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Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe & more Homemade Extracts Recipes!

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

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Easily make Homemade Extracts including my pure vanilla extract recipe & many more!


Hi Bold Bakers!

I love the idea of making DIY versions of ingredients that you thought you could only buy in a store. What I love even more is when the homemade version is just as good, if not better than store bought; that’s exactly what you get with these Homemade Extracts including my vanilla extract recipe. And there’s no doubt about it that there is something very satisfying about making and using them in your baked goods.

Did you know that for Homemade Extracts all you need is Vodka and your flavor and that’s it? So basically 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.

But store bought extract aren’t made on Alcohol!

Yes they are, and they usually use very low grade alcohol too.

Can you taste the alcohol?

Nope! No No No. It is used in such small amounts that you can neither taste it nor will it get you drunk. Also remember that during cooking the alcohol will burn off.

What is the difference between pure vanilla extract and Imitation vanilla extract?

Pure vanilla extract uses vanilla pods. Imitation vanilla extract 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. There’s no need for a substitute for vanilla extract when you can easily make the real thing and have it for months.

Do I have to use Vanilla Pods to make Vanilla Extract?

Yes, the pod and the seeds have all of the flavor. You can buy Vanilla Pods on Amazon..

How long will Homemade 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.

What are the benefits of making Homemade Extracts?

It’s so much cheaper to make your own than use store bought. Also some brands of store bought extracts contain low grade alcohol AND corn syrup. They can be a mixed bag of ingredients which is not what you want.

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

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After 5 weeks or so they will change color, developed a much stronger flavor, and they will be ready to use in your baking.

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Homemade Orange Extract can be used in icing, buttercream, custards and batters like cupcakes.

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Homemade Lemon Extract will make a great addition to cakes, icing, and even frozen desserts like sorbet.

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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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I am a Pinterest nut and I came across the idea for Homemade Extracts here on  Just Putzing around The Kitchen. She did such a gorgeous job that I even purchased the bottles and labels she used hoping mine would look as good.


Get more of my Bold Baking Basics recipes here:

4.86 from 28 votes
Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe & more Homemade Extracts Recipes!
How To make Vanilla Extract and many more
Author: Recipe from 'Just Putzing around The Kitchen'
Ingredients
Vanilla Extract
  • 3 whole vanilla beans
  • Vodka (You can also use bourbon)
Mint Extract
  • ½ cup mint leaves
  • Vodka
Orange Extract
  • 1 large navel orange
  • Vodka
  • Lemon Extract
  • 1 large lemon
  • Vodka
Almond Extract
  • 10 raw almonds , chopped (unsalted, untoasted)
Instructions
  1. Cut your vanilla beans in half, then split open each half to expose the vanilla seeds on the inside of the pod.
  2. Place cut vanilla beans inside your glass bottle.
  3. Add vodka, filling up to the neck of the bottle.
  4. Seal tightly and store bottle in a cool, dry place.
  5. Every few days, tilt your bottle upside down to gently mix the liquid inside.
  6. After 5-6 weeks, you have extract! (If you leave in your vanilla beans, when you start running low, just add more vodka and wait a little.)
  7. To make Mint Extract:
  8. Stuff mint leaves into your glass bottle.
  9. Using a chopstick, skewer, or other poking device, lightly bruise/crush the leaves inside the bottle.
  10. Add vodka, filling up to the neck of the bottle.
  11. Every few days, tilt your bottle upside down to gently mix the liquid inside.
  12. After 5-6 weeks, you have extract! (I’m not sure if, like vanilla extract, you can just leave the mint leaves inside. Since it’s leafy plant matter which disintegrates more easily, it may be a good idea to take it out. My leaves went from a vibrant green in the beginning to kind of a dull brown by the end so I took them out just to be safe – I poured my mint extract into another container through a sieve and discarded the mint leaves, then poured the filtered extract back into the bottle.)
  13. To make Orange Extract:
  14. Peel thin strips of zest from ½ of your orange.
  15. Place zest into your glass bottle.
  16. Add vodka, filling up to the neck of the bottle.
  17. Every few days, tilt your bottle upside down to gently mix the liquid inside.
  18. After 5-6 weeks, you have extract! (I think with citrus peels the acid (and alcohol bath), it’s probably safe to leave the peels inside the bottle like a vanilla bean for re-fill purposes. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, take it out!)
  19. To make Lemon Extract:
  20. Peel thin strips of zest from your lemon.
  21. Place zest into your glass bottle.
  22. Add vodka, filling up to the neck of the bottle.
  23. Every few days, tilt your bottle upside down to gently mix the liquid inside.
  24. After 5-6 weeks, you have extract!
  25. To make Almond Extract:
  26. Chop your raw, unsalted almonds small enough to fit in your jar.
  27. Place chopped almonds into your jar.
Recipe Notes

Replacing Vodka: just substitute the alcohol called for in any extract recipe with three parts liquid vegetable glycerin and one part water.

You can also replace Vodka with Bourbon.

