DIY: Make your own Vanilla Extract

Published by Kim Becker on

This is undoubtedly one of the easiest projects, I’ve attempted. It’s also one of the most delicious and makes a wonderful gift to give away during the holiday season. I made the vanilla extract in October for gift-giving in December. My intention was to blog about it in early November, giving you plenty of time to make yours for Christmas giveaways (or any other holiday). I’m just a wee bit behind schedule. So what?


Better late than never, that’s what I’m telling myself (get over it).

You’ll need just two ingredients:

Vanilla beans
Vodka, although it was suggested to me that bourbon would be nice, and I totally agree, but I’m cheap and went with vodka.

Vanilla Beans

You’ll also need some glass bottles. I saved a bunch of glass olive oil bottles and used those recycled bottles to make vanilla for myself. For gift giving, however, I bought some cute little 4oz Boston rounds from Specialty Bottle. This would also be the time to tell you that this project was inspired entirely by The Italian Dish, right down to the cute little bottles, so it is to her, that you must give the praise.

I went all rogue and instead of buying my vanilla beans from Beanilla like everyone else, I ordered mine on eBay. I thought they were coming straight from Africa. They arrived quickly, smelled heavenly and were fat and moist. I wanted to hide them in all the crevices of my home, just for the lovely smell. I must note, however, that they were postmarked: France. I have nothing against France, so I was pleased with the purchase. They were very inexpensive.

If we’re talking cheap, so was the vodka. It kills me as a non-drinker to buy booze, so I went cheap and bought the best bargain vodka I could find.


For each 1/2 cup or 4 oz of vodka you’ll need about two and a half beans. Therefore, if you are using 8 oz bottles use five beans, and so on.

Vanilla Extract DIY

Using scissors cut the beans in half and then using a very sharp knife slice the beans open from end to end, lengthwise. Put the needed amount of beans in each container and add vodka. A funnel really helps.

Note: this is not a recipe, where you want to be tasting the wares. Especially, before the school pickup!

Set your bottles aside for about 6 weeks to allow the vanilla to steep. Every so often you can give them a wee shake.

I had intended to make lovely labels and giveaway as gifts. Instead I handed out bare-assed bottles around the dinner table after Christmas dinner. I’m fancy like that.

Vanilla Extract DIY

I know it kind of looks like tequila worms, but in all seriousness, the vanilla extract is wonderful! Your whipped cream will never be the same without it.


MK xo


Naomi · January 31, 2013 at 7:22 am

I think it looks very fancy, even sans labels!

Kim Becker · January 31, 2013 at 9:13 am

Why thank you Naomi! Thanks for stopping by :)

Gayle · January 31, 2013 at 10:17 am

I was one of the lucky recipients to receive a bottle of this vanilla. It is heavenly. And it’s true about the whipped cream!

Kim Becker · January 31, 2013 at 9:06 pm

@Gayle – thank you! I’m happy that you like it.

Jo · February 1, 2013 at 8:05 am

I love this!! AND I want a bottle, haha!!! I may just even try making it myself, after I get my house in order……(we are maybe listing it soon……).

Allen@Funny Baby Videos · February 18, 2013 at 5:19 pm

This gives me a great gift idea for some friends. Thanks!

kim @ mommyknows · February 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm

You are so welcome! Thank you for stopping by.

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