Homemade Vanilla Extract

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With Christmas coming just around the corner it’s now time to start thinking about all the baking and Christmas gifts and all the many things you can do to ahead of time to keep the stress levels lower closer to the holiday. I found making my own vanilla as an excellent way for me to prepare for my yummy goodies and also offer as a Christmas gift to neighbors and family.


What you need:


1.| Wash and sanitize bottles and lids. I just stuck mine in the dishwasher and then let them dry. Make sure to have them thoroughly dry before using.

2.| I cut my beans in half and stuck 2 in each 4 oz bottle.

3.| Using a funnel I poured the chosen alcohol into each bottle until it reached the neck of the bottle.

4.| Store in a dark place and shake 1x a week. Best if used after 2 months.


5.| Put a label on and your done.



I wanted to taste the different varieties so I marked the box my bottles came in with a V for Vodka and an R for Rum to keep them straight. I also ran out of my amber bottles and put the rest of the beans in mason jars and put about 5 beans in each pint size jar. You can add more beans to your amber bottles for a stronger vanilla. It is always best to be stronger as you can add more alcohol if needed.

There are many types of vanilla beans. Each gives the vanilla a little different flavor. So there will be a difference in taste using Madagascar vs. Mexican, etc.

DID YOU KNOW: (According to Beanilla.com)

Different beans have a different taste

Mexican Vanilla Beans = Bold and Smokey

Madagascar = Rich and Creamy

Tahitian Vanilla Beans = Floral Aroma

5 from 6 votes

Homemade Vanilla Extract


  • 2 1.75-Liter Vodka or Rum
  • 60 Vanilla Beans


  • 4-5 1 qt Mason Jars
  • 30-35 4 oz Amber Glass Bottles Prewash and dry
  • Labels


  1. 1| Wash and sanitize bottles.

    2.| Snip the tip of each bean off and then cut bean in half and place 2 in a 4 oz. bottle. (This really equals 1 bean pod cut in half.) 

    2| Pour alcohol over the beans and close tightly. 

    3| Shake. 

    4| Place your filled jars in a cool, dark place.

    5| Shake the bottles once a week for 1-2 months but 2-3months for a better flavor. 

    Can store in the mason jar. 

    These make excellent gifts. 

    Easy Peasy! 


About The Author

Karie Babbitt

Karie Babbitt is a Lifestyle and Family Travel Writer. Mother of three boys and one girl. She has raised a family of six on a single income for over twenty-five years. She will share how she budgets so she can travel to show her kids all fifty states before they leave her home. Her parenting fails and successes, budgeting tips, food and living life in bliss.


  1. Holly Bird | 24th Oct 18

    5 stars
    I can not wait to try this!! I had no idea how to make Vanilla extract! Thank you !

    • Karie Babbitt | 26th Oct 18

      It was super easy and so much cheaper than buying it in the store.

  2. Pam | 25th Oct 18

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve heard that this is very easy to do and have been wanting to try it – now I know exactly how.

    • Karie Babbitt | 26th Oct 18

      Super easy. I think I have always put it off thinking it would be so difficult but now that fear is over. It can literally be done in minutes.

  3. Nicki | 25th Oct 18

    This is super cool! I sense Christmas gifts coming out of this article!

    • Karie Babbitt | 26th Oct 18

      That’s what I am doing. I am all done. I made mine and it’s sitting now waiting until time to deliver to my neighbors. Not only was it easy and cheaper than past years gifts it’s done and ready I don’t have to rush when closer to Christmas. I can’t wait to deliver them.

  4. Katie | 25th Oct 18

    5 stars
    Vanilla extract is something I have always wanted to try to make myself. Sounds like a great DIY gift!

    • Karie Babbitt | 26th Oct 18

      That’s what I am doing with some of it. I am giving it as Christmas gifts to neighbors…hopefully they bake. If not I know they drink maybe they can drink flavored alcohol. lol

  5. Jen | 25th Oct 18

    Real vanilla makes all the difference! This is going the to do list!!! Thank you!

    • Karie Babbitt | 26th Oct 18

      Good luck. There are so many different beans and alcohol to use I would love to hear which ones you use and how it turns out if you do.

  6. Amie Lara | 25th Oct 18

    I had no idea that alcohol was used to make vanilla. I need to try this. Do you know how long it will keep?

    • Karie Babbitt | 26th Oct 18

      I do not know by experience how long it keeps but I have heard it keeps for years. It actually gets better with time as it gets stronger. I don’t think mine will last long enough for me to experiment though because I go through vanilla like it’s milk. lol

  7. Missy | 25th Oct 18

    This is a great idea. I can imagine an event with others making it too.

    • Karie Babbitt | 26th Oct 18

      That would be fun. Great idea.

  8. Christa | 25th Oct 18

    Vanilla extract is used in so many recipes, especially during the holiday season. I love the idea of giving homemade extract as a gift!

    • Karie Babbitt | 26th Oct 18

      Thanks for your comment you just made me realize I need to give out my neighbor gifts at the first of December so they can use it for the holiday season.

  9. Shirley | 25th Oct 18

    5 stars
    Well this is interesting! I love real vanilla extract so I may need to give this a try.

    • Karie Babbitt | 26th Oct 18

      It was really easy and I just love vanilla extract so much more than plain vanilla so it was worth the few min. to make it.

  10. Tricia | 25th Oct 18

    5 stars
    This would make a great holiday gift! So creative!

    • Karie Babbitt | 26th Oct 18

      Thanks, I hope my neighbors like it.

  11. Christa | 25th Oct 18

    5 stars
    My sister-in-law made some of this for us for Christmas one year. I’m just now using the last of it.

    • Karie Babbitt | 26th Oct 18

      Isn’t it much better than store bought? I just love it.

  12. Stephanie | 25th Oct 18

    5 stars
    A friend made me some a few years ago.. It was wonderful. Where did you find the bottles?

    • Karie Babbitt | 26th Oct 18

      I bought mine off Amazon here is the link to the Amber 4 oz. bottles

  13. Rosanna | 26th Oct 18

    I did this years ago. I need to do it again. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Karie Babbitt | 26th Oct 18

      It’s that time of year so it’s an excellent time to make some.

  14. Katie | 28th Oct 18

    How cute are those labels! I’ve been wanting to try making more stuff at home that I would use for cooking or baking, and this looks like a great start. Super easy read, too. Thank you for this post!

  15. Sarah | 7th Nov 18

    I love making homemade vanilla extract. I always thought it was a hard thing to do, but then I tried it and man talk about easy. So much more flavorful than the fake stuff you can buy in the store. I should check how much I have in my house because I never want to run out.

    • Karie Babbitt | 7th Nov 18

      Yes, it’s a little intimidating at first but once one gets in and does it, its like easier than most other things. lol

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