We’re Making MOONSHINE!!!

Okay, no, not really, but it sure felt like it!
After seeing the offspring of the queen of butter, a.k.a. Paula Deen,  make some homemade vanilla extract, I decided that I would try my hand at it. Especially, since I am prone to whipping up red velvet cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, or a pound cake, on a whim.  The recipe was amazingly easy, and totally fun.
Here’s what you need:
4 mason jars – mine were purchased from Whole Foods
Fresh Vanilla Beans – also purchased from Whole Foods and Kroger – 6 per mason jar is fine. Just remember, the more vanilla beans you have, the stronger your extract will be.
Your Choice of Vodka, 1.75mL worth – I used Skol because I have no idea what type of Vodka is “good” vodka.  No, really, I’m totally an alcohol novice. You could give me gin, and tell me it’s vodka (I just learned that they are the same color while on my trip to the grocery store) and I’d skip happily away. Don’t judge me.
Cutting board
Pairing Knife

Take your pairing knife and slice the vanilla bean from tip to tip. You don’t want to slice through to the other side, but you do want the skin to open up to reveal the seedy part. It’s going to look like dirt. Seriously.

Put the beans into the mason jar.

Put the lid on the jar.
Screw it on.
Store these in a cool dark place and give them a shake every couple of weeks. You can let these sit for as long as you want – of course, the vanilla flavor will steep more the longer you wait. I plan to give these out as Christmas presents to the bakers in my family. Easy peasy,  and quite easy on the wallet. PLUS – you’re getting WAY more than you do in those two ounce deals in the grocery store.  How ‘bout them apples?!

Came back to add – after the extract has gotten to the strength that you desire, strain into a dark bottle with cheesecloth (to catch the vanilla beans) – decorate with a label and voila! Your very own homemade vanilla extract.

~Make It A Fantastic Day!!


  1. N. Nicholes says:

    Thanks ladies!

    @K Rock, then you should have been here to help me pick out a vodka! I was completely LOST! LOL!

  2. N. Nicholes says:

    It was extremely easy Teri! I do know that some people do a variation by heating the alcohol first – which I'm guessing ferments the vanilla quicker than the method that I am using.

    You all also have to remember to transfer the vanilla to a dark bottle so that it doesn't lose potency from direct light. I have to find some brown bottles to transfer them to.

  3. Anna says:

    I made vanilla last year using a 1.75ml bottle of vodka, a cheap brand. I put the beans right into the vodka bottle (after pouring a bit off so there would be room for the beans) I wasn’t sure how many beans to add so over a period of a few months kept adding more beans, now I don’t know how many I put in. You explained how to make vanilla extract very well in your blog, however I would like to know what size mason jars you used, they look like pint size, is this correct? ~or~ If I put the beans right into the bottle of vodka how many would you say I should add? Thank you for your help with this and thank you too for your most informative blog.

    • Natasha says:

      Sorry about that! I used a pint sized mason jar, and I used 6 beans each. It proves to be very potent the longer you wait of course, but from research, I realize that you can use the beans for up to 7 years. Isn’t that crazy?! If you put them right into your bottle of vodka, it would probably be four times as much for that volume. I used that same amount of vodka between all four bottles of the mason jars. Now, you have just reminded me that I need to do a follow up of the vanilla extract! Thanks for stopping by Anna!

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