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Homemade Vanilla

I posted last year on how much I love homemade vanilla and how I made my own. Once you have homemade vanilla the store bought stuff is just not the same.

This is an easy gourmet type item that is great for those that love to bake. It also a great gift to give friends and family that love to bake. This needs to sit for five to six months for the flavor to blend well. So, if you make this now it will be ready for the holidays.

I wanted to show you how easy this really is ย to make.

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Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. Do you use this the same way you would imitation vanilla? Same quantities and everything?

  2. Alicia's Homemaking says

    Can you “top off” these bottles with vodka to have a perpetual bottle of vanilla?

    • @Alicia’s Homemaking, Yes you can some. I would not recommend doing it over and over, but on my last bottle after about 6 months, I took about 1/3 out and put into another container and then topped it off, but I probably will not do it again, because I think the vanilla beans probably only have so much flavor in them. I hope that helps.

  3. Ok, now I need to get some beans! I figured it was easy, but that is rediculous!!!!


  4. I just ordered some vanilla beans! Seriously, THANK YOU!

  5. Are your bottles plastic or glass? Wondering?

    • @Darleen, Well, the one I did last year was glass, the new ones were plastic. I prefer the glass, but last time I went to buy the vodka they were all plastic and I did not have time to go to a different liquor store. I don’t think it really matters too much though.

  6. @Dani, I have not noticed much, but there may be some. If there is it is minimal. I hope that helps.

  7. FoodontheTable says

    I love your vlog! I can’t believe it takes 6 months to make, but really worth it.
    I hope you’ll come join our linkup today!

  8. You are so funny! I too….sought to make my own Vanilla extract (thanks to another blogger). I had a near breakdown at The Sam’s Club trying to figure out how to purchase the Vodka!
    I’m married to a preacher! AND NO, WE DON’T DRINK!
    I felt so guilty and embarrassed!
    Then….once I made it home my husband and son were working in the garage! It was a real joy facing them with my idea of making my own V/E!
    They are still teasing me about it.

    I haven’t ordered my beans yet…so I have that bottle hidden. Weirdo, I know!
    Yes, I’m an adult! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • @wanda, That is too funny! My husband is a dentist in a smallish town, so everyone knows who we are. Therefore, I drive 30 minutes or so to buy my vodka. ๐Ÿ™‚ Would not look good for the local dentist wife to walking out of the liquor store with bottles of vodka. ๐Ÿ™‚ So, I totally understand.

  9. I was at a friend’s house this past weekend and she was putting 24 beans chunked up in her large bottle and said hers are ready after 6 weeks! I’m getting ready to order some beans from the place she gets them from (, but am wondering what you think about more beans equaling faster “curing” time? Also, she said they reuse the beans and just add a few more with the next bottle.

    • @Amy @ Raising Arrows, I have never tried it or even seen a recipe for that way, so I am not sure. I have used mine before 6 months, but it is so much better at 6 months. It really has the best flavor, so I wait as close to 6 months as I can. But if you try it that way and it works, I would love to hear about it.

      • Lynn, I just found your recipe…Amy, I’m not sure you’ll see this reply 2 years later! My friend has made her own for years and she showed me her bottle. She had about 30 beans in it. She said she started out with about 15 or so in a big bottle and however often she adds more beans more liquor. She said the flavor gets more intense, something they love (us too). I haven’t made my own yet because I’m using up my stash, but I will get started on it soon seeing as it has to sit for 6 months!

  10. Lynn, I’m sorry to be a problem child here, however, my speakers are out. ๐Ÿ™ I gather that you are using 10-12 beans in the larger bottles of Vodka? If you might have the time to elaborate, that would be wonderful! I’d like to get started on this ASAP and my son is out of town for 2 wks on business. He’s my computer guru.

    Thanks in advance!

  11. Thanks so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Thanks so much for this!!! I have your previous vanilla posts saved in bloglines and have been wanting to try to make this. THANK YOU for posting it now, because it gets to be Nov until I remember about wanting to make it as a gift and then it is too late!! I really want to try this – not only for my own use, but for gifts for family. I’m also glad you showed a half empty bottle because I wasn’t sure if the beans stayed in or not. Can’t wait to try this. Now, just gotta get to the state store to buy me some vodka!!

