label? I’m going to see if I can swap out the word “vodka” for “bourbon”, if you don’t mind? 🙂
    Thanks so much for the great tutorial! And I hope you have a very Merry Christmas! 😀 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 21, 2017

      Hi Veronica, I’m so glad you like them! I used an online program to design the label and the font there was “Futura Medium” Have a Merry Christmas!! Reply

  • Lynsey
    December 15, 2017

    Made these as Christmas gifts, they came out so cute, I can’t wait to give them! Thank you! Merry Christmas! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 15, 2017

      You’re welcome Lynsey! I’m so glad to hear that! Reply

  • Miscie
    December 15, 2017

    I attempted to make these for Christmas this year. I purchased brown bottles so it’s difficult to tell if the color has changed. I have noticed little pieces of the vanilla breaking up in the bottles; it’s this normal? If so wondering if they should be strained before gifting? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 15, 2017

      Hi Miscie, it is normal if there are some pieces of vanilla at the bottom of the bottle – that sediment is normal since you are working with real vanilla beans. Reply

      • Miscie
        December 15, 2017

        Thank you! Reply

  • Cris Glass
    December 13, 2017

    Are the labels meant to be printed on sticker paper with round 2 inch labels? The link to Amazon takes me to a bigger rectangle shaped label. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 13, 2017

      Hi Cris, we used a solid rectangular label and cut out the circles. Reply

  • Danielle
    December 12, 2017

    Hello,
    So it says it can be refilled as needed, do I refill when it’s empty, or before it gets empty? Also do I then need to wait 2 month again? Thanks for the recipe, gifting these for xmas 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 12, 2017

      Hi Danielle, I like to refill when it gets about halfway empty to keep the vanilla submerged. If you wait to refill until it is completely empty, you will have to wait the full time for it to become flavorful and change color. Reply

      • Danielle
        December 13, 2017

        THANK YOU! Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          December 13, 2017

          You’re welcome Danielle! Reply

      • Shirley Cromer
        January 26, 2018

        How many times can you refill it before it looses its strength? Thank you Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          January 26, 2018

          Hi Shrley, it will lose color with every refill so I would suggest adding a new piece of vanilla if I were refilling from empty. I usually add more vodka as I use it – when it is 1/3 to 1/2 empty, I’ll add more vodka 🙂 Reply

  • Karen
    December 12, 2017

    I LOVE this! Thanks so much! But question, how long does it last? Will it expire or go bad after a while? I love to bake, but thinking gifts for people that wouldn’t go through it as much. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 12, 2017

      Hi Karen, it will last for awhile. From what I have read, vanilla extract can last for years and doesn’t really have an expiration date that I am aware of. Reply

  • Lindsay Forbes
    December 11, 2017

    Hi Natasha! Can you please make a label for 8.5 oz? I love your design but I am planning on using larger bottles. Thank you for considering 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 11, 2017

      Hi Lindsay, I only have these in this size but the labels are fairly large. I think the would work for a larger jar :). Reply

      • Lindsay
        December 11, 2017

        Thanks so much for the quick reply! The label says 4 fl oz on it. I was just wondering if you could make a label that says 8.5 instead. I think the size of the label looks perfect. So sorry for the confusion! Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          December 11, 2017

          You’re welcome Lindsay, I’m happy to help! Reply

  • Vanilla lover
    December 10, 2017

    Beautiful. Where did you get the bottles? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 11, 2017

      Hi Vanilla love ;), I purchased them on Amazon. I have links to the ones I bought in the post above 🙂 Reply

  • Jamie
    December 8, 2017

    Hi Natasha,

    I ended up using the proportions you suggested, but 6 beans to 2 cups of alcohol. I cut the beans in half and down the middle. My bottles are tall 16 oz bottles though, so the height of the beans only reaches half way up the liquid. Will this affect the fermentation process? Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 8, 2017

      Hi Jamie, if it doesn’t reach all the way up, that will work even better since the beans will be submerged longer in the liquid even as you are using the extract. It will work great 🙂 Reply

  • Adrienne
    December 7, 2017

    Made these for gifts this year and used your labels! They are perfect! Thank you for the labels & recipe! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 7, 2017

