Gifts From the Kitchen Homemade Vanilla Extract #SundaySupper

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

Easy homemade Christmas gifts from the kitchen. Homemade vanilla extract is so easy to make. I’ve included a Free Vanilla Extract printable label at the end of this post.


How to make Homemade Vanilla Extract with photos

Gifts from the Kitchen Homemade Vanilla Extract #SundaySupper

 This weekends #SundaySupper is all about Gifts From the Kitchen.

Our host for the holiday festivities is Susan from The Wimpy Vegetarian.

Stop by and visit her if you get a chance and thank her for picking such a fun holiday theme and for hosting this weekend’s event.

 Keep reading to find the other great Gifts from the Kitchen posts from this weekends Sunday Supper below.

I’m sure you will be able to find a recipe or two for your Homemade Holiday Gifts this gift giving season.

 It’s a little late to be making homemade vanilla extract for Christmas gifts but it is still doable if you include a “use after” date on the bottle. Or start your homemade vanilla extract making in October so it will be ready to use by Christmas.

Label Homemade Vanilla for Christmas Gifts

A Use After label for HOmemade Vanilla Extract

Last month when I saw the call out for a Sunday Supper Gifts from the Kitchen theme I happened to be on Facebook when it posted to the Sunday Supper Group on Facebook.

I immediately joined up to make homemade vanilla extract. I made it once before, about 10 months ago. Not to give away as gifts at the holidays but just to make it for my own use.

And because I love making stuff like that.

I’m a mixture of cook, baker and mad scientist when it comes to stuff like this.

I still have about a 1/2 a quart from my first batch and I will probably bottle some of that up as Christmas gifts for a few close friends. Now that I have started another batch I don’t have to hoard my stash.

 I’ve kept vanilla beans in that jar and it is a dark golden brown and adds a little bit of magic when you add it to a recipe.

10 Month Cured Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract

When I made the vanilla extract the last time I made the extract in mason jars and individual bottles. This time I am making the extract in 2 large bottles then I will fill individual 4 oz Boston Round bottles that I will give as gifts.

You can do it either way.

Homemade Vanilla Extract for a Homemade Holiday

The beginning of homemade Vanilla Extract

Honestly I think using the vodka bottle itself or some other large jars works out better and is easier to handle. This way you only have one or two bottles to shake as the extract is curing.

If you fill the small individual bottles then you will need to shake each bottle every day or so. That is a lot more work and make storing a little more difficult.

You only need four things to make Vanilla Extract; Vodka, Vanilla Beans,  a  container and patience.

You need, Vodka, Vanilla Beans, a container and patience to make homemade Vanilla Extract

Here is what you will need

There are many sources for Vanilla Beans. Buying them in bulk is a much better option then buying them at the grocery store. 

Vanilla Beans

Vanilla Beans


  If you plan on using the vodka bottle you will need to pour some out before adding the vanilla beans. You will also have to measure the vodka so you know how many vanilla beans per cup of Vodka you will need to use.

The last time I made Vanilla Extract I followed directions I found online on a number of different  blogs. At that time I couldn’t find one set of instructions that said use X number of vanilla beans per  X amount of vodka.  This time I did a bit more research and found out that 5 vanilla beans per one cup of Vodka is recommended.

I also found a great website that gives very detailed information on commercial Vanilla Extract production along with detailed information about Vanilla Beans. I didn’t realize that most commercial vanilla extract has water added to it until I read that article  

They do sell Vanilla Extract and other Vanilla products. I have never bought anything from them so I can’t really say anything about their products. This is not an endorsement for the company but I found the article very interesting and thought you might too.

To make the extract simply measure the vodka and add 5 beans per cup of vodka in your container.  

Split the vanilla beans down the center leaving them connected at one end.

Split you’re vanilla beans down the center

You can split the beans and leave them whole or you can cut them up in small pieces and add them to the jar.  Either way will work.

