Why Does My Homemade Vanilla Extract Still Taste Like Alcohol?

updated May 1, 2019
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Q: How can I fix homemade vanilla extract that still tastes like alcohol? Should I add more beans? It has been five weeks. I chopped the vanilla beans, but the extract only has a slight taste of vanilla.

Sent by Cornelia

Editor: If your extract still tastes of alcohol, that shouldn’t be of too much concern — especially given you’re still on the short end of the steeping time. Wait a bit longer; give it at least another month before calling it. If the alcohol flavor dominates the flavor of the vanilla after two months, you might need to do some troubleshooting. Option one is to just wait it out. More time will result in a stronger flavor. To speed up the process, you could always add another vanilla bean pod and be sure to split the bean and scrape the seeds into the liquid.

Keep in mind the alcohol smell won’t disappear completely, but will evaporate when you bake.

If you need pointers for your next batch of homemade vanilla extract, check out our tutorial.