55 Responses to “Make Your Own Heavenly Homemade Vanilla and Peppermint Extracts”


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  1. I started making my own Vanilla Extract last year. I made two types, one with vodka and another with whiskey. The whiskey one is really good in chocolate cake. I also made an extract of cardamom, oh so good! I will have to try the peppermint extract, for I have a bunch of mint trying to take over my herb patch.

  2. Excellent. I’ve wanted to make vanilla for a long time, just haven’t got to it yet. Excited about the mint idea, would be yummy in ice cream.

  3. Vanilla extract? Everything. Smoothies, cookies, French toast, baked oatmeal, yogurt. Peppermint extract? The only thing I have ever used it for is chocolate peppermint bars, but that’s a pretty worthy calling, doncha think?

    I’m making vanilla extract soon because I am nearly out of my last batch. And I’ll buy extra vodka because we have tons of mint growing around here during the summer, and my husband loves him some peppermint.

    Or maybe we will just use the extra vodka for White Russians. You never know.

  4. You are so empowering! I’ve been wanting to make my own vanilla for a long time now, but it never dawned on me that I could make my own peppermint extract. Yee haw!

    My peppermint is grown in a pot. It dies back every year and it comes back every year. The spearmint lives on our side yard (heck, the spearmint IS our side yard)… I think it only slows down in the winter. How cool though, now I can make two different mint extracts.

  5. Ali

    awesome! can this be done with other plants? like maybe a lavender extract?

  6. My hubby is the chief cook and he has made some vanilla extract that should be ready soon. It smells really good!

    Peppermint would be easy but not sure what I’d do with it. Love to hear more ideas for it.

    Lavender – I’d definitely use a good cooking lavender like Lavandula angustifolia ‘Melissa’ otherwise it will taste like camphor. But not sure I’d know what to use it for but might think about trying it this year.

    Gosh, what else would make a good extract? We could make our own almond or walnut extract couldn’t we? Think I’ll go google that! I made some almond milk a while back…

    Anyway, love your blog.

    • Charlotte Moore

      I have lemon extract going. I have made vanilla twice. Today I started the mint.

    • LauraNYC

      As for the mint, my daughter hit upon one idea today…she had brewed a small pot of Dunkin’ Donuts Mocha Mint coffee, but she wanted more mint flavor. She added a couple of drops of extract, which really punched it up…scrumptious….it had not just the flavor of mint, but the sensation of it, too (would be great when one has a bad cold and doesn’t care for tea!). I like to freeze coffee ice cubes to add to shakes and frappes…coffee mint ice cubes would be super.

  7. Toni

    So I just decided to make the peppermint extract. My hubby loves mint water (Metro Mint)
    But it is expensive so he purchased mint extract, that did the trick… Im hoping he likes my homemade just as well in his water.

  8. KarinSDCA

    I made two vanilla extracts. One is in brandy and the other is in 80-proof vodka. We plan to use the brandy version in baking. YUM!!! It smells DIVINE!!!! I plan to use the vodka version in my homemade body care concoctions. It smells really, really GOOD!!! (FWIW, it smelled DIVINE until I smelled the brandy version…LOL)

    My peppermint plant died back, as usual, but it hasn’t come back to life… :( I think I’ll order new seeds from MRH. :)

  9. Erin R.

    I think the peppermint extract sounds amazing!! might be good in hot chocolate, water, lemonade, iced tea, fudge icing on brownies, coffee with some good heavy cream and sugar. I may have to give this a shot! I’ll have to do the vanilla too! I’m so thrilled i stumbled across your blog last week!

  10. JW

    “Frontier Fair Trade Organic Vanilla Extract = 8 oz for $18.89

    3 organic vanilla beans from a local spice shop ($7.50) and 1 cup 360 (eco-conscious) Vodka (approx $7.24) = $14.74 for 16 oz.

    So, divide that by 2, and you get 8 oz of homemade vanilla extract for $7.37. A savings of $11.52.”

    Am I reading this wrong? If the beans are $7.50 and the vodka is $7.24 per cup, wouldn’t that be $14.74 per cup?

    •  16 oz is what a cup of vodka makes. Comparatively, 8 oz. of the store-bought vanilla extract is $18.89. So we’re talking about 8 oz when you divide the original 1 cup of homemade vanilla extract by 2. That brings the comparison pricing down to $7.24 for 8 oz compared to $18.89 for 8 oz.


