Bourbon Vanilla Bean Extract

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  48 one-teaspoon servings (1 cup total)
Prep Time:  5 minutes Cook Time:  2 hours 45 minutes

Bourbon Vanilla Bean Extract

This recipe makes the best, best, best vanilla extract. It is so incredibly good that you could serve it as an aperitif, but try it by the teaspoonful in baked goods. With a single spoonful, they will soar leaps above what you’ve made before.


8 to 10 vanilla beans, preferably Tahitian or Madagascar, Grade A

1 cup best-quality aged Kentucky or Tennessee bourbon, such as Maker’s Mark (or a 100% corn-based bourbon, if you are gluten free)


  1. Heat the oven to 180°F. Line a small sheet pan with foil. Place the vanilla beans on the pan in a single layer and bake for 2¾ to 3 hours or until brittle on the outside. The amount of time will vary based upon the age of the beans and how dry they are to start, but it will also vary  from company to company, so check every 30 minutes or so. Remove from the oven.
  2. Pour the bourbon into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Break the beans in half and tuck them into the jar. Seal and refrigerate for at least 1 month before using. The bourbon vanilla bean extract will last for many months.

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