 

 

 

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391 Comments

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  1. Bryan H Thomas on October 15, 2018 at 8:47 am

    How is peppermint and spearmint extract made

    • Gemma Stafford on October 16, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Hi Bryan,
      The mint one is here too (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/homemade-extracts/).
      If you like to make a big amount the use a bigger jar. 1/2 fill with bruised leaves, then cover with the vodka, about an inch above the level of the leaves. Then proceed. After the flavor is extracted you will strain out the leaves, that is the difference with herbs. Use a cheesecloth/coffee filter and bottle in a clean sterile jar.
      I hope this is of help. The same applies to almonds, though that can stay in the jar as it will not spoil,
      Gemma 🙂

  2. Abby on October 7, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Hello Gemma,
    This is a wonderful recipe, thank you. I have a question about portions of vodka to vanilla beans. How much vodka are you using and how many beans and what is the proof of the vodka?

    Thank you,

    • Gemma Stafford on October 8, 2018 at 2:09 am

      Hi Abby,
      The proof of the vodka is the proof generally found for drinking is about 40% proof in the UK, expressed as 80 proof in the US.
      You do not need anything more than that for extracts. The amount of vodka you use will be determined by the container, and for vanilla the number of pods you have available to you. Cut the pods to fit the jar/bottle, then cover to about 1 inch over the level of the pods, but there is no specific rule.
      Test it after a few days, top up the vodka as you need to. It is about proportions,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Val Okoroma on October 19, 2018 at 3:12 am

        I need banana,coconut ,apple and pineapple flavour tutorial.
        Secondly,i grind my fruits do you think the result will be better ?

        • Gemma Stafford on October 19, 2018 at 3:38 am

          Hi Val,
          It is easy to make extracts with a fruit or a nut which is high in oil. Think about the oil contained in the zest of fruit. That is not to say that you cannot do this with other fruits, but it will be a different process, requiring more fruit, and a larger container. You proceed as per the recipe here, but when the flavor has developed you strain off the extract. Pureeing the fruits will give a different result.
          I hope this helps,
          Gemma 🙂

          • Karen Hobbs on October 22, 2018 at 10:23 am

            so would it be banana peel, apple peel, chunks of coconut or pineapple?

            • Gemma Stafford on October 23, 2018 at 7:32 am

              Hi Karen,
              It would not be peel of banana!
              It can be peel and flesh of apple and pineapple flesh.
              The real issue is the flavors, will they go on to carry in your bakes! I think they would be divine in coctails/mocktails, but I could not see them carrying in a bake!
              I am not sure about this Karen, I am sorry,
              Gemma 🙂



  3. Cheryl L Hunt on October 7, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Hello!! Have you ever made caramel extract? I’m a bariatric patient and this was suggested in a cookie recipe. I can’t wait to try these. Thank you!!

    • Gemma Stafford on October 7, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      Hi Cheryl,

      Great question! So that is something that is more man made than homemade. Usually it is a synthetic flavor. You can buy it online though.

      Best,
      Gemma.

      • Valentine Okoroma on October 19, 2018 at 3:01 am

        I want to make soaps and creme fragrances…pls can teach me and where to buy the ingredients too
        Thanks

        • Gemma Stafford on October 19, 2018 at 3:56 am

          Hi there,
          That is above my pay grade! I think you will need to visit a site dedicated to this process. There are a number of good tutorials online. I tend to focus on things which can be consumed here.
          Sorry, not much help, but there is help available to you,
          Gemma 🙂

  4. chantal on October 5, 2018 at 12:26 am

    hi i was just wondering if you can use the vanilla pods again to make more when finished

    • Gemma Stafford on October 5, 2018 at 1:18 am

      Hi Chantal,
      Yes! that is exactly what you should do, at least one time more, but it depends on the pods, and how many you use in the first instance.
      You can also dry them and store them in granulated/caster sugar to add flavor to this for baking.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  5. Belinda Roshetko on October 4, 2018 at 3:50 am

    Hi Gemma. I need help with a more savory extract. I am trying to find a recipe for sweet corn extract. There is a company out there who make it but at $32 for 2oz, well just not in my budget. I would be ever so grateful if you could help. Love your voice and your recipes. Have learned so much by watching your how to’s. Thank you so much for making baking more delicious and simple

    • Gemma Stafford on October 4, 2018 at 6:31 am

      Hi Belinda,
      I think that is a big process. The flavor in corn is very mild, and I think it is too mild for my process.
      There are manufactured corn extracts, and that is still a big process, which is why they are so expensive. I am sorry to say I do not think it will be great!
      The best things for this simple process are ingredients which contain an oil, such as the zest of citrus/herbs/seeds/nuts. The transfer of the flavor then is both easy and strong. I am sorry, not much help here,
      Gemma 🙂

  6. Irene on October 1, 2018 at 3:18 am

    Hi Gemma,
    Thanks for your lovely website and videos. In this recipe, for the almond extract is vodka not to be used? It is not mentioned in your written recipe. Please clarify. Thanks once again

    • Gemma Stafford on October 1, 2018 at 7:45 pm

      Hi Irene,

      Really glad you like my videos. Sorry for the confusion. Yes use vodka for the almond extract also. The exact same as the others.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  7. mikesheryle123 on September 30, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    Gemma,

    You comment store Extracts use low grade alcohol..What would I ask for ?

