Keto Diet App - Free Download Keto Diet App - Free Download
Take the guesswork out of following a low-carb diet, lose body fat & feel great!
KetoDiet app is FREE to download!

Homemade Sugar-Free Vanilla Extract

4.4 stars, average of 66 ratings

This post may contain affiliate links, see our disclaimer.

Homemade Sugar-Free Vanilla ExtractShareFollow us 261.1k

Vanilla flavour is probably one of the most widely used flavourings in cakes, waffles, cookies and other low-carb treats. It's also one of the most expensive spices in the world and that's one of the reasons why most commercially available "vanilla" extracts are synthetic and contain artificial additives.

Making your own vanilla extract cannot be any easier. All you need is high-quality spirit such as vodka and vanilla beans. As you will find out, it's also very economical and you'll spend less, especially if you buy vanilla beans in bulk. You don't actually have to get organic vanilla beans, as most are grown without pesticides and fertilisers.

The best spirit for homemade vanilla extract is vodka, because you get pure vanilla flavour. If you use rum or bourbon, the vanilla taste won't be as strong, as these spirits will slightly mask the flavour. It's also a great sugar-free drink - you can have some vanilla-infused vodka as an occasional treat!

Note: Although carbs, fat and protein are at zero, don't forget there's also alcohol and most calories in this recipe come from alcohol.

Hands-on Overall

Serving size 1 tbsp/ 15 ml

Allergy information for Homemade Sugar-Free Vanilla Extract

✔  Gluten free
✔  Dairy free
✔  Egg free
✔  Nut free
✔  Nightshade free
✔  Pork free
✔  Avocado free
✔  Coconut free
✔  Fish free
✔  Shellfish free
✔  Beef free

Nutritional values (per serving, 1 tbsp/ 15 ml)

Net carbs0.1 grams
Protein0 grams
Fat0 grams
Calories33 kcal
Calories from carbs 98%, protein 0%, fat 2%
Total carbs0.1 gramsFiber0 gramsSugars0.1 gramsSaturated fat0 gramsSodium0 mg(0% RDA)Magnesium0 mg(0% RDA)Potassium1 mg(0% EMR)

Ingredients per small bottle

  • 4-6 vanilla beans
  • 1 1/4 cups high-quality vodka or rum (300 ml/ 10 fl oz)
  • Optional: 15-20 drops clear or vanilla stevia or other healthy low-carb sweetener from this list


  1. For making vanilla extract, use high-quality vodka. Prepare a glass jar you will use for the extract by sterilising it in hot water. Homemade Sugar-Free Vanilla Extract
  2. Cut the vanilla beans lenghtwise, place in the glass jar and seal well. The more vanilla beans you use, the more flavour and darker colour you will achieve. Make sure the beans are completely submerged. Opt for really dark oily beans, as these will give the extract the best flavour. Homemade Sugar-Free Vanilla Extract
  3. Infuse for 4-6 weeks. The longer you leave it, the more intense the flavour will be. Homemade Sugar-Free Vanilla Extract
  4. Shake 2-3 times while it's infusing to help release the flavour. Homemade Sugar-Free Vanilla Extract
  5. After about 4 weeks, the extract will become dark and is ready to be used. You can add stevia if you like - vanilla flavour works best!
  6. Store in a dark cool place for up to 6 months and use just like store-bought vanilla extract. Homemade Sugar-Free Vanilla Extract

Ingredient nutritional breakdown (per serving, 1 tbsp/ 15 ml)

Net carbsProteinFatCalories
Vanilla extract, powder (vanilla bean)
0.1 g0 g0 g1 kcal
Vodka, distilled alcoholic beverage (~40% vol)
0 g0 g0 g32 kcal
Total per serving, 1 tbsp/ 15 ml
0.1 g0 g0 g33 kcal

Do you like this recipe? Share it with your friends! 

Martina Slajerova
Creator of

Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

Let us know what you think, rate this recipe!

Leave a comment

Note: Any links to products or affiliate links will not be approved.
Please note that we do not offer personalised advice. For any diet related questions, please join our Facebook community.

