Can I make vanilla extract in the vodka bottle?

Is there any reason that I can't simply insert my split vanilla beans directly into a just-opened vodka bottle?

All the recipes I've seen instruct using sterilized jars and such. I will eventually transfer the extract into small sterilized bottles (I am making wedding favors), but for the aging process, can I just use the vodka bottles?

Cristina Sciarra


Cristina S. March 23, 2014
Thanks everyone! It took a while to split all those vanilla beans, but now all I have to do is wait!
Marie C. March 21, 2014
Yes I've done this! Just make sure you put about 10-12 beans per 26oz bottle, I think it takes about 3 months to get good vanilla
bigpan March 21, 2014
I would check Google for some direction because, to me, putting some vanilla pods in vodka is going to give you a very nice vanilla flavored vodka rather than vanilla extract.
Therefore might mess up any baking recipe.
Meaghan F. March 22, 2014
You're absolutely right, if you only leave them in for a week or two... Most recipes call for at least 6-8 weeks of steeping before it's properly an extract. Check the ingredients on grocery store extract: it's just alcohol, vanilla, and coloring.
Meaghan F. March 20, 2014
I regularly use a hotel-minibar-sized vodka bottle with one or two vanilla beans (depending on size/potency/preference) to make extract. Works great, so I don't see why you couldn't scale up.
HalfPint March 20, 2014
Yes, I've done it and it's fine. You are putting vanilla into vodka which is at least 45% (90 proof)alcohol. No microorganism or bacteria is going to be growing in that concentration of alcohol. I've even used an opened bottle of vodka to make bathtub gin.

Great idea for wedding favors!
jilhil March 20, 2014
I don't see why not. Generally people make smaller amounts of vanilla at a time, but it sounds like you will need a lot of it for your wedding favors.
Recommended by Food52