Irish Cream is an easy Irish whiskey spirit that’s perfect for serving on St. Paddy’s Day or any other time! Once you make your own smooth and creamy batch at home, you’ll never buy another bottle again. There are also instructions to make it lactose and dairy free, so it’s fit many diets.
For more similar cocktails, try our Irish Coffee and Irish Lemonade!
Who doesn’t love sipping on some Irish cream? It’s so smooth, creamy, sweet, and spiked with just the right amount of whiskey. Whether you drink it on the rocks all by itself or pour it into your coffee cocktail, you’ll love every decadent sip of this homemade drink! If you’ve ever had Bailey’s before, that’s essentially what this recipe is a copycat for… Except it’s even better because you can customize it to your exact tastes.
Irish cream is a perfect cocktail (or cocktail ingredient) to offer if you’re hosting a Saint Patrick’s Day party. To keep things authentic, just make sure you use a good quality Irish whiskey! Better yet, your favorite Irish Whiskey.
Again, that’s the beauty of a homemade recipe – you get to call the shots and make this beverage exactly how you see fit. You can change up so many things and still keep it semi-traditional and delicious!
While it’s an ideal drink to serve on St. Paddy’s Day, Irish cream is great to make a bottle of year-round. Christmas Eve and summer bonfires alike are wonderful occasions to serve some of this creamy stuff. You only need about 10 minutes of your time and a handful of simple ingredients to make it. Other than the whiskey, the other essential ingredients are kitchen staples that you likely already have on hand.
- Irish Whiskey – The most commonly known brands are Jameson, Bushmills, and Tullamore Dew, but you can choose any Irish whiskey that you love and prefer.
- Half and Half – it’s best to use half and half for the consistency and blending!
- Sweetened Condensed Milk
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – This adds just the right amount of depth with just a touch of chocolaty flavor.
- Instant Espresso Powder
- Vanilla Extract – Pure vanilla extract will yield the BEST flavor. I don’t recommend using imitation extract.
Make it Lactose Free or Dairy Free!
Yes! You can make this deliciously creamy spirit lactose free. I personally haven’t been able to have Bailey’s for years and that’s one of the reasons why I like to make my own. I’ve found great product substitutes that work with lactose free or dairy free diets!
Lactose Free – Simply use lactose free half and half and a sweetened condensed milk that is also lactose free. You can also make it with milk substitutes like oat milk and coconut milk. Personally, I prefer oat milk as a substitute because it is the closest to the original flavor and consistency of sweetened condensed milk.
Dairy Free – For the dairy free version, you can use either almond milk or oat milk instead of half and half. Use unsweetened almond milk because sweetened condensed milk is already sweet!
This easy Bailey’s copycat recipe comes together in just 10 minutes!
Measure all of the ingredients and pour them into a blender. Pulse until smooth. Stop and scrape if needed.
Transfer the Irish cream to a glass storage container with an airtight lid. Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours prior to serving. Be sure to give it a good shake before you pour and enjoy!
There are plenty of ways to enjoy homemade Irish cream. Here are just a few of my favorite ways to sip on this libation:
- By itself. You can always keep things simple by serving Irish cream on the rocks or chilled straight up.
- Add it to your coffee. Get a caffeine buzz by serving this cream with your coffee or espresso.
- In other cocktails. This classic spirit goes so well with a Mud Slide or Irish Coffee.
- In desserts. Check out my Cream Puffs, Cookie Dough Truffles, and easy Cheesecake Doughnuts.
While Irish cream is tasty just the way it is, you can also customize it with these fun additions:
- Caramel – Add some caramel or salted caramel sauce. If you go this route, you can either omit both the cocoa and espresso powders or choose to still keep them in.
- Chocolate – Make this cream even more chocolatey with some chocolate sauce. You can also just double the amount of cocoa powder.
- Espresso – Enhance the note of coffee flavor when you add more espresso powder. Just be careful, since a little really goes a long way.
- Mint – If you use fresh mint, it will have to be blended well. You can use syrup instead but add a very small amount at a time.
- Pumpkin Spice – You can use actual ground spice or extract, depending if you mind the texture or the added spices of not.
- Cinnamon – Feel free to use cinnamon syrup (be mindful of sugar) or ground cinnamon (this will add grainy texture).
Pin If You Want To Make It
Irish Cream Recipe
- 1 3/4 cups Irish whiskey
- 1 cup half and half
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. You may need to stop and scrape the sides and the bottom in between.
- Transfer the blended Irish cream into a glass storage container with an air-tight lid. (You can divide it into several mason jars if you wish.)
- Refrigerate the Irish cream for at least 2 hours before serving. Shake well before serving as well.
- Make sure to store the Irish cream in the refrigerator, in an air-tight glass container. Properly stored, it should last up to 2 months.
Sue Bennett says
Could you please tell me what is half and half and what I could use instead. I am in Australia.
Half and half is equal parts heavy whipping cream and milk. So you can use cream and milk to make your own half and half. I hope you like the recipe!