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How To Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Did you know most store bought vanilla extract is made with imitation vanilla flavoring? When I make a recipe from scratch such as my M & M Cookie Recipe I want the best ingredients so the food I cook tastes great.

Store bought vanilla extract simply cannot hold a candle to homemade vanilla extract as those of you who have tried it know.

Below is the recipe I use to make vanilla extract.

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How To Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

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Learn how to make your own homemade vanilla extract. This is perfect to add to all those vanilla recipes you are making from scratch in your kitchen.


  • 3 vanilla beans
  • Vodka (or Bourbon)


  1. Begin by choosing three plump vanilla beans, split them in half and put them in a sealable jar large enough to allow the beans to be covered completely in liquid. A jar about the size of a pint, but a little taller and thinner, unless you want to cut the beans down in size, will work.
  2. Once the beans are cut in half lengthways, put them in the jar. If they are too tall, you will need to cut them down so they fit in the jar. The beans should be covered by the vodka.
  3. Cover the beans with premium vodka, 80 proof or higher. Fill the jar to the top with the vodka. Seal the jar and put in a cool dark place for six months. 
  4. When the six months are up, use this as you would any other type of vanilla extract. Do not remove the vanilla beans.
  5. The vanilla beans can be used over and over again to make a new batch of extract for seven years.
  6. When the vanilla extract you made begins to run low, simply pour the remaining vanilla extract into a different glass container, fill the old bottle up with vodka again and wait six months for a new batch to cure.


You can substitute Bourbon for Vodka.

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If you are one of those people who grow Vanilla planiflora you may already be wondering what to do with all the vanilla beans you will be harvesting. If you do not grow your own, do not fear, you can buy vanilla beans ready to use. Either way it is easy to learn how to make vanilla extract at home.

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