Vanilla Beans for extract

Vanilla Beans


Do you see how stiff some of the vanilla beans are? Those are the beans I bought off Amazon. Vanilla beans are very delicate and very expensive. If they are not store properly they will get hard and brittle. Those stiff beans were left in the package they arrived in and sat around for about 2 weeks before I began making the extract.

They were almost too hard to split when I opened them. The first order of beans I made off eBay also sat around the way they were shipped plastic wrapped but they were soft and supple when I opened them. They started getting hard after I opened and  wrapped them triple in plastic wrap and ziplock bags as suggested.

 If you will not be using many vanilla beans for baking I suggest you buy only the amount of vanilla beans that you will need to make you’re extract. Usually you will find the information about how many beans are in a 1/4 or 1/2 pound of beans somewhere in with the information on the type of vanilla beans you are buying.

 The vanilla beans start to degrade once you open the package they were delivered in. I followed directions for re-wrapping them and storing them but both my purchases of vanilla beans this one ( and it wasn’t the best quality to begin with) and my first purchase hardened when I stored them.

It is almost impossible to re hydrate them after they harden. I tried all the tricks I found on the internet with my first batch.

After a day I could see that the extract was a darker color in the mason jar with the cut up pieces of vanilla bean.

Making Vanilla Extract

Whole and cut up Vanilla Beans for Homemade Vanilla Extract

If you use small jars or bottles you will have to do the math and figure out how many beans per ounces you’re jar or bottle will need. It is so much easier to use the bigger jars and count the number of cups of Vodka per jar. The recycled Amaretto jar I used held 3 1/2 cups of vodka.

Once you’re beans and vodka are in jars store them in a dark cool cabinet. Occasionally shake them. Most instructions say you can  use the extract after about 6 weeks but I have found the extract to be much better after at least three months of curing. The longer the better.

Homemade Vanilla Extract Curing

Homemade Vanilla Extract Curing

Check out the difference just 24 hours can make.

Bottle up you’re homemade Vanilla Extract and share the love at Christmas.

 Homemade Holiday Gift ideas Vanilla Bean Extract

Have a happy homemade holiday season with homemade vanilla extract

 Happy Holiday’s!

Scroll down to see the rest of the #SundaySupper Gifts From the Kitchen links.

If you are viewing this in your email or rss reader you may need to come to the post to see the recipe in Ziplist. 

Download Free Vanilla Extract Labels for your homemade vanilla extract.

free homemade vanilla labels, free vanilla extract printable

Free Vanilla Extract Label preview (low quality) download high quality printable.

5 from 1 reviews
Gifts From the Kitchen Homemade Vanilla Extract #SundaySupper
  1. Measure Vodka into jars.
  2. Add 5 split Vanilla Beans per cup of Vodka.
  3. Steep or cure for at least 6 weeks before using.
  4. For gift giving you can add 1 vanilla bean to each 4 oz Boston Round Bottle
After curing bottle in 4 ounce brown Boston Round Bottle or a similar type bottle.

Cure for a minimum of 6 weeks or indefinitely.

When the extract gets low you may pour more vodka in to keep the bottle going.

Don't waste the beans after curing. Rinse off well and add to a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar.

You can also grind dried out vanilla beans into a pwder and add to sugar.


Gifts From the Kitchen

Breads / Breakfast

Condiments / Ingredients

Soup and Snacks



Please join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper on November 11.  In the evening we will meet at 7pm EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat.

All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.

We’d also love to feature your own posts for Gifts From the Kitchen on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board to share them with all of our followers, too.

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  1. says

    I started making vanilla extract last year for Christmas and since I’ve used it in my baked goods I haven’t stopped! It’s much cheaper then buying at the store and the flavor is so much better. Love the pretty bottles you have it in!

  2. says

    I have thought about making vanilla extract for the longest time. I don’t know why I haven’t made it yet because I use vanilla so much. You have inspired me to give it a try and I’m using your formula and recipe. Now for the patience part…

  3. Nicole @ The Daily Dish says

    I’ve only made my own extract once and it was absolutely fabulous. I really need to do it again and you have inspired me. I love the labels and bottles you used!!

