Homemade Vanilla Extract

A friend was in Zanzibar back in August and I managed to send her for some vanilla bean pods. Vanilla is one of most expensive spice in the world. Locally it’s pretty hard to come by and costs so much more.

To make the most of the vanilla bean pods it best to make vanilla extract. I also used the vanilla beans to make some vanilla sugar.

For the other vanilla bean pods, I used them to make homemade vanilla extract.

I made both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The extract is pretty easy to make with the only hard thing being sourcing of the vanilla bean pods.


For non-alcoholic, I used food grade glycerine. For alcoholic I used 80% proof vodka. One can also use brandy or rum.

You’ll also need some glass bottles or mason jars for this. Slice the pods in half to expose the beans then add them to the jars and then pour in the glycerine or alcohol.

Store the jars in a dark cabinet away from direct sunlight and every week shake the bottles. The vanilla is good to use from about week eight though I would suggest allowing it to cure for much longer for a richer taste and aroma.

The results below are after 2 and a half months.


As per the above image, the alcoholic ones are darker than the non-alcoholic. In terms of aroma , the vanilla scent is more robust in the non-alcoholic one compared to the alcoholic.

I will continue to store them in a dark cabinet and shake every week and incase of any changes, I’ll update this post.

Homemade vanilla extract is the gift that keeps on giving thus you can top off with more vodka or glycerine when the amounts start to reduce due to use.

Homemade Vanilla Extract


  • 4 Airtight glass bottles or mason jars
  • 1 Funnel


  • 250 g Vanilla bean pods
  • 1 litre Vodka / Rum / Brandy 80% proof alcohol
  • 500 ml Glycerine Food grade


  • Using a knife, slice the vanilla bean pods to expose the seeds
  • Add about 4 vanilla bean pods in each bottle
  • In two bottles, using a funnel add vodka
  • In the other two bottles add glycerine
  • Close the bottles and shake.
  • Store in a dark cabinet away from direct sunlight and shake the bottles at least once a week.
  • Vanilla extract will be ready to use from about 8 weeks, however the longer it matures the better.
  • Once in use, top up with more vodka or glycerine to keep the extract going



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