  13. I want to make some vanilla for gifts and wondered if I just made a couple big bottles could I pour them in smaller bottles or do I need to leave the vanilla beans in them even after the 6 months so I should make a bunch of small bottles? I hope that makes sense, thanks for the help!

    • @Heidi, Yes this would work find. You could easily put them in little jars. I would however put one bean or a partial bean in each little jar. This will help the flavor contain to develop. I would just take the beans from the larger jar and divide them up into the smaller jars as needed. You would not need new beans to do that, just use the ones that were already used. I hope that helps and makes sense.

  14. Can you store this in your pantry or should it be refrigerated?

  15. I’ve been making my own vanilla for the last couple years, but hadn’t tried doing it using a whiskey like Jim Beam—just used vodka and rums (dark and light). I often just add more rum or vodka when I get down to less than half a bottle and put that one way to age.
    I’ve also made my own cinnamon flavoring using a cinnamon stick and either vodka or rum, but the last time it actually dissolved the cinnamon stick and was REALLY dark. I’m not sure what the difference was that time.

  16. Hello Lynn,
    you’ve encouraged me to make my own extract, but I read your post and hadn’t watched your video yet. I sliced all the way down ( splitting my beans in 1/2) only leaving them connected at the very top. Anyway, my vodka now has brown “hairs” from the outside of the bean and the “caviar” from the inside of the bean. Do you think I should strain these parts out? At the end of 6 months do you have any vanilla bean pieces floating around your bottle?

    • Hi, I think it should be fine, but I agree you should probably strain it before you use it so that those “hairs” don’t get into whatever you use the vanilla in. I hope you enjoy it.

      • Okay, I will definitely strain it. Thanks so much. I’m so excited and have no doubt, I will ejoy it. The only thing I’ll enjoy more than the flavor is the price it cost me to make (around $12 for a little over 3 cups- versus $12 for 6oz from the grocery store).

  17. Hi Lynn,

    I was wondering. Does the amount decrease over time? I noticed the bigger bottle that you showed at the end, there was only 1/3 liquid in it? The one that was turning dark already. Also, where do you get your smaller bottles to give as gifts? Do you just regift them in the liquor bottles or reuse the vanilla bottles from the stores? Just wondering what would be the best way to do that. Thanks for this!

    • The bottle that is mostly gone is a bottle I had been using. I just had it there to show what the final product would look like after sitting for a few months. The smaller bottles of vodka came from the liquor store, but you can also use small jars or bottles ons pour the vodka from the bigger bottles into it.

  18. Can you reuse the vanilla beans for a second bottle of vanilla?

    • I have refilled the bottle when it is partially gone, so yes you can. I think only once or so though because it will have less and less flavor the more you use them. I have also added just a couple more beans to what was already in there and added more vodka, so yes you can stretch it out a little past the one bottle. I hope that helps.

      • Thank you so much. I have to say, I can’t go a day now without coming to your website and/or seeing what you’ve posted on Facebook. I have a bookmark that is dedicated to your recipes…Lynn’s Kitchen Adventure Recipes. lol!! It is my go-to folder. Right up my ally. Many blessings!!

  19. Robyn A. says

    The only thing I do different is that I pour my vodka into a used dark colored wine bottle (that has been thoroughly cleaned and dried). Then I used the vacuum caps for keeping wine fresh and vacuum all the air out. Every time before I shake the bottle of extract, I remove the seal and re-vacuum it again. I think this makes the process go a lot quicker.

    And you are right. Homemade vanilla extract is much cheaper and tastes much better.


  1. […] took some advice on making it from this post on homemade vanilla extract, this video on making vanilla extract, and our local organic gardener who suggested using Brandy instead of Vodka.ย  I admit, I did feel […]

  2. […] 1 teaspoon vanilla extract […]

  3. The Weekly Ramble | Life As Mom says:

    […] to”, I ordered vanilla beans from Amazon to make homemade vanilla extract. Here’s the method that I use.ย I got these beans.ย I’m not sure how’ll they’ll be, but we’ll see. I […]

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