Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract

This Homemade Vanilla Extract will not only save you money, but also makes an extract that is way better than the standard supermarket version.  It’s very easy to make, all you need is vodka, or another alcohol base of your choice, and vanilla beans.  The quality of the vodka doesn’t matter too much when it comes to making you own vanilla extract (I used a mid-range 1 Litre Vodka that I purchased duty free), but the quality of vanilla beans does.  It’s worth using good quality vanilla beans, as this will give your extract a much richer taste.  Different types of vanilla beans will also change the taste of the extract.  I used Madagascar vanilla beans, which have a classic smooth vanilla taste.  You could try using Tahitian beans, which have a fruitier flavour.

The recipe below uses 250ml of vodka, but as a general rule use 3 to 5 vanilla beans for every 250ml of alcohol.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract


  • 250ml vodka or other alcohol such as bourbon, brandy or rum
  • 3 to 5 vanilla beans


Split each vanilla bean by running a knife lengthways along the beans.
Place the vanilla beans in the bottle of vodka, or in another jar to be used. Top with the vodka if using another jar. Ensure that the vanilla beans are completely covered by the vodka.
Allow the vodka to sit and infuse for at least 1 month, preferably for 3 months. Give the bottle/jar a little shake every 3 or so days.
Once the extract is ready to use, you can strain it if you prefer not to have the seeds in it, but I prefer to leave the seeds in.
You can continue to top up the bottle/jar with vodka as you use the extract, just replace the beans every so often as they will begin to lose their flavour.

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