Homemade Vanilla Extract

I have wanted to do this for years and there are SO many different ways and directions to do it! When a friend told me she had done it with great success, I finally decided to just give it a try! I went in with 3 other friends and we bought our vanilla beans from Olive Nation, with their free shipping and using a 10% off code [Home] from Heavenly Homemakers! With 3/4 lb, what Heavenly Homemakers suggested using for making a Gallon. We would end up with about 22 beans each and 1 quart each of Vanilla extract in the end.

Well in doing more research I found on a blog and also another recipe in a book from the library that said you could use 2 or 3 bean pods per cup {1 Quart has 4 cups, so I used 8 bean pods}, instead of the larger quantity than the first recipe I saw said. AND you only have to let it steep for 4 months instead or 6! Yiippeee! So our beans and Vodka went further!

One friend got some free Russian Vodka from another military friend that is moving and can’t take it with them, and then braved buying the rest we needed for us, on base, No tax!! (None of us drink!)


We all got together with our beans, vodka and jars and made our extract.  One friend ended up not wanting the rest of her beans, so I bought them back and had enough for one more jar.

I had to go buy another bottle of vodka, so you can see the two jars in the back are from yesterday, already turning brown and the front one was just done.


I bought a few extra beans as well when we ordered and plan on making some vanilla infused oil, vanilla hand lotion and after the beans are finished in the vodka, reusing them for vanilla sugar and trying a vanilla scrub! Will let you know what the straining process is like and what the end results are in a few months!

Shelf life of homemade: 1-2 years!

Originally posted on 1.18.11


This project has been “brewing” for over six months….LITERALLY!🙂

My Vanilla was ready technically in June, but I wasn’t ready. I have been collecting the bottles from a local source as they get them in stock.


So, today I decided I had enough to at least get started.  I first lined a strainer with a coffee filter, which I set in a bowl.

I poured the vanilla in and it caught all the beans (tiny black seeds) and the pods.


I then used a funnel to pour the strained vanilla into the bottles. 1 qt. jar made enough to fill two small (4oz) and two large (6 oz) brown bottles.


I added a little tag to some, to give away as gifts.


It was so simple and is so much more healthy for us (as they add all kinds of unnecessary chemicals to store bought!), and bonus my house smells divine!!!

I am going to add more vodka & a few fresh beans to the old bean/jar and brew again.

Originally posted 8.7.11

28 thoughts on “Homemade Vanilla Extract

  1. I started my very first batch of homemade vanilla extract towards the beginning of the month. We don’t drink, so it was a hoot purchasing the vodka. We so didn’t know what we were doing. lol! I just put the vanilla beans in the vodka bottle. I’m working on finding some cute amber or cobalt bottles for the finished product. I have a little time to find them.😉

    Please post your “recipes” for the vanilla essential oils and hand cream as you make them. Thank you!!

  2. This is the coolest thing ever. I’m going to try it! Won’t take pictures, though. It won’t look so pretty!🙂 I don’t know why, but I finally found this blog. It usually takes me to the other site. This is great!

  3. Waiting to see the end product! I do use quite a bit of vanilla essence because I do bake and make ice cream but the store (or rather Costco) bought one still lasts a long time. I would be curious to know the shelf life of this homemade vanilla essence.

  4. I have vanilla sugar waiting for me in the pantry now. Not sure what I am going to use it for. Oh, and its white sugar… haven’t been using that either.

  5. I do this all the time…it’s amazing vanilla (I LOVER vanilla)

    Don’t listen to the recipes that tell you it only lasts a certain amount of months..it lasts for years! You can keep refilling the bottle with vodka as you use it…it gets better as it ages…

  6. Wookie & I were on the bus heading home with two young students behind talking about having a hang-over because one of their boyfriends wanted to win some competition so had bought all these bottles of vodka… ‘and what else can you do with vodka except drink it right?’ I turned around and gave a list – including the vanilla, they were really intrigued and thought they’d make cool Christmas presents. Wonder if they did?

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  8. Wow! I didn’t even realize you could do this. You are being added to my list of crafty friends. Are you on Pinterest yet? Fun place to share ideas (& your blog/site, with discretion). I definately want to make vanilla! & my mom would love to receive this as a gift.

  9. I saw this on Heavenly Homemakers too! I wanted to try it but haven’t yet. I am interested in where you found your four month recipe. I wanted to do some for Christmas “happies” but knew I wouldn’t have time with the other recipe.

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  11. I’m finally trying this, after we wandered up down the aisles of the exchage a few different times, we finally got the nerve to purchase. ha!😀 Excited about this “experiment”. I wish I had started it sooner, since I want to give this as Christmas gifts. :0

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