  4. Katie says

    I’ve never thought to try to make homemade vanilla extract before – what a great idea! I’d love to get this as a gift…

  5. says

    I never knew how simple it is to make Vanilla Extract. Your explanation of how the vanilla beans should be (softer rather than hard) is much appreciated. I love when a recipe tells you the pitfalls you may encounter along the way, it takes the scariness out out trying something for the first time.

    If I get started now, I may have a batch ready for Christmas!!

  6. says

    I hate to double-up on comments, but I’m not sure if my first went through (got a weird 404 re-direct). Anyhoo…I think homemade vanilla extract makes a fabulous gift! It’s all I use and think that everybody should be able to experience the difference. Great bottles and labels! :)

  7. says

    We better get right on this if it takes 6-weeks! The girls will love helping me make this as it sounds super simple. And I can see them fighting over who gets to shake it each day! Does the brand or quality of vodka matter? I don’t drink much and know nothing about vodka.

  8. says

    I really want to make this. I tried to make vanilla extract once and it did not quite work out. But I really want to make my own! Time to try again! Thanks for sharing.

  9. says

    I’ve never made vanilla extract from scratch and this is a great tutorial for somebody like me :)Thanks for sharing and I’m sure your guests will love this as their holiday gift :)

  10. says

    Welcome to #SundaySupper!! I just love your gift. I have a bunch of Mexican vanilla beans I got as part of a store close out. They’ve been sitting in the frig waiting patiently, and now I know what I’m going to do with them! Thanks soooo much. I love it!!! And I really appreciate all the tips!

  11. says

    Wow, so much great information! I tried making some for myself, and it isn’t very vanilla-y. I think I am being cheap and stingy with the beans. I just heard that they have them cheap at Costco – I may have to get some more to add to my bottle.

  12. says

    The finished product is so lovely ! Like the four things you listed… hmmm… patience :) !! I can just imagine the flavor in this. Thanks for sharing !

  13. Kim Bee says

    This is one of my fave things to make for people. I did monster sized batched last Christmas and gave bottles away. People love getting homemade vanilla. Yours turned out beautifully.

  14. says

    What a brilliant idea! This would be an ideal gift for someone that you know that bakes alot. I know I’d be thrilled to receive this! Makes me wonder how much BETTER it must taste than store bought. And those labels!!! …cute presentation.

    • says


      Thank you! It does taste so much better then store bought. I haven’t bought store bought vanilla in almost a year. And now the prices are sky rocketing so it is really cheaper to make then to buy if you do a lot of baking like I and you do.

  15. Yum Girl says

    I love homemade gifts. Beautifully done! If I may, I’d like to invite you to submit your photos to the new YumGoggle, a photo sharing site with the philosophy that if you worked hard to cook it and photograph it, we should show it off! Hope to see you there soon!

  16. zackette says

    After reading your instructions for DIY vanilla extract, I realize that I haven’t been putting nearly enough vanilla beans per amount of liquid! I like using rum and it’s still ok but with a dominating rum flavor, which is fine for certain recipes but not great for others. In general, I want more of a vanilla taste that is the primary flavor and goal. That said, the stronger rum flavored vanilla extract was excellent for almond pastes, for example, in a galette des roi.

    • says


      I bought the grade of vanilla beans I felt comfortable paying for. With this recipe the grade won’t matter as much. If you decided to go with a lower grade the beans will be thinner and possibly shorter so I would add a couple extra vanilla beans.

  17. kellyn weber says

    How did you make your labels for vanilla? Did you glue paper on or have it made at printing company? Can you explain how you did them.

  18. Roberta Taylor says

    Can you tell me if you strained your homemade vanilla through a cheesecloth or leave it with the vanilla bean pods? Thanks!


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