Technique: Hazelnut Extract

May 18, 2010

Hazelnut Extract

If you’ve hung around here a while, you’ll know that I’m pretty obsessed with hazelnuts (hazelnut cheesecake, hazelnut truffles, hazelnut cake, Nutella cookies, Nutella cupcakes, being some of my favourites). And to think that a hazelnut fanatic like me can’t find some quality hazelnut extract around here is a total shame.

After reading up on how homemade liqueurs and extracts are made, I made the extract with tweaks to a liqueur recipe and ended up with something extremely flavourful. Now this might not be the most ‘authentic’ way to make extract, but I promise you, you won’t complain once you smell the buttery, luxuriant extract at the end of 4 weeks. And just because we can, we’re going to add a vanilla bean to make the extract smell even sweeter.

One thing that is extremely important, and shouldn’t be skipped is toasting the hazelnuts. When you toast the hazelnuts, you will see that the oils from the hazelnuts come to the surface and make it shiny. This is the oil you want emulsified into your extract, this is the fragrance you want to capture.

Hazelnut Extract

Hazelnut Extract Recipe

4 oz.  (100g) hazelnuts
3/4th cup or (180ml) vodka
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
½ cup sugar
1/4th cup water

  1. Toast the hazelnuts in the oven at 175C/350F for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant.
  2. While still hot, transfer them into a jar with vodka.
  3. Add the innards of the vanilla bean along with the vanilla bean to the jar.
  4. Let the flavours infuse for 3-4 weeks in a cool, dry place.
  5. The colour of the extract will darken with time.
  6. At the end of 3-4 weeks, drain the hazelnuts from the extract and reserve the extract. Crush the hazelnuts up and push it through a sieve to remove every last bit of flavour.
  7. In a saucepan, heat the sugar and water together. At this point, adding the crushed hazelnuts is optional, but I went ahead and did it, just so I extract every ounce of flavour from it.
  8. Bring the sugar syrup to a boil (and strain it, if you’ve added the crushed hazelnuts to it in the step above) and add it to the hazelnut extract mixture. You can now discard the crushed hazelnuts.
  9. Shake it up and store in a sterilised bottle (These 1/2 pint jars would be just adorable for storage!)
  10. Enjoy a dash of hazelnut flavour with whatever you like!
  11. I now store mine in the refrigerator.


  • Reply Armin May 18, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    love the blog and love hazelnuts too…just a quick question..maybe stupid too, after crushing the hazelnuts what then? Are you saying we crush the hazelnuts and sieve them and add back to vodka infussion?

  • Reply Aubrey May 18, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    I just started reading your blog a couple of months ago, and I absolutely love it! I’m definitely interested in trying out this hazelnut extract recipe. I share your love of hazelnuts, and was really grossed out by the extract that I bought at the store, which tasted nothing like hazelnut. It ruined my Nutella-filled cupcakes. I never thought of making my own!

  • Reply Sommer @ A Spicy Perspective May 19, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    What a GREAT idea! I’m going to try this! It has never occurred to to me make extract before.

  • Reply linda May 19, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    Love this idea, bookmarking it right now! And maybe I’ll even make a liqueur.
    Any thoughts on how long it keeps?

    Hopefully you’ll start DB-ing again soon.

    • Reply Mike Sartin June 8, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      I’m just sitting here thinking through the chemistry. I’d use a strong canning jar with a good lid for the extraction change so I could seal the vodka/nut mixture quickly and minimize the off-gassing of the alcohol. If you then minimize the amount of water in the sugar-water mixture, you ought to have a very stable product. As Purple suggests, straining out the residual nut meats after the extraction phase sounds like a good idea. Who knows what sort of chemistry could be going on in the residual nutmeat.

      • Reply Mike Sartin June 8, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        An added thought, paper coffee filters make perfectly acceptable filter paper. I just trim them down to fit a small funnel so I don’t loose a lot of product saturating the filter paper.

  • Reply PurpleFoodie May 19, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    Thanks Sommer!

    Linda: My guess is it should keep for 2 months or so.

