Homemade Vanilla Extract with Brandy

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Homemade Vanilla Extract with Brandy

It’s that time of year when we all start thinking about holiday gifts, and the blogging world is no exception. There are a lot of vanilla extract posts floating around the blogosphere right now, and they’re all good, but I’m going to argue that mine is exceptional.

Why you ask? Because BRANDY.

Brandy has that special something that makes the flavor of vanilla beans sing and dance in your baked goods. It turns vanilla extract into SUPER VANILLA EXTRACT.

And it’s stupid easy.


You will need:

  • Vanilla Beans (3-5 for every 8 oz of brandy, I used Madagascar-Bourbon Vanilla Beans)
  • 35% or higher alcohol (brandy is in the 40% range)
  • A very clean glass vessel (vials that would work for this, available here)


Flatten out the vanilla bean by running your thumb from one end to another. This makes it more manageable when it’s time to scoop out the insides.


Run a sharp knife down the length of the been, being careful not to slice the bean in half.



Scoop out the seeds


Place the pods and seeds in your vessel.


Pour in your brandy.

Vanilla Extract with Brandy

Store your vanilla extract in a cool, dark place. It will be ready to use in 3-6 months.

That’s IT. And I’ve heard some people don’t even scrape the seeds out, but I can’t vouch for that method myself. Put a bow on it and gift it to your loved ones.

About Kelley

Hi! I'm Kelley. Real foodie and crunchy mom to a teenager and a toddler. My husband and I live in Southern California.


  1. Ooo, thanks! I just bought some vanilla beans the other day at Costco, but there were no directions on the package and I didn’t know what to do with them. I’ll bet they’re worth the wait. 🙂

  2. Wow, this is great! I’m going to start mine this weekend because I love to bake and end up using a lot of vanilla ~ Thanks 🙂

  3. I LOVE my vanilla extract. I used vodka – I’m going to try the brandy though since my vodka one is almost gone 🙂

  4. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years…I’ve tried a other types of booze but Brandy works for me. My friends anxiously wait for their refills every year.