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Vanilla Extract Recipe

Vanilla Extract

The aroma of vanilla is beautiful on its own, and it blends so wonderfully with other natural botanicals including citrus, mint and spice essential oils. When used sparingly, it helps to balance out blends.

Steam distillation of vanilla beans does not result in a useful oil. CO2 and solvent extraction is usually necessary to obtain the precious aromatic and flavorful components. Vanilla Bean CO2 and/or Vanilla Bean Absolutes are generally costly. An alternative is to create an alcohol based extract that can be used for your water based formulations like room mists and body sprays. A wonderful recipe is shown below. If you've ever used "genuine vanilla extract" in your culinary recipes, you are already familiar with the aroma and flavor of the concentrated extract.

Vanilla Beans

Another alternative is to infuse vanilla into a carrier oil (vegetable oil). Vanilla extracts last indefinitely, but vanilla infused vegetable oils generally have a shelf life of just a few months. If you are interested in making a vanilla infused oil, you can lean how by visiting AromaWeb's What are Infused Oils article.

The below recipe demonstrates an easy method for creating an affordable vanilla extract that you can use for aromatherapy, skin care and what it's most known for: culinary recipes! Creating your own vanilla extract isn't very time consuming. You save a great deal when compared to the cost of commercial extracts, and you have more control over the quality of vanilla beans and the brand of alcohol (vodka). Commercial extracts are a bit more concentrated, but by using high quality beans, the aroma and flavor of your extract will usually be superior to the commercial varieties.

AromaWeb's Vanilla Room Spray Recipe is an example of an aromatherapy recipe that uses Vanilla Extract.

Vanilla Extract Ingredients

  • 8 oz. clean, dark glass bottle and cap
  • 7-8 fl. ounces of vodka (inexpensive varieties do work well)
  • 3-4 fresh, high-quality 6" vanilla beans. They should be dark, and the bean should have consistent coloring on the entire bean. For an even more concentrated extract, you can use 1 or two more beans.
  • Muslin (available at fabric stores) for straining

Vanilla Extract Directions

  • Carefully cut the vanilla beans lengthwise. Then, cut them into small pieces, about 1/4" - 1/2" in length (about 2 cm).
  • Put all the vanilla pieces into the bottle.
  • Then, pour the vodka into the bottle leaving enough room to shake the bottle well.
  • Cap well.
  • Allow the extract to sit in a dark area for 30 days, shaking the mixture daily.
  • After 30 days, carefully strain the extract through the muslin fabric to remove all vanilla bean pieces and particles.
  • You may need to strain the extract several times.
  • Re-bottle into a clean, dark glass bottle.


  • This recipe can easily be multiplied. You can use 16 oz. amber glass bottles, if desired. Alternatively, I have successfully made this recipe directly in 750ml bottles of vodka. After opening a new bottle of high proof vodka, I remove a few ounces of vodka from the bottle to allow room for the vanilla beans (save the vodka for room mist recipes!) and to allow room to shake the bottle well each day. After at least 30 days, I then strain the extract and re-bottle it into 4 oz. or 8 oz. amber glass bottles for later use.
  • Make aromatic lavender, chamomile and other herbal extracts (tinctures) using a similar recipe using AromaWeb's Herbal Tinctures Recipe.

General Safety Information

These recipes are offered for educational purposes only. Before using any essential oil, carefully read AromaWeb's Essential Oil Safety Information page. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young. Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. For general dilution information, read AromaWeb's Guide to Diluting Essential Oils. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you have medical issues or are taking medications.

Do You Need the Ingredients Listed in This Recipe?

You can find the essential oils, other ingredients and packaging that you need by patronizing the fine companies that support AromaWeb with their banner advertising located throughout AromaWeb (See them all at a glance within the Advertiser Spotlight area) and the listings located within the Global and Regional Aromatherapy Business Directories. Many of AromaWeb's advertisers also expertly formulate their own ready-made products if you decide you'd rather not make aromatherapy products yourself.

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