Whipping up baked goods is something we've all done. They're simple to make and yield enough servings to keep multiple people happy. But when you have all the equipment in front of you and peek at the recipe, it's not unheard of to realize that you're out of something before you get started.

I've been guilty of leaving out something minuscule like 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract when I run out at home, but the sweetener enriches your goods and omitting it wrecks the overall taste. While that's easy to say in hindsight, what's a home baker to do when there's no more vanilla extract at home? Make your own of course! This simple recipe literally needs two ingredients and will save you when from a missing sweetener in the future.

How To Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

vanilla extract on a spoon next to raw vanilla

What You'll Need

  • 8 - 10 vanilla beans
  • 1 ½ cups of vodka 80 proof
  • Glass bottles
  • Metal funnel

How To Do It:

  • Wash out the bottles with soap and water before getting started.
  • Cut the vanilla beans lengthwise and place 2 beans inside the bottle. If they're a bit too long, you can cut them in half before placing them inside.
  • Pour vodka into the bottle through the funnel until it reaches the top of the bottle. Repeat for each bottle of vanilla beans, ensuring each is filled up and the beans are submerged.
  • Seal the bottles and store in a cool, damp place for a minimum of four weeks. Shake the bottles every week.
  • After the allotted time has passed, use however much future recipes call for.

Additional Tips

Vodka is the best alcohol to use when making a homemade vanilla extract, but you can also substitute with bourbon, rum, or brandy.

The longer you leave the vanilla extract to sit, the darker and more flavorful it will become. The minimum amount of time to leave it sitting it at least one month, but it can be stored for up to a year.

vanilla beans on a wooden surface with a jar of vanilla extract

That's all there is to it! You honestly don't need much more than these two ingredients and a little bit of time. Obviously, it won't be ready to use for a good month (sometimes longer depending on how potent you want it) but it'll still be a lifesaver for you in the future.

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