Sous Vide Vanilla Extract

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Use your sous vide to speed up the process of vanilla extract making. This customizable, handmade vanilla extract is perfect for baking, making, and gift-giving.

For Christmas 2019, my mom and I decided we’d do “Homemade Christmas”. The only rule was that whatever was gifted must be homemade. This is OBV my kind of Christmas.

Kevy and I deliberated for days. What does everyone love? In the end, we included smoked cheese, homemade bacon, and this incredible sous vide vanilla extract.

It’s now 4 months later, my sister has claimed while sighing a lot, that she’s out of her homemade vanilla extract. I promised her I’d finally post this tutorial for her!

This sous vide vanilla extract recipe is dedicated to vodka and vanilla – a match made in heaven.

Sous vide vanilla extract with vanilla beans in the amber jar.

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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 –> Use as fresh as possible vanilla beans.

No. 2 –> Don’t worry about using super good vodka. Your baking won’t notice if you use Grey Goose or Smirnoff.

No. 3 –> You don’t have to use vodka. Use bourbon, use rum, use whatever your heart desires! Just ensure your alcohol content is 40% alcohol or above.

No. 4 –> The alcohol burn will mellow out. After the first couple weeks, you extract will be much smoother. This does not mean you extract isn’t ready to use immediately, it is. It just means the burn will taper off. Besides we’re cooking with it, not sipping it!

No. 5 –> Keep the split vanilla beans and seeds in the vodka after processing – this will only strengthen the flavour.

Ingredients required for sous vide vanilla extract.


  • vodka
  • vanilla beans

How to make

  1. Prepare a water bath: Fill your desired sous vide container with water, and set to 130f.
  2. Split the beans: Halve, then slice the vanilla beans lengthwise. Scrape out all the seeds.
  3. Add to jars: Add the equivalent of 1 – 2 vanilla beans per jar. I used 1.5 beans + their seeds for each half pint-sized jar.
  4. Fill with liquor: Using your desired alcohol, add 1 cup to each mason jar. Close the jars, leaving the rings finger-tight.
  5. Sous Vide: Use a jar lifter, carefully add your mason jars to the water bath and sous vide for 6-8 hours.
  6. Remove: Take the jars out of the water bath with a jar lifter, and set aside to cool.
  7. Store: Store your vanilla extract for future use in a cool, dark cupboard. OR pour into small amber jars for gift giving!
  8. Don’t forget: Keep the pods and seeds in the alcohol. You’ll be tempted to strain them out, but save yourself the work and the vanilla will thank you for it.
Pouring vodka into a measuring cup.

Why make homemade vanilla extract?

Well, firstly, why not?!?

Beyond that, there are a lot of reasons to make your own vanilla extract.


Making your own vanilla ensures that you can use premium or specific ingredients. You can use bourbon or vodka. You can use Tahitian or Madagascar vanilla, fair trade or organic beans.


Homemade vanilla is much cheaper than purchasing the extract in-store. I am *always* down with getting the best bang for my buck. My bottle of vodka was around $40 for 1.14L, and my vanilla was $25 for 5 beans. This gave me a cost of $65 for 1L (33 oz) of extract.

Quick math shows I produced awesome vanilla extract for $1.97 per oz! I pay, regularly between $4 & $6 per oz. That’s savings of at least 50%!

Clear vodka in a mason jar with vanilla beans in it.


If you bake a lot, having a litre of vanilla extract around the house is super convenient. Making a large batch and leaving the jars in the back of a cupboard in case you run out is simply awesome.

Gift Giving

I LOVE handmade gifts. There’s something about the thought and the work that goes into them that makes me so grateful. This bulk vanilla extract is a great gift to give teachers, friends, and family, any time of the year. Here’s a link to the amazing little amber bottles I used!

Putting the extract into a sous vide bath.

The best alcohol for making vanilla extract

DIY Vanilla is pretty open to different using different alcohols, and it’s something to think about because different alcohols have different flavour profiles. Regardless of if you choose rum, bourbon, or go with the standard vodka, the alcohol must be 80 proof or 40% ABV.


Vodka is the standard because it’s generally tasteless and odourless, and will take on the flavour of the vanilla beans without changing the profile.


Rum is distilled from sugar cane or sugar can by products and can enhance the inherent sweetness of vanilla extracts in baked goods.


