How to Make Homemade Irish Cream for St. Patrick's Day

Everything you'll need and fool proof instructions

Certain times of the year call for one very special ingredient — Bailey's Irish cream. In addition to its popularity around Christmas, Baileys is also front and center once St. Patrick's Day comes into view. From Irish cocktails to desserts, there's no denying how important Irish cream is. What do you do when you're out of Baileys and simply can't celebrate St. Paddy's Day without it?

While Baileys' flavors seem irreplaceable, it's possible to create a comparable Irish cream at home. You can make a small batch or a party-sized jug of the creamy stuff. Everyone is just a little more happy when they've got Irish cream to use in their coffee or hot chocolate. Irish cream also makes a luxurious ingredient for a bevy of St. Patrick's Day desserts.

Keep reading for a guide on how to make homemade Baileys Irish cream with a few basic ingredients. We'll also give you the low down on what's actually in Baileys and some tips for making it at home. Discover how long a shelf-life your homemade Irish cream has in your refrigerator and get inspired along the way.

What Are The Ingredients In The Original Baileys Irish Cream?

The main ingredients in Baileys Irish cream include heavy cream, sugar, Irish whiskey, and additional milk and cocoa flavorings. Baileys also has more than a few emulsifiers and preservatives that affect the color and texture of the Irish cream. Don't worry, because when learning how to make homemade Baileys Irish cream at home, all you need are the basics.

Why Did My Homemade Baileys Curdle?

One problem that we face when creating Baileys Irish cream at home is when it curdles. This sometimes occurs due to the mixture of alcohol (Irish whiskey) and cream. The trick here is to pour in the whiskey very slowly and be sure to use cold cream instead of milk. Just like when making a custard, keep whisking the cream mixture as you add the whiskey so it's fully incorporated. 

How Long Does Homemade Baileys Last?

If you keep your homemade Baileys in an air-tight container, it can last up to two months in the refrigerator. When you're unsure of the timetable, give it a sniff and you'll know whether the cream has gone bad or not. Irish whiskey helps preserve the mixture, but with so much cream, it won't last more than a couple of months.

How To Make Homemade Baileys Irish Cream

This is one of the most tried-and-true methods for how to make homemade Baileys Irish cream. All you need is heavy cream, instant coffee, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate syrup, vanilla extract, and Irish whiskey. Check out our unique variations below to flavor your homemade Baileys Irish cream any way you like!

What You'll Need

  • 1 to 1?..." cups Irish whiskey (depending on how strong you like your Baileys)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP chocolate syrup
  • 1 tsp instant coffee or espresso grounds (optional)

Step-By-Step Instructions on How To Make Homemade Baileys Irish Cream

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the chocolate syrup, instant coffee, and heavy cream until they are fully blended (and granule-free).
  2. Off the heat, whisk in the rest of the ingredients (except the whiskey).
  3. Very slowly pour the whiskey into the mixture while whisking the entire time to avoid curdling. Whisk until fully combined.

You can also prepare Irish cream in a blender, as long as you take the time to add the whiskey slowly. Be sure to warm certain ingredients in step 1 to avoid any grainy bits of instant coffee in your cream.

Irish cream keeps in an airtight container for up to two months max. Make a label with the date you made the Irish cream so you don't lose track. Once you have your homemade Irish cream liqueur, you've got even more options. Buy some small containers and hand out your homemade Irish cream to friends and family as the perfect gift!

Homemade Irish Cream Variations

Here are some simple ways to add more of your favorite flavor to Irish cream or adjust the ratio of flavors to suit you. 

  • Add cinnamon or nutmeg for warm, spiced notes. 
  • If you prefer Irish cream with another liquor like rum or bourbon, try it out!
  • Replace the condensed milk with coconut or other flavored condensed milk.
  • For additional flavors, try adding extracts, from orange and lemon to almond to rum.

Irish Cream Inspiration

Many cocktail recipes make Irish cream the star of the show. Some include a frozen chocolate mudslide, where Irish cream and Kahlua go hand-in-hand, or a creamy Irish coffee. Add Irish cream to your favorite vodka martini for an instant dessert cocktail or indulge in an After Eight shot that satisfies. Maybe it's time you tried your first Irish car bomb to celebrate Irish cream, whiskey, and Guinness all at once.

READ MORE: These 25 Tasty St Patrick's Day Dessert Recipes Are Leprechaun-Approved