Gluten Free, Sugar Free Homemade Sugar-Free, Alcohol-Free Vanilla Extract - [PDF Document] (2024)


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Homemade Sugar-Free, Alcohol-Free VanillaExtract

Posted on October 22, 2012


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Making your own homemade sugar-free, alcohol-free vanilla is simple with thisrecipe. And, it’s a frugal solution to spending $12 for 2 ounces of vanilla at thestore.

Don’t hate me for not sharing this sooner. I’ve been using my homemade vanillaextract my kitchen for a long time now and I love how it flavors my recipes. Ilove how it saves me money. And, I love that I always have a supply ofvanilla on-hand. I go through small bottles of vanilla quickly.

If you make some now, it’ll be ready in time for your holiday baking.

You’ll never go back to store-bought vanilla. Never.

I have seen so many recipes that use a bottle of vodka to make vanilla.

I DON’T want alcohol in my vanilla. Without any sugar to cover up the alcohol,you’re left with vodka undertones that are present in recipes like puddings, custards,and frosting. And, I prefer my vanilla to be sugar-free. Of course!

Instead, I use food-grade vegetable glycerine. It’s the same ingredient used insugar-free vanilla from the store. I was having trouble finding the food-grade type.Ricki told me I could use the NOW Foods brand, which I found on



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I add additional clean, scraped vanilla bean pods to my homemade vanilla after usingthe seeds in other recipes.

I found the glass bottle at Sur la Table for $9.00. The vanilla beans were a gift fromsome of my favorite bloggy friends. You can order them directly from Amazon.Once the vanilla has steeped for 6 weeks, I transfer some into a small glass bottle tokeep with my spices. The large glass bottle stays in my pantry.

What are your favorite at-home solutions for common store-bought products?

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PrintHomemade Sugar-Free, Alcohol-FreeVanilla Extract

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutesYield: 16 ounces of vanilla extract

A simple, homemade sugar-free, alcohol-free vanilla extract recipe.


Suppliesa tall glass bottle, at least 17 ouncesa very sharp paring knife

Ingredients16 ounces food-grade vegetable glycerine8 Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Beans


Pour the vegetable glycerine into the glass bottle.1.Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Use the sharp edge of your knife toscrape the seeds away from the bean pods.


Add the seeds and bean pods to the vegetable glycerine.3.Cap bottle and put in a dark place to steep for 6 weeks.4.If desired, add additional vanilla bean pods to the vegetable glycerine as youuse them in your kitchen.


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Archena posted on October 22, 2012 at 8:54 am

Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen)

posted on October 22, 2012 at 10:20 am

Kassia posted on October 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm

amber posted on October 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Spring posted on October 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm


Thank you Amy!!!

I have been just using this one

Funny how the reviews for this are on Amazon.

I do have Vegetable Glcerin and also a few Vanilla beans at home.Costco has these in their WHs at this time of year so still may becheaper.

Will have to try this for sure


We make our own with vodka, but now I want to try this one.Thanks for the information Amy!


This looks wonderful! How long does it keep?


Amy Reply:November 7th, 2012 at 11:50 pm

@Kassia, I would say indefinitely. It’s made with the same ingredientsthat are in sugar-free, alcohol-free vanilla from the store.


This is such a great recipe, Amy! Love making anything homemade.I’ve been interested in making my own vanilla extract, however, theyjust raised the price of vanilla beans at my Coop (they are $1.75 perbean)! Crazy right. I hope they come down in price soon.

Hope you’re doing well and enjoying your fall.

Be Well,–Amber


I happen to have that glycerin on hand- I use it for making soap! Anyidea how to find out what the vegetable glycerin is made from. Thewebsite doesn’t say. I need corn free too :/

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Marisa Voorhees, The Food-Sensitive Foodie

posted on October 22, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Ricki posted on October 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Anita Peoples posted on October 22, 2012 at 8:04 pm


Amy Reply:November 7th, 2012 at 11:50 pm

@Spring, I’m not sure…maybe a google search??


Spring Reply:November 14th, 2012 at 11:06 am

@Amy,Ok I ended up having to call NOW, and I got a Nutritionist in about30 seconds! Thought I would share here what I learned in case anyone else who is corn free needed to now!

