Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Copyright © 2012 by Jennifer May

Yield: Yield varies

Usually a recipe says to cut vanilla beans lengthwise and to scrape the sticky paste of seeds into the milk or cream or what have you. Sometimes the bean gets thrown in as well. But then, the recipe always says to remove the bean and discard or save for future use. Future use? Shall I recycle it as a bracelet? Or a Christmas ornament? What recipe calls for a scraped and withered vanilla bean? I’m so glad you asked. Scraped and withered they may be, but soaked in alcohol for a while, they create vanilla extract.

This recipe is excerpted from The Homemade Pantry. Read our review.


  • Cheap vodka, enough to fill your jar or bottle
  • Spent vanilla beans, at least 3


  • Fill a mason jar or bottle with vodka. After you use the seeds of a vanilla bean in a recipe, rinse off the vanilla bean and put it in the vodka. You’ll need at least 3 vanilla beans in there for at least 3 weeks to get a good extract going, but it’s fine to use more beans, too. Your extract is ready when it is a lovely brown color and it smells like vanilla.
  • Either pour the extract it into a new bottle and start over or keep topping off the working bottle with vodka and keep shoving more vanilla beans into the bottle. As long as you don’t let it get too empty, you can keep using the extract indefinitely even as you continue to top it off.

    homemade pantry cookbook

Store indefinitely at room temperature in a sealed container. Do not freeze.


Reprinted from the book The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila.  Copyright © 2012 by Alana Chernila.  Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.


Rate or Review


We haven't received any reviews yet for this recipe.

Have you made it? Tell us what you thought!

Rate this Recipe

Write a Review


View All


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, subscribe today.

Get the print magazine, 25 years of back issues online, over 7,000 recipes, and more.