Easy Homemade Vanilla Extract!

Are you looking for that perfect homemade gift to give for the Holidays?  Do you have a few people on your shopping list that love to bake?  Do you love to bake cookies and give as gifts for the Holidays?  Making this easy Homemade Vanilla Extract is the perfect answer for those bakers on your Holiday list.  

homemade vanilla extract recipe

This post contains some affiliate links. Click here for my full disclosure policy.  

If this is the gift you would like to give to all your friends, then you need to start to make this homemade vanilla extract recipe in September or October.  The vanilla extract needs to sit for about 6 weeks before use.  If you are reading this in November or December, DON’T WORRY, you can still make this perfect gift.   Just place a small note on the bottle stating that the vanilla beans need to rest and place the date in which they can start to use the vanilla extract.   

ingredients for homemade vanilla extract

This is one of the simplest recipes you will ever make, you only have 2 ingredients, a bottle, label and some raffia or ribbon and you have a great homemade gift.  

Source List:
Swingtop Glass Bottle
Vanilla Beans   <—– I ordered this exact vanilla bean for my recipe.  These beans are the best, they smelled so good as soon as I opened my package.  

Raffia Ribbon

Label – Free Printable below

slice vanilla beans

Start by washing the bottles in the dishwasher to make sure they are clean and disinfected.  Cut each vanilla bean in half, hold the end of each half and slice down the center, about 1/4 inch from the end.  This opens up the bean and allows the been to saturate into the vodka.  Place 6 to 8 vanilla bean pieces into each jar.  Use a funnel to pour the vodka into each bottle, covering the vanilla beans completely.

make labels to give vanilla extract as gifts

I created a label for you to place on each bottle.  This allows you more time to shop and you do not have worry about having to create your own label for the bottle.  Add some raffia or ribbon and your gift is ready, well almost ready.  The vanilla bean needs to sit in the vodka for 6 to 8 weeks.

add some ribbon and gift of vanilla extract is ready

Place your bottles in a cool dark place and make sure you shake each bottle about once a week.  The longer you allow the vanilla to sit, the darker and more intense the extract becomes.  You can remove the vanilla beans after about 8 weeks.  Be sure to tell your gift recipient to remove the vanilla beans if the liquid no longer covers the bean.  The bean will grow mold on it when exposed to air.  

Vanilla Extract label

I did the hard work for you by creating a vanilla extract printable label just for my readers.  This makes this gift even easier to make!

vanilla extract recipe


vanilla extract recipe

It is not too late to order your supplies and start making these great homemade vanilla extracts gifts.  Just leave a note with the gift stating not to use until an open date.  I can’t wait to use mine for baking!

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25 Responses to Easy Homemade Vanilla Extract!

  1. Hi DeDe, have you ever tried this with brandy? It’s an old trick I learned from a pastry chef at a fine dining restaurant… the brandy adds a depth of flavor to the extract that is really like no other. The key is to buy an aged brandy, so it’s a little pricy for gifts but nice for yourself ๐Ÿ™‚ Just split two beans and pop them into the whole bottle of brandy. The longer they sit, the better it becomes.

    • Pam, I have not heard of using brandy but wow it does sound amazing. I think I will make that one for myself the next time I need extract. Thanks so much for letting me know!

  2. OK… how do you get the beans out of the bottle… do you have to drain the bottle then take them out then put the vanilla back in? Also… if you continue to just add vodka on top of the beans.. how many uses (or how many times) can you do that before you have to replace the beans?

    Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. i have also heard this called “perpetual vanilla” because you can keep adding vodka (or rum as base liqueur) after each use to keep it going as long as you want. Have kept some of mine going for 4 or 5 years. Just keep the beans covered.

  4. I am so excited to make this for each of my family members this christmas! How did you like the Madagascar Beans flavor?? If I were to start making it this month, would you recommend that I leave the beans in the vodka right before gifting it? Or should I take them out a certain amount of time before?
    Thank you so much for sharing such a creative idea!!

    • Reagan, I made mine in October of last year and gave them with the beans still in. I advised everyone to take the beans out when the liquid was no longer covering the beans.

  5. Love it! Such a unique, practical, and pretty gift idea. It looks like you used about five vanilla beans per bottle, is this about right? Do the beans need to be removed after 6-8 weeks? I ask this since store-bought vanilla doesn’t come with beans in it. One last thing…does the quality of the vodka matter? Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!

    • Amy, I used 3 full vanilla beans per bottle. I cut them in half and sliced down the middle of each half, place the 6 pieces in the bootle. I used a middle shelf vodka, but I am sure a high quality may produce a better extract. The vanilla beans do not be to be removed but they need to stay immersed in the liquid, so once you start to use the extract make sure the beans stay covered or they will mold. The longer the bean stays in the vodka, the richer the extract will be. I hope I answered all of your questions. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment with your questions. Have a great evening!

  6. This is so easy to make, and the Free Printable is great. I definitely want to give this a try. I just need to buy the vanilla and a quiet day to put everything together. This is a great holiday gift idea.
    Stopping by from Daily Blog Boost.

    Thanks for sharing,

    • Joanne, Order on line and this is so easy! Yo dont have to go shopping except with your fingers!

  7. I tried this last year, but I failed. The vanilla beans MUST be covered by the Vodka. I was not too care8ful with this and therefore they started to get all cloudy and looked really bad. Turns out they became molded (EW!) Just really really important tips!

    • Trine, Yes, having them covered completely is the key! So far, my are doing great and looking like extract!

  8. What an awesome gift idea!! I’ve never made vanilla before, but I’d love to give it a try. Thanks for the great idea!!

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