Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe

Who doesn’t need vanilla extract on hand for holiday baking? Instead of adding one more thing to your shopping list this year, try this simple, DIY formula.

November/December 2018

  • Vanilla extract comes in handy for holiday baking!
    Photo by Kimberly Killebrew

Yield: 1 quart

This aromatic, low-cost extract is not only useful to have at home, but a small bottle makes the perfect gift. Adjust the measurements for any amount you wish to make.


  • 20 Grade B bourbon vanilla beans
  • One 1-quart glass jar with fitted lid
  • 1 quart 80-proof vodka
  • Small funnel
  • Eight 4-ounce dark glass bottles


  1. Slice the vanilla beans in half lengthwise, and, if you want, scrape out the vanilla flecks inside.
  2. Place all the vanilla beans and vanilla flecks into the quart jar, pour the vodka over them, and screw the lid on tightly. Store the jar in a cool, dark location.
  3. Every few days, give the jar a shake. You can use the extract after 8 weeks, but it will be even better after 6 months to 1 year.
  4. When the extract is ready, use the funnel to pour it into the dark glass bottles, leaving a little headspace in each. If you’d like, trim the used vanilla beans to the height of the bottles, and add 4 pieces to each bottle to increase the flavor of the extract as it steeps.

Adapted with permission from Kimberly Killebrew and her blog, The Daring Gourmet.

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