Bourbon has a clean palate like vodka, but is slightly sweeter and more smoky. It can enhance the sweetness of the vanilla without overpowering like rum.

Where to use sous vide vanilla extract

It’s great in any baking, but I recommend baking Vanilla Biscotti, or using it in the icing for these Homemade Oreos, or as the flavour base in these homemade Maple Vanilla Marshmallows.

Let me know in the comments your favourite recipe to use vanilla bean extract in?

How to store homemade vanilla extract

Once “brewed” in the sous vide, store your vanilla extract at room temperature in a dark cupboard indefinitely. If you find yourself running low, you can top up your extract bottle with more split vanilla beans and more vodka!

This sous vide extract recipe owes it’s quickness to the sous vide. You can make vanilla extract at home without a sous vide, it just takes longer. MUCH longer.

This Instant Pot Accu Slim Sous Vide is the one I bought myself – it’s an affordable entry-level sous vide circulator. It’s been so fun to have and to experiment with sous vide infusions and sous vide extracts. Check out all my sous vide recipes!

Love sous vide recipes? Check these out!

If you love this recipe, please give it a star rating or leave a comment below! This helps me to create more content you enjoy!

📖 Printable Recipe

Sous vide vanilla extract with vanilla beans in the amber jar.

Sous Vide Vanilla Extract Recipe

Allyson Letal
Harness the power of the sous vide to speed up the brew time of your vanilla extract. This is such a great and easy homemade ingredient for all your baking needs.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 5 minutes
Course Elevated Ingredients
Cuisine American
Servings 192
Calories 12 kcal


  • 5 to 6 vanilla beans
  • 4 cups vodka


  • Prepare sous vide water bath at 130f.
  • Slice 5 to 6 vanilla beans in half, then halve lengthwise.
  • Scrape the beans out of the vanilla pods.
  • Place 1 – 2 beans and their seeds in each half-pint jar, I used 1.5 per jar.
  • Add 1 cup vodka, or chosen alcohol base to each jar.
  • Screw the lids on finger-tight.
  • Use a jar lifter to place the jars in the water bath.
  • Sous vide at 130f for 6-8 hours.
  • Cool before using. Leave the pods and seeds in the extract!
  • Store in a dark cupboard.



Process Time:

This is up to personal preference, BUT I like to process mine in the sous vide for 8 hours. I find it gives a richer colour, and stronger extract right away.


Serving: 1teaspoonCalories: 12kcalCarbohydrates: 0.03gFat: 0.02gSodium: 0.05mgPotassium: 0.05mgIron: 0.001mg
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Two bottles of vanilla extract with vanilla beans in them.

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  1. I love this to get my extract a head start but I also let it sit in my cupboard as long as I can before I decant it into smaller bottles to use or gift.

  2. What concerns me about your recipe is this: You seem to use only 1.5 beans with 1 cup alcohol. FDA requires 10 grams beans per 100 mL alcohol (easy version 1 oz beans per cup of alcohol). Since different beans are different sizes and weights, how can you ensure you meet FDA requirements without weighing your beans first?

    1. If you want to add more vanilla beans, feel free!

      Im not selling the vanilla extract, so technically, I don’t need to follow FDA regulations to make my own in house.

    2. @Ally,
      I had followed a different recipe that called for a shorter sous vide time. Can I put it back in the sous vide for a second time?

  3. I make vanilla extract every couple of years (it goes so far!), but decided to divide it up into smaller bottles to gift at Christmastime. I just made some about a week ago, so it has its 2 months of processing ahead of it. A friend of mine told me about using an Instant Pot, which I have, but I prefer to use the sous vide on something like this so I can actually visually gauge my progress. I will be making another batch as (more) gifts, so I will use this method using a Mason jar and then disperse into the smaller bottles after that, but I wondered, if you know, could I take my plastic-lidded glass gift bottles that I already have filled and put them in the sous vide, or do you think it would be too hot for them?

    1. Hey Amber, I agree, I like to use the sous vide for projects like this! I think it’s probably safer and easier to use a mason jar and then decant into smaller bottles, only because without knowing the specific heat tolerance of your lids, we could inadvertently cause them to melt. And even a little bit of melting could warp the lid enough to allow water in, ruining the batch.