Culinary Techniques

Savor the Flavor: How to Make Flavor Extracts

If you’re avid about baking and love a good DIY project, this is bound to be great news: it’s easy to learn how to make flavor extracts at home. All you need is some jars, alcohol and whatever flavors are calling to you. These homemade extracts come together in minutes, and once complete, they’ll keep for months. Your baking will benefit from extracts tailored to your preferences, which can be used to create any number of flavors.

How to Make Flavor Extracts on

For flavor inspiration, check out Craftsy course Creative Flavors for Cakes, Fillings and Frostings. This inspiring course will make you think differently about how flavors can combine and will leave you excited for baking in fresh new ways.

Homemade Flavor Extracts: Lime

Photos via Cakespy, unless otherwise noted

Why make your own homemade flavor extracts?

There are a few good reasons for making your own extracts. Here are just a few:


By doing your own steeping of the flavorings in alcohol, you can control how strong the flavor becomes. This allows you to create extracts that are suited to your palate and baking needs.


You get to choose what ingredients go into your flavoring extracts, which cannot always be said for commercially produced varieties. Since every flavor will shine, do yourself a flavor and use high-quality ingredients.


In grocery stores, you’ll find the usual suspects in the extract section: vanilla, almond, coconut, lemon and so on. When you make your own extracts, however, you have the freedom to create creative flavor combinations such as coconut-lime, lemon-basil or just about any combination you can dream up.

Basil for Homemade Extracts

Things to know about making your own extracts

If you’ve ever made infused vodkas, you’ll find that the process is actually pretty similar. The only difference is proportions. You’ll use a lot of flavoring for a little liquid, seeping for far longer, to create an extremely concentrated flavor. This will create extracts that will have an impact on entire recipes and infuse flavor in breads, cakes and all sorts of goodies.

Spirits are key in creating flavor extracts. The alcohol acts as a preservative for the flavoring and allows it to keep for long periods. Typically, vodka is the spirit of choice for making your own flavoring extracts. Why? It’s got little flavor on its own and absorbs other flavors well. It simultaneously wicks out the flavor and acts as a preservative, making the extracts something that will keep well for long periods. Bourbon, rum or stronger spirits can also be used, but do note that they will impart a flavor, but perhaps that bourbon flavor could be creative addition!

As for containers, mason jars are a great option because they are glass and keep a good airtight seal. You could even use spice jars if you want to test out smaller amounts of a particular extract. There’s a lot of flexibility in this method.

Flavors for Making Extracts at Home: Rosemary and Nuts

Photo via Craftsy blogger Ashley

What’s the ratio for homemade extracts?

In general, you can make the extract as strong or as subtle as you like. This can be done by steeping the ingredients for longer or by adding more of the ingredients. However, to offer some guidance, here are some suggested ratios and steeping times. Keep in mind that these are suggestions, not rules. As you make the extracts, feel free to improvise at any point to tailor them to your desired flavor.

Vanilla extract

  • 4 or 5 whole vanilla beans, split and cut to fit in your steeping container (no need to scrape)
  • 8 ounces vodka or bourbon

Steeping time: one month or longer for a more pronounced flavor

Coconut lime extract

  • Two whole limes, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 8 ounces spirits
Steeping time: 3-4 weeks or more
Note: you may want to remove the lime pieces before the coconut to balance the flavors, as lime is more potent. 

Mint extract

  • 1 cup mint leaves, cleaned and packed
  • 8 ounces spirits
Steeping time: 2 days
Note: Why such a short steeping time? With mint or other herbs, the leaves will wilt and the flavor will stop developing. To continue infusing mint flavor (and herbal flavors), remove the mint after two days and then add a fresh batch to the drained liquid to increase the steep time. Keep repeating until the flavor has reached your desired taste.

Walnut extract

  • approximately 3/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 6 ounces vodka
Steeping time: 2 months or more

Walnuts for Homemade Flavor Extracts

Homemade flavor extracts recipe


  • Vodka or spirit of your choice
  • flavorings of your choice
  • airtight jars

Step 1:

Prep your flavorings of choice (chop citrus, tear mint leaves, toast walnuts, etc.) and place them in an airtight container.

Seeping Walnuts to Make Your Own Extract

Step 2:

Pour the alcohol on top, until you’ve covered the contents in the jar.

Step 3:

Seal the jars, and let sit in a cool, dry place. Store for 2-3 days for strong flavors or up to several months for more delicate flavors (taste them to see if they are to your liking). Every couple of days, give them a gentle shake or turn.

