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How to Make Vanilla Extract! {Tips and Tricks for the best results}

The kind folks at Beanilla provided me with the ingredients and bottles for this easy tutorial on How to Make Vanilla Extract.  No other compensation was given.  All opinions are my own!

How to Make Vanilla Extract! Just in time for Christmas gift giving!  This simple tutorial explains it all in detail!

A couple of years ago I made my first DIY Vanilla Extract.  It was wonderful.  I packaged it in little bottles and passed them out to friends and family for Christmas and they were loved by all!  Last year I think I let people down because they asked if I had any extract to give out!  Needless to say I jumped on the chance to make some more this year both for myself and gift giving.  This year I changed it up a little and made two varieties… Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract and Tahitian Vanilla Extract.  I can’t wait to try them out in recipes!!!  If this batch is anything like the last then it will taste amazing!

Beanilla Tahitian Vanilla Beans

There are so many questions to ask when picking out Vanilla Beans for your extract.  One of them is which grade to use and it’s not exactly what you might think.  Typically you will find either Grade A or Grade B Vanilla Beans.  Grade A is great for cooking and you are using the”caviar” in your dish.  Grade B is best for making your own Vanilla Extract because the moisture content is lower.  This is important because you don’t want your extract to be too weak with the extra moisture the Grade A has.   You also want to find good quality beans and sometimes it’s hard to know which ones are good.  I love Beanilla Vanilla beans and they have a variety of options too!   I found their website very useful because they explain the different tastes of the varieties.  I can’t wait to try out some Tahitian Vanilla Extract soon!  Tahitian Vanilla is a sweet and floral vanilla that is great for desserts.  I know I am going to love adding it to puddings and pies!

Beanilla Vanilla Beans

Madagascar Vanilla Beans are what you will find most often and what we usually associate the taste of vanilla with.  I used Madagascar beans in my last DIY homemade extract and it made the best all purpose extract!  I love love making it on my own because I know exactly what goes into it.  Be sure to make your homemade vanilla soon if you plan on passing some out for Christmas!   Vanilla Extracts taste best after 1 month of soaking so you will want to be sure to date the extract and make a label that says something like “Use after… (such and such date) for best taste”.  If you want to make your extract double strength just add twice the amount of vanilla beans!  It’s so easy to DIY that you’ll wonder what you were waiting for!

So here are my tips in an easy to read list:

1. Get Quality Grade B Vanilla Beans

2. Buy at least 80 proof (40%) Vodka, but don’t go out of your way for a really expensive Vodka

3. Buy a tall jar/ bottle that the Vanilla beans will fit into

4. Get the Variety of Vanilla bean that will fit your style of cooking

5. Let the Vanilla Beans soak in the Vodka for at least 1 month before using

6. Split each bean to expose the Vanilla “caviar” and ensure the best extraction

7. Add enough Vodka to cover the beans

8. Add more Vodka to the original beans as you use the Vanilla up, but they will eventually lose their flavor (I discarded mine after 2 years)

9. Use a dark colored bottle for best results

How to Make Vanilla Extract! {any variety}

How to Make Vanilla Extract! {any variety}


  • 1 cup Vodka
  • 5 Beanilla Madagascar Vanilla Bean pods split open or 3 Tahitian Beanilla Vanilla Beans split open
  • Big enough botlle to fit the vanilla beans and vodka and preferably a dark colored jar/ bottle


  1. Add Vodka and Vanilla beans in jar making sure that the Vodka is covering the vanilla beans. Shake and store in a cool dark place. Shake once every week for 4 weeks and start using after it has been soaking for 4 weeks. Vanilla extract will get better with time and you don't need to take the vanilla bean pods out unless you want to. Add the extract to recipes exactly as you would any other vanilla extract.
  2. To make your extract double strength just double the amount of beans you use. To use double strength in recipes only add half what the recipe calls for.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1 grams

Amount Per Serving Unsaturated Fat 0g

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Tuesday 18th of November 2014

At the top you say the vanilla is ready after 1 month of soaking. In the instructions you say after 4 months of soaking. Can it be used after 1 month?

Rachel Rockwell

Tuesday 18th of November 2014

Hi Dana,

Sorry that was a typo. I meant to say 4 weeks which would be about a month. Thanks! -Rachel

Homemade Extract Ornaments! {Easy Christmas Gift}

Sunday 26th of October 2014

[…] of Vanilla Extracts using Madagascar Vanilla Beans and Tahitian Vanilla Beans.  You can see my How to Make Vanilla Extract Post for the […]

Rachel Rockwell

Thursday 23rd of October 2014

Great idea!

Miss Tori

Thursday 23rd of October 2014

If you still have the bags the beans came in, put some white granulated sugar in them, seal them up, and in a couple of weeks, you'll have yummy vanilla sugar!

keri @ shaken together

Thursday 23rd of October 2014

This is such a great gift idea - and I can almost smell those vanilla beans!

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