How to make vanilla extract

Home made vanilla essence
This is so simple to do, you’ll wonder why you ever spent the money on the shop stuff.

The picture shows my 500ml bottle of vanilla extract. Here’s how I make it…


Take 6 to 8 vanilla pods and split them with a sharp knife, leaving them just attached at one end. Pop them in your cleaned bottle.

Top up the bottle with standard vodka.

Shake when you remember for 6-8 weeks.

When you’ve used about a third to a half, top up with more vodka, shake the bottle.


  • Use as directed in the recipe (like this courgette cake)
  • In cake, muffins, ice cream, custards and other sweet goods
  • It goes well with chocolate, coconut and coffee
  • It likes spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg
  • It complements chestnuts, hazelnuts and walnuts
  • All kind of soft fruit are improved with it
  • A bottle makes a great present for the foodie/baker in your life

I’ve bought my vanilla pods from Vanilla Mart.



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9 responses to “How to make vanilla extract”

  1. […] cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly […]

  2. Chris Avatar

    We use bourbon at our house. My mom always used white rum.

    1. Carl Avatar

      Thanks Chris, both lovely flavours for it & match the vanilla nicely. I suggest vodka here as it has a neutral taste just leaving the vanilla essence 🙂

  3. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial Avatar

    We make our own vanilla extract too, using this method. Some of our bottles are now several years old, and they’ve matured to a deep, dark brew. I’ve also made it with bulk brandy, but with less success (vodka is the only alcohol that I can’t buy cheaply at the restaurant supplier, for some reason).

    1. Carl Avatar

      Hi Celia

      That’s really great information, I’ll look forward to see how mine develops. It’s only a couple of years old.

      Shame you can’t get a bulk vodka/eau de vie from your supplier. I shall start to play making some aromatic infusions for vermouth next 🙂


      1. Brenda Avatar

        Please let me know what the Vermouth is like! I made it from a CWE kit about 38 years ago (!) – it was great but they don’t make it now, and I haven’t been able to find the “secret herbs” anywhere. I was hoping to use a rhubarb wine as a base as it has a mild flavour of its own.

        1. Carl Avatar

          I will do Brenda and I’ll pass on the links I find for recipes/methods when I do 🙂

  4. lindasgarden Avatar

    Thanks for sharing will give it ago

  5. […] eggs (about 165g shelled weight) 2 tsp/150g caster sugar 10ml vanilla essence/extract (here’s how to make your own) Finely grated zest of 1 large orange 250ml rape seed oil or vegetable […]