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How to make your own Vanilla Extract in less than 2 minutes!

Homemade Vanilla Extract. If you love baking, you’ll know that vanilla extract is so expensive, and a tiny bottle runs out very quickly. Did you know that you can make your own quickly and easily? You just need a little patience to let the extract steep. This recipe will save you money, or could be a great gift for a foodie friend!

Vanilla extract seems to appear in all sweet baked goods, it has an indefinable flavor, essential to most cakes and cupcakes.

You might like to try my vanilla sugar “recipe” for another way to make vanilla pods last longer.

Did you know that you can make your own vanilla extract for a fraction of the cost of expensive brands? Keep reading to find out how to make your own vanilla extract!

Vanilla Extract vs Essence

Have you noticed that most recipes say to use extract instead of essence? Have you wondered what the difference is?

Simply, when it comes to vanilla, essence of vanilla is artificially flavoured. It usually comes in those little plastic bottles in the supermarket, and, if your budget is tight, it is an OK substitute for the real thing, although many food writers will tell you otherwise. For years my grandma used those little bottles in her baking, along with margarine, and they always tasted divine.

Extract of vanilla has been made from real vanilla pods, the flavour literally having been extracted. If you are making a really special bake, or just want to use the best ingredients you can, I recommend using extract, or making your own. The flavour is definitely better than essence, less sweet and more vanilla-y.

How to make your own Vanilla Extract

This is so easy. Simply place 3 or 4 vanilla pods into a glass bottle and top up with brandy (or vodka). Leave to steep in a cupboard for a couple of months and you will be rewarded with a fully sustainable vanilla extract that you can top up as you need to.

Free Label for your Vanilla Extract

If you don’t like my super basic Dymo labels, you might prefer to print up this classic, simple label for your bottles of Homemade Vanilla Extract. To print the label, right click on the image and open in new tab. Then save image as to your desktop. You should be able to resize and print the image from there. I have lots more edible gifts on my site, including my delicious, spiced peaches, the perfect gift!

Vanilla Extract Label


Ingredients for making vanilla extract
  • brandy
  • whole vanilla pods
  • time

See recipe card for quantities.


Bottle with vanilla pods in it

Place the vanilla pods in a sterilised bottle with an airtight lid

Brandy ready to go into the bottle

Fill up with brandy and close the lid. Now forget about it for a couple months!


  • Brandy – you could use vodka instead of brandy


Store the vanilla extract for two months before using, after this, it keeps indefinitely, and you can keep topping up the bottle.

Vanilla Extract

PIcture of Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Sugar
How to make your own vanilla extract
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep 1 minute
Steeping 60 days
Total Time 60 days 1 minute


  • 1 250ml Kilner Bottle or similar, sterilised


  • 3 Vanilla Pods
  • 250 ml Brandy


  • Place the vanilla pods in the sterilised bottle
  • Top up with brandy. Close the lid.
  • Leave to steep in a cupboard for about 2 months, shaking the bottle occasionally.

Please note that where the recipe asks for milk, butter or yogurt, this refers to any plant-based version that you prefer.

Nutrition Facts
Vanilla Extract
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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