How to Make Vanilla Extract {Easy. 2 Ingredients. Save.}

Something we seem to use a lot of around here this time of year is vanilla extract.  There is just something about fall and winter that brings the baking out in me!  I absolutely love it.  I also really love pure vanilla extract (not the imitation).  Because we go through so much of it I thought it would be a more cost effective decision to just make our own.  In the end, I decided these would make excellent gifts for my co-workers as well as Graham’s teachers this year.  It really ended up being a hit and I truly do not think I will ever be buying vanilla extract again.  For about $20 we had approximately 4 cups of organic vanilla extract.  That’s almost half price when you compare the costs of organic vanilla extract online and in your local grocery stores.

how to make vanilla extract

What you will need:

  • 6 or 7 organic vanilla beans {make sure they are not dried out}
  • 1 bottle of vodka or bourbon {we used Absolut Vodka)
  • Mason jar
  • Smaller dark jars if making gifts
  • Scissors


  1. Using scissors, cut your vanilla beans in half about 3/4 of the way down. vanilla bean cut
  2. Place your cut vanilla beans into the mason jar.
  3. Cover the beans with about 2 cups of vodka and push the beans down into the liquid. diy vanilla extract
  4. Close with a tight lid and place in a cabinet that rarely sees light for 6-8 weeks.  The longer you let it sit the more flavor you will have.  You will also notice that it starts to get darker as time passes.  I give mine a swirl in the jar every few days or when I think about it during that time frame.
  5. If you are giving these as gifts, or maybe if you just want a smaller bottle, you can transfer the vanilla extract to small amber colored bottles.  I used a turkey baster to transfer the liquid to keep things neat.  I also placed one vanilla bean in each jar so that people could keep their jar going if they so desired.

*You can easily keep your vanilla extract going by adding a little more vodka.  Just make sure to let it sit for a week or so in order to have more flavor.  If you are giving these as gifts make sure to include those instructions so that your friends can keep their vanilla going!  I found the bottles, chalkboard labels and chalkboard marker on Amazon.

That’s it!  Now you can create your own, bake away or just send it to me.  I’ll use it!

For more creative inspiration: Today’s Creative Blog

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About Felicia

Felicia Carter is founder and managing editor of Go Grow Go. Her philosophy is to simplify, save, grow and go! Her home is generally full of DIY projects, crafts, yummy baked goods and lots of love. Felicia is also a wife, mom of 2 boys and nationally certified counselor. You can always find her near the chocolate or the coffee pot.

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  1. Oh Girl I LOVE this idea!! I will have to give this a try! I so want the chalkboard labels!

  2. What? This is crazy easy. I’m adding vanilla beans to my co-op spices list for next month.

  3. Sounds simple enough and I love vanilla!

  4. Jennifer McCall says:

    This is amazing! I just started my first batch. You talked about adding more vodka to keep it going. I was wondering how long you can keep adding to it before the bean is completely used. Thank you!
    Jennifer McCall

    • I know!! So easy!! Ok, here is my super scientific answer to your question… I go by “sniff”! Seriously, the bean will break down over time and you will notice flakes in the jar. I would say toss it then and get a new bean. Remember, if you are keeping it in the mason jar full you want to make sure to have at least 5-6 beans and only one or 2 if you have the smaller jar. I hope this helps!

      • Jennifer McCall says:

        Awesome! Thank you. One more question. Are the Madagascar bourbon organic vanilla beans good for this project? I found these vanilla beans on eBay at very reasonable prices and just wanted to make sure they will work.

        • Hmmm.. I’m not exactly sure. Do they already have bourbon in them or are they made specifically for making extract? I have only used plain vanilla beans.

          • Jennifer McCall says:

            Ok. I have researched the internet, and apparently the Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean is the same kind of bean used in extract you buy off the shelf. I went ahead and purchased them off eBay for a substantial savings over locally priced beans. I will let you know if they were worth the savings when they arrive. Thanks!

        • Thank you for letting me know! I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  5. Visiting from Today’s Creative Blog. I just love homemade vanilla, and your bottles/labels are just too cute! Thanks for sharing.

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