Homemade Vanilla Bean Extract

  • Author: The Kitchen Whisperer

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  1. Clean your bottle and dry it well.
  2. With a sharp tipped knife, split the bean length-ways and scrape out the pulp of the beans.
  3. Put the pulp AND the bean pods into the bottle. Scraping out the pulp first will help it flavor the alcohol quicker.
  4. Repeat for all of the beans.
  5. Add the vodka (or really any neutral flavored alcohol) ensuring that the vodka covers the entire beans. If it doesn’t, fish out the ones that aren’t covered and cut in half and put back in. I used a funnel for this to help prevent a ‘party foul’ with spilling the vodka.
  6. Close the stopper on the bottle and shake the vanilla and vodka to distribute the seeds.
  7. Store in a dark, dry area.
  8. Every few days give the bottle a good shake to help break up the pulp and get the seeds distributed.
  9. After a week or so the extract will start to get darker and develop some flavor.
  10. In about 2 weeks you can use the extract but honestly the flavor will be really subtle.
  11. In about 6-8 weeks you can use it as extract in your recipe. The longer you leave the beans in (covered in alcohol, the more intense the flavor!)


I used plain vodka in all the bottles but one. The other I used raspberry vodka to see what the outcome will be.

I leave the vanilla beans in the extract container as I use it (or when I give it as gifts). I print up pretty labels and advise the gift recipients to just top the container off with more vodka when they use the vanilla extract for baking. If they or you choose not to do that, then the beans must be removed as they will mold (not pretty). If you do top it off, after awhile the flavor will lessen, but you can always just drop in another vanilla bean or two and it will be back up to strength.

If you do decide to take the beans out of the extract mixture, do not discard them! Rough cut them and toss them in with a cup of sugar and after a few weeks… Vanilla Sugar!

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