OVERHEAD VIEW OF 3 BOTTLES OF HOMEMADE VANILLA EXTRACT LAYING ON A WHITE KITCHEN TOWEL.

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract – With Free Printable Labels!

Originally published February 3, 2022. Updated with revised content and pictures.

Learn how to make homemade vanilla extract in just 5 minutes and with only 2 ingredients. And while you’re here, be sure to snag the free, printable labels!

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Homemade Vanilla Extract Pinterest Pin Image 1

Making Homemade Vanilla Extract is an Affordable Alternative to Store-Bought Extract

Vanilla extract is one of those staple pantry items that every well-stocked kitchen needs. 

It’s an essential ingredient in everything from pancakes and cookies to ice cream and candy. 

But it can be a bit spendy to purchase good store-bought vanilla extract. The good news is you can make your own at a fraction of the cost!

Using only 2 ingredients – vanilla beans and liquor – you can whip up your very own batch of vanilla extract to flavor all of your favorite goodies!

Try Some of These Other Homemade Kitchen Items!

CLOSE UP OF HOMEMADE VANILLA EXTRACT BOTTLE WITH CUSTOM LABEL WITH OTHER BOTTLES OF VANILLA EXTRACT STAGGERED BEHIND.

And You Can Reuse the Vanilla Beans!

What really makes homemade vanilla extract so economical is the fact that the vanilla beans can be reused. 

That’s right! 

After you’ve finished your bottle of homemade extract, simply add more liquor in with your vanilla beans. You can easily make 2-3 batches of extract with the same vanilla beans.

The potency will diminish with each subsequent batch of extract, so I generally stick to 2 batches of extract for each bundle of vanilla beans. 

But we’re not done with those vanilla beans just yet!

After 2 rounds of vanilla extract, I add the bean pods to some plain granulated sugar to create my very own vanilla sugar

I’ve also been known to add spent vanilla beans to salt. Vanilla salt is seriously legit around the rim of a margarita glass. Ya know, just in case you were curious 😉

How’s that for stretching a dollar?!

SOMEONE HOLDING BOTTLE OF HOMEMADE VANILLA EXTRACT WITH CUSTOM LABEL. OTHER BOTTLES AND TEA TOWEL ON TABLE.

What You Need to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Making homemade vanilla extract only requires 2 simple ingredients:

  • Liquor 

Aside from that, you just need to select a glass jar or bottle for steeping your extract. 

Any glass vessel will work, but it is best to keep vanilla extract in a dark-colored bottle as light can degrade the extract. 

I use these amber EZ-cap beer bottles for steeping my extract, and they work beautifully. 

STRAIGHT ON VIEW OF EZ-CAP BOTTLES FILLED WITH HOMEMADE VANILLA EXTRACT ON TABLE NEXT TO KITCHEN TOWEL.

Making Homemade Vanilla Extract

It doesn’t get much easier than making homemade vanilla extract! It takes minimal effort and about 5 minutes – and that includes clean-up!

  1. Cut vanilla bean pod lengthwise.
  2. Add the beans to a glass jar and fill with your choice of liquor.
  3. Secure with lid and keep in a cool, dark area to steep.
  4. Allow to steep for a minimum of 3 months giving the jar a shake once a week.

Once You've Completed Your Homemade Vanilla Extract, Try Adding It to These Delicious Recipes!

HOMEMADE VANILLA EXTRACT BOTTLE WITH CUSTOMER LABEL. EZ CAP BOTTLE AND TEA TOWEL IN THE BACKGROUND.

Homemade Vanilla Extract Makes a Wonderful Gift

Homemade vanilla extract makes for a truly thoughtful gift. And because it is so easy to make, you can give everyone on your list a bottle to enjoy. 

I especially love that it is a budget-friendly way to give holiday gifts to neighbors, teachers and co-workers. 

Bottles of vanilla extract also make great additions to gift baskets. Try adding them to a housewarming basket or a cookie or pancake-themed basket. 

When gifting, I use these 4 ounce amber bottles. They’re a great size and look super cute with some twine, ribbon or scrap fabric tied around the bottle.