Comments (18)

Hi Martina, your recipes and directions are always so accurate and reliable, I'm sure this one is a great way to save money and have full control on the ingredients you put in your body, but I was wondering...since I really can't have alcohol at all, and considering that the only brand I found (not shipping to my country) which result alcohol-free other than sugar-free is made on a glycerine base, could you suggest a way to produce such a home-made alcohol-free vanilla extract? I wouldn't be able to calculate the "convertion" between alcohol and glycerine, so I decide to ask to you as an expert in baking and finding solutions to help those who need 😉 Thank you for the effort you constantly put in your useful, informative and inspirational blog sharing your knowledge and enthusiaasm with your readers!

Thank you so much Roberta, that's so kind of you to say! Although I haven't tried it, I would just swap the vodka with the same amount of vegetable glycerine. I'd definitely leave it to infuse for at least a week but ideally 1 month before you use it. This should provide the same (or very similar) vanilla strength although you will also get some sweetness from the glycerine so keep that in mind in case you need to adjust the amount of sweetener when used in a recipe. I hope this helps!

Thank you so much, Martina! Accurate, kind and helpful, as always: I'll try to follow your precious suggestions with confidence 😊

Can you tell me how to make the extract without alcohol like rum? Isn't alcohol unhealthy? Would like to know your take on this.
I only have vanilla beans powder with me that is not giving much flavour, I don't know if its common. To get more flavour, I want to make an extract out of it. Can I use the powder directly in the liquid to make the extract? If so do I need to stain it finally?

I think it's better answered by linking here: The Benefits and Risks of Alcohol Consumption
Even if you want to avoid alcohol, the amount you'd need to use in vanilla extract is so small, most people who avoid alcohol still use it.
I love vanilla bean powder - it's the best you can use but it does get pricey, especially if you use more. I'm not sure I'd use it in this recipe - it just seems like a waste. I'd only use the whole pods.

Can you make coconut extract the same way with shredded coconut?

I've never thought of that. I'm just not sure how concentrated the flavour would be. Interesting though - will have to try!

I have done this using beans from "Olive Nation" on Amazon. It's been a few years now. I split my beans from top to bottom and scoop out the seeds into the vodka. Then add the beans. All the flavor is in the seeds so you want them swimming about, lol!! 😊 Thanks for your post.

Should you slit the pods? Do you remove them or just leave them in the bottle? Can you reuse them? I use a LOT of vanilla. Two pods costs about five bucks here (and that's the cheapest) which is about ten dollars American. So you can imagine the joy of reusing. My mind boggles with questions. I imagine the vodka is a preservative on top of being an infusing liquid. Do you think it would be possible to make paste with vodka and seeds. I guess I could just go ahead and try, but its so very expensive here. Also, I'm not very search savvy - yet.
Keep up the good work Martina! and thankyou.

Thank you Rowan! I haven't tried that so I'm not sure... But I'd think that infusing whole beans with the seeds will yield more flavour. You can make a cut all the way through or even halve them lenghtwise. Yes, I leave them in until I use it all up. Sometimes I'd just pour more vodka in, add another vanilla bean and leave it for a week. So it depends on how much flavour you can get from it - not all vanilla beans are equal. If they are too expensive where you live, then maybe it's better to get a ready-made product. I get some really good deals on Amazon but I'm not sure how it is where you live.

I make mine with brandy and it comes out great. I just put the vanilla beans right in the bottle and let it sit.

I'm actually planning to make it with brandy for this holiday season 😊

Just curious, do most vanilla extracts include a sweetener?   I made my own extract by putting the vanilla pods in the bottle of vodka.  Didn't add any sweetener and I've not had any problems in my recipes.

I think it depends but I've seen all sorts of products  - I don't use any sweeteners when I make it either. I know that Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract does include sugar but you'll have to check the label.

But your recipe uses sweetener? Why does your recipe call for it if you don't use it in yours? I've never heard of sweetened vanilla extract. Even McCormick's vanilla is just beans, water and alcohol.

Hi Mary, the sweetener is optional - you don't have to use it but some people may like it 😊

I make my own extract using rum but it does hide the vanilla a bit 😊

I tried rum but it was a bit too strong for me but not bad at all.