Make Your Own Homemade Vanilla Extract With Only 2 Ingredients (No Additives) by Chef Gigi

Make Your Own Homemade Vanilla Extract With Only 2 Ingredients (No Additives)

Commercial vanilla extract may contain glycerin, propylene glycol, sugar, invert sugar, dextrose or corn syrup. If it concerns you that unnecessary and potentially harmful additives are in your food supply, let me show you how to make your own homemade vanilla extract containing only two ingredients. Cooking outside the box is my preach and my passion!

If replicating a typical bottle of store-bought vanilla extract, you need about 16 ounces of alcohol and four vanilla beans. If you’re not making anything with vanilla bean paste anytime soon, go ahead and submerge the beans whole. When you run out of extract, or when the extract is ready, you can pull out a vanilla bean and use the paste within any recipe you’d like. It's wonderful in desserts of all kinds. 

Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes, plus 2 to 6 months
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes, plus 2 to 6 months


  • 1 16-ounce bottle good-quality vodka, rum, bourbon or brandy
  • 4 - 6 whole, good-quality fresh vanilla beans

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Combine the alcohol and whole vanilla beans in a 16-ounce clear, clean wide-mouth jar that will seal airtight, and seal.
  2. Place the jar in a cool, dark place for two to six months – the longer the better. Occasionally shake the jar.
  3. When the extract is done, you can leave the beans in or remove them for additional use.

Need help converting cooking and baking measurements? Here are some handy kitchen conversion charts.

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Donna John
Love homemade vanilla extract. It's so easy to make. Everyone should try it. Chef Gigi Gaggero
Chef Gigi
I like to use Bourbon — Donna John
Elisa Schmitz
I would never have thought to make my own vanilla! Thank you for showing us how, Chef Gigi Gaggero ! #yum
Tiffany Zook
You can skip the jar and plop those beans right in the bourbon.
Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
I never knew alcohol was used in extract! No wonder I like it...ha ha.. great idea.

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