This homemade Baileys Irish Cream recipe is cheap, so easy, and so tasty to make right in your own kitchen that you’ll never want to buy it again!
Serving this led to a ton of questions and comments from my friends when I first served it at a party:
- What’s in Baileys Irish Cream?
- Where can I get the recipe for Baileys?
- OMG! This homemade Baileys is sooo good! Will you be posting the recipe?
Below, you’ll find some answers to questions about the cheapest and easiest way to never buy Baileys Irish Cream again.
What is Baileys Irish Cream?
Baileys Irish Cream is a cream liqueur made from cocoa, cream, and Irish whiskey along with a secret blend of flavorings. My copycat version uses coffee in addition to the cocoa flavoring found in the original.
Which Whiskey and How Much Should I Use?
Well, the original Baileys Irish Cream recipe is made with… wait for it… Irish whiskey. So if you want to make something that is as close as possible to that familiar flavor, you should start there. But, I’m not convinced that the brand of Irish whiskey you buy has much of an effect on the overall flavor of the drink.
People pay more for fancier whiskeys because they have a lot of delicate, subtle flavors. But after you’ve dumped in as much sugar, chocolate, and cream as this recipe requires, you aren’t going to taste those expensive flavors anyway.
As for how much, you should use your nose and your tongue.
I have heard from some of my loyal readers that the 1 2/3 cup of whiskey (400 ml) called for in my recipe is too much. If that’s you, then just use less of it. There is no shame in liking the lighter version of something.
I have noticed that after a bottle of homemade Baileys mellows in my refrigerator for a week or so, some of the more pungent liquor-y flavors go away. If you feel like your mixture is too strong, let it sit for a while and see if it’s better.
Do I Need to Use Real Cream? What If I’m Lactose Intolerant or a Vegan?
A classic Irish cream is made with real cream, but who needs to be classic?
If your body can’t process the lactose in real cream, or if you are a vegan or for whatever other reason need your drinks to be dairy-free, then make it with something else.
I have heard from many people who use coconut milk, almond milk, or even non-dairy creamer to give their homemade Baileys a nice, creamy texture.
Can I Add Other Flavors?
The ingredients in my recipe are meant to recreate the taste of the original liqueur. But, recipes are made to be broken.
First of all, a lot of my readers wrote in to tell me that they used liquors other than Irish whiskey and liked it even more.
Some used a light, blended scotch like Chivas or Cutty Sark and said that it wound up tasting the same as when they used Jameson’s. But, many used a sweeter liquor like brandy and liked the mellow edge it gave the final product. Like everything else in your kitchen, you should use ingredients that taste best to you.
While you’re thinking about different liquors, why not go for a totally different flavor profile altogether? With all the flavors of chocolate, caramel, and cream already present, adding some mint (either peppermint extract or steeped mint leaves) will give the drink a powerful wake-up call. If you want less sharpness and more umami, try a pinch of malted milk. And if you are a fan of cajeta or horchata (or RumChata!), throw in a bit of cinnamon for a warm, spicy addition.
How Long Does Homemade Baileys Last?
Well, this stuff is so yummy that in my house it doesn’t last long at all (rimshot). But seriously, I would recommend keeping your bottle in the refrigerator and using it within a couple of months. I think that freezing it is unnecessary and might lead to the ingredients separating from each other and clogging the bottle.
How to Make Baileys Irish Cream—Live!
What You’ll Need to Make This Recipe
This recipe’s easy enough to make that you should have time to whip up a batch to take to your New Year’s Eve parties! I found the recipe on a discussion forum on Chowhound. The entire discussion is worth a read. It contains lots of information about the drink. I am reprinting it below with my changes, notes, and product suggestions.
Sure, any blender will do for homemade Baileys Irish Cream. But if you are buying a new one and can swing the cost, a Vitamix blender is magical. It can blend anything without even having to catch its breath. (View on Amazon)
You’ll need chocolate syrup for this recipe. Hershey’s is the easiest to find, but the number one ingredient in it is high fructose corn syrup (the second is corn syrup). I recommend an organic chocolate syrup as a better alternative. (View on Amazon)
The homemade Baileys Irish Cream recipe calls for instant coffee. To kick up the coffee flavor, choose an instant espresso. (View on Amazon)
I love sharing recipes for foods and drinks that people don’t realize they can make at home, like this one.
If you’re interested in making a cocktail or dessert with homemade Irish cream, I recommend you try one of my Baileys Cocktail suggestions, frozen (or traditional) mudslide cocktails, or my Baileys cupcakes!
Homemade Baileys Irish Cream – You’ll Never Buy it Again
- 1 cup light cream I used heavy whipping cream, which made it even richer. If you have problems with clotting, though, you should use light cream.
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1 2/3 cup Irish whiskey I used Jameson's, but I think that a cheaper Irish whiskey wouldn't make a difference in taste.
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee You can also use leftover espresso, but keep in mind that you are adding extra water.
- 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract I skipped this entirely for my version, but if you like almond more than I do, throw it in!
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and set on low speed for 30 seconds. If you blend at too high a speed, you might wind up with coagulation or foaming.
- Bottle in a tightly sealed container and refrigerate. Shake before using.
- Will keep for up to 2 months.