How to make Orange Extract

Use a fresh orange to make homemade orange extract.
Use a fresh orange to make homemade orange extract. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

If you often use orange extract to add a strong citrus flavor to baked goods, you may find the small bottles you purchase at the grocery store to be expensive. For the price of one orange and a little vodka, you can make a whole cup of orange extract at home. Commercial orange extract contains alcohol, water and orange oil, but you can use orange zest in place of the oil to make homemade orange extract.

Things You'll Need

  • Orange
  • Citrus zester
  • Glass jar with lid
  • vodka
  • Water
  • Cheesecloth or coffee filter

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Zest an orange thoroughly, but avoid removing the white part of the peel. If you don't have a zester, use a vegetable peeler or a small sharp knife to carefully remove the orange part of the peel.

Measure 1/2 cup vodka and 1/2 cup water into a glass jar and add the orange zest. Screw the lid on the jar and gently shake to mix the contents.

Allow the mixture to steep for at least three days, and for as long as five days, before using it. Place cheesecloth or a coffee filter over another jar and pour the extract through if you want to strain out the zest.

Store the orange extract for up to a year in a sealed jar.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you won't use 1 cup of extract in one year, reduce the scale of the recipe by using zest from half an orange, and 1/4 cup each of water and vodka to make half the recipe.


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