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5 from 20 votes

How To Make The Best Homemade Vanilla Extract

Making your own vanilla extract is extremely easy, is generally more cost effective, and is better than store-bought!
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: condiment
Author: Kimberly Killebrew

Ingredients

  • Grade B Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans (grade B is specifically meant for extracting but if you have grade A those will also work)
  • Vodka 80 proof (vodka has the most neutral flavor but you can also use bourbon, brandy, or even rum as long as it's 80 proof)
  • 2 ounce brown glass jars
  • 4 ounce brown glass jars
  • Metal funnel for pouring
  • For single-fold vanilla extract like the kind you find in most stores: Use .8 ounces (or 22 grams) of vanilla beans per 1 cup of vodka
  • For double-fold vanilla extract much stronger flavor and many professional bakers prefer it: Use 1.6 ounces (or 44 grams) of vanilla beans per 1 cup of vodka)

Instructions

  • Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out the vanilla flecks inside. Add the flecks and the beans to the vodka in a glass jar with a fitted lid. Place the extract in a dark, cool place, shaking occasionally. The extract can be used in as little as 8 weeks for gets better and better with age. For far better results use after 6 months and for optimal results wait a year.
  • Once the extract is ready, place the funnel on the glass jars and fill them with the extract. Slice the vanilla beans to fit the length of the jars and place about 2 pieces in the 2-ounce jars and 4 pieces in the 4-ounce jars. That way the extract will continue to "ripen" as it sits.

Notes

One of the most important factors that determines the quality of the outcome is how long you allow the vanilla extract to age. While you can use it in as little as 8 weeks the flavor becomes vastly superior the longer it ages. For better results wait 6 months, for best results wait a year. I make a large batch every year to use the following year, that way I always have 12-month aged vanilla on hand.