DIY Homemade Vanilla Extract

Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: makes 1 cup
Make sure to choose a jar that is close to the exact amount of vodka you're using. This way the vanilla beans will stay submerged under the liquid, avoiding any fungus or mold from forming. Also, a glass jar is the only kind I recommend for this. Plastic is not suitable, as the alcohol will leach the volatile materials from the plastic into your extract. If you can find brown tinted bottles (I buy them whenever I see them at vintage shops and flea markets), that is best for transferring it into smaller quantities and gift giving, as sunlight affects the quality of your vanilla extract.


  • 3 vanilla beans
  • 1 cup vodka
  • Glass jar with tight-fitting lid (or cork)


  1. Cut the vanilla beans lengthwise, leaving them slightly attached at the tip. Push them down into the jar. Pour in the vodka. Screw the cap on tightly, and give it a good shake to release the pods from the beans (you'll see little brown specks in the jar.
  2. Store the jar in a cool, dark place (I keep mine in the family room closet). Give it a shake daily for the first week, then once a week thereafter. You'll notice the extract get deeper in color (the one pictured in the post was only a few days old. The extract will be ready to use in two months, but will store indefinitely.