How to Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

For those that love to bake there is one ingredient that ranks up there with the best – Vanilla. It doesn’t matter what you’re baking in many cases the recipe usually calls for vanilla extract. Unfortunately, it’s used so often that you probably find yourself running to the store in the middle of baking to pick up more. But did you know that vanilla extract is one of the easier ingredients to make at home?
Yes, the vanilla extract you buy in the store is easy, and let’s face it, time is always limited.  But making your own is simpler that you may think, cost effective and you know exactly what goes into the bottle, there aren’t any artificial flavors.  There are two main ingredients that go into vanilla extract; vanilla beans and, believe it or not, a pint of Vodka.  That’s it; two simple ingredients, plus a little patience and you can make your own vanilla extract.
Step by step directions:

  1. Label and date the jar (pint sized mason jar) you’ll be storing your extract in.
  2. Using a sharp knife, slice your vanilla beans in half lengthwise.
  3. With a butter knife scrape the sticky innards from the pods of the vanilla beans into the jar.
  4. Using the sharp knife again cut your beans in half the other way and add them to the jar as well.
  5. Fill the jar with the vodka, shake it well
  6. Store your jar in a dark cool place for 3 weeks, shake it once or twice a week.

After 3 weeks, your vanilla extract is ready to use.

Storing Your Vanilla Extract

Your vanilla will store in the jar for up to 8 months.  If you begin to run low or out of your extract – simply fill the jar with more vodka and wait another 3 weeks. Remember when storing, shake your jar twice a week. The vanilla bean can last awhile and better with age, so it’s okay to keep your vanilla bean for the entire 8 months.


So Simple, So Useful
Think about how many recipes call for a touch of vanilla extract. It’s a very powerful ingredient and yet it’s one of the easiest ingredients to make. With this recipe you’ll have an endless supply vanilla extract at your disposal.
This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs.. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Los Angeles for more information. 

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