Learn how to make delicious homemade vanilla extract using just a few simple ingredients! No more store-bought. See the method here. | StupidEasyPaleo.com

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Learn how easy it is to make homemade vanilla extract in this post.

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract | stephgaudreau.com

Learning how to make homemade vanilla extract is really quite simple, and I’m going to let you in on how easy it is! Yes, most extracts contain alcohol and though I’ve seen alcohol-free versions, I haven’t been stoked about using glycerine as the solvent.

Considering I use these extracts in small quantities, I don’t have a personal objection to the alcohol content but as always, your paleo is up to you alone to dictate. And certainly if you have to avoid alcohol 100%, then it’s possible to make extracts using glycerine instead. In this post, I’ll show you how to make homemade vanilla extract (and mint and lemon extracts) using the same basic method.

How Do You Make Homemade Vanilla Extract?

You’ll need some sort of alcohol to help extract the organic (carbon-based) compounds that actually make the scents and flavors from the chosen plant material—in this case, vanilla beans, lemon rinds and mint leaves. Did you know that when you smell something, what you’re really sensing are tiny organic molecules that diffuse through the air, attach themselves to the olfactory receptors of the nose and send nerve impulses to your brain?

Through experience and learning, you’ve come to associate these molecules with the foods that emit these “smells.” For example, vanillin is one of the predominant carbon-based compounds that makes the scent you know as vanilla. And while it can be synthesized by a series of chemical reactions in a lab, I think you’ll agree that getting it from a natural source is always better.

Learn how to make delicious homemade vanilla extract using just a few simple ingredients! No more store-bought. See the method here. | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Small organic compounds like vanillin are chemically compatible with alcohol, meaning they’re soluble in it. When you make a homemade extract, you’re taking advantage of that fact. SCIENCE! For best results, remember to steep your extracts for at least 4 weeks before you use them and keep the plant material completely submerged so nothing molds.

How to Use Homemade Vanilla Extract

I chose vodka for this recipe but you can use something like bourbon for the homemade vanilla extract, which tends to pair really well. Use these extracts in any application you’d use store-bought extracts. How about using a dash of homemade vanilla extract in my Apple Coconut Pudding or the mint in my Dark Chocolate Mint Coconut Butter Cups?

My favorite reason for making homemade extracts is that I know exactly what’s in them. So many of the store-bought extracts contain added sugar or other funky chemical ingredients. These also make fantastic gifts!

Is Vodka Gluten-Free?

One note: If you must eat gluten-free, check to be sure the type of vodka you buy is gluten-free. Many are not. I look for vodka made from organic grapes which is a little more expensive but worth it if you can’t have even trace amounts of gluten in your diet.

Learn how to make delicious homemade vanilla extract using just a few simple ingredients! No more store-bought. See the method here. | StupidEasyPaleo.com

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Gluten-Free
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 48
Calories: 13 kcal
Author: Steph Gaudreau

Learn how to make delicious homemade vanilla extract using just a few simple ingredients! No more store-bought. See how easy it is!



  • 1 cup vodka or bourbon
  • 6 whole vanilla beans
  • 8 oz glass jar with lid


  1. Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla beans down the middle, lengthwise.
  2. Add the beans to the jar.
  3. Fill the jar with 1 cup of vodka and cap tightly.
  4. Let the extract steep for at least 4 weeks for best results. Shake daily.

  5. Hint: If the level of the vodka drops gradually as you use it, add more for a continuous supply of extract.

Recipe Notes

My recipes are all in a meal planner. Check it out!

Nutrition Facts
How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract
Amount Per Serving
Calories 13
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 Pin this homemade vanilla extract tutorial for later!

Learn how to make delicious homemade vanilla extract using just a few simple ingredients! No more store-bought. See the method here. | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Share this post

34 Responses

        1. You can also order online at beanilla.com . Great site for many varieties of vanilla beans and other extract materials.

  1. This sounds great! I wonder if you could make coffee extract with whole coffee beans. It’s always so good in chocolate treats like paleo brownies!

  2. I’ve made my own vanilla before, but found that after I let it sit for almost 3 months it was perfect. It went a little sweet, and had no remaining alcohol smell. I love my alcohol, but not in my morning coffee. Trying a blood orange one right now.

