Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

homemade vanilla extract

★★★★★ 5
a recipe by
Colleen Sowa
La Crosse, WI

This is an easy recipe for real vanilla extract! You can replenish it or start a new batch when halfway through a jar... make another batch. I like the vanilla rum for this recipe as it already has a bit of vanilla flavoring, but you can use your favorite rum or vodka. Make sure to add the same type of alcohol when replenishing. This is a wonderful gift for your family and friends who love to cook! Just make some creative labels, and you are all set! For a stronger vanilla flavor, add more vanilla beans (slice the beans lengthwise for optimal flavor).

Blue Ribbon Recipe

Real vanilla extract is expensive. Making your own at home is a great option and easy to make. Use this vanilla extract the same as store-bought vanilla in cakes, custard, cookies, and more. The longer it sits, the more intense vanilla flavor you'll get. Just make sure to give it a shake every few weeks. A bottle would make a lovely hostess or holiday gift.

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
★★★★★ 5
serves 1 quart
prep time 5 Min
method Canning/Preserving

Ingredients For homemade vanilla extract

  • 7
    vanilla beans
  • 1 c
    rum, vanilla rum, or vodka

How To Make homemade vanilla extract

Test Kitchen Tips
We sterilized our jars in the dishwasher and let them sit for about 5 months. We found ordering vanilla beans online to be the most budget-friendly.
  • Slicing a vanilla bean pod lengthwise.
    Sterilize a quart jar in a boiling water bath. While the jar is cooling, prepare the vanilla beans by making a long slit down the length of the vanilla bean.
  • Slit beans placed in a sterilized jar.
    Place the slit beans into the sterile jar.
  • Alcohol poured over the vanilla beans.
    Pour the alcohol of choice over the vanilla beans into the jar.
  • Shaking the sealed jar.
    Seal the jar. Shake the jar 10 times.
  • Vanilla extract as it has sat for a while.
    Set this in a cool dark place for two months (shaking it a few times during the wait). Use as you would any vanilla.
  • Homemade Vanilla Extract placed into decorative bottles.
    ***As you use this up, add more alcohol. You can also add more vanilla beans one at a time as the flavor weakens because of additional alcohol. *** This will last forever! Just remove the oldest beans if there are too many in the jar. ***Put the pods out to dry, and put them in tea can or sugar jar to add flavor to them! The vanilla bean is a gift that keeps on giving! *** I get the optimal results when I use vanilla rum. *** Keep in mind that you are using alcohol and consider this when preparing recipes.