Homemade vanilla extract is easy! This version uses bourbon for a rich, deep flavor and features two kinds of extract. Traditional vanilla and an orange-vanilla version. Great to give as gifts!

Homemade Vanilla Extract (two kinds!)

Making homemade vanilla extract is incredibly easy! The first version here uses vanilla beans and bourbon for a classic, richly-flavored vanilla extract. The second version adds orange peel to the mix for an orange vanilla extract that provides an extra layer of flavor to cookies, muffins, and other baked goods. Less expensive than store-bought, and they make great gifts!
Course Extracts
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 3 bottles (see note)
Calories 12kcal
Author Alyssa


For Traditional Vanilla Extract:

  • 10 whole vanilla beans
  • 12 oz bourbon

For Orange Vanilla Extract:

  • 4 whole vanilla beans
  • Orange peel zest from one large orange (about 2 1/2 - 3 tbsp)
  • 6 oz bourbon


  • Using a sharp knife, slice down the length of each vanilla bean to create a slit, but do not cut all the way through. You'll want the beans to be completely submerged in the bourbon, so it's fine to cut the beans into smaller horizontal sections if you need. Add vanilla beans to glass jars/containers. If making orange vanilla extract, add orange peel to that jar as well.
  • Pour bourbon over top of vanilla bean sections, ensuring they're covered by the bourbon. Tightly seal the jars and store in a cool, dark place (such as the back of a kitchen cabinet away from the stove) for at least four weeks, ideally 5-6 weeks or longer. About once per week give the jar(s) a good shake to mix everything up.


After 4-6 weeks, you can transfer the extracts into smaller containers for your use or for gifting! You may wish to strain out the vanilla bean sections (and orange zest if making that kind).
Alternatively you can leave the vanilla beans in and add additional bourbon over top as the extract is used to keep the beans submerged. Over time the beans will run out of flavor in which case you can replace the old beans with new ones.
This recipe yields 12 oz regular vanilla extract and 6 oz of orange vanilla extract.


Serving: 1tsp | Calories: 12kcal