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How to Make Homemade Extracts: Easy Vanilla Extract Recipe & More

The vanilla extract you buy out of a bottle is pure, simple, and costs just pennies to make. Watch this video to learn how. You’ll need alcohol, sugar (or sugar substitute), water, a jar/bottle with a lid, and vanilla beans. All these things should be available in your kitchen for the simplest recipe possible.

What you’ll need:

– Vanilla beans (for extract)

– Alcohol (for extract)

– Sugar or sugar substitute (for extract)

– Water (for extract) If you don’t have vanilla beans… – Purchase vanilla beans from your local grocery store, or online.  – Take a look at this article for a simple “how to” for using the beans. – You can also buy extracts from a store like whole foods market, but definitely make your own! That’s where it really gets fun.

I used vodka and splenda as my ingredients. If you cannot use these ingredients, then substitute with something similar. When you make your own extracts, it’s easy to overdo it or let a batch go bad. Overdoing it can reduce the quality of your extract, and letting a batch go bad will most certainly ruin your entire batch (although it’s still not awful). If you want to make another batch, don’t use your extract immediately. Make sure to use the extract within a year’s time unless otherwise stated.

Where Does Vanilla Extract Come From?

Vanilla extract is simply vanilla and vodka, and a little bit of time. In fact, for all Homemade Extracts, all you need is Vodka and your flavor and that’s it. You can make any flavor your heart desires, like pure vanilla extract, as long as you have an alcohol or food-safe vegetable glycerin substitute.

Do I Have To Use Alcohol To Make Extracts?

Yes, most extracts contain alcohol but you can use an alternative method in the recipe below that requires glycerine and water. It won’t get you drunk and you won’t be able to taste it either.

The Difference Between Pure Vanilla Extract And Imitation Vanilla Extract

Pure vanilla extract uses vanilla pods. Imitation vanilla extract, which is technically vanilla essence, has never seen a vanilla pod in its life. While some people say they can’t taste the difference, I believe that using good quality ingredients is essential to making any great baked goods.

Do I Have To Use Vanilla Pods To Make Homemade Vanilla Extract?

Yes, the pod and the seeds have all of the flavors. You can buy vanilla pods on Amazon, and you may also find good value in a store near you.

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How Long Will Flavor Extracts Last?

Indefinitely. Store them in labeled jars and keep them away from heat and out of direct sunlight. Buy the bottles I use on Amazon.

Homemade Extract Taste And Consistency

When you first make your Homemade Extracts they will look like this, with no color and clear.

What You Need To Make Extracts At Home



Vanilla Pods/Beans

Orange Peel

Lemon Peel


How To Make Vanilla Extract

There’s simply no need for a substitute for vanilla extract when you can easily make the real thing and have it for months. In addition to being a must-have for baking, vanilla extract can also be the perfect almond extract substitute.

And while it takes a few weeks to be ready to use, this homemade vanilla extract recipe is delicious.

Cut vanilla beans in half, splitting open each to expose vanilla seeds on the inside.

Place vanilla beans in a glass bottle.

Add vodka up to the bottle’s neck.

Seal tightly and store in a cool place for 5 to 6 weeks.

Tilt the bottle upside down every few days to mix the liquid.

How To Make Orange Extract

Homemade Orange Extract can be used in icing, buttercream, custards, and batters like cupcakes to give that perfect hint of orange flavor. You can also use it as a lemon extract substitute.

Peel thin strips of zest from half of the orange.

Place zest inside a glass bottle.

Fill bottle up to the neck with vodka.

Seal tightly and store in a cool place for 5 to 6 weeks.

Tilt the bottle upside down every few days to mix the liquid.

How To Make Lemon Extract

Homemade Lemon Extract will make a great addition to cakes, icing, and even frozen desserts like sorbet. All you need are fresh lemons and a little bit of zest from the lemon peels.

Peel thin strips of zest from your organic lemon.

Place zest into your glass bottle.

