woman holding vanilla extract bottle

Handcrafted Pure Vanilla Extract Easy DIY

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Handcrafted pure vanilla extract easy DIY at home couldn’t be simpler. This delicious homemade vanilla extract requires only two quality ingredients and a little bit of patience.

woman holding vanilla extract bottle

Every year for Christmas my sister and I seek out meaningful homemade gifts to give to our loved ones. At this point it’s become a heartfelt tradition of ours. We prefer to create DIY gifts that are not only handmade but also beautiful and useful for friends and family who seem to have everything.  Handcrafted pure vanilla extract is an easy DIY. When I say easy, I mean it. Although this recipe is super simple, the result is an impressive kitchen staple made from scratch.

There’s a lot of imitation and watered down vanilla out there on your local grocery store shelves. Every home cook or baking enthusiast agrees, there is no substitute for pure vanilla. It truly transforms and elevates any recipe that calls for it.

Since vanilla beans are essential to the extraction process, it is crucial that your vanilla beans are sourced with quality in mind. After testing several different varieties; Madagascar, Tahitian, and Mexican, the vanilla beans from Madagascar reign supreme. Three quarters of all vanilla grown in the world is in Madagascar, so they are known for amazing vanilla. In addition to the origin of your vanilla beans, the type of bean is equally important for extracting.. Extract grade beans also known as grade B, are optimal for extract making because of their lower moisture content. 

Alcohol is the second ingredient for this easy to execute homemade vanilla extract recipe. The type of liquor you choose is really up to you. The most important thing to consider is the alcohol content. It must be at least 35% alcohol, so select one that is 70 proof or higher. Vodka, rum, and bourbon are all solid choices for this recipe, so pick your favorite!

bottle of vanilla extract

Tips for Making Handcrafted Pure Vanilla Extract

  • Give your bottle a shake every so often to help break up the cell walls of the beans and expedite the extraction process. The more caviar swirling the better.
  • After your extract has been in use for a while, you can pull out a single bean and scrape out the caviar to use fresh in another recipe. Just place the bean back in the bottle afterward.
  • Using a flavored liquor is not advisable, you don’t want to introduce any competing or artificial flavors to your extract.

Common Questions

How do I use vanilla extract?

The possibilities are endless! From fancy baking recipes to the simple ones written down by your grandma, there’s no shortage of uses for vanilla extract. Not only is it a must for virtually all dessert baking, but I personally like to add a splash to my coffee or in the egg batter for french toast.

How do I store vanilla extract?

You will need to keep your vanilla extract in a dry place, so I advise the kitchen cabinet along with all of your other spices. No need to refrigerate, as that will damage your extract. 

How long does homemade vanilla extract last?

The shelf-life for homemade vanilla extract is incredibly long. Because of the alcohol content, it will keep for a few years.

Can I top off with more alcohol as it gets used?

Yes! You can totally extend the life of your homemade vanilla extract by topping off with more alcohol.  As long as your vanilla beans are submerged and continue to extract a rich, dark amber color, the beans are doing their job. I recommend refreshing your vanilla beans about once a year.


6 grade B vanilla beans. I like to use Madagascar Bourbon Red Split vanilla beans.

8 oz. vodka. I prefer Titos Vodka since it’s U.S. made and gluten free.


With a sharp knife slice each vanilla bean lengthwise. You want to  expose the inside of the bean, this is known as vanilla caviar. You can keep the very end intact, or slice it completely through. Then place all 6 vanilla beans back inside the bottle.

Fill the bottle with vodka until the beans are fully submerged. This is a critical step because you want every part of the bean to extract all of its wonderful flavor. Close the lid to create a nice seal and place it in a cool, dry place for a minimum of 3 months.

Vanilla extract is the perfect homemade gift that will inspire and delight anyone who values quality ingredients. Best of all, when you make your own vanilla extract, you have the option to personalize it. My favorite way to enhance the presentation is to tie a piece of pretty twine round the top and add a gift tag. It will take a while before it’s ready to use and gets better with age, but wow is it worth the wait. There you have it! Homemade pure vanilla extract. An easy DIY, handcrafted in your own kitchen.

Let me know in the comments below if you make your own vanilla extract and your favorite way to use it.

woman holding vanilla extract bottle

Handcrafted Pure Vanilla Extract Easy DIY

Handcrafted pure vanilla extract made easy with premium vanilla beans and vodka
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 minutes
Extracting Time:90 days


  • Glass bottle with sealable lid


  • 6 grade B Madagascar Bourbon Red Split vanilla beans
  • 8 oz. vodka


  • With a sharp knife slice each vanilla bean lengthwise to expose vanilla caviar.
  • Place all 6 vanilla beans in bottle
  • Fill bottle with vodka until beans are fully submerged.
  • Seal lid and place in a cool, dry place for a minimum of 3 months.

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