Homemade Vanilla Extract

Yesterday, March 5th, I finally opened one of my Christmas presents.

I made myself a gift this year.

Vanilla bourbon. Or vanilla extract, I guess.

It can – and should – be used as both. Because for the first 6-7 weeks that this stuff sits, calling you from the pantry, it smells like a lot of bourbon with just a little vanilla. Yum.

But once it hits around the 8 week mark, it starts smelling like the best vanilla bourbon ever.

Double yum.

Add it to cookies, add it to cakes, add it to cocktails, add it to whipped cream.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Makes: 8 oz. extract


  • 2 vanilla beans, split down the middle
  • 8 oz. bourbon


  1. Place vanilla beans in an air tight container and pour the bourbon over the beans.
  2. Close the container and let it sit for 6-8 weeks before using, shaking every week to agitate the beans.

The best part about homemade vanilla is that it’s a gift that keeps on giving. As you start running low, add more alcohol. After a few months, you can add some new beans and remove the old ones. Just keep refilling with your choice of alcohol (bourbon, vodka, or rum) and swapping out the beans as needed. Easy!


  1. I really want to try this! Buying vanilla is so darn expensive

  2. Sometimes…the best gifts are the ones we give ourselves. This totally proves that.

  3. I have a kit to make vanilla sitting in my pantry. Now you’ve inspired me to use it. Love this!

  4. I have always wanted to make my own vanilla extract but haven’t yet. This looks so easy and delicious! Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. yum! Defs something I would like to try :)

  6. never knew how easy it was to make vanilla extract, Brandi. and merry belated christmas!!

  7. ooh, i make mine with vodka, but i should do a batch with bourbon next!!

  8. I have some that I made with rum. It’s fabulous.

  9. What a great idea! I would never have thought of making my own vanilla but it sounds so easy! Mmm and smelling that from the pantry is never a bad thing!

  10. Great idea!

    Enjoy your gift to yourself! :)

  11. I love the addition of vanilla into any baked sweets- it adds such a punch of flavor! But it always confused me why it tastes so bitter straight up but smells so delicious…

  12. Ooo bourbon vanilla extract? I love it. I have only made mine with vodka.

  13. OK – I made mine with vodka and I seriously now think I need to make a new batch with the Makers’ Mark :)

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