Fill bottle up to the neck with vodka.

Seal tightly and store in a cool place for 5 to 6 weeks.

Tilt the bottle upside down every few days to mix the liquid.

How To Make Mint Extract

Homemade Mint Extract can be added to whipped cream, frozen desserts like ice cream and sorbets and even on a bowl of fresh fruit for added flavor.

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Stuff mint leaves inside a glass bottle.

Using a chopstick, lightly crush leaves inside the bottle.

Fill bottle up to the neck with vodka.

Store for 5-6 weeks in a cool place.

Tilt the bottle upside down every few days.

At the end of the 5-6 weeks, pour mint extract into another container using a sieve.

How To Make Almond Extract

What’s great about homemade almond extract is that you can use it as a vanilla extract substitute or vanilla extract replacement if you’re out of vanilla pods.

Chop raw, unsalted almonds.

Place almonds in a large jar.

Fill with vodka up to an inch over the almonds.

Chop and blanch almonds and place them in bottles.

Strain the contents of the jar into the bottles.

Store in a cool dark place for 5-6 weeks.

What do you use vanilla extract for?

I use it for baking all the time, especially when I’m baking cupcakes. It gives a great flavor to the cakes and makes the frosting come out perfect. Vanilla extract is also one of my most favorite flavorings to use as a replacement in homemade recipes. Anyone who has spent time making their own ice cream has probably used vanilla extract in their sorbet recipes or even in their caramel sauce for homemade hot fudge sauce or ice cream sundaes. But don’t stop there, you can use vanilla extract to add something extra to all kinds of savory dishes like sauces and marinades! Yum! Vanilla extract is one of those little things that make life sweeter and sweeter. Try adding it to your snack mix and impress the family!

Is it OK to eat vanilla extract?

Yes! It is completely safe to eat and even more important, it gives you the amazing vanilla taste you want and need when baking. Remember that if you’re using a substitute for real vanilla extract in baking recipes that your results will be different.

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What is vanilla extract bad for you?

There is nothing actually bad for you about vanilla extract. But like anything, too much of a good thing can make it not so good. For instance, the alcohol content in pure vanilla extract can be pretty high – up to 35% which means if you consume too much, it could cause vomiting or dehydration and in infants, may even cause a coma or death.

Can you use cherry brandy instead of vodka to make vanilla extract?

Yes. Cherry brandy is a very good option to use instead of plain old vodka as it adds a lot more flavor than plain vodka and there is more variety in what kind of cherries you can use that won’t ruin your batch because the sugar content is different.

Is it illegal to drink vanilla extract?

No. Despite the fact that you can’t actually drink vanilla extract? You can, however, eat it and even have fun with homemade vanilla extract recipes!

How do you know if homemade vanilla extract is bad for you?

There is absolutely no way to know if anything made with booze in it is bad for you and so this is a personal preference thing. If your homemade vanilla extract tastes like alcohol or smells alcoholic then that means there’s too much alcohol in the mix which could cause dehydration and even vomiting, especially in children and infants. While mild symptoms of dehydration include thirst, dizziness, weakness, headache, nausea and cramps – severe cases of dehydration can cause death.

How many shots of vanilla extract does it take to get drunk?

One shot is 1.5 ounces of vodka or rum. So if you’re using a small bottle you will need to drink a lot more than one shot to get drunk, but that’s not really the point! The idea here is to have fun and try your hand at home remedies or drink vanilla extract in cocktails, which gives lots of flavor and doesn’t taste bad.

What can I use instead of vanilla extract?

You can certainly use vanilla beans with your homemade vanilla extract recipe, though it will take longer for the extract to be ready. You can also make your own pure vanilla bean oil by baking your own beans in the oven until they turn brown.

In conclusion, homemade vanilla extract is easy to make at home and gives you the advantage of using real vanilla beans instead of artificial substitutes. You can make any flavoring extract with vodka, they’re all very easy to make and you have full control over the flavorings that go into your choices.

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