      You’re welcome Adrienne! I’m happy to hear that, Merry Christmas! Reply

  • Jenn Jones
    December 5, 2017

    Can I use amber coloured glass bottles instead of clear? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 5, 2017

      Hi Jenn, absolutely! 🙂 Reply

  • Jennifer Wolf
    December 2, 2017

    What size labels do you use for your template? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 2, 2017

      Hi Jennifer, I have links to the label paper (it was a solid label from which I cut out the circles). It would work to also go to avery website and design then print on round labels from avery if you prefer. They have a great label maker free online design tool 🙂 Reply

  • Laura
    November 30, 2017

    Did you have lots of vanilla bean paste/particles floating in the vanilla? Is that ok, should I try to strain the vanilla? Thanks! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 1, 2017

      Laura, you can strain it to have a prettier look but it has something to do with vanilla beans. Reply

  • Lynsey
    November 30, 2017

    HI Natasha, I love this idea and am about to bottle my vanilla, but I was wondering if I was supposed to scrape the seeds from inside the vanilla first? I just poured the vodka into my first jar and there is a lot of black vanilla bean “caviar” on the bottom of the glass that doesn’t look very nice. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 1, 2017

      Hi Lynsey, are you using a soft Grade A vanilla bean? Those would be more likely to release seeds and seeds can be scraped out and used for baking. My Grade B beans were so dry, I would have had a hard time trying to scrape out any seeds. Reply

  • Celia Salser
    November 28, 2017

    Love, love, love your labels . . . so cute. I wonder though, these can’t be customized . . . do you by chance have one that has bourbon instead of vodka as an ingredient?? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 28, 2017

      Hi Celia, check out the avery website where you can customize and print whatever pattern you like and they already have their format lined up to match their labels so printing is easier. Reply

  • Donna
    November 27, 2017

    How long will the beans last to make more vanilla after initial recipe? Will it be weaker vanilla second time around? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 27, 2017

      Hi Donna, it will be lighter in color. I usually add another bean when I refill to keep the color dark. Reply

  • Mary Farrell
    November 26, 2017

    Can’t wait to try this!! What is the shelf life once the process is completed? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 26, 2017

      Hi Mary, from what I’ve read, the extract never really expires – it just lasts and lasts Reply

  • Sofya
    November 23, 2017

    In what program or photoshop did you make such beautiful labels? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 23, 2017

      Hi Sofya, I used an online program called pic monkey and then we arranged them into a single document I believe in a program called Lghtroom. The easiest way might be to go to avery.com and check out their templates.  Reply

  • 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

  • Linda
    October 31, 2017

    Brilliant Idea for gifting……
    Could you tell me where you found the bottles? Thanks so much.
    Happy Holidays !!!
    Also, Thank you for the label template. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 31, 2017

      Hi Linda, I purchased them on Amazon :). I have a link in the tutorial above to the same ones I purchased. We used light colored bottles but you choose the dark ones if there is an option. The light ones look nice and you can see the color changing.  Reply

      • Doreen
        November 13, 2017

        everything on this page says “clear” bottles ? Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          November 13, 2017

          Sorry for the confusion. I clarified my reply. I use clear bottles because it looks prettier and the light ones show the color changing, but you are welcome to use amber colored bottles. Reply

  • Kait
    October 12, 2017

    Hi…Love this idea. Do you need to wash the bottle caps? If so, didn’t know if water would seep underneath cap and stay there? Thanks! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 12, 2017

      Hi Kait, I did rinse the bottles and caps and did not have any issues with the caps since they are either rubber or plastic underneath so water wasn’t an issue. 🙂 Reply

  • Sarah
    October 11, 2017

    hi! I’m curious what size dish towels you used? Just don’t want the towels to be super bulky. I’m using 8 oz jars. Thanks! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 11, 2017

      Hi Sarah, I don’t have one on hand to measure it (they were all gifted away!) 🙂 I purchased them at Cost Plus world market and I believe they were standard tea towels. Reply

  • Kim
    September 27, 2017

    How many times can you refill it before it starts loosing its potency? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 27, 2017

