Pure Vanilla Extract


I use a lot of Pure Vanilla Extract in baking. How many of you knew it was made with alcohol? In my opinion, there is not a Pure Vanilla Extract that tastes or smells as good as homemade. You won’t want to purchase Imitation Vanilla again once you see how SIMPLE it is to make Pure Vanilla Extract. There are only two ingredients, 70 Proof Vodka (or you can use Bourbon, Rum or Brandy) and Vanilla Beans. I prefer Vodka when I make mine. In the picture above, the clear bottle was just started. The bottle on the left was a week old. The bottle below was 6 months old and ready to use.



Making Pure Vanilla Extract is not a fast process. You will need at least 5-6 months to get a nice dark color and the flavor you want. It will be even better if you wait longer. The only thing you have to do is place split Vanilla Beans into the Vodka, place the bottle into a paper bag and put it in a cool dark place like a basement. Shake the bottle once a week and that’s it!

I made two Vodka bottles full and gave away individual 4 oz. bottles (I bought them from Amazon) for Christmas gifts. Now keep in mind, it’s not cheap to make. Vanilla Beans this year were very expensive. You can get away with a cheap bottle of Vodka though. Pure Vanilla Extract lasts forever, it never goes bad.

The Vanilla Bean comes from a flowering vine that is in the orchid family. The reason the Vanilla Beans cost so much is because the commercially grown Vanilla Beans have to be hand pollinated. They have a very short window to pollinate them as the flowers close up quickly. In nature, it’s hit or miss whether or not the bee’s get to the flower in time to pollinate. Now you can see why they charge so much for Pure Vanilla Extract in the stores.

Pure Vanilla Extract




  • 10 – 15 vanilla beans
  • 1 bottle vodka, 70 proof/35% alcohol


  1. Slice each Vanilla Bean lengthwise exposing the vanilla seeds.
  2. Drop the sliced Vanilla Beans into the Vodka (you can also use Bourbon, Rum or Brandy for a different tasting Vanilla Extract.) Make sure the Vanilla Beans are going to be covered with the liquid, if not, cut them shorter so they are.
  3. Place bottle into a brown paper bag. Put the bag in a cool dark place like a basement.
  4. Once a week shake the bottle. Do this for at least 5-6 months.
  5. Pour vanilla into cheesecloth or a coffee filter, straining the particles from the vanilla bean.
  6. Pour into airtight bottles.


Categories: Alcohol Based


  1. Great information. My mother always used artificial vanilla, as did I when starting my family, because of the cost. Now I use Costco’s real vanilla extract because it is affordable. I’ll have to share this post with my husband who is currently the chef in our family. He loves doing things like sourdough starter and beer brewing. I’m sure he would get a kick out of making his own vanilla extract.

  2. What a great gift idea! I bought 3 large bottles of Pure Vanilla Extract last year in Cozumel, Mexico. Most everyone on the cruise was buying t-shirts, etc. Leave it to me to buy baking supplies. At $10 a bottle I couldn’t pass it up.

  3. My daughter has a cookie business and goes through a lot of vanilla. I have sent her your link. I think she would like this. Thanks Diane.

  4. Okay, I admit, I thought you had a bottle of tarantula legs! Most delighted to find out it’s vanilla! Thanks for sharing, love the idea of gifting this to some of my favorite cooks! Thanks, hugs, C

    • The flavor is amazing Bernadette. I don’t usually let my mother bottle get so low but the prices of the vanilla beans have been unreal. This was the first I noticed a huge decrease in price and I ordered them immediately. Thank you❤️

  5. I love this and am currently trying to source vanilla beans…I am hesitant to get them from abroad(foot)print but it works out cheaper for me if I do even given the exorbitant price of postage…but will trying have BM for when I can 🙂

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