  3. Huh! I never thought of doing this with lemon or mint. And now I’m I thinking of orange, lime, and maybe other citrus. I’ve considered doing this with cardamom or other warm, solid spices for a while though I keep forgetting to start that project.

    But I’ve been doing this with vanilla for a couple of years and OH it is LOVELY. I don’t slit the vanilla lengthwise, it seems to take entirely too much coordination. I just chop the beans into about 1/4 inch pieces, about 3 beans per cup, and shake and wait 6+ weeks. My 24oz bottle of vodka has been half used in the last 15 months so it might be time to start another one. :).

    The results of the vanilla, btw, are so good that a friend asked if she could drink some — we poured a shot’s worth into a glass, added ice & some coconut milk and my friend was very very pleased with her impromptu cocktail. (I’m not much of a drinker, so can’t comment personally.)

  4. Hmmm…you can finish your lemon recipe by making limoncello! Starts out the same way and is a fantastic aperitif 🙂 I started making my own vanilla last year and I’ll never go back! Hadn’t thought about mint but now I will!! Thanks for the tips!

  5. I made my own vanilla extract last year and it was amazing. Once you make your own, you’ll never go back. Enjoy

  6. Do these taste like alcohol? I am very opposed to use of alcohol and I want to make my own extracts but I can’t find any without alcohol.

    1. When you cook with it you cannot taste alcohol because it’s usually such a small amount. If you look you can find recipes that make homemade extracts without alcohol but I don’t think the flavor is as good. Just google “non-alcoholic homemade extract” and you’ll see some options.

      1. Actually, a lot of people like to cook with alcohol because it adds the flavor it holds (mint, lemon, ect) and burns the alcohol away, therefore if you cook with the extract you shouldn’t have alcohol in the end product, I learned a lot when dealing with old medicine

  7. I make my own vanilla extract, but never thought about the other two. What would you use lemon or mint extract in?

  8. Where can I purchase the 8 oz jars, I’d like to sell extracts to family & friends. I thought of using baby food jars but cannot fully clean out the covers. Any other ideas of jars I can use. I am excited about making mint extracts since I have lots in my garden – chocolate mint, spearmint and regular mint.

  9. Is there any way I can remove the ‘alcohol content” to use the flavouring safely for children? I want to use the mint in hot chocolate! Would boiling it take it away? Or would that effect the flavouring? TIA 🙂 x

    1. There are ways to make non-alcoholic extracts. If you google that term, you’ll find other options 🙂

  10. So, I’m not quite 21 yet.. if i use alcohol in an extract, is it safe? or should i not even worry since nothing in any recepie uses more than like 1/4 teaspoon of it?

    1. Hi Julia…even store-bought vanilla extract usually has alcohol. There are ways to make it alcohol-free at home. Just google search “alcohol-free vanilla extract” 🙂

  11. I wonder if letting some of the alcohol evaporate off would make it stronger? I made orange extract and it smells amazing and has an orange tint thats lovely. I’m thinking of making them as christmas gifts

  12. I’m sorry, I know this is an older post but I just stumbled on it. What happened to the lemon extract? There are instructions for mint and vanilla but not the lemon and I was really interested in that, as well as the mint. I’ve made vanilla extract so that was nothing new but I’ve not thought to make mint or lemon extract. I have a bunch of peppermint and spearmint growing in my yard and that sounds like a good thing to use it on. That’s why I first visited this site, but when I saw lemon in the title I thought it would be nice to make some of that too.

    1. Hey Michele…I think it disappeared off the post for some reason. You would follow similar instructions to the other two, but use the lemon rind instead. Use a sharp knife to slice off the yellow outer skin, avoiding the white pith.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I'm Steph!

Lord of the Rings nerd, cold brew drinker, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


Build muscle, strength & power AND take all the guesswork out of your workout with this 3x weekly written-for-you dumbbell strength program.


Strength Nutrition Unlocked

For women lifting weights who want to get stronger, build muscle, have more energy, and perform better. Implement the four keys you need to unlock your next level of strength in this 8-week program.

Get free dumbbell workouts