How to Make the Very Best Vanilla Extract

Dark and delicious

Good quality vanilla extract can be quite expensive, sometimes fetching more than $30 for an 8 oz. bottle. Making your own vanilla extract is probably one of the easiest and most rewarding recipes you’ll find. You really only need 2 ingredients, a nice jar and a little bit of patience.

This tried and true recipe starts off with Organic Madagascar vanilla beans and Shiver vodka. If you want you can certainly purchase cheaper beans on Amazon or maybe even The Bulk Barn. It will be equally delicious I’m sure.

It doesn’t even need to be expensive vodka, as the cheap stuff works quite well too. Stick to the plain unflavored vodka. Don’t have vodka? Try using bourbon instead, I’ve even heard people using 100 proof.

For todays vanilla extract recipe, we will be using Shiver Vodka. It is made right here in Newfoundland and Labrador from Ontario grown corn. Shiver vodka is 4 times distilled and triple filtered for clarity and purity making it a cheaper but a great quality vodka. Makes a nice clean drink too if you like alcoholic beverages.

Shiver Vodka

As you can see in the picture above, I used 2 cups of Vodka for this recipe and you can easily cut that in half if you want to either make a smaller batch or a more concentrated vanilla extract.

The absolute best beans for making your own vanilla extract are Madagascar Grade B. No need for them to be organic; I purchased mine at Costco and the grade wasn’t specified on the packaging, just that they were organic and that they were Madagascar vanilla beans.

As stated earlier you can certainly try Amazon or the wonderful web to find cheaper beans. They are out there I promise.

Watch me show you how easy the process really is for making your very own vanilla extract in the following tutorial:

I sure hope you enjoyed that video and as you can see it truly is quite easy to make your own vanilla extract with a few simple ingredients in the comfort of your very own home.

A good rule of thumb is 5-6 Vanilla beans per cup of vodka or bourbon minimum. For a higher quality vanilla you could certainly double up on the vanilla beans.

What you need:

  • A sharp knife
  • a cutting board
  • 5-10 vanilla beans ( depending on how much you plan to make)
  • 1-2 cups of Vodka
  • a dark jar with a tight fitting lid ( you can use a clear jar just be sure to place it in a dark cupboard)


Slice vanilla beans down the center and if necessary, cut them in half such that the entire bean is submerged into the vodka.

Place them in a clean sterile jar

Pour vodka over top ( 1 cup per 5-6 beans minimum)

Close the jar and place it in a dark closet or cupboard. Remove once a week and shake it. You can also give it a little smell its truly so wonderful. Your vanilla extract can be used in as little as 6 months, however, its best to leave it for a whole year for a nice dark rich good quality vanilla extract.

As your vanilla is getting low from all your delicious baking, you can easily add more vodka and an extra vanilla bean or two. This will be your ‘Mother” jar. You will never have to buy vanilla extract again and you will produce on your very own an excellent high quality vanilla extract.

Homemade vanilla extract also makes a beautiful gift for birthdays or holidays like Christmas!

Not sure what to do with the beans after a year or so? You can simply remove them from the jar, place them in some sugar to make your own vanilla tasting sugar for a variety of treats.

The fun doesn’t have to stop with vanilla extract you can purchase bitter almonds and make your own almond extract, coffee beans etc. the possibilities are endless. Put your thinking cap on and get to work. Your imagination is a wonderful thing.

I sure hope you enjoyed this recipe tutorial as usual I will share links to my favorite ingredients though there are just two in this recipe.

For the vanilla beans I used Organic Madagascar vanilla beans from Costco find them here

For the Vodka I used Shiver find it here:

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Categories Blog, Cakes & Cheesecakes, Canning, Julie’s FavoritesTags , , , , , ,

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