Make Your Own Vanilla Extract!

Recipe by Sharon123
READY IN: 720hrs
YIELD: 1 cup




  • Using a sharp kitchen knife, cut a lengthwise slit down the middle of each vanilla bean.
  • Cut vanilla beans into 1/2-3/4 inch pieces.
  • Pour vodka into your container. If using corn syrup, add and shake to dissolve syrup. Sugar can be used, but is harder to dissolve.
  • Add vanilla beans to container and shake.
  • Keep vanilla extract in a cool, dark place, with the bottle tightly closed, to prevent evaporation and loss of flavor.
  • Once each day, vigorously shake the container for 30-seconds.
  • It will take at least 30 days for the vanilla extract to mature. The longer it sits, the stronger it gets. I know people who make this in July and don't use until December, when baking time begins and to use for gifts.
  • Shake vanilla bottle before each use.
  • As the contents of the bottle are poured out, top it up occasionally with additional vodka and a bit more corn syrup; about once a year add a couple more finely chopped vanilla pods.
  • Occasionally spoon out some of the mass of vanilla pods that settle to the bottom of the jar for when you want a very intense vanilla flavor (such as homemade vanilla ice cream or butter/vanilla pretzel cookies).
  • Another thing you could do is to remove some the vanilla beans from the alcohol, dry them thoroughly and place them in a canister of sugar to make vanilla sugar.
  • You may want to use one-fourth to one-third the amount called for in most recipes as this has a very strong vanilla flavor.
  • Small flecks of the vanilla pods will be in the vanilla extract - they provide additional flavor. They also appear as dark flecks in light-colored food, don’t shake the bottle if you don’t want the flecks to appear.
  • Vanilla extract will stay fresh for two years unopened and for one year after being opened.
  • Small bottles with the vanilla beans left in them make great gifts for friends who bake. Include the basic instructions and a few extra vanilla pods in case they want to make an even stronger extract or wish to make some vanilla sugar on the side.
  • To strain and bottle for storage: Use a very fine strainer, coffee filter, or paper towel to strain.