Homemade Baileys Irish cream, baby! This DIY liqueur lacks the multisyllabic preservatives and stabilizers that make the store-bought rendition shelf-stable yet retains all the characteristic creaminess that makes it go down sooooo incredibly easily. (Soooo easily!)

You may want to consider gifting some of your stash just so you’re not left home alone with the entire bottle. We’re not kidding.–Tristan Stephenson

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

Our testers love that this homemade liqueur tastes so much better than store-bought and is easy to make. They highly recommend sharing it as a holiday gift.

What You’ll Need to Make This

  • Coarse ground coffee–We recommend using a coarse grind here so that you don’t end up with sediment in your Irish cream. If you use a fine grind, you may need to strain the mixture twice.
  • Irish whiskey–You could use any type of whiskey here, but Irish whiskey gives the liqueur its distinctive taste.

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Sterilize your storage bottle and cap in boiling water. Bring the milk, vanilla, and cacao nibs to a very gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  2. Strain the infused milk. Return it to the saucepan. Add the sugar and salt and simmer gently until reduced to 2 cups.
  3. Stir in the coffee. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes, then strain. Stir the whiskey in to the milk mixture.
  4. Blend the Irish cream. Slowly pour in the cream while blending on low speed. Transfer to the sterilized bottle and store in the fridge.

Recipe FAQs

How long does homemade Irish cream keep?

The Irish cream should keep for up to 2 months in the refrigerator. The alcohol helps to preserve it, but do give it a quick sniff test before enjoying it.

Does it need to be refrigerated?

Yes. The presence of dairy and the lack of preservatives means that your DIY Irish cream should be stored in the refrigerator any time it’s not being used.

What’s the best way to serve Irish cream?

There are many options. Serve it straight up, over ice, added to desserts, or splashed into coffee. You can also include it in cocktails that call for a cream-based liqueur, such as white Russian or Irish coffee.

Helpful Tips

  • If you use a finely ground coffee, line your sieve with cheesecloth before straining. You may also need to strain the coffee mixture twice.
  • If you have a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, don’t run it on high speed when adding the cream as it may cause the mixture to curdle. Low speed is perfect for blending the cream into the liqueur.
  • Shake your bottle of Irish cream well before serving.

More Great Homemade Liqueur Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A tumbler half-filled with homemade Irish cream and an ice cube, and a bottle of cream in the background.

Homemade Irish Cream

5 from 1 vote
This homemade Irish cream recipe is an easy homemade Baileys Irish cream that you can make at home with whiskey, coffee, heavy cream, milk, cacao, sugar, and the luck of the Irish. Tastes just like the store-bought stuff. Cheers.
David Leite
Servings32 servings | 1 liter
Calories95 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes


  • Suitable bottle with an airtight cap; cheesecloth


  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 ounce cacao nibs (1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) sea salt
  • 1/2 ounce freshly coarse-ground coffee (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 3/4 cups Irish whiskey, such as Bushmills Black Bush
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream


  • Sterilize a reusable glass bottle and cap by boiling it in hot water.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the milk, vanilla seeds, and cacao nibs to a simmer. Hold it at a gentle simmer, just so there are a few bubbles here and there, for 30 minutes.
  • Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Return the liquid to the pan along with the sugar and salt and gently simmer until it's reduced by about half, so you should have about 2 cups total, which may take as long as an hour. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a minute or so.
  • Add the coffee to the milk mixture, stir well, and let rest for 5 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve or tea strainer and then let cool completely.
  • Stir the whiskey into the milk mixture. Pour it into a blender or use an immersion blender directly in the saucepan and slowly and steadily pour in the cream as you blitz the mixture for 20 seconds.
  • Stop the blender, pour the finished lrish cream into the sterilized bottle, and then seal it. Tuck it in the fridge until chilled through.


  1. Storage–Keep Irish cream refrigerated. It should keep for up to 2 months.
  2. Serving–Shake well before serving. The liqueur can be served straight, over ice, in coffee, or as part of a cocktail or dessert.
The Curious Bartender Cookbook

Adapted From

The Curious Bartender

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Serving: 1 ounceCalories: 95 kcalCarbohydrates: 8 gProtein: 1 gFat: 3 gSaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 9 mgSodium: 84 mgFiber: 0.1 gSugar: 8 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 Tristan Stephenson. Photo © 2014 Ryland Peters & Small. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I’m really enjoying my homemade Irish cream liqueur. It’s nice and creamy. So far I’ve only served it over ice although I’m thinking I could toss the ice and Irish cream in the blender and have a nice slushie. Or maybe splash some in coffee.

I found I needed to strain the liquid through cheesecloth twice since my coffee was ground just a little too fine.

What a step up from the store-bought stuff! And relatively easy to make! This homemade Irish cream is wonderfully creamy and has an authentic whiskey flavor that you don’t get in Baileys.

After a few days, the liqueur did settle in the bottle, so it needed a good shake before serving. This would make a great holiday gift!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. I make this every year for Thanksgiving, but my recipe seems a bit more common as far as pantry items go. Since who keeps cocoa nibs in the pantry? I use 2 c. Jamieson Irish Whiskey, 1/4 cup Kahlua (or brewed coffee), 2 TLB Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup (found near the Ice Cream aisle in groc store), 1 TLB pure vanilla, 1 tsp. Almond extract, 4 cups (1 Qt) Half n Half (I normally use Fat Free H&H to keep fat down, but it’s still “caloric”) and lastly, 1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT Evaporated Milk). Mix well and refrigerate. It will keep for one month if kept refrigerated.

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Grammasue. Yes, the chocolate syrup is more accessible, although more laden with sugar. Glad you have a version you like!