How to Make DIY Vanilla Extract

Vanilla is a staple in my kitchen. It goes into almost everything I bake from Red Velvet Pancakes to My Favorite Buttercream Recipe and almost all of my cupcake recipes. With the high cost of Extracts, I wanted to show you how to make DIY Vanilla extract and give it as gifts as well as make it for your own baking.  Did you know you can also make homemade vanilla extract in the Instant Pot?

Vanilla Extract with 2 Ingredients

The best thing about making Homemade Vanilla is that you can make several bottles at once and give them as gifts, just make sure you start 8 weeks earlier than you want to give them. You also only need 3 items and 2 ingredients to get this going. You can decorate the bottles later while you wait for the allotted time while the flavors meld together.

DIY Vanilla Extract Decorated Bottles
DIY Vanilla extract bottles with vanilla beans only 2 ingredients and tastes so much better than store bought. Great for gift giving.

*This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I get a small commission. Please see my disclosure policy for details

What Items Do I Need To Start?

You can order the bottles and the Grade B Vanilla beans online below and get the vodka at the grocery store. You don’t need expensive Vodka so don’t splurge. Also, make sure you buy Grade B Beans, not Grade A.  I was in a hurry when I made mine so I ordered the Beans and not the bottles and then I had to go searching for them. So I made several different bottles and really they are pretty big. I like these small bottles better.

DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract decorated for the holidays
Homemade Vanilla Extract Flat Lay with Silver Star Garland

How to make DIY Vanilla Extract 

  • The first thing you should do is wash your bottles with hot soap and water.
  • You will also need a sharp knife to split open the Vanilla Beans lengthwise.
  • Cut the beans in half or smaller so they are about 1 – 2 inches in length.
  • Pour the Vodka or your choice of Rum or Bourbon into the bottles. Vodka is more neutral in taste.
  • Slice the bean and scrape the inside of the beans out and scoop into the bottles with your knife.
  • Use 2-3 whole beans per 8 oz. So if you use 4 oz bottles cut 1-2 beans in half and use all pieces.

What is the difference between Grade A and Grade B Vanilla Bean

  • Grade A is referred to as Prime or Gourmet. They are redder in color.
  • Grade B beans have less water weight. You get more bean for your money because you’re not paying for water. You will also get less water in your extract.
  • With Grade A you pay for appearance, which doesn’t matter since you aren’t seeing the bean itself.
  • You get the same beans as Grade A, but at a fraction of the cost.

Where do you get Vanilla Beans?

You can find Vanilla beans in gourmet grocery stores at a premium price. The best place to order them is through Amazon or eBay. You can get them in bulk and get the Grade B Bean. You will save more money this way.

Homemade Vanilla Extract Flat Lay with Silver Star Garland
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

DIY Vanilla Extract

Create a delicious dessert with homemade Vanilla Extract and a great holiday gift idea. You will never go back to store-bought again.
Prep Time10 mins
Resting Time60 d
Total Time60 d 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Dessert, Vanilla Extract, vodka
Servings: 1 bottle
Author: Candi Elm
Cost: $25.00


  • Knife
  • Cutting Board


  • Grade B Vanilla Beans I used Madagascar
  • Vodka, Rum or Bourbon Vodka has the least amount of alcohol flavor so it’s more neutral. That is what I use.


  • Clean out bottles and let dry
  • Use approx 1/2 Vanilla Bean per bottle for 4 oz bottles
  • Chop beans in 1/2″ pieces
  • Fill the bottle with Vodka and add chopped vanilla beans to liquid in the bottle. 
  • Place in cool, dark place for a minimum of 2 months, shaking every one to two days.


Keep these bottles in a dark place during the “brewing” process.
Homemade Vanilla Extract decorated for the holidays

Can I reuse the Vanilla Beans?

You can reuse the beans inside the bottles when they are empty. You should not throw away. Always add a new bean when adding more alcohol.

How Long Does it Take for Extract To Process?

Once you are done adding your ingredients into the bottles, place your bottle in a cool dark place and shake every few days for approximately 2 months. To get the labels as you see on my bottles created by My Paper Printables,  here is the download of  Vanilla labels. 

Vanilla Extract Sample Image

If you like this post, please pin and share on Pinterest and leave me a comment and share with a friend.

Similar Posts


  1. nice packaging. thanks for the sharing the idea
    My recent post PaperBoat – Unique drink with an indian touch

  2. I had no idea you could make your own vanilla extract! Thank you so much for sharing at this week's Super Saturday Afternoon Tea!!!
    My recent post 50 Free (Or Almost Free) Things To Do With Your Kids This Summer

  3. My nephews actually made this as a gift for us as well and we loved it! Definitely something fun to keep in the kitchen 🙂
    My recent post Chanel Resort 2015 Collection

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating