Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffey Hargett
Hands-on Time
15 Mins
Total Time
45 Mins
Stand Time
168 Hours
Makes 3 (1/2-pt.) jars

Homemade extract is something every baker should have. It's more flavorful and generally less expensive than store-bought versions. Cooking speeds up the infusion, but you can omit the process by letting the mixture stand an extra week. Then use it in frostings and baked goods.

How to Make It

Step 1

Split 1 vanilla bean, and scrape seeds into a clean 1/2-pt. jar. If desired, cut bean in half crosswise. Place in jar. Repeat procedure with remaining beans and 2 (1/2-pt.) jars.

Step 2

Cook bourbon in a large saucepan over medium heat 5 minutes. (Do not cook longer than 5 minutes or it can overheat and ignite.) Pour 1 cup bourbon into each jar. Cool mixture to room temperature (about 30 minutes).

Step 3

Cover jars tightly, and let stand at room temperature 1 to 2 weeks before using, shaking jars once a day. (For a cleaner look, pour liquid through a fine wire-mesh strainer into clean bottles with tight-fitting lids; discard solids.) Store in a cool, dark place up to 1 year.

Step 4

Note: When cooking alcohol, be sure to use a large saucepan to contain vapors. Do not heat longer than 5 minutes--the vapors can ignite. The vodka version has the purest vanilla flavor. Though both extracts turn a rich brown after 1 week, the bourbon version is slightly darker.

Ratings & Reviews

joygay1's Review

November 15, 2013

beckiburns's Review

July 06, 2013
Been making home made vanilla for years ,I use vodka and more vanilla beans ,I like it strong ,people are always commenting about how everything is so much better

Bgrafton57's Review

May 28, 2013
Love this recipe!!!!

susan4palmer's Review

April 23, 2013