How to Make Vanilla Extract with Glycerin

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.

Have you been wanting to make your own vanilla extract but would prefer to make it without alcohol? Here’s how to make vanilla extract with glycerin!

Have you been wanting to make your own vanilla extract but would prefer to make it without alcohol? Here's how to make vanilla extract with glycerin!

How to Make Vanilla Extract with Glycerin

I’ve been meaning to do a “how to make vanilla extract” tutorial for a long time but am just finally getting it up for you now! Unlike most of the other tutorials that I feature here, vanilla extract takes quite a while for it to be ready to use.

Now before you start sending me dozens of emails and comments, I realize that some will not consider an extract make without alcohol a “true extract”. Whatever you believe on this, the following recipe will perform exactly the same as an extract made with alcohol. If you prefer to make your recipe with alcohol, more power to ya, that’s just not what this blog post is about.

With that aside, let’s jump right into this. It’s so easy!

Making Vanilla Extract

What You Need:

Vanilla Beans

I ordered my vanilla beans from the Vanilla Bean Kings and they are wonderful quality! You will want to order the “Grade B” vanilla beans for making vanilla extract. 10 Vanilla Beans is enough to make 2 pint jars of vanilla extract.

When it comes to vegetable glycerin, you just want to make sure that it’s food grade. I ordered the gallon of glycerin from Essential Depot on Amazon because I have other uses for it but they do have smaller sizes available.

Vegetable Glycerin in Jars

Fill the pint jar 3/4 of the way full with the vegetable glycerin.

Cutting Vanilla Beans

Start by laying out your vanilla beans on a cutting board. Use your sharp knife to cut them right down the middle to expose the seeds. Work in batches of 5 beans at a time because that is how many you will put in one jar.

Vanilla Beans in Jars

After you’ve sliced all the vanilla beans lengthwise, cut them in half and place them in the jar. I use a pint-size jar for 5 vanilla beans.

Berkey Water for Vanilla

Fill the jar the rest of the way with water. Leave about 1/2 inch headspace in the jar so you have room for the liquid to move when you shake it. Put a plastic screw-on lid on the jar. I use the filtered water from my Berkey to do this.

Place the jars in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry shelf. For the first week, shake the jar a few times a day to start to get the vanilla seeds moving in the liquid. After the first week, remember to shake the jar at least once or twice a week.

Vanilla Extract

This exact will take 6 months to a year to get fully flavored. If you need something to be flavored much faster you can add more vanilla beans. Since vanilla beans are very expensive, I choose to use the longer waiting period. I will still get a full-flavored vanilla extract at the end of the time, but it will have cost less than if I would have added a ton of vanilla beans to the jar. What you decide to do is your choice. 🙂

These pints of vanilla cost me about $12 per jar to make. Considering that the current price of vanilla extract at Costco (for a much smaller container) is over $25, this is a very frugal way to make your own vanilla extract. As I said, if you choose to add more beans, the cost will go up but should hopefully stay under the cost of the store-bought vanilla.

Use this Vanilla made with glycerin the exact same way you would use a traditional vanilla extract made with alcohol.

Do you make your own vanilla extract?

Merissa Bio


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Support Little House Living by Sharing This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. i do make my own extract, but i generally use my instant pot, which seems to work great. Do you feel that this method generates a better tasting vanilla?

  2. Melissa, I don’t often or ever comment, but just have to tell you that your blog posts just seem better and better! You haven’t changed, but I have with the times. Thank you for your timely frugal posts!

  3. There’s a fabulous coop on Facebook that I order my beans from and most are grade A and from all over the world. Indonesian, Madagascar, etc.. super cheap! The Name of the room is “Vanilla Bean Co-Op” Fabulous ladies that are running it out of Utah. Nicest room EVER! Plus, you can use your sous vide to hurry along your extract too.

  4. Great article, I have always wanted to make my own vanilla. Do you have a good source for the beans? Thanks!

  5. Glycerin is a syrup consistency isn’t it? Does the water dilute it enough that it is closer to the state of regular extract or is it thicker? Is it sweet?

    1. It doesn’t really change the flavor or make it sweeter but it is a thicker consistency. It doesn’t change how the extract reacts in a regular recipe.

    1. I just leave it in the pint jars. This is the same as a no-alcohol vanilla that you would find in the store. The difference between this and a regular vanilla would be that it’s a little thicker but still acts the same in a recipe.

  6. This sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to try it! Thank You! I had never even HEARD of a non-alcoholic extract! 😊

  7. Just a quick note. I put my beans down Into sugar! And shake every few days, until it smells nice and strong (depending on how many beans I used and how fast I need it. ) then I use that sugar in the recipe in place of plain sugar. Seems to work well for me. Then add more sugar, to your jar with the beans, when you use some so it is always ready.

  8. I belong to “vanilla bean coop” on Facebook. It is run by Sarah and her sisters. They have sources to obtain different kinds of vanilla beans. I have ordered several times over the past 3 years and the beans are always beautiful and plump. Right now there is an order available for beans that are $11 ounce plus $4 shipping. The only bad thing is that it takes 6-8 weeks to get the beans after the order is closed because of customs, etc. But the quality is wonderful and everyone says how great their prices are. They are very careful to vet the farmers they order from. They also have all the information you could even want to know about the different types of beans and the process under “announcements.”

  9. Would there be any reason why I couldn’t make this in a quart jar rather than two pints? Also, when the six months are up, do you take your beans out or just leave them in there as you use it? Thank you!

    1. You could make it in a quart if you’d like, just double the ingredients. I leave the beans in so it continues to flavor the rest while I’m using it.

      1. I’m half way through my quart of vanilla extract and gathering ingredients to make another batch! Thank you again!

    1. I have read it is what ever the expiration date is on the glycerin. I caught some a few months ago and it is set to expire 7/2024.

  10. I’m trying your recipe with 1 oz of beans per pint to make it go faster hopefully. My question is: Do the beans need to be covered with glycerin to prevent mold?
    Is it okay if they float?

  11. You actually should weigh the beans and use 1oz of beans to 8 Oz of glycerin. Since beans vary in size, weight is important. I don’t use water at all.

  12. My cousin makes her own extract using vodka. I prefer not to use alcohol, so I want to try your recipe. However, I was told to use blue or amber colored jars. What is your opinion on this?

  13. 2 questions: why grade “B” beans I stead of grade “A”? Also, why a plastic lid instead of a metal lid?

    1. Grade B beans are more easy accessible, more affordable, and work better for making extract. As far as the lid…I’m not sure why you’d use a metal lid? You can if that’s what you have, but any lid will work just fine.

  14. Can this type of vanilla made with the vegetable glycerin be left out on the shelf or does it need to be refrigerated?