How To Make Vanilla Extract

This tutorial will show you How To Make Vanilla Extract with just a few ingredients.

With fall quickly approaching and our first day of homeschooling under our belt. I have slowly begun transitioning into cold weather mode. Although not exactly ready to bust out the warm sweaters, I am looking forward to baking days on rainy afternoons.

This week I am stocking up the vanilla extract as it is a staple in our house during these months. I wanted to share this simple process here with you. As not only are the baking months just around the corner. This tutorial for How to Make Vanilla Extract shows you how to make batches of vanilla extract. Which is a lovely homemade gift during the holiday season.

Truth be told I opt to make this as it is quite expensive when purchasing the organic pure vanilla extract. It often comes in a tiny bottle we sparingly use however, when you make your own, you will find yourself adding it to everything.

Having learned how to make this and surely you will see how simple it is. You will for sure ask yourself why didn’t you start doing this sooner. I know I did. I will warn you that the cure time for this is about 4 months so it is not a quick process. However, with each batch, you can make an entire year’s worth. You can even time it out so you stock up when halfway through your batches so you never run out.

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Why I Love This Method

Having good quality ingredients can be expensive. Especially when wanting the real thing. Sure, there are lots of substitutions available for pretty much any sort of ingredient you can think of. But the ability to take a few minutes and make something so simple. Something in pure form that would cost more than 3 times the amount to purchase.

Well, that is enough reason to finally learn How to Make Vanilla Extract. Having a mason jar filled and sitting in the cupboard at all times is somewhat of a luxury these days. The pure smell when you open it and the ability to not have to skimp when using. Awe, the joy of it all. Why not make a few extra jars for friends and family while you are at it?

What is Vanilla Extract?

Vanilla extract is a delicious extract that you can put in anything from baked goods to smoothies to your morning pancake batter. Enhancing the flavors and giving a mild vanilla essence. It is made by extracting the essence from whole vanilla bean pods.

What You Will Need To Make It

Madagascar Vanilla Pods

Bottle of vodka or rum

mason jar or jars with lids

Larger Batches

For making a larger batch of vanilla extract for gifts of stocking up. This quantity will make 8-8oz jars of vanilla extract or 4-pint-sized jars. For even larger batches, you can double this amount, and so on.

12 podsMadagascar Vanilla Pods

1-750 ml bottle of cheap vodka or rum

Set of 8-8oz mason jars or a set of 4- pint-sized mason jars


Taking a sharp pair of kitchen scissors or a knife cut the vanilla pod down the center to help it release its flavor.

If using a shorter mason jar go ahead and snip it in half to fit the jar. You will need 1 1/2 per 8 oz mason jar. For pint-size mason jars, you will need 3 pods per jar.

Fill the jar with vodka.

Allow this to sit at room temperature checking it occasionally by smell. The liquid will darken and the vodka smell will be gone when it is ready to use. I find that the 3-4-month mark is usually when it is ready for me. But it depends on the time of year you make it. The warmer your kitchen, the quicker the vanilla extract will be ready. Check it monthly. During really warm months, it can be ready in as little as 2 months.

Once it is ready you will use it just like your would the store-bought. I remove my vanilla bean after it’s done and ready to use.

homemade vanilla extract

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Vanilla Pods I Use

8 oz Mason Jars Set of 8

Pint-Sized Mason Jars Set of 4


Where do I store when ready?

This should be stored in a cool, dry place. A normal cupboard should be fine.

Can I use Tahitian vanilla pods instead?

You can but it is recommended to use the Madagascar ones as they are most often used for culinary purposes whereas the Tahitian ones are normally used for aroma and smell.

Where can I find the pods?

Under tools you might need in this blog post, I have a link there where I get them. Which is amazon. You should also be able to find them at any natural food store near you.

How can I speed up the process?

Place the extract near a sunny window for warmth. The temperature in your kitchen is going to determine the length of time this will take to properly extract and be ready for use.

If you are a bit on the impatient side, opt to make your batches during the summer months. I find making it in the summer, I can have vanilla extract in about 2 months. Getting into the routine of restocking your vanilla extract batches during those hot months of the year. It will have you enjoying your vanilla extract a lot sooner if you plan accordingly.

Ways To Use

  • Add vanilla to baking items like cookies, cakes, pies, and tarts.
  • It makes a great addition to smoothies, pancake batter, french toast batter, and even iced coffees.
  • I use it to make homemade ice cream, gelato, and simple syrups for desserts.
  • Add to berry compote, homemade frostings, and old-fashioned oatmeal.

If you try this recipe and love it, I would appreciate you coming back to give it 5 stars!

Yield: 1-8oz jar of vanilla extract

How To Make Vanilla Extract

homemade vanilla extract

a delicious solution used for baking, adding to smoothies or anything you'd like to add an essence of vanilla to

Prep Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 4 months
Total Time 4 months 10 minutes


  • 1 1/2 vanilla bean pods
  • 8 oz vodka or rum


  1. Slice or cut vanilla pod down the center to release flavor
  2. Slice the pods in half to fit the jar
  3. Place 1 1/2 into the mason jar. You will need 1 1/2 pods for every 8oz of alcohol.
  4. Fill jar to the fill line and place lid on
  5. Place the jar on the countertop or in a room temp area of your kitchen
  6. Allow the vanilla to soak (extract) for about 2- 4 months
  7. Make sure to check vanilla monthly as it sits as home temperatures vary and you may find it done sooner or later than the 3-4-month mark. The vanilla is ready when it smells of just vanilla and the alcohol smell is gone.


*Using rum will add a deeper flavor while using vodka will give the taste of traditional vanilla extracts

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 13Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

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**Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through the links I provide (at no cost to you).

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