Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe & more Homemade Extracts Recipes!

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.

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.

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.

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

Four bottles of homemade extracts: lemon, vanilla, orange, and mint.

What You Need To Make Extracts At Home

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.

  1. Cut vanilla beans in half, splitting open each to expose vanilla seeds on the inside.
  2. Place vanilla beans in a glass bottle.
  3. Add vodka up to the bottle’s neck.
  4. Seal tightly and store in a cool place for 5 to 6 weeks.
  5. Tilt the bottle upside down every few days to mix the liquid.

A bottle of homemade vanilla extract.

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.

  1. Peel thin strips of zest from half of the orange.
  2. Place zest inside a glass bottle.
  3. Fill bottle up to the neck with vodka.
  4. Seal tightly and store in a cool place for 5 to 6 weeks.
  5. Tilt the bottle upside down every few days to mix the liquid.

A bottle of homemade pure orange extract.

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.

  1. Peel thin strips of zest from your organic lemon.
  2. Place zest into your glass bottle.
  3. Fill bottle up to the neck with vodka.
  4. Seal tightly and store in a cool place for 5 to 6 weeks.
  5. Tilt the bottle upside down every few days to mix the liquid.

A bottle of pure lemon extract using my recipe.

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.

  1. Stuff mint leaves inside a glass bottle.
  2. Using a chopstick, lightly crush leaves inside the bottle.
  3. Fill bottle up to the neck with vodka.
  4. Store for 5-6 weeks in a cool place.
  5. Tilt the bottle upside down every few days.
  6. At the end of the 5-6 weeks, pour mint extract into another container using a sieve.

A bottle of mint extract, made with a homemade recipe.

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.

  1. Chop raw, unsalted almonds.
  2. Place almonds in a large jar.
  3. Fill with vodka up to an inch over the almonds.
  4. Chop and blanch almonds and place them in bottles.
  5. Strain the contents of the jar into the bottles.
  6. Store in a cool dark place for 5-6 weeks.

Get more of my Bold Baking Basics recipes here:

Watch The Recipe Video!

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