He told me that the oil is removed from the plant, and has no proteinin it. And then they strip it from the oil (or something like that LOL),and then it is stripped again, so it is 3 times removed from the plant,and is a pure chemical. And that a lab could never tell what plant itcame from because it is a pure chemical. So I’m going to give it a try!Got mine in the jar as I type!


Amy Reply:November 14th, 2012 at 8:16 pm

@Spring, Thanks for coming back to share! I am excited to hearhow your vanilla turns out.


Oh goodness! So very grateful for your recipe and for beautiful pics. Iburn through vanilla extract with all of my baking and I’m alwayslooking for solutions I can make that cut down on ingredients to keepthings simple and clean. Thanks for sharing, Amy!


What a brilliant use for the glycerin, Amy!! I’m so glad you figured thisout–so that now I can make it, too!


I am currently wrapping up my first batch of homemade vanilla whichI began the first of June. I am using vodka as I never found analternative recipe. It’s great to know there is an alternative to usenow. I haven’t noticed the vodka affecting most of my recipes,especially the longer the vanilla beans marinate. I’ll have to do a tastetest since this recipe only takes a fraction of the time to make. Olivenation is my source for beans if you want to check them out.


Amy Reply:November 7th, 2012 at 11:49 pm

@Anita Peoples, Thanks for sharing your source. What is the cost?


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mary fran | frannycakes posted on October 22, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Ruthie posted on October 22, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Danielle @ Fresh4five posted on October 22, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Brittany @ The Pistachio Project

posted on October 23, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Shelley Alexander posted on October 25, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Anita Peoples Reply:November 8th, 2012 at 7:23 am

Here is a link to their website.


Anita Peoples Reply:November 8th, 2012 at 7:31 am

@Anita Peoples,

They regularly have sales and shipping is free. My last pound of beans(108) cost $35.00.

People are always asking me if I know of a good recipe for this thatfits a myriad of special diet requests. This is absolutely wonderful!


Thanks for sharing this recipe. Here in Australia the only vanillaextract you can buy without alcohol in it is laden with sugar. I shall bemaking this asap!


I have made my own with vodka also, but I love that this is alcoholand sugar free!


Doesn’t the glycerin make it super sweet since glycerin is a form ofsweetener???


Amy Reply:November 7th, 2012 at 11:47 pm

@Brittany @ The Pistachio Project, Nope. It’s not super sweet.It is a little sweeter than regular vanilla but regular vanilla has sugar tomask the alcohol taste.


Thanks for the easy recipe Amy! I usually use Frontier Organicsalcohol free vanilla extract and this is a nice option.


Amy Reply:November 7th, 2012 at 11:45 pm

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posted on October 29, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Chrys Hovestol posted on November 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm

@Shelley Alexander, I agree…and it’s a more frugal option too!


Just bought my beans at Costco……10 Vanilla Beans for 11.99


Amy Reply:November 7th, 2012 at 11:41 pm

@Selina@CreativeJuicesDecor, They’re seasonal so if you wantmore stock up!!


Just made my first bottle of homemade vanilla extract! I cannot waitto try it in 6 weeks!!! The vanilla beans smell heavenly!


Amy Reply:November 7th, 2012 at 11:39 pm

@Chrys Hovestol, You’ll love it! What kind of vanilla beans did youuse?


Chrys Hovestol Reply:November 8th, 2012 at 12:22 am

@Amy, I ordered the same beans you use from Amazon. When theyarrived I couldn’t believe how great they smelled. I ordered thevegetable glycerin from your post too and had to double check myselfwhen it said to use as face cleaner on the bottle. I cleaned a 1.5 literwine bottle and made a double batch. I also found 4 oz. bottles onAmazon so I can give Christmas gifts (hopefully if it turns out for me).I am waiting with excitement for my end product!


Chrys Hovestol Reply:December 6th, 2012 at 4:55 am

@Chrys Hovestol, My vanilla extract will be done tomorrow. Doyou have any tips on transferring it to the small jars? Do I have tostrain it since I scraped the vanilla beans and added that with theactual bean? My wait is almost over!!!

Karen L Reply:December 18th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Mine is ready too and I’m not sure what to do with it at this point.What is the best way to strain it and get it into smaller bottles?