      • 1 Cup = 8 oz. Sorry, 1 Cup of vodka plus three vanilla beans will only make 1 Cup of extract. There’s no way to get 16 oz. out of that.

        • You are absolutely, positively correct. I have no idea what my brain was doing in my head at the time. Over a year later, and apparently my brain is back to normal. Ha. I’ve updated the post to show my terrible math skills. Thanks for setting me straight!

    • Attyinny

      You can get vanilla beans for WAY less on Amazon or Ebay! Check it out! You would spend less than 50 cents per bean!

  11. emile

    You could buy these beans like I did: http://www.amazon.com/Premium-Bourbon-Madagascar-Vanilla-Beans-Approx/dp/B000CPZSC8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330411484&sr=8-1
    So much cheaper than what you will find in your local grocery store

  12. Kitty

    I’m trying to make extract out of aphid-infested peppermint from my yard. I spent over half an hour cleaning individual leaves, but when I shake my jar I can see maybe 10-15 aphids floating around the bottom (gross). Obviously the vodka will kill and sterilize them, but will this affect my extract? Should I just toss my mixture now and start over?

  13. Pippa

    Hello!  Came across this site whilst trying to find something interesting to do with all my mint (other than mint jelly), and all the sweet (candy) recipes I had been looking at call for mint essense, so I’m thrilled with your blog and will ‘set too’ immediately.  I want to do ‘silly’ things like boiled sweets just to practice that particular art, but will certainly be making mint choc chip ice cream for the kids….well, all of us really!.  Thrilled too that you have included vanilla essence.  My 15yr old daughter has caught the baking bug and the lovely essence we use is £4.50 for a small bottle, so I would love to make our own.  Plenty of booze in the cupboard to experiment with means no outlay there yet!

  14. Tartsul

    i’ve had my mint in the vodka for about a week. i added extra vodka just to make sure the leaves were all covered. i pulled it out today and it was black looking and smelled horrible. what made it go rancid? i stored it in the dark under my kitchen sink… but i do live in texas so it’s very hot. any ideas?? i want to try it again, i love peppermint and i am really getting into making my own spice mixes and extracts.

  15. Syawn

    If I don’t cook off the alcohol when using the mint extract, then basicly aren’t I just using mint vodka?  Is there any way to get rid of the alcohol?  Also, could I use this to scent a massage oil?

    • Seetup

      You wouldn’t be using enough extract to have to worry about alcohol content. It’s usually like 1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon.

      • Gail Springsteen

        Is there a difference between peppermint leaves and the mint leaves you buy in the grocery store or grow in an herb garden? Because I’d like the strong peppermint flavor. Also, aside from growing your own, do you ever see spearmint leaves in the store? or wintergreen?

        • Seetup

          Personally, I find anything grown in one’s backyard always tastes better than what you find in the store. I’m sure you could experiment with making extracts from other mints your grow such as chocolate mint or orange mint, but peppermint is the standard for baking, and is very potent, both in flavour and medicinal usage.

          I’d say the only difference between what you would grow vs buying is pesticides.

          Hope this helps.

  16. Katie Stanley

    Hi, I have a question for you. I made my own peppermint extract months ago. It still doesn’t taste anything like I want it to. The only difference from your recipe to mine is that you bruise your leaves and I didn’t. Any thoughts? Thanks!

  17. Peppermint Oil The health benefits of peppermint oil include its ability to treat indigestion, respiratory problems, headache, nausea, fever, stomach and bowel spasms and pain. Peppermint oil mixed with shea butter is being sold to ease nerve pain etc. Smells good and the shea will be great and the peppermint soothing. I used peppermint extract while giving birth at home. Worked. Two kids, healthy, grown. Now I am older and I need it again. Want to try to make this for myself and older friends.

  18. cucicucicoo

    is the mint extract supposed to turn all brown? mine did! it hasn’t quite been a month of infusion, but it’s very dark and doesn’t really smell or taste minty, just vodka-y. did i maybe not put in enough mint leaves?

  19. Seetup

    I just read in an other blog about making peppermint extract, that you have to cover it all the way or it will mould. Now, that just seems weird to me since I’ve made vanilla extract before (multiple times) and when you use it, the amount goes down and of course… no mould. It seems to me that vodka (or whatever alcohol) would kill the mould causing germs.

    Since you’ve made it before, what are your thoughts on this other blogger’s warning? Have you had mould issues or extracts go bad before the 2 year mark?

