The Secret to Vanilla Extract

vanilla bean seeds

Time and patience. 

That was it! All my research and readiness to take on making my own extract...and that's what it revealed? Yep, time & patience. It helped to locate some good online suppliers too, but otherwise it was incredibly simple. Had I known that, I would've made my own extract years ago!  It's so easy I feel silly posting a "recipe", but had I not come across one, I wouldn't have thought to make mine either!


  • 1 (1.75L) bottle vodka
  • 1/4lb vanilla beans, cut in half
  • 4 ounce glass bottles


The vanilla beans will displace the volume of liquid. To keep it from overflowing, pour out the neck portion after you open the bottle of vodka. It's about one half cup. Cut the vanilla beans in half and drop into the bottle. Secure the cap and store in an out-of-the-way area for 3 months; shake occasionally.

vanilla sugar, beans and extract

vanilla sugar, beans and extract

When it's ready, use a funnel to fill each of the four ounce glass bottles. If you would like, place a vanilla bean half in each bottle. The flavor will continue to intensify even when it sits in your pantry. (Store any remaining extract in the vodka bottle, replenishing the glass ones when necessary.)  I store the "used" vanilla beans in a mason jar, scraping out the seeds for special vanilla desserts like creme brulee, ice cream, frosting and cakes. Then I put the scraped "empty" pod into a separate mason jar filled with granulated sugar. The vanilla infused sugar is wonderful sprinkled in coffee and on cereal or fresh grapefruit.  


•Vanilla beans: from here

•Glass bottles: from here

vanilla bean storage & perfect little bottles

vanilla bean storage & perfect little bottles

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