      Hi Kim, it will slowly lose it’s potency with each refill. If you want it to maintain it’s strength, you can either slowly refill it over time (this way you don’t have to wait for it to be ready for months), or add 1/2 a vanilla bean when you refill. Reply

  • 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

    • Kim
      October 22, 2017

      Actually many canners I know that make their own vanilla leave it at least 6 mos to brew– but more often a full year before they use or give as gifts. So, you’re fine… even better than fine! 🙂 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

  • Linda
    August 24, 2017

    What size is the tea towel and where did you purchase them? I’ve looked and cannot find them. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 24, 2017

      Hi Linda, I don’t have one on hand to measure it (they were all gifted!) 🙂 I purchased them at Cost Plus world market. Reply

  • Mary Lou Bowman
    August 23, 2017

    Is vodka the only alcohol that can be used to make vanilla? Do you think the vanilla people love to buy in Mexico, is made with vodka? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 23, 2017

      Hi Mary Lou, Bourbon or Rum will work. Vodka is traditionally used because it has the most neutral flavor. As far as what they make in Mexico – I have no idea! You may need to do some google searching for the answer to that question. Sorry I can’t be more helpful with that. Reply

  • Annis
    August 11, 2017

    For those who are grain free people, Ciroc is a vodka made from grapes, unlike Smirnoff and most other vodkas. It’s a bit pricey, but worth it if you can’t/won’t do grains. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 11, 2017

      Thanks for sharing your tip with other readers Annis! Reply

    • Elisa McLaughlin
      September 6, 2017

      Yes, Trader Joe’s also has a reasonably priced vodka made from grapes. Reply

  • Teva
    August 9, 2017

    Where do you get vanilla beans? This is a great Christmas gift! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 9, 2017

      Hi Teva, I found the best prices on Amazon. I have links in the post above. I hope that helps! 🙂 Reply

  • Sara
    August 9, 2017

    How many times can the bottles be refilled? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 9, 2017

      Hi Sara, I refill them continuously as they are depleted and I start fresh when the color is no longer deep in amber. Reply

  • Bev
    August 6, 2017

    Hi Linda, any reason not to just but the beans in the vodka bottle separate later?? Thanks! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 6, 2017

      Hi Bev, it’s easier to get the beans in first so you can gauge how much vodka is needed to fill the bottles. Reply

  • Linda West
    August 3, 2017

    Any chance the labels could be made smaller to fit 2″ diameter labels? I really love yours but they are larger than my labels. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 3, 2017

      Hi Linda, I don’t have these as smaller labels but I believe it is Avery that has a great label maker online although I don’t know if you would have to completely re-design it from scratch. Reply

  • Tim Brown
    July 24, 2017

    How long would it be good for, or kind of exp date on it Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 24, 2017

      Hi Tim, it doesn’t really have an expiration date and can last for years 🙂 Reply

  • Becky
    July 21, 2017

    Would this ever need to be refrigerated? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 21, 2017

      Hi Becky, no need to refrigerate this 🙂 Reply

  • Lori Maier
    July 15, 2017

    I don’t want to sound daft but I have my beans, cut them in half and was able to split well. I am only placing 3 split halves in jar? I was confused as to why 1 whole and 1/2 been or 3 “split halves. is it because once I split it makes the bean stronger? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 15, 2017

      Hi Lori, It is 1 1/2 whole beans (when they are split, it’s 3 split halves). I have now clarified that in the instructions. Sorry that wasn’t clear and thank you for asking! 🙂 You can always add more to make it even stronger, say if you wanted to use 2 whole beans (i.e. 4 split halves), but I wouldn’t use less than that. Reply

  • Debra R Yates
    July 3, 2017

    I just new someone would have asked, where did you buy the bottles. Nope, so where do you get the bottles like that?
    Thanks!! Love the label by the way!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 3, 2017

      Hi Debra, thank you! I do have a link to the bottles that I purchased from Amazon towards the top of the recipe post, but it is easy to miss. Here is the direct link. Enjoy! 🙂 Reply

  • Monica
    June 20, 2017

    Hi Natasha, I am excited to try this. One question- would this work using other liquors like Bourbon or Rum instead of Vodka? Does it need to be a specific alcohol content to work right? Thanks. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 20, 2017

