When you find out how easy it is to DIY vanilla extract, you’ll wonder when you ever bought it!

Have you ever eyed those tiny little bottles of extracts at the grocery store and thought there must be a way to make them at home? You can make your own vanilla extract without the strange chemicals and high price tag. Best of all it’s very easy to do. I’ll let my friend Danielle take over from here.

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When you find out how easy it is to DIY vanilla extract, you'll wonder when you ever bought it!

Danielle Pientka lives in Maryland with her two young sons and a very tolerant husband who suffers through many ridiculous do-it-yourself projects at her behest.

You can find her on writing about do-it-yourself projects, going green, and parenting.

She has written posts about Living without Toilet Paper, Upcycling Book Jackets, and Using Fabric Scraps to Make Baskets.

Don’t forget to check out her book, The Complete Guide to Using, Laundering, and Sewing Reusable Cloth Products, which is available on Amazon.

Hi! I’m Danielle and I met Marie through our blogs.

I write a do-it-yourself and going green blog ( so Marie’s writing on Just Plain Living really spoke to me with its focus on being self sufficient and green.

I’m not a homesteader, but more of a wannabe homesteader. I’m only two goats and a chicken coop away from it, but my husband – and probably some local laws – won’t let me start a farm on our small suburban property so alas, I only have a compost bin, a small garden, two dogs, and two kids under 5 to care for. For now, that’s enough.

But someday, I’m getting goats and chickens darnit!
In the meantime, my big plan this year is to learn how to get better gains from our garden and to can some of the food for use throughout the year.

I love to save money on food.

Of course, I had to get Marie’s book, A Cabin Full of Food, to help me with canning and eating seasonally.

And there are So. Many. Recipes.

Because I am a DIY’er, I loved that there were so many recipes that would make great gifts.

Today I’m going to share how to make vanilla extract with a nifty little video. I’m new to time lapse, but ooooooh this was so much fun to make.

Keep an eye out on for the lemon extract recipe that I will be sharing!


Vanilla Beans
Glass containers
Label maker
A Cabin Full of Food


This is a really simple project. I purchased some nice glass containers off Amazon, but you could also upcycle some glass containers as well to use.

Wash your container thoroughly and dry.

My glass bottles were 4 ounces each.

I took each vanilla “bean” (the bean is the whole entire pod) and split it lengthwise. I used one and a half beans per container. In the video below, you can see I cut each bean in half and just used three halves. I hope that isn’t too confusing, but they fit better that way.

Once I finished putting them in, I used my funnel to pour vodka into the glass container. I put the lid on, added a label, and made sure to shake the container.

I stored it on a shelf in the kitchen and will continue to shake it here and there for good measure until it’s ready.

As you use your vanilla extract, you can keep adding more vodka to top it off. Just give it a little shake each time you do that.

Thanks so much Marie for giving me the opportunity to share this project!

I hope you all liked it! If you haven’t purchased Marie’s book yet, go get it! It’s fantastic and has lots of very practical but fun recipes “for real life.” – Danielle

Printable Recipe


DIY Making Vanilla Extract at Home

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups
  • Category: Basic


Most baking recipes today call for vanilla. It also makes a pleasant perfume to which almost no one reacts badly. Vanilla beans come from an orchid that must be hand-pollinated and hand-picked. Then it is cured for several months.


  • 3 vanilla beans
  • 1 cup vodka


  1. Vanilla, or any other natural extract used for flavouring, is simply a strong tincture made from food-grade alcohol.
  2. Use a sharp knife to cut 3 vanilla beans down the centre, leaving them attached at one end. Place in a glass jar and cover with 1 cup vodka. Store in a dark, cool place for at least 2 months.
  3. Every time you use some, top up the jar with vodka and give the bottle a shake. This lasts for years.


  • Serving Size: 16