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Homemade Vanilla Extract

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Zoe Francois

20 min plus 5 weeks to ferment

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About the Recipe


This recipe needs a minimum of 5 weeks to mature in the bottle before using. The longer it sits, the better it gets! According to Zoe, you can continue to add both vodka and vanilla beans as needed. For every cup of vodka you replenish, add 6 vanilla beans.


5 cup capacity glass bottle with a stopper or cap

750 ml bottle of vodka (no need to use top shelf vodka for this. The less flavor the vodka has, the stronger the vanilla bean flavor).

Vanilla Beans - 18 beans per 3 cups ( just under 750 ml) of vodka. Zoe recommends using Madagascar Vanilla Beans

Frying Pan


Step 1: Clean your bottle and dry it well

Step 2: Using a paring knife make a slit down the length of the vanilla bean and scrape out all the pulp. Add both pulp and bean to the clean glass bottle.

Step 3: Continue doing this with the rest of the beans. Then pour the vodka into the bottle with the pulp and the beans using a funnel.

Step 4: Close the stopper on the bottle and shake the vanilla to distribute the seeds. No need to refrigerate this mixture. It can be left on a shelf at room temperature. Shake it every couple days. The vodka will begin to take on an amber color at week 3 and get darker as the weeks go on.

Step 5: By week 5 it will be ready to use. If you're making a buttercream with vanilla, you may want to strain it to ensure a smooth texture.

hand mixer

Buon Appetito!

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