Homemade Extracts

I’ve been making my own vanilla extract for just under a year now since I found out how easy it is to make.

I recently started making lemon extract, although I am yet to try it, as lemon extract is not something I use in a lot of my baking. However, I want to use it in the build-up to Christmas, so I guarantee it’ll be in a recipe soon.

Now, with making your own extracts you only need two ingredients. However, if you have friends who cannot or choose not to drink alcohol, you will need to substitute the vodka for vegetable glycerin. It also takes slightly longer for the ingredients to diffuse into the glycerin, but not by too much.

So, as you have just read one of the ingredients you need is vodka (or glycerin). The other is whatever flavour you are aiming for in the extract. That’s it. Oh, and a glass bottle to store the extract in.

I chose Absolut vodka because a) it comes in cute 100 ml sized bottles, which is ideal for extract, and b) it’s not a great tasting vodka, so I’m not wasting expensive booze on baking extracts.

Homemade extracts make a great Christmas present or a present for any foodie-friend, but you either need to plan ahead or let the recipient know when the extract should be ready to be used. 

Your diffusion time will take at least 6 weeks for vodka-based extracts, and 8 weeks for those that are glycerin based. And you’ll need to shake the bottles every few days, just to ensure even distribution throughout the liquid.

That’s it. Put it in a bottle, leave it, then use when ready! 


Vanilla Extract
100 ml vodka
3 vanilla pods, split lengthways
1 glass bottle with stopper

Lemon Extract
100 ml vodka
peel of 2 lemons
1 glass bottle with stopper

  1. Place ingredients into glass bottle.
  2. Store bottle in a dark cupboard, and tip upside down a few times every three or four days.
  3. After six weeks, use as you would any other flavoured extract.

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