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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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 free 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 10 (4oz) jars):

20 vanilla beans
40 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 4 whole vanilla beans per 1 cup (8 oz) vodka, or 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
10 (4oz) clear bottles with lids (avoid cork lids – alcohol evaporates through the 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 2 whole beans in each jar (or 4 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. If printing on the labels, make sure your printer is set to 100% and not “fit to page” which make shrink or stretch labels.

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 kitchen towel 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

How to Store Vanilla Extract

Keep your homemade vanilla extract in a cool dry place. Heat and light can cause it to turn cloudy.

If it does turn cloudy, murky, or muddy-looking, do the smell test and if it still smells good, it should be fine to use. Using 80 proof vodka, it is highly unlikely there is bacterial growth.

Sometimes the type of beans you get can leach pulp into the alcohol and you can strain out sediment if desired.

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Vanilla Extract Recipe

4.95 from 354 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
How to make Homemade Vanilla Extract - it's so easy and only requires 2 ingredients! This will become your secret ingredient for baking.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 12 (4oz) jars

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

  • 20 vanilla beans, I used Grade B Bourbon
  • 40 oz plain vodka*, 80 proof works great

Tools you'll need for Homemade Vanilla Extract:

Instructions

  • Wash and sanitize bottles and lids: Wash with mild soapy water, rinse, then carefully swirl with boiling hot water to sanitize them.
  • 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 small 1" pieces so they don't stick up above the surface of the extract as you use it. Place a total of 2 whole beans in each jar (or 4 split halves).
  • 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 4 whole vanilla beans per 1 cup (8 oz) vodka, or 2 vanilla beans per 1/2 cup (4 oz) vodka.
Course: Condiments, Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vanilla Extract
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$$

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

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Katie
    December 18, 2018

    Hi Natasha,
    As I add vodka to the bottle when using the vanilla, do I need to let it sit for another couple of months before using?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 18, 2018

      Hi Katie, yes that is correct. Once it has the desired color, you can use it.

      Reply

  • christine
    December 13, 2018

    This is my first time making Vanilla Extract and there are a lot of Vanilla bean seeds at the bottom of each bottle should I strain them out?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 13, 2018

      Hi Christine, you can strain it to have a prettier look if you’d like 🙂

      Reply

  • Barbara dawson
    December 10, 2018

    I made up 8 bottles of the vanilla extract recipe – the question I have is when I split the beans in half the seeds inside the beans floated to the bottom of the bottle – will they eventually dissolve or just remain .
    Hate to give them as gifts which is why I made them up with the seeds floating around.
    Thank you

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 10, 2018

      Hi Barbara, they will remain in the bottle but that is definitely a good thing – the seeds add wonderful flavor and if you do get specs of vanilla in your recipes – even better!

      Reply

  • Isley Hidalgo
    December 5, 2018

    Me encanta esta receta del extracto de vainilla y si muy fácil todo hasta como hacer los regalos, lastima que la vi tarde, pero ya para el proximo año seran mi obsequio de Navidad.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 5, 2018

      Thank you for that wonderful review! I’m so happy you found this recipe. You can always still make these as gifts, just tell them not to open it until a later date! 😉 Enjoy!

      Reply

  • Kaitlynn
    November 17, 2018

    I was considering making the 2 oz bottles. Do you think that would be too small? If not, how would you recommend cutting the beans?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 18, 2018

      I think that may still work. I nice clean cut should be fine for the beans. Just make sure they stay submerged so adding alcohol a bit more often may be required

      Reply

  • David Fralic
    November 16, 2018

    Where do I get vanilla beans.I live in Nova Scotia.Vodka no problem

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 16, 2018

      We order ours online. I recommend doing an online search for delivery.

      Reply

    • Vicki
      January 21, 2019

      Costco Dartmouth Crossing currently has Papua New Guinea vanilla Beans in stock 👍

      Reply

  • Jackie
    November 15, 2018

    I bought round labels from amazon, but when i print, they are not lined up. not sure how to fix this issue. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 15, 2018

      Most labels have a guide and settings to choose for paper types in your printer settings.

      Reply

      • Elaine
        November 28, 2018

        Natasha,

        What size Avery labels did you use?

        Thank you,
        Elaine

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          November 28, 2018

          Hi Elaine! 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

    • Danielle
      November 16, 2018

      You can download these labels for free.

      Reply

  • Enma
    November 14, 2018

    Do the vanilla beans ever go bad when in bourbon? I made vanilla extract last year and now the beans are a bit slimy. Is this normal ?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 14, 2018

      If the vanilla beans become exposed that may cause them to become slimy and ruin your extract. So make sure the beans are not exposed, you can do that by topping them off with more alcohol. I hope this helps!

      Reply

      • Eileen M Henkel
        October 19, 2019

        So are you saying that the beans in the jar should always be covered with liquid, or in other words, top it off with more vodka when the liquid goes below the top of the beans in the jar to avoid becoming slimy?

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          October 19, 2019

          Yes, that should help avoid that from becoming slimy.

          Reply

  • Cheryl casselman
    November 12, 2018

    I would love to try this recipe! Can you reccommend where to buy beans from? I live in Canada and to have 25 beans shipped to me to make 24 4 oz bottle works out to 273 dollars?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      November 12, 2018

      Hi Cheryl, not knowing what is available locally in Canada, I’m not sure. The best I can recommend is Amazon. I have linked the beans we ordered on Amazon.

      Reply

    • Jessica Matyczuk
      November 12, 2018

      Hello,
      I live in Canada, but I’m close enough to the border to ship the bottles there. For the vanilla beans, my husband bought them at Costco, if you have one near by?

