DIY Vanilla Extract Recipe: How To Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Make your own homemade vanilla extract using just 2 ingredients!
DIY Vanilla Extract Recipe

I have always wanted to make my own homemade Vanilla Extract. With the rising costs of food, especially vanilla and the fact I use a TON of it, making my own seems much more cost effective. Today, I have for you a DIY vanilla extract recipe. It is super easy to make, although it does require some patience: 6 weeks minimum to be exact! I teamed up with Native Vanilla and received complimentary beans to show you this recipe.

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Homemade vanilla extract takes only minutes to prepare but can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months to be fully ready to use. That is because it needs to steep in alcohol to release all that vanilla flavor. You will start with a clear liquid and end up with a gorgeous, dark extract full of vanilla flavor and ready for all your baked goods, drinks, etc. I love to use extracts in my iced Oolong tea and since I drink this almost every day, I go through a lot! Not to mention, I use vanilla in nearly all my sweet baked goods. So making a large bottle, versus the small bottles you buy at the store is a much better option for me.

In this recipe, we will be using Vodka, but you can also use Bourbon or Rum (not spiced). I want the true vanilla flavor for this batch so I’m using plain Vodka to get the most true vanilla flavor possible.

You will need a Vodka that is at least 80 proof. That is 40% ABV. You will also need a glass jar or bottle with a lid that can seal. You’ll be storing this in a dark cabinet and shaking once per week so you don’t want any leaks.

I am using and prefer to use Native Vanilla brand Organic Madagascar Vanilla Beans. Madagascar beans are rich, dark and creamy with an overwhelming sweet, buttery aroma and sweet, earthy, undertones of dried dark fruits. They create a buttery, creamy and fruity flavor in your vanilla extract.

Look at how gorgeous these beans are!

Native Vanilla Organic Madagascar Vanilla Beans

To determine how many beans per alcohol I’ll need, I use Native Vanilla’s online calculator. There’s 2 options to choose from when calculating:

Option 1 – Set the amount of alcohol you have and the calculator will tell you how many ounces of vanilla bean you need.

Option 2 – Set the amount of vanilla beans you have and the calculator will tell you how many fl oz of alcohol you will need. According to Native Vanilla, If you’re using average-sized vanilla beans, 6 to 8 beans equal one ounce. For plumper vanilla beans, 1 to 3 beans equal one ounce. For smaller vanilla beans, you’ll need 15 or more to make up one ounce.

It is so simple to make. You literally just slice open your Vanilla Beans, place them in your jar, cover with alcohol, seal and place in a dark cabinet and then wait, shaking once per week.

DIY Vanilla Extract Recipe Step-By-Step

Here are step-by-step photos of me making my homemade vanilla extract:

DIY Vanilla Extract Recipe - Making Homemade Vanilla Extract: Supplies Needed To Make Making Homemade Vanilla Extract
Gather your supplies
Making Homemade Vanilla Extract: Slicing Vanilla Beans For Homemade Vanilla Extract
Split vanilla beans down the center to expose the inside

As you can see, the process is quite simple.

In the photos, you can see the beans are upright in the bottle and there is quite a bit of liquid. My taller bottle wasn’t working quite right for the amount of alcohol I was using. So, I removed the beans, folded them in half and then placed them back in the bottle. I then measured and poured 8 ounces of Vodka over the beans so they were fully covered. I didn’t want any sticking out of the Vodka. I’ll update this post in 6 weeks and then again in 6 months so be on the lookout for an update Sept 20 and again in February!

Here is a photo of my DIY Vanilla Extract at 6 weeks! It’s still a bit “hot”. Very vodka-y. So, I’ll definitely be waiting until it has been 6 months before trying to use it! Check back in Feb. I’ll also be posting updates on my Instagram @cinnamonhollow


DIY Vanilla Extract Recipe

Homemade Vanilla Extract: DIY Vanilla Extract Recipe

Make your own homemade vanilla extract using just 2 ingredients!
Servings: 8 oz
Author: Crystal Martin
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 42 days 5 minutes
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  • 8 oz Vodka
  • 6 Organic Vanilla Beans


  • Split vanilla beans down the center, length-wise to expose the inside
  • Place beans in a glass, seal-able jar or bottle
  • Pour Vodka over beans, ensuring all beans are covered
  • Seal jar or bottle and place in a dark cabinet
  • Shake once per week for 6 weeks, preferably 6 months (I set a reminder on my phone)
  • After time is up, enjoy your homemade vanilla extract! It will have deepened into a gorgeous brown color.
  • I prefer to strain my vanilla extract into another container for use.
  • DON'T discard your beans! (see notes for what to do)


NOTE: We are making a "double fold" vanilla and using more beans for a richer flavor.
While you can certainly enjoy your homemade vanilla extract in as little as 6 weeks, 6 months will give you optimal flavor. I recommend at least tasting it at the 6 week mark and then comparing at 6 months.
DON'T discard your beans! Leave them in the jar and add more Vodka to make more extract! You can add another bean or 2 each time as they will lose some of their flavor after extended use. You can discard any beans that seem wilted.
Nutrition Note:These nutrition facts were calculated automatically by our recipe card and do not include sugar alcohols or net carbs. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of these nutrition facts but I believe the macros are actually lower than shown here.
Instagram icon Did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment below letting us know you made this recipe. Then tag @cinnamonhollow on Instagram and hashtag it #cinnamonhollowrecipes

If you use our recipe, I’d love to see your creations! Tag me on Instagram @cinnamonhollow with a photo of your DIY Extract!

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