      Bourbon or Rum will work. Vodka is traditionally used because it has the most neutral flavor. Reply

  • Kate
    June 17, 2017

    This turned out so great!! (as everything else on here) Thank you for the recipe! I absolutely love the design you made for labels, and I was wondering what program did you use to make them? I’ll be making strawberry jam soon and I thought why not make my own as you did! God bless:) Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 17, 2017

      Hi Kate, I put it together in an online program called picmonkey and then my husband spaced them in photoshop. I believe Avery labels company has a really good free useful tool online for designing various label sizes so you aren’t starting from scratch. I hope that helps! 🙂 Reply

  • Lori Maier
    May 25, 2017

    Does it matter if the bottles are clear or amber? I purchased same size bottles while making essential oil mixtures and still have bottles left I’d like to use. I wasn’t sure if it mattered or not. I was thinking light expose could weaken potency of the vanilla but then again, vodka comes in clear bottles 😉 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 25, 2017

      Hi Lori, Amber bottles are even better because the less light hits the vanilla, the better. I keep mine in a dark cabinet, but yes you can definitely use amber. Reply

  • Olga
    December 29, 2016

    I made 30 bottles as a gift for each of my coworkers. They all LOVED it! One of them said that they usually hate people with talent, but not his time. 😉 Haha. Thank you for such a cute and practical gift idea! 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 29, 2016

      My pleasure Olga! I am so glad everyone enjoyed it!! Reply

  • Annette
    December 23, 2016

    I happened to find your recipe. It’s a bit too late to start but I will do this next year. Question, how long does the extract last, is there an expiration? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 23, 2016

      Hi Annette, the extract never really expires – it just lasts and lasts 🙂 Reply

  • December 20, 2016

    I like to get my vanilla beans at Vanilla Saffron imports aka saffron.com. They have better prices than any where else online! Thanks for this cute lesson on making vanilla extract. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 20, 2016

      I am glad you enjoyed it Jeff! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Reply

  • Leatrice Gulbransen
    December 16, 2016

    Thank goodness for something quick and easy ! Love the labels, too. I got the vanilla beans today (they smell amazing), and will make it tomorrow. Thank you~~~ Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2016

      You are very welcome Leatrice, have a great Christmas! Reply

  • Michelle Scalzo
    December 15, 2016

    How many times can the beans be re-used after the vanilla is gone?I Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 16, 2016

      Michelle, you can reuse them over and over but I would replace the beans with new ones after using them 2-3 times. Hope this helps 😀. Reply

  • April
    December 13, 2016

    This is such a great idea – and I love the extra touches of the labels and tea towel wrapping! Question – is there circle label paper that works with the label PDF or do they have to be cut out regardless? Also, I’ve heard it’s better to use Amber colored bottles when making vanilla extract to prevent oxidation. Not sure how much of a difference it makes if you’re storing in a dark place anyway, but just thought it was interesting. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 13, 2016

      Hi April, I haven’t found those kinds of labels and you may need to readjust the sizing if you find some circle labels that might work. I’ve heard that about vanilla as well, but they sure are prettier in the clear bottles and yes I agree, I just store them in the cupboard 🙂 Reply

    • December 15, 2016

      I used this and created it on Avery’s online editor for 5294 circles. Reply

      • April
        December 18, 2016

        Nice! Did you have to readjust anything on the PDF or did it print okay on there as is? Reply

  • laura allison
    December 13, 2016

    What size labels did you use? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 13, 2016

      The label sheet was 8 1/2 by 11 and I cut out the circles. I wasn’t able to find pre-cut circles. Reply

  • Tatyana Romanov
    December 6, 2016

    can I use liguor instead of vodka? Thank you. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 6, 2016

      Most people make it with Vodka and that is all I have tested it with and the only way I make it but I have seen a few tutorials that say Rum, Brandy or Bourbon would work as well. Reply

  • Barbara
    December 2, 2016

    Such a wonderful idea. Can’t wait to try for the holidays. Your labels and your idea for gifting with the twin and towel is so unique. Thank you for the inspiration.
    Merry Christmas~
    Barb Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 2, 2016

