Home-Brewed: DIY Vanilla Extract


Store-bought vanilla usually contains sugars and is diluted with water. And that is *pure* vanilla extract. Imitation vanilla is a whole ‘nother story. Needless to say, I was surprised and a bit irked when I read the ingredients on the back of my bottle of “pure” vanilla extract.

That is when I began home-brewing vanilla extract. I’ll provide links along the way to the items I purchased.[*]

diy vanilla extract

This is from a batch I made last year. DIY Vanilla Extract is incredibly simple to make and ridiculously cost effective. Yet these little bottles impress much! I love handing these out to loved ones.


●○ Vodka – there are even gluten free vodkas out there if you have gluten sensitivities.
●○ Vanilla Beans – I use organic Bourbon-style vanilla beans from Amadeus
●○ Bottles – I buy 4-ounce bottles from Specialty Bottle – 74 cents a pop.


○● Place two halved and split vanilla beans in each bottle. Top with vodka and replace the lid.
○● Store in a cool, dark, dry place for two months. Give each bottle a shake every now and then. After that, your home brewed vanilla extract is ready to be used, gifted, and admired!
○● As you use your vanilla extract, top it off with more vodka. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving!

One 750 ml bottle of vodka yields about 25 ounces of extract.


●○ Use 100 proof vodka to best extract the vanilla.
●○ Extraction grade vanilla beans offer a better flavor and the aroma … oh, it is amazing!
●○ Please be sure to keep your extract out of reach of little ones… remember it is not diluted – it is the REAL deal.
●○ I also added shrink bands so I could easily tell which bottle was already in use {I used a combination of amber, blue, and clear bottles – the colored bottles make it hard to tell}.

diy vanilla extract

Right now, I have a new batch brewing in the cupboards – this time made with bourbon. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! *fingers crossed!*

Have you ever made your own Vanilla Extract?

Check out these linkys for fun and inspiration!

Life on Lakeshore Drive
Claire Justine OXOX
New Mama Diaries
Cornerstone Confessions
Maria Elena’s Decor

* [Erin received no products or compensation for this post. She is simply sharing the products she recommends from personal experience. Any opinion expressed is her own.]


About Author

Erin is a hopelessly devoted wife & momma to a five year old girl and a one year old boy. For the past year she has been on a quest to get back to the basics...


  1. Awesome!! If I hurry I still have time to make and give for Christmas! I love you! I am in desperate need of some inexpensive but nice gifts and this is it!

      • No worries! I’m glad you’ll be trying it! I still have SO many bottles. I just sent two to Jennifer. I can’t seem to gift enough. 😀

  2. sounds like a GREAT idea. Vanilla extract is SO expensive and well so is Vodka so I guess I see why.. but……………this would be FUN to do!

    • It is, especially the “quality” stuff in the stores… But even that is diluted. Probably because otherwise they’d have people buying it to drink LOL! The bourbon vanilla extract I had working turned out nicely too, totally different flavor than the vodka vanilla extract.

  3. My husband brews his own beer… now I have an excuse to brew my own stuff. Fabulous idea! Though my husband might disagree, especially if I use his bourbon ;).

  4. This looks delicious and incredibly easy to make. These would make great gifts at the holidays too. Thanks for sharing and linking up at Gingham & Roses.

  5. I didn’t realize vanilla extract had any alcohol in it. Ha! I guess you don’t notice at all since you just use a tiny bit when you’re cooking with it, right? Really neat post. It’s almost like watching Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood when he did those “how it’s made” segments.

    Thanks for sharing! I can TASTE the vanilla extract in my mouth as I’m typing… Mmm.

    OH and by the way, I came across this post through the Busy Monday linkup. 🙂

    • By the way, I wanted to hop back over and let you know I am featuring this as my favorite from the last party 😉
      I can’t wait to see what you share this week!

  6. This is a great idea. I had no idea I could be making my own extract!

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  7. Bourbon! I can only imagine how great that would taste in baking recipes! Thanks for sharing, this is something I have always wanted to try. Would be great to give out as gifts during the holidays next year. I featured this in this week’s What’d You Do This Weekend linkup! Pinning 🙂

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