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Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe

by Lorena

This homemade vanilla extract recipe is a beautiful ingredient. With the help of alcohol, we extract the natural flavour from vanilla pods. It adds a lovely flavour to your preparations. It’s easy to make and a good way to take advantage of your vanilla bean stash.

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Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe

Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe

Vanilla bean pods are the fruit from the vanilla orchid. Inside the pods are plenty of small black seeds that you notice in vanilla bean products. As the name says, in a homemade vanilla extract, you extract the flavour of the product, usually with the aid of alcohol. In this recipe, I used Vodka which is a neutral liquor. The result is a clean vanilla flavour. However, if you want to give it a different profile you can use bourbon or rum instead.

Difference between vanilla extract and vanilla essence

Vanilla essence is an artificial product that tries to emulate the natural vanilla flavour. Their ingredients are usually water, ethanol (alcohol), flavourings and food colouring. Even if it’s completely valid to use vanilla essence, a vanilla extract has a more real and refined vanilla flavour. Plus, making homemade vanilla extract is really easy and we’ll talk about other advantages of making this recipe below. Also, in case you’re wondering, another related product is vanilla bean paste. That one is made by mixing the seeds inside the vanilla pod with alcohol and a thickening agent. It’s used as a replacement for vanilla pods to get the same visual effect and extraordinary flavour.

Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe

Advantages to making homemade vanilla extract

Vanilla pods have an elevated price so it’s important to get the most out of them. When we make this homemade vanilla extract recipe, you’re not only making extract but it’s also a really good way to store your vanilla pods. The alcohol keeps them fresh, hydrated and prevents them from rotting. This is valid even as you use the extract and the alcohol level decreases because they’re already soaked in it. On the other hand, you can also use used vanilla pods (without the seeds) to make the extract. Therefore, you give your pods investment a second use. It’s a really good kitchen habit.

How to store it

To make this homemade vanilla extract recipe you will submerge the vanilla pods in vodka for 3 months at least. Ideally, you want to use a bottle or container with an air-tight seal and place it in a dark and cool pantry. In this way, you can keep it for up to 2 years without any problem and with lots of vanilla aroma. Use it just like vanilla essence or commercial extract in cookies, cakes, pancakes and more.

Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe

Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Pastry Basics
Keyword: extract, homemade, pod, vanilla
Prep Time: 120 days
Total Time: 120 days
Servings: 250 ml / 8.5oz
Author: Lorena Salinas from Cravings Journal


  • 6 vanilla pods new or used (without seeds inside)
  • 250 ml vodka you can also use bourbon or vodka for a different flavour profile


  • Look for a 300ml/10oz air-tight container. It can be a bottle or rectangular container. Place the vanilla pods inside and cover them with vodka.
  • Close the container and place it in a dark and cool place (a pantry for example) for 3 months.
  • After this time you can use the extract and vanilla pods in it for up to 2 years.
Tried this recipe?Mention @CravingsJournal or tag #RecipeCJ!

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