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Homemade Vanilla Extract (Vanilla-Infused Vodka)

Vanilla flavour is probably one of the most widely used flavourings in cakes, waffles, cookies and other (low-carb) treats. It's also one of the most expensive spices in the world and that's one of the reasons why most commercially available "vanilla" extracts are synthetic and contain artificial additives.

Making your own vanilla extract cannot be any easier. All you need is high-quality spirit such as vodka and vanilla beans. As you will find out, it's also very economical and you'll spend less, especially if you buy vanilla beans in bulk. You don't actually have to get organic vanilla beans, as most are grown without pesticides and fertilizers.

The best spirit for home-made vanilla extract is vodka, because you get pure vanilla flavour. If you use rum or bourbon, the vanilla taste won't be as strong, as these spirits will slightly mask the flavour.

Tip: It's also a great drink - you can have some vanilla-infused vodka as an occasional treat!

Preparation time


Nutritional values per 1 tbsp:

0.1 grams 0 grams 0 grams 0 grams 0 grams 30 calories
Total Carbs0.1grams
Net Carbs0.1grams
of which Saturated0grams

Estimated nutritional values include Stevia. This recipe yields ~ 300 ml / 10 fl oz of vanilla extract. Most calories come from alcohol.

Ingredients per small bottle:


  1. For making vanilla extract, use high-quality vodka. Prepare a glass jar you will use for the extract by sterilizing it in hot water.
  2. Cut the vanilla beans lenghtwise, place in the glass jar and seal well. The more vanilla beans you use, the more flavour and darker colour you will achieve. Make sure the beans are completely submerged.
    Note: Opt for really dark oily beans, as these will give the extract the best flavour.
  3. Infuse for 4-6 weeks. The longer you leave it, the more intense the flavour will be.
  4. Shake 2-3 times while it's infusing to help release the flavour.
  5. After about 4 weeks, the extract will become dark and is ready to be used. You can add stevia if you like - vanilla flavour works best!
  6. Store in a dark cool place for up to 6 months and use in your healthy baking :-)

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Please, note that I do not offer personalised advice. For personalised advice you can contact one of our experts.

Comments (10)

Should you slit the pods? Do you remove them or just leave them in the bottle? Can you reuse them? I use a LOT of vanilla. Two pods costs about five bucks here (and that's the cheapest) which is about ten dollars American. So you can imagine the joy of reusing. My mind boggles with questions. I imagine the vodka is a preservative on top of being an infusing liquid. Do you think it would be possible to make paste with vodka and seeds. I guess I could just go ahead and try, but its so very expensive here. Also, I'm not very search savvy - yet.
Keep up the good work Martina! and thankyou.


Thank you Rowan! I haven't tried that so I'm not sure... But I'd think that infusing whole beans with the seeds will yield more flavour. You can make a cut all the way through or even halve them lenghtwise. Yes, I leave them in until I use it all up. Sometimes I'd just pour more vodka in, add another vanilla bean and leave it for a week. So it depends on how much flavour you can get from it - not all vanilla beans are equal. If they are too expensive where you live, then maybe it's better to get a ready-made product. I get some really good deals on Amazon but I'm not sure how it is where you live.


I make mine with brandy and it comes out great. I just put the vanilla beans right in the bottle and let it sit.


I'm actually planning to make it with brandy for this holiday season Smile


Just curious, do most vanilla extracts include a sweetener?   I made my own extract by putting the vanilla pods in the bottle of vodka.  Didn't add any sweetener and I've not had any problems in my recipes.


I think it depends but I've seen all sorts of products  - I don't use any sweeteners when I make it either. I know that Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract does include sugar but you'll have to check the label.


But your recipe uses sweetener? Why does your recipe call for it if you don't use it in yours? I've never heard of sweetened vanilla extract. Even McCormick's vanilla is just beans, water and alcohol.


Hi Mary, the sweetener is optional - you don't have to use it but some people may like it Smile


I make my own extract using rum but it does hide the vanilla a bit Smile


I tried rum but it was a bit too strong for me but not bad at all.


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