      Thank you Barbara!! 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful Christmas as well and I’m so happy you found inspiration here 🙂 Reply

  • Amy
    December 1, 2016

    I started mine about 2 weeks ago and I opened up the box they are in to give them a shake. There is a ton of stuff floating in them. The bottles in your pictures don’t look like there is anything floating! 🙂 Did I do something wrong?? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 1, 2016

      Hi Amy, most likely the stuff floating in them is seeds from inside the vanilla bean and some beans just release more than others, even between the beans I purchased to make mine. They settle at the bottom and float around when shaken. It’s nothing to be concerned about 🙂 Reply

  • Avanti
    November 30, 2016

    I landed here by accident, looking for sheet pan chicken meal. And boy, am glad I did!!

    Such a cute gift idea! Much better than home made cookies, which can be devoured up and be done with!

    This will last and smell amazing 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 30, 2016

      Hi Avanti! Welcome to my blog! 🙂 I’m so glad you’re here! Thank you for that awesome compliment! 🙂 Reply

  • November 30, 2016

    Wow this is such a wonderful post, Natasha! I didn’t realize how easy it is to make a homemade vanilla extract! I will definitely make this as it will save me a bunch of money from buying vanilla extract which I use a lot! This is also an adorable homemade gift for the holidays! Thank you for sharing! 😉 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 30, 2016

      Thank you Sheila!! It’s so nice to be able to refill it also as you use it and I agree I love homemade gives the most! 🙂 Reply

  • November 28, 2016

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I have been wanting to make extract for a couple of years. With you’re help, I just placed my Amazon order and will have them made by next week! YAY!
    Such cute bottles and presentation!
    Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 28, 2016

      That’s awesome! I’m so glad you were inspired 🙂 Reply

  • November 27, 2016

    What a cool idea!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 28, 2016

      Thank you Sara :-). I had fun making them! Reply

  • Anna D
    November 27, 2016

    They get 5 stars for being so cute 😊 Can’t wait to make this! Where did u get the bottles? They look awesome ! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 28, 2016

      Thank you Anna 😬, they will make a nice Christmas present for someone. Reply

  • November 26, 2016

    I love vanilla and this seems soo simple. I will have to add this to my must try list. I also really love the labels to. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 26, 2016

      Thank you for that nice compliment! Homemade vanilla really is amazing in smell and taste. I hope you love it!! 🙂 Reply

  • lily
    November 26, 2016

    hi natasha do you know how to make aioli mayo sauce? i cant seem to find it in stores. lol. Reply

  • Rosie
    November 26, 2016

    I don’t drink at all. So when I go to the store to buy alcohol for my baking, I always get embarrassed and feel inclined to tell the cashier that I’m buying it for baking LOL I am so excited to do this. I know when I make it, it won’t last long. But would you happen to know how long it’s good for?. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 26, 2016

      lol I know exactly what you mean! I always let them know it’s for baking. Then I try to act very casual as I walk out of the store and hope no one I know has spotted me. Ha ha!! Homemade vanilla extract can last for years. As far as I know, it doesn’t really expire 🙂 Reply

  • Carla
    November 26, 2016

    I made Vanilla extract in the past for family and friends. But, have to say, I really love your labels and presentation. Much nicer than the ones I did. Thanks for sharing. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 26, 2016

      Thank you so much for the sweet compliment! 🙂 Reply

  • Cleo
    November 26, 2016

    Yu are right. Perfect christmas gifts! I have nieces that love to make yummy desserts and these whould be great little gifts. By the way, they love to make your desserts! One of them made your tiramisu for Thanksgiving, and we ate it all! People where asking for the recipe! Thanks a million! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 26, 2016

      That’s so sweet! I’m so happy you all enjoyed the cake and thank you for sharing that with us! 🙂 Reply

  • D
    November 26, 2016

    Beautifully done! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 26, 2016

      Thank you so much! 🙂 Reply

Add comment/review

Leave a comment

As Featured On

Never Go "Hangry" Again!

Get weekly updates on new recipes, exclusive giveaways plus behind the scenes photos.