    Sheryle

    • Gemma Stafford on October 1, 2018 at 1:21 am

      Hi there,
      This is really a matter of brand, some are super refined and expensive, some not so much. So, shop by price, a cheap vodka will do the job very well for you,
      Gemma 🙂

  8. mikesheryle123 on September 30, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Hi Gemma!

    I am interested in making 8 oz. or 16 oz. Extract… How much Vanilla Bean, Orange, Lemon, Mint would I add ??
    Thank You
    Sheryle

    • Gemma Stafford on October 1, 2018 at 1:25 am

      Hi there,
      My tip for this is to cram the larger airtight container/jar (re-use a jam or mayo jar which has been sterilized) about 1/2 full of the ingredient/vanilla pods/orange rind/chopped almonds etc. Cover with the vodka, about 2 inches over the ingredients, you can top this up if it evaporates. Then you proceed as per the recipe. The less vodka you use for the first edition the stronger will be the extract. You can re-use the vanilla and and oily ingredient a couple of times.
      Try it!
      Gemma 🙂

  9. Mary on September 30, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Hi Gemma, I love your recipes, I would like to ask, this process to make extracts, will this work well with cinnamon and anise?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 30, 2018 at 9:13 pm

      Hi Mary,

      Really glad you like my recipes :). I’m not 100% sure that it would work but I don’t see why not. I defiantly think Anise would work.

      Let me know if you try it,
      Gemma.

  10. Tilly on September 30, 2018 at 7:36 am

    The recipe says 3 vanilla beans but doesn’t specify the amount of vodka. What is the ratio of vodka to beans?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 30, 2018 at 9:25 pm

      these recipes are not strict. For a cup of vodka (8floz) use 3-4 vanilla pods.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  11. Mary on September 29, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Gemma, I love your recipes, I was wondering, would this process work the same with cinnamon and anise?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 1, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      Hi Mary,
      I think I got to the Anise one, and the cinnamon will work well too.
      Choose good quality Ceylon/Sri Lanka cinnamon sticks, not cassia. Break them down and pack into a jar, like a sterilized jam jar/mayo jar and proceed as per these recipes.
      Fennel seeds for anise extract, 1 inch of seeds to about 3 – 4 inches of vodka in a jar, and proceed.
      I hope this helps,
      Gemma 🙂

  12. Denise on September 29, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Love your recipes & the extracts. Would love some more if you get a chance. Very interested in Anise extract. Can’t find a good one my mom use to send us to the drugstore to get it. Now a days they don’t do that.

    • Gemma Stafford on October 1, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Denise,
      You are right, I have never seen anise extract. However this is perfectly easy to make. Fennel is also stupidly easy to grow, and once you have one plant the difficulty is keeping it from colonizing you whole garden! be warned 🙂 You can catch the seeds, dry them and use them in your cooking, and you can make fennel/Anise extract with them. You can of course buy the seeds too. Place about 1 inch of the seeds in the bottom of a jar, reuse a jam/mayo jar for this. Cover with the vodka about 3 to 4 inches over the seeds and proceed as per all of the extracts. You can drain this out when the flavor develops, but the seeds will sit happily there for a very long time, they contain an oil.
      I hope this helps, and that you try it,
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Sean on September 27, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    Can you please try and make a peach or nectar version? I am having trouble finding a recipe. I’m not sure if you should use the skin of the fruit or cut it up.

    • Gemma Stafford on September 28, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      Those are tough ones Sean. Those type of flavors would generally be manufactured and man made.

      Gemma.

  14. Gwendolyn Phillips on September 24, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    HI Gemma!
    Thanks for all your lovely information. Currently I have several straits steeping. Today I started almond extract. I used a bulk bought grocery store blanched sliced almond and vodka of course. Is this grade of almond going to work?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 25, 2018 at 2:00 am

      Hi Gwendolyn,
      Yes! I think I would break the almonds down a little more to release the oils, not to a powder, just smash them a little. Use a large jar, fill 1/2 full with the almonds and then cover well with the vodka, about 1 inch above the level of the nuts.
      Good for you Gwendolyn, it is an interesting process and makes great gifts.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  15. Jaime on September 21, 2018 at 5:53 am

    Does the same process work for making butter extract?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 21, 2018 at 10:04 pm

      Unfortunately no. I’m not sure how to make butter extract.

      Gemma.

  16. Tshimologo on September 15, 2018 at 5:42 am

    Hi Gemma, haven’t talked in a while. Not to disturb you, but please do a recipe for pie. Example . homemade blueberry flavoured pie.

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