Make Ahead Gift Idea: Homemade Vanilla Extract

Make Ahead Gift Idea: Homemade Vanilla Extract


Homemade vanilla extract

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are around the corner. We all know that planning ahead is the key ingredient to peaceful holiday season that can be enjoyed with family and friends. So I am excited to be back on Do Say Give and sharing with you one of my favorite edible gifts that you prep now and package up and gift later. Homemade Vanilla Extract is one of my absolute favorite edible gifts that is beautiful as it is useful – and it is something you know will used throughout the holiday season! 

Homemade vanilla extract

Homemade vanilla extract is a simple recipe and one of the most used ingredient in holiday baking.  I use vanilla extract in almost every sweet item I make. Homemade Vanilla Extract will take about a month to make, but I promise you, it is not as much work as you might think.

 Homemade vanilla extract

Pick your Vanilla Bean

To start, you need to choose a vanilla bean and there are several varieties to choose from.  Madagascar Bourbon and Tahitian are the two most common regions to find vanilla beans from.  The vanilla bean from each region gives off different flavors and characters that will make your extract extra special.  Madagascar Bourbon is the most common and has a strong, sweet and creamy flavors, the Mexican bean is the strongest of all and very dominating in flavor, and the Tahitian Vanilla Bean has a unique floral and fruity flavor.  If you are familiar with the different types of vanilla bean, pick your favorite, but if this is all new to you, you cannot go wrong with any of these beans.


The next most important ingredient in making your own Vanilla Extract is the alcohol.  Vodka is the most common alcohol that is used while making your extract because is has a very neutral flavor.  If you prefer to experiment with other flavor profiles, rum, bourbon or brandy are also great options as well.  While choosing your alcohol, an inexpensive 40% alcohol is the best chose for making your vanilla extract.


Once you have committed to your vanilla bean and the alcohol, pick your jars for gifting.  Although there are a variety of shapes and sizes of jars available, I prefer a 4 ounce amber colored jar for the vanilla extracted will be stored and gifted in and I use these 16 ounce mason jars to prepare my vanilla extract.

The Process

Once all of your items are picked out, get ready to make your very first Vanilla Extract!  Pick one large jar (16 ounces) to store your alcohol and vanilla bean in for at least one month.  The longer you allow the vanilla bean to infuse, the stronger your extract will be. (Set a calendar reminder for one month to do a little taste test!) Once the extract is ready, remove the vanilla bean from the large jar and divide the extract into your 4 ounce jars.  Place a label on each jar, tie with ribbon and start the season of giving!  Homemade vanilla extract

What You Need

*Makes(4) 4 ounce bottles so make several batches to have lots of little friend/teacher gifts come the holidays!

Vanilla Bean – 8 beans
Madagascar Bourbon

Alcohol – 16 oz.

(1) 16 ounce Large Glass Jar for Infusing
(4) 4 ounce Glass Bottles for Packaging

Small Funnel

Vanilla Extract Bottle Labels (Digital Download)
Printed Vanilla Extract Bottle Labels


Red and White Bakers’ Twine

Find the full printable recipe on Ink Foods!

I can’t wait to see your Vanilla Extract!  

Happy Gifting,
Kristen Massad
Ink Foods

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Homemade vanilla extract


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