  • Reply FOODESSA May 19, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Not so Nuts on any NUTS…sooo kidding!!! Hazelnuts are second to my favorite Brasil nut. Basically I love them all.
    I second the motion on never having thought of making my own extract.
    I’ve made amazing ‘Limoncello’…a recipe I got from an Inn owner on the French Riviera…absolutley devine. And, yes…everything this decadent necessitates our dedication and patience.
    BTW…speaking of hazelnuts…did you ever have a chance to make crispy cookies named ‘Brutti ma Buoni’…loosely translated…ugly but good! They really are terribly easy to make…tasty and only 3 ingredients. If you’re interested I made a batch and added it to my blog.
    Again, thank you for sharing an interesting recipe. Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  • Reply PurpleFoodie May 19, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    ooh the brutti ma buoni cookies sound interesting. hopping over to your blog to check them out. thanks claudia :) recipe from an Inn owner on the French Riviera? Sounds so romantic!

  • Reply Jessica May 20, 2010 at 3:11 AM

    Oh how awesome! Great post!

  • Reply thecoffeesnob May 21, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    I always spend ages looking for hazelnut liquer when I run out.

    This is such a clever idea!

  • Reply ingrid May 22, 2010 at 11:05 PM

    Need to try this…sounds interesting and I’ve never made my own extract.

  • Reply Jessica "Su Good Sweets" May 23, 2010 at 7:11 AM

    Thank you! I’ll use this whenever I want a shot of Nutella-esque flavor. I’m not sure whether you’ve tried to make your own Nutella, but it’s easy.

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  • Reply nags July 13, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    i missed so many of your posts, probably cuz of your migration to wordpress. just went through all the posts. drooool :)

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  • Reply Valerie November 1, 2011 at 11:40 PM

    I just found this website about a month ago and have been waiting, extremely impatiently, for hazelnuts to show up in the stores. Yesterday, still couldn’t find any, so this morning I thought, hey, Central Market! They had them! So I got them and vanilla beans and stopped and got vodka. Going to start it after caring for all the farm animals! So excited, all the hazelnut on the market has anti-freeze it it!

  • Reply bill wolner December 17, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    hi, thank you for receipe on hazelnut extract. i too love hazelnut flavoring. one thing i did not find in the instruction was how to handle the skins that are on the nuts. i did find another website that describe what to do so i can go ahead and make mine!!! thank you, bill wolner

  • Reply Alison January 8, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Hi!! This recipe looks fantastic!! I was wondering… do you think that I could do the same w/ pistachios to make an extract? Or have you heard of any good recipes? Thanks in advance!

    • Reply The Purple Foodie January 13, 2012 at 9:58 PM

      That’s such a fun idea! Don’t know where you might find the recipe but if you do try it, please let us all know how it works out.

  • Reply Carol February 3, 2012 at 1:57 PM


    I was wondering, are these raw hazelnuts? I ask this because I thought nuts from the grocers shelf was already toasted, so I need to know if I just go buy ready to eat hazelnuts? Thanks!

    • Reply The Purple Foodie February 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM

      Hi Carol, for this recipe you need raw hazelnuts, not toasted. You want to capture the oils that shimmer on the surface on roasting.

      • Reply Carol February 4, 2012 at 5:47 PM

        Thanks, can’t wait to try this!

  • Reply bill February 3, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    hi, i added the crushed nuts(coffee grinder) back into the sugar syrup and the nuts absorbed all the liquid; i added another 1/4 c of water to thin it. and i did not have and cheesecloth to strain which would have been a great help. probably adding the crushed nuts to the vodka solution would work better. bill

  • Reply Emma March 7, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Oh thanks so much for sharing this recipe my husband and I love hazelnut flavored coffee and this is perfect as I know exactly what is in it! This is so easy too:)

  • Reply Jenny March 13, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    This didn’t work out so well for me. It was more like hazelnut flavored vodka. Adding it to my coffee was like a shot of Baileys, maybe it would have cooked off in recipes, but I don’t see why you can’t just use Hazelnut oil for baking? Hazelnut oil has a very strong hazelnut flavor and you can buy it online or certain grocery stores pretty easy. (Please don’t try to make that yourself.) The hazelnuts also absorbed alot of the liquid, so I was left with much less in the end and the hazelnut particles left in the alcohol separated/sunk to the bottom so you’d have to shake it up and it just didn’t give a very strong punch of hazelnut in comparison to hazelnut oil. You can’t use the oil for coffee but I guess in terms of coffee its best to buy it already flavored, but as far as baking, it really does the best job.

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  • Reply Sheri Schneider February 26, 2013 at 6:17 AM

    I love the idea of making hazelnut extract and mentioned in my blog post today about making hazelnut version of pignoli cookies.