Steeping Homemade Mint Extract

Step 4:

Once your desired flavor has been attained, strain out the flavorings. Store in a cool, dark place.

You can use the extracts as you normally would in recipes.

Have you ever made your own flavoring extracts?


John Kitson

Interested in producing concentrated fruit flavours to give Tropical fruit wines a strong taste of the particular fruit,without the ” chemical” undertones of Commercial flavourings. Suggested fruits: Banana Mango, Passion Fruit and Cashew from the Cashew Nut tree.

Chinelo Awa

Did you ever get round to making these? In Particular mango. If so how did you get on?


What’s the potentcey of the flavoring? Being created with vodka what effects will it have.


Love this post. Thank you. Bookmarked.



Ben English

can you use this extract be used for E-cig Liquid? I am making new extact for my company and I need new Idea’s


@Ben English I was just doing a similar research and many factors of using this technique would not work for e-cig. 1st vodka leaves a lot of residue that would not be healthy to inhale. 2nd the extracts from fruits would contain too much fructose which would crystalise during burning and produce gunk in the vap… other than fructose (this is not the case for other food such as coffee and spices tho), there would be a lot of fruit residue that could change the flavor during the vaporising process and be potentially dangerous to inhale.

-A pure alcohol like everclear would be better than vodka as it has less than 1% residue.

-a film filter or cloth would remove more of the fruit residues left in the alcohol but not all of it. It is good to do so.

-further filtering can be achieved by sedimentation and decantation (if you have the time for it) or by centrifuge for better results. This will also remove a lot of the colour and toxic residues.

-you will also need to mix in 75% or more of vegetable glycerin as flavouring itself doesnt produce enough vapours to be enjoyable and also tastes very strong. VG will also create more of a throath effect similar to tobacco… which is what you want ultimately.

This is what i have found so far concerning e-cig. But I know some flavours can’t be extracted simply with alcohol extraction ie: fat soluble compounds.

I am not sure if i remember exactly but i think those are achieved using a vegetable fat instead of alcohol, heated, filtered and extracted from the fat by cooling it and removing the bottom layer that will separate naturally. This layer is again mixed with a food grade paraffin, heated and cooled again. The resitual fat is said to bind with the paraffin and leave an extract that is very pure. During cooling the extract will separate from the paraffin naturally.

I hope this helps… let me know if you find out more.

vape dragon

this can be done man as a large majority of the e liquids are mostly concentrates i looked it up allready cause there both food grade i mix mine with pg first then tone the throat hit down with a little vg till its perfect


You can make this with VG instead of spirits, I just finished reading a recipe on another site about doing that with vanilla, which is perfect (google non alcoholic vanilla extract, replace vanilla with whatever you’re normally extracting, should work for many things). I plan on using it for spa products that already call for vg and whatever could use a little scent without the alcohol content. Someone in the comments said they’d had good luck using PG too, but I don’t have any, I don’t really use it in my vape, so the VG method will work out for me just fine. None of them mentioned vaping it, but I use candy flavoring in mine because I’m cheap, so I doubt it’d be a problem. (PS, most fruit extracts use the peel, not the fruit (like I wouldn’t use the whole lime in the above example, personally), because the peel is where the oils are, so there should be relatively little fruit residue to worry about.)

Abraham Mark

I have been searching the web,to make extract of different ethnic food,so as to use in paking frozen food.
Can i make it without using alcohol.
Or is there a company who make ethnic flavors
I really would appreciate any help.


Can this be used for flavored water? if not what method can be used?


Could I use ENA instead of vodka? Otherwise what should be strength of alcohol used?

darren nash

Here’s is a idea I did, is and frying chicken with a flavoring. This is how I go about doing it. Season the flour really well. Cook the chicken in the Oven, when it’s almost done. Pull it out the oven. Using 1st a cheesecloth let it set in a covered tight container with the meat on top. Take some of the crust off and place it over small pot of warm water. Put the crust between 2 piece of cheesecloth. Let Boil for 2 -4 min till its soft, place in a mason jar a half full of plain vodka strained thru the cheesecloth soaked crust. Add a teaspoon of Montreal Seasoning and a 1/4 tsp of Cinnamon and lemon Juice. Close tight. wait a few days to see if it is the way you want it to smell. I found out that with excess crust, strain it thru it .( I think I may add some bones to it) I added to some Yogurt i made just to see if it would work. I also added Some la; Hot sauce to make it taste good. keep me posted on it. hey don’t laugh it worked


How would you do maple?


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