How to make an extract My friend Jen made an amazing vegan coconut ice cream for a food bloggers’ potluck a few weeks ago. It was a spring roll party inspired by this post from White on Rice Couple. Jen flavored the coconut milk with new-to-me lemongrass extract. After she told me it was fairly pricey to order, I decided it was the perfect time to try making extracts.

Kaffir lime and lemongrass extracts on Punk Domestics

I had a fresh stalk of organic lemongrass, and I’m also obsessed with the flavor of my kaffir lime leaves, so I decided to try making extracts of both. Extracts are technically tinctures, using bland alcohol to draw the essence out of the plant or herb. All you need is 80 proof cheap vodka, clean, fresh herbs, and a bottle.Pounding lemongrass to make extractI washed and dried the leaves, then pounded them with the end of this ice cream scoop to help them release their flavors and oils.Extract ready to go in the cupboard for a monthStick the leaves in the bottle, fill with vodka, label, and put them in a dark cupboard.Calendar reminder for extractI put this reminder on my calendar. You’re supposed to gently agitate the bottle once a day, but I tend to forget.

After 4 weeks taste the extract. If you’re happy with the flavor, remove the leaves with tweezers and store the bottles in a cool dark place. Can’t wait to bake with these. Yum on the lemongrass. However, the kaffir lime extract tasted HORRIBLE… like industrial-strength drain cleaner. Live and learn!

Next up, vanilla extract. Same process exactly, except you open the vanilla bean pod with a long slit, and use three beans per cup of alcohol. You can use vodka or bourbon. It takes two months for vanilla extract. According to Joy the Baker, you can replace the beans as needed and keep topping off the bottle with additional vodka or bourbon, for an endless supply of freshly made vanilla extract.

Notes: Clear hard liquor is always gluten-free. Dark hard liquor may be colored with caramel coloring, so avoid if you are celiac.

I used kaffir lime leaves to make this Thai green curry paste, Thai-spiced twice baked potatoes, and this Thai rice bowl salad with kaffir lime cream sauce.

Today’s post is part of our mission to help you rebuild your health through food and lifestyle choices. Look for posts on Mondays featuring gluten-free, sugar-free recipes made with healthy plant-based ingredients, Wednesday essays, and Friday giveaways (when available).

Don’t want to make it yourself? Amazon sells lemongrass extract:

Extract ready to go in the cupboard for a month

How to make an extract | Lemongrass

3.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 9 mins


  • 1 stalk lemongrass (fresh)
  • 1/2 cup vodka


  • Wash and dry the leaves, then pound them with a mallet to soften the fibers.
  • Place in a clean glass jar and cover with vodka.
  • Place in a cool, dark place.
  • Agitate every few days if you remember.
  • Taste after 4 weeks.