Homemade Vanilla Extract

Making something for someone shows how much you care about them. And there are so many easy things you can make for someone as a present. I like to use homemade gifts for friends the best. It’s always something useful, and it takes time to make so this type of gift is so appreciated. Over the next several weeks we are going to show you some gift ideas that your friends and family will love. Today we are going to talk about making homemade vanilla extract. 

Making vanilla extract for people can be such a thoughtful way to share the holidays or another special occasion. I started making my own a few years ago when I was a little short on money and needed a nice present for several people. Since that time, none of us have bought vanilla extract again! It is so much more flavorful to make it yourself. And it’s so easy!

The main ingredients are vanilla beans, bourbon, a glass bottle, and time. So gather up the things you need right now so you can have some ready for the holidays. 

I like to use bourbon instead of vodka because it has a flavor that is more compatible with the flavor of vanilla. Bourbon vanilla extract is good for everything, but particularly good in baked goods. 

You want to go ahead and get your ingredients together now because vanilla extract takes some time to make. I would say about 50 to 70 days, the longer the ingredients are together the better it is. For most people, this is an item that spends a lot of time on the shelf, so it will get even better after it goes home with your friend. 

Here are a few handy links for items you’ll need.

Bottle https://amzn.to/3QIzbkB

Vanilla beans https://amzn.to/3FGPEQ3

You’ll have to purchase the bourbon locally. No links for that. Haha! But one note, the higher quality your bourbon, the better your final product will be.

If you’re looking for more homemade gifts listen to our episode on homemade apple cider vinegar HERE There’s still time to make that too.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Once you try homemade vanilla extract, I promise, you will never go back. This yummy elixir will change the way you bake forever. Your family will thank you!
5 from 2 votes


  • 4 vanilla beans per bottle
  • 12 Oz bottle
  • 10 Oz bourbon at least 80 proof


  • Make a slit in each vanilla bean and scrape out the vanilla beans from inside.
  • Add the paste and the bean into your jar.
  • Pour in your bourbon and close the jar.
  • Shake the jar daily.
  • Let it sit in a cool dark place for 50 to 70 days.


At the end of the 70 days I don’t take out the beans. Bourbon just like most alcohol is a preservative so you can leave the vanilla in there indefinitely. 
If you use up your vanilla, just add more bourbon and let it sit for a time again. This can be done 3 times before you replace the vanilla beans. 
Author: Lauren

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