      Reply

      • Karen
        January 3, 2019

        Hi Jessica, look on eBay for vanilla beans. Late last year one of the sellers was from Canada.

        Reply

    • lynn courchesne
      November 14, 2018

      Costco in Canada has vanilla beans, usually run around $25 to $30 for 10 beans and I’ve seen the bottles at Michaels.

      Reply

  • Ruth Lundbeck
    November 12, 2018

    Natasha, I love this idea for Christmas gifts. I just placed my order on Amazon. I know my family will love this gift. My son is a recovering alcoholic. Is there something I can use in place of the vodka? I’d love to include him in this gift, but only using an alcohol replacement. Thank You!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 12, 2018

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

      Reply

    • Karen
      January 3, 2019

      Ruth, have a look on YouTube for Cupcake Jenna – she has a video on making extract with glycerine

      Reply

  • Jessica Matyczuk
    November 11, 2018

    Thank you so much for this recipe and instructions. I made these as Christmas gifts and they are lovely. I make jam as well, so I found a recipe for a dip that used jam and vanilla extract to put with them. Very excited to wrap them!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 11, 2018

      Thank you for the wonderful review!

      Reply

  • Ilze
    November 10, 2018

    Your link to vanilla beans leads to beans out of stock. Can you recommend another link?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 10, 2018

      You might also try these here or these!

      Reply

  • Robin
    November 10, 2018

    Can you substitute almonds instead of the vanilla bean to make almond extract or lemon to make lemon extract

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 10, 2018

      I haven’t tried either one of those extracts before but those are great ideas! I imagine the process would be some what similar

      Reply

  • catherine mack
    November 9, 2018

    Does the type or quality of the Vanilla bean make a difference?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 9, 2018

      Grade A is considered the best. I’m assuming there will be some what of a difference if you were to truly compare.

      Reply

  • Tina
    October 19, 2018

    Hi Natasha! I was wondering how good is this in comparison with say a store bought one? Like Costco’s. And I bought 15 vanilla beans how do you think I should start my extraction process? Like much vodka for example? Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 19, 2018

      Hi Tina! 15 vanilla beans will make a big batch. You could do up to 5 cups of vodka for that many or just fill the vessel you have with Vodka and refill it with more Vodka as you use it. If you start with say 3 cups, it will also develop a darker and stronger flavor faster.

      Reply

  • shelby bergsma
    October 6, 2018

    hello! I am kind of experimenting with organic ingredients. my question for you, where do you buy the beans? the places i have looked is incredibly expensive and i dont wanna buy too cheap to where it is not as good.
    my other question is the brew period, i know you said approximately 2 months, but other sites like beanilla says 8 weeks. so i was wondering if 8 weeks or so would be good for your recipe?

    thank you!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 6, 2018

      Hi Shelby! We use these beans here or these work also. I have them linked in the recipe also.
      8 weeks is pretty close to 2 months so I say that’s about right.

      Reply

      • Mary
        December 9, 2018

        Your such a nice person Natasha!

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          December 9, 2018

          Thank you, Mary!

          Reply

  • Lisa Blalack
    September 11, 2018

    Hello, I was wondering if I could make this in a big bottle, let sit for months, then put liquid only in the smaller bottles. I am wanting to do this as favors for a shower, but don’t want to actually put the beans in each bottle. Do you think it will still be good, or does the bean have to stay in the bottles? Looks beautiful!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 12, 2018

      Hi Lisa, I think it could work. I haven’t tried it in a big bottle myself, however. I’d love to know the turn out if you try that!

      Reply

  • Amy Jones
    August 30, 2018

    If you have answered this already, I apologize for the added work. What is the shelf life of the 4oz bottle? Does it vary depending on what alcohol you use?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 30, 2018

      Hi Amy, from what I’ve read, the extract never really expires – it just lasts and lasts. The only tip I have is making sure the bottle is securely closed. Alcohol will evaporate over time and that may cause a more intense vanilla flavor. I hope this helps.

      Reply

    • Charles M
      September 3, 2018

      The first time I made my own vanilla extract, the beans started to become slimy and yucky looking after about 6-7 years. The second batch, which I’m replacing now, lasted 6 years before I thought they looked like they needed to be replaced. I don’t know if it’s because the beans just start breaking down over time, or if it has to do with temperature fluctuations. Extract without the beans will last indefinitely, but the beans do eventually need to be replaced.

      Reply

  • Karen M. Chapman
    August 24, 2018

    I’d like to start the brewing directly in my 4oz bottles and bought a 25 count grade B Tahitian vanilla bean pack.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 25, 2018

      Hi Karen. Thank you for sharing that with us! We would love to know how it works out

      Reply

  • Kris
    August 20, 2018

    Hi Natasha! I was wondering if I bought 15 vanilla beans am I able to just put them all together in one jar and use it like that or do you advice I make separate vanilla extracts? How much vodka would I need if I just put all the vanilla beans together at once?
    Thank you!!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      August 20, 2018

      Hi Kris! 15 vanilla beans will make a big batch. You could do up to 5 cups of vodka for that many or just fill the vessel you have with Vodka and refill it with more Vodka as you use it. If you start with say 3 cups, it will also develop a darker and stronger flavor faster.

      Reply

      • Kris
        August 27, 2018

        Thank you for your input! Okay so what if I have 10-11 vanilla beans how much vodka would I use if I was still doing a big batch?

        Reply

        • Natasha
          August 28, 2018

          Hi Kris, I would modify it proportionally so if using half the amount of beans called for in the recipe, use half the amount of vodka.

          Reply

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