Counting Sheep DIY Vanilla Extract.

By Jackie DeKnock  ,   

June 13, 2020

Vanilla's sedative benefits are so powerful that it's been said to help lower blood pressure and to make you drowsy enough to send you off into a faster, more relaxing sleep. And great news, it couldn’t be easier to make your own DIY vanilla, you only need 2 ingredients: vanilla pods and vodka! C’est tout! DIY vanilla is much more cost-effective than buying it…unless you want to fly to Mexico to pick some up! Vanilla is the second-most expensive spice after saffron because growing the vanilla seed pods is so labour-intensive…so make your own!!

  • Yields: 1 Delicious Bottle


5–6 vanilla pods (more for more flavour)!***

1 cup 80 proof vodka is the most popular choice (or bourbon, brandy, or even rum)

8-ounce bottle with a tight seal, washed & dried


Gently slit vanilla pods down the middle, without splitting the pod. Open up like a tiny book, so that the seeds are exposed. Gently scrape the tiny dark seeds from the pods and then scrape into your bottle (the tiny seeds will add even more flavour)! Next, place pods in your bottle, cut into smaller pieces if they don’t fit!

Using a funnel, pour vodka (or alcohol of choice) over top. Ensure that the pods are fully submerged and shake a few times.

Store vanilla at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and shake about once/week. Vanilla can be ready to use in 8 weeks, but it’s recommended to wait 6 months for optimal flavour. 12+ months even better!

As you begin to use your vanilla, you can top-up with a little vodka each time. Give it a shake after you refill and give it a shake before each use. Unused aged vanilla extract (with the beans fully submerged) will last several years. If it still smells good, use it! Aged extract without the beans will last indefinitely!

Please Note: ***For ‘single-fold’ vanilla extract (what you find in most stores), use 5 vanilla pods per 1 cup of alcohol. For ‘double-fold,’ double the number of beans (a much stronger flavour, preferred by professional bakers)!