    • Reply Shaheen February 26, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      Thanks, Sheri! :)

  • Reply Melanie June 15, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    I’m wondering if the amount of hazelnuts is with the shells on or without?

  • Reply Melanie July 1, 2013 at 6:54 AM


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  • Reply Ben December 8, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    I was very happy to find this hazelnut extract recipe a year and a half ago. My wife loves her hazelnut-late so this solves my problem with the crappy off-the-shelve options available.

    I have however started to experiment (hey that’s me!). I soak the hazelnuts in vodka, but instead of your 180ml vodka I make sure to cover the hazelnuts with vodka then vacuum seal the bottle. After only 2 weeks it is good to go. I filter all the fluid off and crush the nuts, which I then add to half a cup of water. I boil the mixture down to around 80ml (lot of guess work here…). Let it cool, strain the fluid out. I apply some pressure to get as much fluid out as possible. At that point the fluid (water) is totally hazelnut infused! Now just follow the recipe – boil the water and sugar, and add the vodka! And I am my wife’s hero all over again!

  • Reply LJ December 11, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Why do you add/need the sugar?

    • Reply Molly December 16, 2013 at 9:34 PM

      I was thinking this too, why do you need the syrupy sugar addition? the way it was written is kind of confusing to me!

      • Reply Matilda February 25, 2014 at 10:42 AM

        i just made this hazelnut extract and its sooooooooo good and deli!!!!!!!
        after these 3-4 weeks you have a hazelnut-flavour vodka. its more like vodka than extract. if you put the syrup when still hot, the alcohol evaporated and you get the extract almost without the flavour of vodka.

        if you dont want the syrup i think that you could take the hazelnut-flavour vodka and heat it so you’ll have the evaporation of vodka. i didnt do it like this but if you dont want sugar in your extract this is a good way to have it.

  • Reply Rev. Carl Bowers March 9, 2014 at 3:54 AM

    It looks like this makes hazelnut liqueur (aka Frangelico), not extract. One would never sip extracts (almond, vanilla, basil, etc.) as a beverage. Extracts are concentrated essences to be used sparingly as an ingredient in recipes. I can’t find any source for hazelnut extract.

  • Reply Adrienne April 15, 2014 at 2:20 AM

    So glad this popped up on my google search. Exactly what I need!

    aaaandd I’m obsessed with hazelnuts, too.


  • Reply Fawn Byrd August 29, 2014 at 2:53 AM

    it looks easy & tasty :)

  • Reply Norma Abel Thompson March 3, 2015 at 10:45 PM

    Many of the comments say, "I want to try this". Well, I did and i ended up with about 2 Tablespoons of extract. The investment of time and ingredients is simply not worth it! Tasty, yes, it sure is. But if i did something wrong to end up with so little reward, somebody please tell me! I've done this same recipe twice now, and adding 1/4 cup of water- just how much extract are you supposed to finish up with? Half pint jar, my ass! More like pill bottle! BTW, I put the nuts into cheesecloth and pressed, squeezed and stood on my head to extract every drop… notsamuch.

  • Reply Jake Allan May 4, 2015 at 2:29 AM

    Idk what the heck you did wrong but ended up with almost 8oz of this extract. And it tastes amazing

  • Reply Melanie August 8, 2015 at 11:20 PM

    I just started this today but didn’t peel the hazelnuts, as it doesn’t say to do so. The above picture shows them peeled, but it wasn’t specified in the directions. I hope this is okay?

    • Reply Shaheen December 27, 2015 at 9:20 PM

      Hi Melanie – sorry it isn’t mentioned because I used peeled/blanched hazelnuts. It should still be ok because you’re going to filter it eventually.

  • Reply Tessa February 23, 2016 at 6:51 AM

    any reason why you can’t leave out the sugar syrup step?

  • Reply Esther April 24, 2016 at 1:29 AM

    Can I use a different kind of alcohol? I’m thinking the vodka might be safer because of little flavor to it. I have Ever clear and was wondering if that would be too strong.

  • Reply Belinda October 7, 2016 at 7:49 PM

    I also wondered about leaving the sugar out? I don’t think I see a reply back to that but I prefer to use extracts without sugar – just what you are extracting. I’ve seen a few different recipes out there for hazelnut extract and several of them use sugar or honey and there are a few that don’t. Just wondering about your input on this. Thanks!

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