Chrys Hovestol Reply:December 22nd, 2012 at 10:05 pm

@Chrys Hovestol, I waited the 6 weeks, actually 7 weeks and ittastes great, but is thick like syrup and not brown, but white withflecks. Did I do something wrong? I ordered exactly what you saidfrom your website. I put it in a brown recycled wine bottle with acork. I just made cookies with it and took a taste and it tastes fine,

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Michaela posted on November 27, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Sherry Fredley posted on December 18, 2012 at 6:24 am

michelle posted on February 4, 2013 at 7:35 am

Sarah posted on February 18, 2013 at 10:53 am

just wondering why it’s not brown like yours and the consistency ison the thick side.

Amy Reply:December 25th, 2012 at 7:56 pm

@Chrys Hovestol, It is thick. Mine is a translucent brown; not adark brown. And, yes, it has flecks. That’s from the vanilla beans. Ifyou buy alcohol-free, sugar-free vanilla from the store it’s the sameconsistency. It sounds like it’s just fine.

Chrys Hovestol Reply:December 26th, 2012 at 7:16 pm

@Chrys Hovestol, I made cookies with it and they turned outgreat! Thanks for all the help and confirmation that it turned out! Iam hooked!!! Have a Happy New Year!

I have been looking for an alcohol-free vanilla extract recipe and amso excited to make this–thank you thank you!


Great idea, with the holidays here home made vanilla was nagging atme from my to do list…… I just wasn’t overly thrilled at making it andnow I have something to look forward to!! Just have to get vegetableglycerin…..

Thanks,Sherry at


Amy,Thanks so much for this! And the pictures looks absolutely gorgeous!I definitely will try your recipe as I have all the ingredients!I have a few questions for you and for those who have used yourrecipe.How does the vanilla with glycerin smell and taste? Does it smell andtaste the same or very similar to vanilla extract (with alcohol)? Is thevanilla flavor with glycerin weaker than the vanilla extract withalcohol?

Thanks so much!


Amy Reply:February 8th, 2013 at 10:19 am

@michelle, Have you ever purchased sugar-free, alcohol-free vanillafrom the grocery store? It’s quite similar in taste and texture. Thestrength of the vanilla depends on how long you let it steep beforeusing it. I find it to be the same as store bought.

Since you have vegetable glycerine at home, have you looked at theviscosity? Compare that to regular alcohol-based vanilla and let meknow what you think.


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Your recipe is great! Thank you so much. I’ve now made quite a bit ofvanilla, per your post, and I love doing it! It’s so rewarding, and theymake wonderful gifts, too.

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Katherine posted on March 26, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Tyler posted on April 3, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Mrs G posted on May 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Di posted on May 25, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Ottilia posted on June 16, 2013 at 7:57 pm


It’s been 6-7 weeks and I just transferred my vanilla to small bottles.Can’t wait to make something with it. Now I have some questions…Do you just throw away the beans after you make a batch or do youuse them again for another batch? How long do unused vanilla beanskeep? How long will the homemade vanilla keep? Thanks!


Does it require a glass container, or will another kind work (forexample, metal, plastic, etc)? Also, I’m assuming the best temperatureto store at during the six week process is right around room temp?


I tried this recipe 7 weeks ago. My vanilla looks much lighter than theone on the picture, although it smells allright. Did I do somethingwrong?


Amy Reply:May 1st, 2013 at 6:55 pm

@Mrs G, I don’t know; how did you prepare your vanilla? It couldjust be the lighting in the photo. Does it taste like vanilla extract?


Mrs G Reply:June 3rd, 2013 at 1:43 pm

@Amy,Yes, it smells and tastes nice. Only the colour is different. I’ve not yetused in baking, but I will definitely try it. Do you filter the vanillaseeds?


I came across your page as I was wondering a) what exactly is asugar-free and alcohol-free vanilla extract and b) how to make asugar-free and alcohol free vanilla extract after I saw a recipe thatcalled for it in its ingredients.I have a bottle of vodka infusing with some vanilla beans in thebottom of my cupboard, so was wondering if this could be better…..

From first year chemistry, glycerine is also known as glycerol, which isin fact a sugar alcohol! Which is rather ironic don’t you think?


Amy Reply:May 29th, 2013 at 11:59 pm

@Di, I like this much better because there’s no alcohol after taste.


