Homemade DIY Extracts

Homemade extracts are easy to make and are great for gifting. Last year, I shared my first batch of homemade extracts which I made as holiday gifts. This year, I added some other flavors to my line-up and also made wax seals for the bottles.

I made vanilla, mint, lemon, lime and orange extracts. The wax seals were a fun touch though it took a few tries to get that one long drip that runs down the edge of the bottle. Luckily, if you don’t like your seal, you can break off the wax and try again.

The extracts are easy to make. You just need to add vodka to your vanilla, mint, etc. You let it sit for a few weeks and it’s ready to go. For some reason I am always making these in the morning and I’m always out of vodka when I start. I was sure I had a full bottle in the house but realized it was mostly empty. And then I was desperate trying to find some without having to leave the house. I usually turn to Amazon for everything and even more so now that they added same day and two hour delivery options. Turns out though, that Amazon does not sell vodka.

You don’t need to do a wax seal but it does make the bottles look a little fancier. Adding the wax is actually pretty easy. First, you add a little piece of filament tape to the bottle, which makes the wax seal easier to break. Then you melt down wax beads and dip your bottle caps in the seal, dipping a little extra on one side so that it will run down the side.


Materials Used for This Recipe

16 oz canning jars | 2 oz clear glass bottels | Chalk Labels | Filament Tape | Bottle Seal Wax Beads

Homemade DIY Extracts


Vanilla Extract

  • 3-4 vanilla beans (split beans in half, lengthwise, so that the inside content is completely exposed)
  • 8 oz vodka

Lemon/Orange/Lime Extract

  • 2 large lemons/oranges/limes
  • 8 oz vodka

Mint Extract

  • 1 cup mint (stems removed)
  • 8 oz vodka


1. For vanilla extract, add vanilla beans and vodka into a large sterilized canning jar. Tightly close lid, then shake a few times. Keep in a dark, cool place. Shake every few days. Let sit for about 4 weeks before using. Extract will turn a dark brown (browner than in the photos, which I poured out prematurely). Once extract is ready, you can pour into small bottles with a funnel for gifting. You can add half of a fresh vanilla bean inside each for decoration.

2. For lemon extract, carefully peel off the skin of two clean lemons. Add lemon skin and vodka into a sterilized canning jar. Tightly close lid, then shake a few times. Keep in a dark, cool place. Shake every few days. Let sit for about 4 weeks before using. The peels will eventually  brown. Remove peels after extract is ready. When extract is ready, you can pour into small bottles with a funnel for gifting. You can add a few fresh lemon peels for decoration but advise your gift receivers to remove the peels once they brown. For orange or lime extract, repeat this same step except replacing lemons with oranges or limes.

3. For mint extract, add leaves and vodka to a sterilized canning jar. Lightly crush leaves while in jar, to release the oils. Seal jar and shake. Keep in a dark, cool place. Shake every few days. Let sit for about 4 weeks before using. Extract will turn a light green/brown (darker than in the photos, which I poured out prematurely). Remove mint leaves when extract is ready. When extract is ready, you can pour into small bottles with a funnel for gifting. You can add a few fresh mint leaves for decoration but advise your gift receives to remove once they brown.

For all extracts, store in a dark, cool place.

To make wax seals:

1. Wrap a layer of filament tape all the way around the bottle cap. I used a 9mm tape, which fit within the caps of the bottles I used.

2. Melt wax beads down. Make sure you use equipment that will not be used for food later. I used a disposable aluminum pan which I covered in foil. I added enough wax to the pan so that it would be a deep enough to dip the entire bottle cap once melted. I then put the pan on top of a pot of simmering water. After a few minutes, the wax will start to melt and you can stir it until it is completely melted. Once completely melted, dip your already filled, closed and taped bottle upside down into the wax so that the wax covers the bottle cap. Lean your bottle a little to one side while still in the wax before lifting upright, to create a drip down the side of the bottle when you lift the bottle out of the wax. Let wax cool. If you don't like how your seal turned out, you can gently break it off after it has cooled, put the wax back in and melt it and redo your seal.

All images and content are © Kirbie's Cravings.

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DIY Homemade Extracts

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21 comments on “Homemade DIY Extracts”

  1. The wax seals are a nice touch! We are still using the vanilla from last year.

  2. Are these extracts just for cooking or could you use them in humidifiers or air fresheners?

  3. Wow  I would like to make pistachio extract.  I have a cake recipe I want to enhance 

  4. How long is the extract good for?

  5. Does the quality of the vodka matter or can I use the cheap stuff?

  6. I’m one month into lemon, vanilla, and mint extracts. Did you find at all that once the mint leaves turned brown, that there is a minty ”off” odour? I’m currently about to strain out the old leaves and putting fresh ones in. Do you think I should pour out some vodka and add fresh to dilute it a bit?

    Thank you!

    • I did not have any issues with an off odor when the mint turned brown. I left them in until I was ready to gift, and then I removed and placed fresh ones in. If you are worried, you can take them out now and place fresh ones in.

  7. Where did you find the cute tiny bottles for gifting? I have seen larger ones but none that small and cute.

    • Hi Christie- if you look at the post, right before the recipe, I list all the materials I purchased including the 2 oz bottles I got. Hope that helps!

  8. I just started this project and am looking forward to the results in a month! Thanks for the info. Mine will be orange extract.

  9. Hi..can vodka be substituted with non alcohol..?

  10. You could use vegetable glycerin in place of vodka should you prefer a non alcoholic process.

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