Learn How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract, and you’ll never have to buy it again. Watch my video and print out the recipe in this post for step-by-step instructions. This vanilla extract is perpetual and will last indefinitely.

Mary holding a jar with Vanilla Extract.
Watch the How to Make Homemade Vanilla Bean Extract video

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Making Homemade Extracts

Making homemade extracts is probably one of the easiest things to do. Vanilla Extract is probably the simplest, and it lasts the longest. Some call it a perpetual extract. Ina Garten, the best-selling cookbook author, once said that the beans used in her extract are almost 20 years old. Now that certainly warrants the perpetual label!

Step-by-Step Instructions

In my video, I walk you through the easy steps involved in making Vanilla Extract. You’ll simply cut the beans in half, split them down the middle, or do both. Next, you’ll place them in a quart-sized or one-liter jar and then fill it with vodka.

Why Vodka for My Extract?

I like to use vodka when making Vanilla Extract or any extract for that matter. Vodka is colorless and basically tasteless and odorless, so it lets the vanilla flavor shine through. However, you can also try other spirits, including rum or bourbon.

What If I Don’t Want to Use Alcohol for My Extract?

Remember that when you use a Homemade Extract, you will most likely use it in baking. The heat of the oven will help the alcohol dissipate and leave the lovely extract flavor behind.

However, if you are concerned about the high-proof alcohol used in making an extract, you have options. To replace the vodka or other high-proof alcohol in any extract recipe, simply substitute the alcohol called for with three parts liquid glycerine and one part water. Now, keep in mind that glycerine is, in essence, alcohol, but with a much lower alcohol content than 80-100 proof spirits.

One other option when making extracts is to use a low-alcohol wine mixed with glycerine to make your extract. To learn how to make homemade wine and use it with glycerin to make a low-alcohol extract, please visit my sweet friend Heidi over at Rain Country Homestead.

More Ideas for the Traditional Foods Pantry

Now that you’ve learned how to make homemade Vanilla Extract, be sure to try your hand at making more Homemade Extracts and other essentials for stocking your Traditional Foods Pantry.

Mary with 10 favors of homemade extracts.

Homemade Vinegar Recipes

Making vinegars can be fun too, and they look great next to the homemade extracts in your pantry. I recommend starting out with a homemade Apple Cider Vinegar, but depending on the season, fruit scrap vinegars would be perfect too.

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How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

5 from 1 vote
Steeping time: 180 days
Total: 180 days
Yield: 64 servings
This vanilla extract is perpetual and will last indefinitely!


  • 1 quart-sized jar or 1 liter-sized jar


  • Add vanilla beans to the clean jar and cover with vodka.
  • Allow the beans to steep in vodka for six months in a dark pantry or cupboard.
  • After six months, remove some of the vanilla extract and decant it into a clean bottle.
  • Add new vodka to the original jar containing the vanilla beans, and return the jar to the pantry or cupboard to steep for another six months.
  • Every six months, continue this process of decanting some vanilla extract into a separate bottle and topping off the jar containing the vanilla beans with additional alcohol. By following this process, your vanilla extract will basically last indefinitely.



Find this recipe and video at https://marysnest.com/how-to-make-homemade-vanilla-extract/
Copyright © 2019 Mary’s Nest, LLC, All Rights Reserved


Calories: 2kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.2g | Fat: 0.1g
Course: Pantry Staples
Cuisine: Americana
Calories: 2
Keyword: Baking Basics, Homemade Extracts, Pantry Staples, Vanilla Extract
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  1. Linda says:

    How long will the vanilla beans last in the vodka without replacing ?
    Thank you.

    1. Mary's Nest says:

      Hi Linda,

      This is a great question. I have not had to replace mine in years. Ina Garten claims that her beans have been perpetual and she has kept her vanilla extract going for over 25 years! Who knows!! Love, Mary

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