This homemade Bailey's Irish cream recipe is incredibly easy to make - even easier than going to the store! All you need is a blender, 7 ingredients, and about 5 minutes to whip up the DIY version of this creamy, silky, chocolatey liqueur. Make it with Irish whiskey or vodka - the choice is yours. Either way it's delicious, whether served on the rocks or used in a boozy coffee or cocktail.
If there's anything I can get on board spiking with a little booze, it's a sweet, silky, chocolate cream liqueur I can add to lattés, cocktails, and even desserts. (Your girl loves a boozy chocolate dessert, you know.) In other words, you say homemade Bailey's Irish Cream, and I say "yes, PLEASE". It takes about five seconds to make and it's insanely good. And if that's sounds a little dangerous - well, don't say I didn't warn ya!
Why you’ll love this homemade Bailey's recipe
Now you might be sitting here thinking, "Alex, you know they sell this stuff at the store, right?" Well yeah, you could go buy a bottle of Bailey's and call it a day, but I'm here to petition you to DIY it instead. Like caramel iced coffees, chai lattes, and cinnamon chips, the homemade version is nearly always better.
This DIY Bailey's recipe in particular is:
- Incredibly easy to make: It requires just seven ingredients, and will only take up about five minutes of your time to throw together.
- Egg-free: No concerns here about the safety of drinking raw eggs!
- Low-maintenance: You'll only need one tool - a blender.
- Better than store bought: Like most things homemade, the flavor of homemade Irish cream is more pure than anything coming out of a pre-packaged bottle, and since you made it, you'll know exactly what ingredients went into it.
- Perfect for St. Patrick's Day or the holidays! Making this is a fun, simple way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. In fact, it's become something of a yearly tradition for me now. You can enjoy it on its own, use it in a recipe like my favorite Baileys latte, or bottle a batch for easy homemade gift-giving!
Ingredients and substitutions
This easy recipe has a very short ingredient list. Chances are, most of the ingredients are already in your fridge or pantry!
(amounts are listed in the recipe card)
- Strongly-brewed coffee or espresso. If you don't have a way to brew coffee, try buying cold brew concentrate and heating it up to use here.
- Dutch-process cocoa powder. This tends to have a deeper, smoother, and richer chocolate flavor than regular cocoa powder. You can sub regular cocoa in a pinch though!
- Sweetened condensed milk. Don't substitute this! It's non-negotiable, as it contributes to the sweetness, thickness, and creaminess of homemade Bailey's.
- Irish whiskey (like Jameson, Sexton, or Proper No. Twelve). You can also substitute vodka.
- Vanilla and almond extracts
- Heavy whipping cream. Regular whipping cream will also do the trick, but don't use anything lighter than that, or your Irish cream won't be as thick and creamy as it should be.
It may go without saying, but since this recipe involves very few ingredients, it's best to make sure the ones you do use are of high-quality.
How to make it
Making homemade Bailey's Irish cream truly could not be simpler. There are three basic steps:
Step one - Combine coffee and cocoa powder: Whisk together your (hot) coffee or espresso and cocoa powder until smooth. This ensures the cocoa powder will fully dissolve into the Irish cream, because we're looking for silky texture. The hot liquid will also bloom the cocoa, bringing out its flavor.
Step two - Blend: Time to grab your blender! Combine the cocoa mixture with sweetened condensed milk, your liquor of choice, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Blend until smooth.
Step three - Add cream: Finally, pour in the heavy cream and blend the mixture for just a couple seconds on low speed. Stop as soon as the cream is evenly mixed in. Over-blending or blending at high speed will cause the cream to whip and make the mixture appear curdled. Don't do it.
Homemade Bailey's Irish Cream with Vodka: Bailey's is traditionally made with whiskey, but if that's not your thing, substitute it with an equal amount of vodka.
Less chocolatey Irish cream: As one reader pointed out, this DIY version has a little more chocolate flavor than traditional Bailey's. You can cut the cocoa powder in half to tone down the chocolate if preferred.
Uses for homemade Bailey's
Irish cream is a liqueur, so it naturally makes for a great after-dinner drink. But there are plenty of ways to enjoy it!
- Drink it straight-up (chilled) or on the rocks.
- Add it to coffee or a latte to make a Bailey's Irish Coffee.
- Blend it into a boozy milkshake.
- Add it to a glaze, frosting, or ganache for your favorite dessert, like I did with these boozy Irish cupcakes.
- Use it in a dessert cocktail (espresso martini anyone?!).
- Bottle it up (swing-top glass bottles are perfect for this) and give it as a gift!
Tips & FAQ
If stored properly in an airtight bottle and kept refrigerated, this DIY version of Bailey's should stay fresh for anywhere from 2-4 weeks. If you start with fresh cream, it will likely last longer.
Any reputable Irish Whiskey will work. Jameson is of course the most familiar of these, but Proper No. Twelve is another good middle-of-the-road option. If you're looking for something of a little higher quality that won't break the bank, you can also try Sexton. Aim for good, not great; you don't need to use a top-shelf whiskey for this recipe!
Yes! All ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free. In the event that you're curious about how distillation makes pure liquor (like whiskey or vodka) gluten-free, you can learn more about that from a resource like Beyond Celiac.
This homemade liqueur can be frozen, although it will thicken noticeably. To use after freezing, just give it a quick shake. If using in a beverage, you can likely use it straight out of the freezer. If you plan to drink it straight or use it in a dessert, I'd suggest letting it sit out for 10-15 minutes first.
If you're on the hunt for more recipes to help you celebrate St. Patrick's Day (with a glass of homemade Bailey's on the side, of course!) here are a few of my favorites:
Homemade Bailey's Irish Cream
This DIY version of Bailey's Irish cream is incredibly easy to make - even easier than going to the store! All you need is a blender, 7 ingredients, and about 5 minutes to make this creamy, silky, chocolatey liqueur. Serve it on the rocks, in coffee, or in a cocktail. It also makes a fantastic homemade gift!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 32 ounces (about 1 liter) 1x
- Category: beverages
- Method: blender
- Cuisine: Irish
- Diet: Gluten Free
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) strongly-brewed coffee or espresso, hot
- 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) Irish whiskey OR vodka
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 ½ cups (12 ⅜ ounces) heavy cream
- Combine coffee and cocoa powder: Combine hot coffee/espresso and cocoa powder in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Blend: Add the cocoa mixture to a blender along with the sweetened condensed milk, whiskey/vodka, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Blend until smooth.
- Add cream: Pour in the heavy cream and blend in on lowest speed just until incorporated; do not over-blend! Transfer mixture to an airtight vessel and store in the refrigerator. Shake before using.
- If you don't have a way to brew coffee, try buying cold brew concentrate and heating it up.
- Dutch-process cocoa can be substituted with regular cocoa powder.
- Heavy cream can be substituted with regular whipping cream.
Storage and shelf life:
- Keeps well in the refrigerator for about 2-4 weeks. Swing-top glass bottles are great for storing and gifting this Irish cream.
- Homemade Bailey's can also be kept in an airtight and leakproof jar in the freezer. Shake well after freezing. You may also need to let it sit out for about 10 minutes before serving.
This post was originally published in 2014. It has since been updated with new content and photos, as well as some minor recipe adjustments.