How to Make Homemade Extracts – Vanilla, Lemon, or Almond

by Shelby

Did you know that you could make these extracts in your home? They are easy to make and are perfect for adding extra flavor to most recipes.

When making these extracts of course you need to make sure all of your equipment is clean. You will be using alcohol to create these extracts so I suggest all proper safety measures be taken.  Because we are using alcohol the extract itself will have a much longer shelf life and lower risks of bacterial problems. Here we go:


Homemade Vanilla Extract:


  • 4 ounces of vanilla beans
  • 2 pints of vodka (One for every pint of extract that you intend to make)
  • If you intend to just make one cup only use one ounce and so forth.


  • Chop the beans into 1/2 inch long pieces. You can slice or scrape if you’d like however regardless you will get the same results.
  • Put these vanilla beans in a lidded glass jar with eighty proof vodka (40% by weight.) The brand does not matter I actually would go with whatever is on sale, to be honest.
  • Shake the bottle once a day for at least a month and then you will have successfully made your own vanilla extract. It doesn’t hurt to do this for up to three months. The flavor will be much deeper if you choose to do so.
  • Once you have waited at least a month strain the extract through a coffee filter and place it in a dark bottle.
  • Store this in a cold dark location.


Homemade Lemon Extract:


  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 cup of 80 proof vodka (40% alcohol by weight)


  • Stick to the yellow part of the lemon only try to get as little white as possible.
  • Place the zest, vodka, and sugar in a lidded glass jar.
  • Shake daily for at least one month as you did with the vanilla.
  • Strain the extract with a coffee filter once you have waited at least one month.
  • Store this in a cold, dark location.


Homemade Almond Extract:


  • 24 whole raw skinless almonds
  • 2 pints of  80 proof vodka (40% alcohol by weight.) This will be enough for two pints of extract.


  • If you intend to only make one cup of extract only use six almonds.
  • Chop the almonds and place them as well as the vodka in a lidded glass jar.
  • Shake the container one time a day for at least one whole month.
  • Strain the extract with a coffee filter after at least one month.
  • Store this in a cold, dark location.

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