    Also, I don’t strain my vanilla beans. In fact, I just add a bean or two and add more vodka when it’s getting low. What are your thoughts on this?

    Sorry for all the questions. I’m learning. =)
    I just want to live healthier and start preparing to be healthier in general for when I have a family.

    Thank you for your time. I really appreciate it. =)

    (the little star thing on the top is freaking out, so if I give you a low grade, ignore it – I don’t understand what it is doing).

    • After one month crunch Betty had recommended to strain the extract off of the leaves. Most tinctures and extracts made thus way will change color. The herbals are only preserved while submerged thrust it is necessary to remove the vegetable matter for shelf life n
      Hope that helps.

  20. Kristen

    Did your peppermint extract turn brown? Mine has been steeping for 3 days and it is brown. Was this normal for you?

  21. Ava

    I am glad I found this site. I have 11 different mints growing and I esp love choc mint. I have so much of it that I wanted to make extract and dry it. Thanks for sharing your tips. I love to make chocolate mint tea, it is go GOOOOOD.

  22. I make vanilla extracts that I sell at craft shows and online. I make a plain, workhorse vanilla with neutral grain spirits, one with rum and another one with brandy. The rum and brandy are amazing. I’m sure you’ll agree.

    I have to mention one point: you are making vanilla-scented vodka, not vanilla extract. According to the FDA, you need to use the equivalent of six (6) vanilla beans per cup to make vanilla extract. Believe me, you’ll notice the difference.

    Okay, two points: I let mine macerate for at least 4 months before bottling it. I find that’s the best point at which to begin using it. I know, it’s tempting to use it earlier. There’s no restriction against it. However, I find that the extra time helps to make a better product.

    Also, I don’t remove the beans. I put a bean in every bottle of extract so it will continue to mature. It’s alcohol, so it will never go bad. In fact, just the opposite. While artificial vanilla will start to lose potency after a year, REAL vanilla extract will only get better with this method.

    I really came here to see how you made your mint extract, because I’m looking at making a mint-flavoured cocktail bitter. I think I can use this to make the mint tincture and then add that as needed.

    Like you, I have a mint-coloured thumb. I have spearmint and peppermint fighting it out with the catnip in my backyard. I’m performing a sort of Darwinian experiment to see which one will eventually win.


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  24. Katie

    Can you make the peppermint with something besides vodka?

  25. Sarah

    Hi all! Having issues with my first try at the peppermint extract. I’ve had it brewing for about 3 weeks, kept it in my dark basement (the coolest spot I can find in this crazy 90+ East coast heat wave right now), and took it out tonight to try it, and it’s dark brown and has a very funny smell. I think it might be rotten, which I didn’t think would happen given the alcohol content. Anyone else have this happen? The peppermint I used was from my farm share, and wasn’t fresh right out of the ground that day, but was still good. It has been really hot, so I wonder if that’s what did it. The leaves were covered, I swished it around a few times, as directed :) Any ideas? Thanks!

  26. Made this for my grandmothers and mother for Christmas this year! They are going to love it!

  27. Gail Springsteen

    Is there a difference between peppermint leaves and the mint leaves you buy in the grocery store or grow in an herb garden? Because I’d like the strong peppermint flavor. Also, aside from growing your own, do you ever see spearmint leaves in the store? or wintergreen?

  28. Sabrina

    Is there a healthy substitute for vodka? I’m allergic to alcohol

  29. do you know how to make vanilla essence without using vanilla beans

  30. if you do it would be a great help

  31. Bill Wallace

    If you really want a complete course in making vanilla extract go to Amazon, enter vanilla beans and you will find all the major bean sellers. Their websites all have slightly different methods of making vanilla extract, but they are all simple and they all have different kinds of vanilla beans from all over the world.
    You can go as deep or as light as you wish. I just started a whole quart of vanilla extract which I plan to give to family for holiday gifts. (Amazon has the fancy little bottles too.)

  32. Lynne

    I believe the reference of something being boring as “plain vanilla” is to ice cream, not the wonderful spice itself. After all, it is pretty much the dessert equivalent of cheese pizza, a blank canvas just begging to be adorned!

  33. Tiffany

    Lol “organic vodka”. For those who want to “responsibly” drink poison. I love the comestic and culinary uses for it though. Great article,

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  38. dave

    When making mint extracts, will the end result be clear if using vodka?

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  42. gopika

    i tried making the peppermint extract but within a week it was stinking, so had to throw the whole thing away! any idea what i did wrong? thanks

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