Check Out Some of My Other Favorite Homemade Gift Ideas!

BOTTLE OF VANILLA EXTRACT WITH CUSTOM LABEL LAYING FLAT ON A WHITE KITCHEN TOWEL.

Snag Some Free Homemade Vanilla Extract Labels!

Be sure to snag these printable homemade vanilla extract labels! They’re the latest version that I recently created for my own batch of vanilla extract that I’ll be gifting this year. 

And let me just say – they are my very favorite labels that I’ve made thus far. They’re simple, clean and sophisticated.  

And now I’m sharing them with you for the low, low price of – FREE!

They are 2” x 2” labels that fit beautifully on the amber bottles that I use for gifting vanilla extract. I used the Avery template #22816 to print. 

SUBSCRIBE TODAY TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE PRINTABLE LABELS!

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OVERHEAD VIEW OF 3 BOTTLES OF HOMEMADE VANILLA EXTRACT LAYING ON A WHITE KITCHEN TOWEL.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade vanilla extract is a simple and thoughtful gift for all occasions. Two ingredients and 5 minutes are all that you need to make this aromatic kitchen staple.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Steeping Time 90 d
Total Time 90 d 5 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 3 cups
Calories 23 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 10 Grade B vanilla bean pods
  • 750 mL Rum or spirit of choice

Instructions
 

  • Cut vanilla bean pods lengthwise.
  • Add the beans to a glass jar and fill with rum or liquor of choice.
  • Secure with lid and keep in a cool, dark area to steep.
  • For best results, allow to steep for a minimum of 3 months giving the jar a shake once a week.
Keyword Easy DIY, homemade, homemade gift, vanilla

FAQs

How Long Does Homemade Vanilla Extract Last?

Homemade vanilla extract keeps pretty much indefinitely. However, I recommend using within 5 years to ensure that it’s at its peak flavor-wise. 

Vanilla extract should be stored in a cool, dark area. You should avoid exposing it to bright lights and extreme temperatures.

Should I Use Grade A or Grade B Vanilla Beans for Extract?

Grade B vanilla beans are specifically intended for flavoring extracts. Grade A or prime beans are used for cooking and tend to be more expensive. Save some money and stick with the grade B beans.

What Type of Vanilla Bean Should I Use for Homemade Extract?

Tahitian, Madagascar and Mexican vanilla beans all work for making vanilla extract. 

Generally speaking, Madagascar beans are the type that most people are familiar with and have the strongest vanilla flavor.

Tahitian beans have a more subtle vanilla flavor with some floral notes. 

Mexican beans are known for boasting mellow hints of spice flavor similar to clove.

CLOSE UP OF AMBER BOTTLE OF HOMEMADE VANILLA EXTRACT WITH OTHER BOTTLES ON EITHER SIDE.

What Type of Liquor Should I Use To Make Vanilla Extract?

Vodka, gin, rum and whiskey all work well for making homemade vanilla extract. 

My personal favorite is rum, but I’ve made extract using the others as well. 

Regardless of which spirit you select, there’s no need to spend extra money on top-shelf liquor. 

The cheap stuff works just fine as long as it is at least 70 proof. 

How Long Does It Take Until the Vanilla Extract is Ready to Use?

I let my homemade vanilla extract steep for at least 3 months before using. The longer it sits, the more the vanilla flavor infuses into the liquor.

You can get away with using vanilla extract sooner than that. Even so, I would wait a minimum of 2 months before using. Just know that the vanilla flavor won’t be quite as prominent.

Homemade Vanilla Extract Pinterest Pin Image 2

Did you enjoy this post? Be sure to share it on Pinterest and social media. 🙂 

And don’t forget about your free printable homemade vanilla extract labels!

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Courtney
7 months ago

5 stars
My MIL always gifts me vanilla for Christmas and it is my favorite gift! I’d love to make my own because I always run out!

Tianna Willard
5 months ago

5 stars
I love making my own vanilla extract.

Skye Sauchelli
2 months ago

Love these labels! And such a fun idea to make and give as a gift 🙂 I think homemade items like this are soothing and calming to create, and extra special to give, not to mention cost-effective! 🙂