DIY: How to Make Almond Extract

Making homemade extracts is so fun and easy and can add a huge range of homemade flavor to your baked goods. We’ve been aming our own vanilla extract for years and recently have branched out to other extracts. In this article we share exactly how to make almond extract with just 2 simple ingredient: vodka and almonds.

Almond extract is my favorite flavoring, especially when it comes to the holiday season and cookies – nothing beats an almond flavored cookie. You can skip down to the bottom of this article for a recipe card on how to make almond extract, or read below for all the details.

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Contents

What is Almond Extract?

Almond extract is commercially derived from bitter almonds or apricot kernels, is a versatile ingredient that adds a rich, nutty flavor to a variety of dishes. We won’t be using bitter almonds for this recipe as they aren’t sold in the US or Europe. Here are some popular uses of almond extract in cooking and baking:

  • Baked Goods: Almond extract is a key ingredient in many baked goods, including cookies, cakes, muffins, and pastries. Just a small amount can enhance the overall flavor profile, giving a delightful almond essence to your creations.
  • Desserts: From creamy puddings to decadent custards and creamy frostings, almond extract can elevate the taste of desserts, adding depth and complexity to sweet treats.
  • Fruit Dishes: Almond extract pairs exceptionally well with fruits like cherries, peaches, and berries. Adding a dash of almond extract to fruit salads, jams, or fruit pies can intensify the fruity flavors while adding a subtle nuttiness.
  • Beverages: Almond extract can also be used to flavor beverages such as smoothies, milkshakes, cocktails, and hot beverages like coffee and hot chocolate. It can provide a unique twist to traditional drinks, making them more aromatic and flavorful.
  • Sauces and Marinades: In savory dishes, almond extract can be used sparingly to enhance the flavor of sauces, glazes, and marinades. It adds a hint of nuttiness that complements meats, poultry, and seafood dishes, creating a well-rounded taste profile.

Benefits of Making Almond Extract at Home

While store-bought almond extract is convenient, making it at home offers several advantages that can enhance both the flavor of your dishes and your overall cooking experience. Here are some benefits of making almond extract at home:

  • Quality Control: When you make almond extract at home, you have control over the quality of ingredients used. You can select high-quality almonds and control the extraction process to ensure a pure and flavorful end product.
  • Customization: Homemade almond extract allows you to customize the flavor intensity according to your preference. You can adjust the concentration of almonds and alcohol.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Making almond extract at home can be more cost-effective in the long run compared to purchasing commercial extracts, especially if you use almonds in bulk.
  • Freshness: Homemade almond extract retains its freshness and potency since you prepare it in small batches as needed.
  • Health Benefits: Homemade almond extract allows you to avoid unnecessary additives and preservatives commonly found in commercial extracts. Additionally, almonds themselves are packed with nutrients like vitamin E, healthy fats, and antioxidants, which can offer potential health benefits when consumed in moderation.
How to Make Almond Extract

Ingredients and Equipment

You only need a few things to make almond extract:

Vodka: in general extracts are made with vodka or occasionally rum. It is possible to make extract without alcohol, but since the alcohol typically burns off during baking we aren’t too worried about it. Choose a high-quality, neutral-flavored vodka.

Raw Almonds: When selecting almonds for making extract, choose raw, unsalted almonds with their skins on. Consider using organic almonds to ensure they are free from pesticides and other chemicals. You can experiment with different varieties of almonds, such as Marcona almonds or California almonds, to see which one you prefer. You will find different recipe suggesting you either leave on the skins of remove them. We used sliced raw almonds for this batch of almond extract with some skins, but you can also blanch whole almonds or used slivered almonds to make extract.

Bottles: you can use any bottle to make your extract. I purchased a set of 4 oz bottles online and prefer clear bottles to clearly see what is happening with the almonds and vodka. Depending on the opening you will likely need a funnel to pour in the liquid. Some bottles come with a funnel or you can use one you have at home.

How to Make Almond Extract

Step-by-Step Guide How to Make Almond Extract

A. Preparing the Almonds:

Roasting the Almonds (Optional Step): If desired, you can enhance the flavor of the almonds by roasting them. Spread the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden and fragrant. Allow the almonds to cool completely before proceeding.

We have never done this step and are happy with our extract, but since some people swear by this step I wanted to include it as an option. I used sliced almonds for my extract.

Extracting the Flavor

Mixing Ratio: Combine 1 cup of vodka with 1/2 cup of raw almonds in a clean, airtight glass jar. Ensure that the almonds are fully submerged in the vodka.c. Adjust the ration depending on the size of your jar (I used 4 ounc jars so used 1/2 cup vodka and 1/4 cup almonds).

Storage Instructions: Seal the jar tightly and store it in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard. Shake the jar gently every few days to encourage the infusion of flavors. Let the mixture steep for at least 4-6 weeks, or longer for a stronger flavor.

Finishing the Almond Extract

Importance of Infusion Time: Allow the extract to steep for an adequate amount (4-6 weeks) of time to develop its full flavor. The longer the infusion period, the stronger the almond flavor will be.

Storage and Aging Recommendations: After the initial infusion period, strain the extract through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove the almond solids. Transfer the strained extract to a clean, airtight bottle or container for storage. Store the almond extract in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. If your extract is not strong enough, add more almonds and allow to infuse longer.

And that’s it! Extracts are truly my favorite, easy thing to make it the kitchen!

Tips and Troubleshooting

  • Extract Too Weak: Increase the infusion time by allowing the almonds to steep in the alcohol or oil for an additional 1-2 weeks for a stronger flavor.
  • Extract Too Bitter: Reduce the infusion time and/or use fewer almonds to prevent the bitter compounds from overpowering the extract’s flavor.
  • Mold or Spoilage Concerns: Ensure proper storage conditions by keeping the extract in a cool, dark place and periodically inspecting it for any signs of mold or spoilage; discard if any concerns arise.

Homemade Almond Extract Recipe

Homemade Almond Extract

Make your own delicious and easy almond extract at home.

Equipment

  • 4 ounce Small Bottles for Extracts

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup Raw Almonds
  • 1/4 cup Vodka

Instructions
 

  • Combine the vodka and almonds in a glass jar within 1/2 inch of the top.
  • Place the jar in a cool dark area and allow to sit for 4-6 weeks shaking occasionally.
  • Strain the liquid through seive or cheese cloth and return liquid to the bottle. Store is a cool dark area and use for baking.
How to Make Almond Extract
How to Make Almond Extract

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