We carry a full range of vanilla extracts in our store. But we get it – sometimes you want to make your own! Vanilla extract is a fun handmade gift to make, and in fact making our own extract for family and friends was what got our business started! The official recipe from the FDA in order to sell vanilla extract is 13.35 oz of vanilla beans per one gallon of alcohol. However, you don’t need to make it this strong, a good homemade recipe is at least 5 beans per 8 oz of alcohol.* Not sure what kind you want to make? Check out this post on vanilla beans and their suggested uses.
- Extract-grade vanilla beans (at least 5 beans per 8 oz of alcohol)
- Vodka – 35% alcohol**
- Glass bottles
- Slice your vanilla beans lengthwise to expose the inside of the bean, then put them in the jar.
- Using a funnel, fill almost to the top with vodka.
- Store in a cool dark place (a pantry or a cabinet is great.)
- For the first 7 days, give the jar a shake, daily. Doesn’t have to be intense, you just want to shake up the beans in the alcohol enough to get that flavor in there.
- After that, just shake weekly.
- Let it infuse and steep for 6-8 weeks!
After it’s ready, you can take the beans out if you wish (but don’t throw them away, you can still use them in baking!) – or you can keep them, and just keep filling the jar with vodka as you use the extract.
*Please note, there are a LOT of recipes for vanilla extract out there, and unfortunately, some of them are quite inaccurate. Anything less than this concentration is not vanilla extract, it’s vanilla-infused alcohol.
**You may also use other alcohols such as rum or brandy, as long as they are 35% alcohol or greater. We personally like vodka the best, but it can be fun to try other alcohols and experiment with the flavor!