I knew only the recipe with vodka but was reluctant to make itbecause of the alcohol. A few things I’m not sure about…do you haveto shake the bottle on a regular base during the 6 weeks? While using

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Lyn posted on July 4, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Miss Tori posted on July 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

Elaine posted on August 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm

the vanilla extract, do you keep refilling the bottle with vegetableglycerine and beans or do you make a new batch after you used it up?In the latter, do you reuse the beans or do you take fresh beans foreach batch? Hope you don’t all these questions…


I’m very interested in doing this. I first had alcohol-free vanilla inGranada and it was absolutely heavenly. Since then, I’ve bought it fromMexico: once it was delicious, twice it had an odd flavor. So, I’mwondering if the difference was in the beans, and how to knowwhether the beans will be the right flavor, or if there is something elsethat would cause the various flavors. What is the best time of theyear to get a good price on beans? Thanks so much.


Amy Reply:July 7th, 2013 at 10:05 pm

@Lyn, There is a link in the recipe to the beans I use. They’re a greatprice and the quality is good too. I have no idea about the vanilla youbought from Mexico. Have fun! I love making vanilla.


In reading the reviews of the vegetable glycerine you recommend, Icame across this one: “I really like this as a sweetener. It works wellto add sweetness to homemade peanut butter, coffee, hot cocoa,yogurt, etc. It doesn’t have a strong aftertaste, either. The onlydrawback is that it’s not very good in large amounts, or in bakedgoods. It breaks down in the heat of the oven.”

Have you found this to be the case when you use your vanilla extract,that it doesn’t do well in your baked goods? I’m curious to know, as Iwant to make some alcohol free extract for my older sister who is abreast cancer survivor/celiac, and is very intolerant to alcohol.



Amy Reply:July 21st, 2013 at 2:36 pm

@Miss Tori, No, it works great. If you look at store-boughtsugar-free, alcohol-free vanilla extract it uses vegetable glycerine asthe base. I am not sure what the reviewer is referring to but it soundslike they’re saying vegetable glycerine doesn’t work as a sweetenerwhen baked.


Thanks for this. I do have a question, though: isn’t glycerin a form ofsugar?


Amy Reply:September 9th, 2013 at 1:37 am

@Elaine, It’s not the same as sugar though it does have a sweetflavor. You might read this:


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AY posted on August 18, 2013 at 4:25 am

Kassia posted on September 28, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Laura Reply:November 16th, 2013 at 6:39 pm

I didn’t read the above link but mine is VERY sweet and our recipehas water in it (cheaper but maybe it takes longer that way?). We startusing ours after about a month. I guess if we let it sit longer it wouldbe stronger and we’d get less sugar/glycerine. I have used glycerine Iordered from frontier (their brand?) and some I order from Azurestandard, who I trust.


Thanks for the recipe. In other sites they include 25% – 40% waterwith the glycerin to extract the vanilla. So Im wondering is their adifference between using water or only glycerin?


Amy Reply:September 9th, 2013 at 1:30 am

@AY, I only use vegetable glycerine. I am not sure what the benefitof using water would be.


I made this last year and it was great! I am planning on making it againsoon, but I was wondering if you have made any other extracts withglycerin? I am thinking of making lemon and/or almond, but I wasn’tsure if it would work?


Amy Reply:September 29th, 2013 at 1:13 am

@Kassia, I haven’t tried it but you might be on to something….letme know how it goes.


Annie Reply:October 27th, 2013 at 4:12 pm

I started making an alcohol-free Ginger extract and I’m pretty hookedon it.

I use dried ginger root from the bulk herb section of my co-op andinfuse it into the glycerin, just as you all have done with the vanilla.

I use it medicinally (digestive aid, anti-inflammatory) in small doses byitself or in a gingery Apple Cider Vinegar drink.

My absolute favorite thing to do, though, is to make a refreshingSugar-free Ginger Beer:

1Tbs Ginger Extract8oz Sparkling Mineral WaterSplash of lime or pineapple juice (optional)

I am not a baker but I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t be usedfor Gingery Baked Goods also!


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Lindsay posted on November 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Andrew posted on December 28, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Hello. Thanks for this recipe! Do you find that your homemadeversion is sweet? Thank you!


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Isn’t vegetable glycerine a sugar-alcohol compound? How is it sugarand alcohol free…?


