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Homemade Vanilla Extract For Holiday Gifts

Slofoodgroup Team November 14, 2019

How to Make Vanilla Extract For Your Holiday Gift Giving

One of the most impressive and unique foodie gifts you can give is also one of the easiest to make. Homemade vanilla extract requires only two ingredients—vodka and vanilla beans—and about 5 minutes of prep. To make vanilla extract, it is a really simple process. The beans are split and inserted into glass bottles, which are then filled with vodka. In a few months, you’ve got the most delicious, flavorful vanilla that beats the store-bought brand any day. Below we have outlined a the process of making vanilla extract so you can do it at home too. 

Just be sure to keep a bottle or two for yourself. 

Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe (see Notes, below)

What you'll need to make vanilla extract from scratch:

  • We used 12 large whole Tahitian vanilla beans from Tahiti but Madagascar Vanilla beans work great too just be sure to use a minimum of .83 ounces of vanilla per cup of liquid. 
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) flavorless vodka
  • Large glass jar or other container that can fit 24 ounces of liquid 
  • (6) 4-ounce amber (or other dark glass) bottles

Vanilla extract preparation steps:

First step: Split and scrap your the vanilla beans lengthwise to reveal the seeds. Cut the vanilla pods into .25 inch to .5 inch pieces.

Second step: Place vanilla in bottle, fill with the vodka and cap to seal. Once tightly sealed, shake.

Third step: Shake every couple days and allow to age for a minimum of 90 days.

Fourth step: Once fully aged, filter though coffee filter or cheese cloth and bottle into smaller bottles for use or gifting. 


1. You do not have to splurge on expensive vodka – but you do want to invest in the most high-quality vanilla beans for the best extract.

2. Save half a vanilla pod for each bottle if you like the look a vanilla beans in your bottle when gifting

3. Some users will mix the filtered vanilla with cane sugar to make homemade vanilla sugar.