How to Make Vanilla Extract


Homemade Vanilla Extract is an infusion of vanilla into alcohol or glycerin.

Alcohol extracted vanilla extract has a longer shelf life and needs less extraction time. Glycerin-based vanilla extract has a lower shelf life and may need a longer time for extraction.

Glycerin-based vanilla extract has a shelf life of 14-24 months at room temperature. It can be refrigerated for longer shelf life.

The alcohol-based vanilla extract needs 4 months to 18 months for extraction until it’s ready.

how to make vanilla extract

How to Make Vanilla Extract

Method #1: How to Make Vanilla Extract without alcohol

Vanilla Extract Recipe without alcohol

How to make vanilla extract:
  1. Place vanilla beans, glycerin, and water in a quart jar. Do not heat anything.
  2. Cold start, no heat steep for a few months.
  1. You can double the vanilla amount and let it extract for 24 months for a thicker and sweeter extract.
  2. The shelf life of glycerin-based vanilla extract is 14-24 months at room temperature and longer in the refrigerator.

Method #2: Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe (traditional method)

1) “Single fold” Vanilla Extract (regular strength vanilla extract)


  • 2.65 ounces of Vanilla Beans/Bits
  • 750 ml Alcohol (40%-50%)


  • 1 oz Vanilla Beans/Bits
  • 1 cup Alcohol (40%-50%)

How to make vanilla extract:

  1. Vanilla beans are combined with 80 – 100 proof (40-50%) alcohol and left for 4-18 months.
  2. If you want to speed up the process you can gently heat the closed jar of extract in a warm water bath for a few hours (up to 48 hours). The optimal temperature is 130 F. You do not have to do this step.
  3. The extract is ready when it tastes like vanilla. If not, it needs more extracting.
  4. When the extract is ready, you can remove the beans and use them to make vanilla sugar or vanilla powder. Vanilla sugar: allow the pieces to dry and put them into a jar of sugar to make vanilla-infused sugar. Vanilla powder: Dhydrate the vanilla beans or pieces and grind them into a vanilla powder in a coffee/spice grinder.
2) “Double-fold” Vanilla Extract (double strength vanilla extract)

Double-fold vanilla extract is made by using the double amount of vanilla beans to the same amount of alcohol. The triple fold is 3 times the amount of beans to the same amount of alcohol. Double-fold and higher yields a richer and stronger extract.


  • ~5.3 ounces of Vanilla Beans/Bits
  • 750 ml Alcohol (40%-50%)


  • 2 oz Vanilla Beans/Bits
  • 1 cup Alcohol (40%-50%)

Instructions are the same as in the single-fold vanilla extract recipe above.

  1. Using less than 70 proof (35%) or higher than 100-120 proof alcohol will not work for making vanilla extract.
  2. You don’t have to cut or split the beans. If you split them, it will make the process go faster. You can scrape the caviar (seeds inside the pod) to use in a recipe and then put the empty pod back into the extract. When using this warming method the extract could be ready in as little as 12 weeks, but sometimes it may take 6 months or longer.
  3. The beans have to be fully submerged in the liquid without the ends poking out. It’s okay to fold or bend the beans in the jar. If the beans are not fully submerged, they may mold.
  4. Shaking the jars regularly will speed the extraction process to some degree. It will take at least 4 months and up to 18 months. The longer it sits, the better it gets.




Hi! My name is Feruza. I am from sunny Uzbekistan. Currently, I am a stay at home mom of two beautiful boys and have a wonderful supportive husband. I hold Masters' degree in Multimedia Engineering, but at this moment, I am just a Mom. With all my love to my family, I try to nourish them with wholesome foods always trying and experimenting new recipes. My hobbies are languages, healthy lifestyle, nourishing food, books, sewing, knitting, DIYs, homeschooling, and much more! I felt the need of my own corner where I could collect all of my favorite recipes and information without losing them. And here it is! Enjoy!

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