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Gluten Free, Sugar Free Homemade Sugar-Free, Alcohol-Free Vanilla Extract - [PDF Document] (2024)


What is a gluten free substitute for vanilla extract? ›

Maple syrup

Pure maple syrup has a rich, sweet flavor profile that makes it an excellent vanilla extract alternative. It can also add moisture and binding properties to baked goods.

What is the best alcohol to make vanilla extract? ›

Use either. 80 proof Alcohol: Vanilla extract is most commonly made from vodka, but you can use bourbon, brandy, or rum instead. I usually use vodka, but the one bottle of bourbon vanilla I made 7 months ago is DIVINE. No need to splurge on expensive alcohol.

Is homemade vanilla extract gluten free? ›

Is Vanilla Safe for Celiacs? Yes, both pure vanilla extract and imitation vanilla flavoring is safe for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Pure vanilla extract is made from gluten-free ingredients. The same is usually true for imitation vanilla as well.

What is a non alcoholic substitute for vanilla extract? ›

After vanilla, one of the most common extracts people use in baking is almond extract. You can replace vanilla extract with almond extract at a 1:1 ratio. That means, replace every 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of vanilla extract in the recipe with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of almond extract.

What is removed to make gluten free? ›

Definition. A gluten-free diet is an eating plan that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).

Is it better to get vanilla extract without alcohol? ›

There is a difference of opinion about the difference in flavor. Some people say or report that alcohol, that non-alcohol vanilla, which is often used in raw desserts, has less of an aroma than the pure alcohol extract.

Is it worth making your own vanilla extract? ›

A bit of simple math reveals that homemade vanilla extract is the more economical choice. Say you buy two 4-ounce bottles of the good vanilla extract from the grocery store every year. If each jar costs $18, that's $180 over a five-year span.

What are the best vanilla beans for homemade vanilla extract? ›

Grade B is typically recommended for making homemade vanilla extract. These beans are supposed to be drier and perfect for long soaking in alcohol. I've used both – and maybe I've been lucky but both beans were easy to cut open and use.

Can homemade vanilla extract go bad? ›

When stored properly, vanilla extract will keep indefinitely, but using it within five years will allow for best flavor and aroma. Do not refrigerate or freeze, even after opening. What is the shelf life of my vanilla beans? When stored properly, two years.

Is there gluten in baking soda? ›

Baking soda is a common ingredient in baking, used to make bread and cakes rise. Baking soda is a pure ingredient, and it is naturally gluten free.

Does baking powder have gluten in it? ›

Baking powder is typically a combination of an acid (like cream of tartar), baking soda, and a starch to absorb moisture. These days, the starch found in baking powder is usually either potato starch or regular cornstarch, both of which are gluten-free. This, in turn, makes most baking powder gluten-free.

How to make flavor extracts without alcohol? ›

To make your non-alcoholic extracts, just substitute the alcohol called for in any extract recipe with three parts food-grade liquid glycerin and one part water. Stir the two ingredients together until well combined. Then, proceed with the recipe as usual.

What can I use instead of vanilla alcohol? ›

  • Swap in Dark Rum. Dark rum is an obvious choice for a vanilla extract substitute. ...
  • Swap in Bourbon. Bourbon swapped in for vanilla is another easy solution. ...
  • Swap in Brandy. Syrupy, fruity, barely sweet brandy is one of those bottles I buy and promptly forget about.
Nov 12, 2020

How to speed up homemade vanilla extract? ›

Splitting the beans exposes the seeds to the alcohol and speeds extraction but avoids the funky flavors introduced when chopping up the pods. Splitting was so effective that the extract didn't even need to circulate for a full 24 hours—just 18 was enough for the extract to taste sufficiently vanilla infused.

Can you skip vanilla extract in a recipe? ›

If you don't have any on hand, you can almost always omit the vanilla without impacting the final texture of your baked goods; although the rich flavor extract—or any form of vanilla—brings will certainly be altered. Just remember one thing: flavor comes first.

Is Baker's Imitation vanilla extract gluten free? ›

Baker's Imitation Vanilla does not contain gluten.

Is Queen Vanilla gluten free? ›

All our Queen Vanilla, Queen Flavours and Queen Colours are Gluten Free. For all other Queen products we recommend checking the label.

Is Trader Joe's vanilla extract gluten free? ›

Is it Gluten Free? Yes!

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