How to Make Vanilla Extract


DSD_9534Making your own vanilla extract simply requires vanilla beans and relatively inexpensive vodka (it’s a neutral alcohol). I get vanilla beans from Uganda or Tanzania (Bukoba). It used to be a lot more for cheaper, but not really anymore.


Talking of Tanzania, this post includes a few pictures of Tanzania from our epic Nairobi to Victoria Falls road trip. This is the other side of Mount Meru after Arusha.


Slice the bean lengthwise. One could scrap off the tiny seeds and use them directly in a cake, but I feel they go a long way as an extract.

DSD_9548In a clean jar or bottle, submerge the vanilla beans in alcohol and let it infuse for a month, but the longer it stays the better it gets.


Also, keep topping up with vodka until you have gotten the very last of the flavour (lasts me around a year). The alcohol evaporates when baking so don’t worry about your baked goodies tasting of vodka.


One day when I am loaded, I would like to try rum-soaked vanilla extract (highly unlikely though as we would probably drink the rum).

Isn’t Tanzania beautiful? Wide open spaces …

Looking good after a week! 3 more to go …


Vanilla Sugar

Usually, I do not measure the amount of sugar but simply throw in the “cover” of the vanilla bean after scraping the seeds off. Some sites suggest grinding the bean in a coffee grinder, but this works fine for me. It is a lovely scented, lightly flavored sugar that I use in tea, coffee or for pancakes.




Homemade Vanilla Extract


  • Vanilla beans
  • Vodka or brandy
  • Glass jar or bottle with a tight lid


Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise.
Put the sliced vanilla beans in a jar or bottle, and pour in the vodka.  Seal well and place in a cool dry place for four weeks.
Shake the bottle gently every so often.  It intensifies in flavour the longer you let it infuse.
You can keep adding vanilla beans as they become available, making sure to submerge them completely in the alcohol.

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *