Sunday, March 18, 2012

Make Your Own: Homemade Cardamom Extract

One of the hardest tasks is to extract continually from one's soul an almost inexhaustible ill will. – Victor Hugo

Delicious stuff, this is.
There’s nothing ill will about making your own extracts. My vanilla experiment is coming along nicely at the one week mark. I have high hopes for it to turn out well over the next 3 months.

I now have it in my head to make other extracts. There is clove, cinnamon, you name it… The first on my list (after the vanilla) is cardamom. This one only takes a few days too, unlike the vanilla.

Cardamom is a Middle Eastern/Indian spice that has a very wonderful aromatic scent. Interestingly it is also common in Scandinavian baking. This was due to the oceanic adventures of the Vikings. I have used cardamom powder in sweet rolls with glaze before and the flavour was amazing.

Pure cardamom extract is not inexpensive. 3 fl. oz on Amazon cost $12 USD. To make it, I discovered, is inexpensive. 

This recipe makes the same volume as I found on Amazon. To make around 1/3 cup only takes 1/2 cup of vodka and 1/4 cup cardamom. Buy the spice at the bulk food store and you only pay pennies. 1/2 cup of vodka is probably about $3.50. That’s quite a saving. So about $4 as opposed to $12.

Squeeze the seeds to get as much liquid out as possible.
This extract is going to be fantastic in baked goods like my sweet rolls, or cookies, cakes or even squares. I have already used it in a recipe I will post in a day or two.

Homemade cardamom extract is a little less strong than vanilla so you may need to add a little more, but at the cost to make it that is no problem.

Stay tuned for more extracts in the future. Absolutely.

Cardamom Extract
Prep: 5 min  |  Steep 2-3 days
1/4 cup green cardamom pods
1/2 cup vodka

Crush the green pods in a bag with a rolling pin. Combine the crushed cardamom with the vodka in a jar. Let steep for 2-3 days only. Any longer and the extract runs the risk of becoming bitter.

Strain through fine cotton cloth.


If you like this post retweet it using the link at top right, or share using any of the links below. Questions? Comments? Derogatory remarks?


  1. If I wanted to make Cardamom Extract from Pure Therapeutic grade essential oil!! How much essential oil would I add to 1 ounce vodka to ingest internally ???

  2. Robert, I have no idea... Extract made from soaking in alcohol is different than essential oil, which is distilled. I couldn't even find any info about it with a quick google search.

  3. In what do you suggest it be used? I have my own vanilla and cinnamon, and now cardamom...going after clove next, I think. But, really, what do you use it in? How incredibly odd is it that I found this site in one place, and on another screen cardamom extract is for sale?

    1. Hi. Anywhere a recipe calls for vanilla. It's great in baked goods like cookies or cakes in substitute for vanilla extract. Try a bit with whipped cream on peaches, in icing, or even in chai tea. It's pretty strong stuff so go a bit slow.

    2. I have a recipe for Norwegian Toast that calls for cardamom extract and I've always used l.c.finns' brand of extracts. Norwegian Toast is actually a lot like biscotti. It's just delicious using the cardamom extract.

    3. I should have also said that I'm out of the l.c. finns (which is quite expensive) I want to make Norwegian Toast for my sister (she loves it) so I did find cardamom pods - they're dried and I hope that's okay - and am going to try making my own.

    4. I use cardamom in my cream anglaise base for ice cream. Add some crushed pistachios 5 minutes before the ice cream is done. Heavenly!

    5. Cardamom flavor is wonderful in a medium to dark roast coffee!

  4. Roughly what colour should the extract be when it's finished? I used grain alcohol instead of vodka and the resulting liquid is light green in colour.

  5. Hi CP, sorry it took so long for me to respond. To answer your question, I honestly have no idea what colour it should be using grain alcohol. You would think it would be the same – kind of an olive beige. The only thing I can think is that your cardamom may have been a brighter green than mine? (Fresher?)

  6. When you extract cardamom, I recomend not to use the shell because very often it is coloured (using green color) and if the farmer used some insecticide for cultivation, it will be also on it. Even though it is little bit more work, it is better to remove the shell and used only the dark brown small seeds

  7. Whoa...! How extraordinary to stumble over this conversation! My mother was Danish and when she married in England in 1939 she brought her precious bottle of tincture of cardamom to use in her recipe for biscuits. I began using it as soon as I started cooking and then when I married in 1965, she bought a new bottle from a local "Boots" the chemist (who would in those days make it for customers--no longer) and gave it to me.
    This precious bottle, plus her's which I later inherited, is still going strong, and still being used for the same delicious simple "tvebager" recipe.
    The aromatic liquid is a strong deep red colour which turns the egg pink when I add 2 teaspoons to it. It makes the flavour quite distinctive and the biscuits never last long in the tin! I have never used cardamom in any other way so have experience of it other than as a tincture.

    1. How lovely to have read your story. I shall try to make these when I have the cardamom extract ready.
      Is this by any chance like the tvebager that she made?
      I enjoyed hearing about your mother and how you have honored the childhood memories and carried on her traditions.

  8. How do you store this extract, and how long will it keep?

    1. Hi Unknown. Store in a small bottle and keep out of light the same as you do your vanilla.