How to make Homemade Hop Extracts! Hops are used to impart a variety of flavours in beer making... but can also flavour cooking and baking.
Originally published June 20, 2020. Updated on 3/18/2021
Homemade Hop Extracts may be a new idea to you, but it’s a fun way to really expand your flavour arsenal in the kitchen!
Did you know that I wrote a whole book on cooking with hops? I did! It’s called Hedonistic Hops, and it goes over all kinds of ways you can use hops to flavour your cooking.
You can use almost every part of the hop plant - shoots, leaves, and flowers.
Homemade Hop Extracts
One of the most convenient ways to include hop flavouring into your cooking and baking is through the use of homemade* hop extracts, which are very easy to make.
The only ingredient aside from hops is just a neutral alcohol base.
This alcohol extracts flavours/ aromas from the hop, without the isomerization of the alpha acids. (The types of acids, isomerization, and details on the different types of hops are all things I go into way more detail in the book, btw).
Any good quality vodka will work.
I like to keep a few extracts on hand - usually one that’s more citrussy, one that’s more herbal, etc.
My go-to for cooking/baking is my Citra® hop extract. LOVE it. Unlike normal baking extracts - which are normally used exclusively for sweet applications - you can use hop extracts in almost anything - sweet or savoury!
While I’m a purist and like to have single hop extracts, you can have a lot of fun with mixing hop varieties to come up with new favourite flavours.
Hop Formats For Making Extracts
Hops come in 3 main formats, any of which can be used to make hop extract:
Pelletized hops are made from milling hops into a powder, before being heated, pressed, run through an extrusion process, and cooled.
They’re sold chilled, and in mylar bags. They take up far less space than a similar weight of leaf hops, and also stay fresher longer.
Dried or “Leaf” Hops
These are hops that were dried shortly after being harvested. They are stored in freezers or coolers, and are usually sold by weight, in mylar bags.
Bags tend to contain a mix of whole cones, and loose leaves. (Dried hop cones are very fragile, and will split into loose leaves VERY easily).
Fresh off the bine hops are far less available than dried or pelletized hops, and are only available seasonally.
In my opinion, those looking to utilize fresh hops are usually best off either growing them, or knowing someone who does.
How to Make Hop Extracts
Note: See actual recipe card at end of post, for ingredient amounts!
Place hops of choice into a large, clean mason jar. Pour vodka over the hops, cap with a clean, tight-fitting lid.
Give the jar a good shake, store in a cool dark place. Shake the jar a couple times daily for about a week.
After about a week, taste for doneness. You’re looking for a potent extract, much like vanilla or lemon extract. It’s not supposed to be drinkable!
Once desired flavour strength is achieved, strain the extract. I like to strain the infusion first with a fine mesh strainer, then a second time through a coffee filter. I find this results in the cleanest, clearest finished extract.
Bottle the strained extract into sanitized clear - ideally dark - bottles.
A Note on Commercial Hop Extracts
While commercially available hop extracts are available, they are NOT the same as baking extracts.
They have different chemical processes and ingredients applied to them - sometimes to force isomerization - where these are just a pure extraction.
Those are made for flavouring beer, these are made as a small-scale, kitchen flavouring.
More Hops Recipes!
Are you - or do you know - a die-hard hophead? Just interested in learning more about adding a punch of flavour to your culinary repertoire? Either way, I have some more recipes for you!
Homemade Hop Spa Bath Set
HopCorn - Hopped Popcorn!
Hop Flavoured Beer Lollipops - Lollihops!
Hop Flavoured Dark Chocolate Truffles
Hop Marinated Chicken Skewers
Hopped Cheesecake with Citrus Glaze
Hoppy Citrus French Macaron Recipe
Hoppy Citrus IPA Glazed Wings
Hoppy IPA BBQ Sauce
Hoppy Dill Pickle Relish
Hoppy IPA Pickles Recipe
Fan of hops? You'll LOVE my cookbook, Hedonistic Hops: A Hop Head's Guide to Kitchen Badassery"!
Hops are prized for their ability to impart varied, complex flavours to beer… but did you know they can also be used culinarily? While hops may seem like a bizarre or exotic item to cook with, it’s the same as using other herbs and spices in your kitchen… you just have to know what to do with them. Appetizers, main dishes, beverages.. even desserts can be uplifted with hops! Even those who are not fans of beer will love the unique flavours that various types of hops can bring to their plate. Floral, earthy, peppery, citrusy… Cooking with hops is a great way to expand your seasoning arsenal!
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Homemade Hop Extracts
- 2 cups Good quality vodka
- 1 cup Fresh hops, gently rinsed OR
- ¾ cup Dry hop leaves OR
- 2 tablespoon Pellet Hops
- Place hops of choice into a large, clean mason jar. Pour vodka over the hops, cap with a clean, tight fitting lid.
- Give the jar a good shake, store in a cool dark place. Shake the jar a couple times daily for about a week.
- After about a week, taste for doneness. You’re looking for a potent extract, much like vanilla or lemon extract. It’s not supposed to be drinkable!
- Once desired flavour strength is achieved, strain the extract. I like to strain the infusion first with a fine mesh strainer, then a second time through a coffee filter. I find this results in the cleanest, clearest finished extract.
- Bottle the strained extract into sanitized clear - ideally dark - bottles.