How to make Kahlua – Everyone’s Favourite Coffee Liqueur

How to make Kahlua – Everyone’s Favourite Coffee Liqueur
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Coffee liqueur is simple to make

Most branded food and drink can be made easily, cheaply and a lot more wholesome than anything you can find in the shops — this includes Kahlua coffee liqueur. It’s not only easy to make but only requires a handful of ingredients that you might even have in your cupboards already. By varying the ingredients slightly, you can customize it to suit your own taste – more or less sweet, alcoholic, or add even more coffee.

Vanilla beans combined with coffee and sugar are what flavors homemade Kahlua

Vanilla beans combined with coffee and sugar are what flavors homemade Kahlua

I love flavoured liqueurs…Baileys, Tia Maria and Kahlua are all among my favourites. The only thing I don’t like about these creamy, tipsy, girly drinks is their price – they’re all about £14 a bottle now. Five years ago I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid as I popped them into my trolley and swished my way over to the till. But times have changed and sometimes if I want to enjoy a bit of luxury without feeling guilty then I have to figure out how to make it myself – and on a budget.

Once prepared, Kahula can be mixed with milk and ice for a delicious and boozy kind of iced latte. You could even go the full mile and make your own Kahlua, Baileys and Grand Marnier and layer them for probably the best B-52 you’ve ever MADE. Or why not plan on preparing a few bottles in time for a party? In any case you’ll be saving quite a bit of money while having a load of fun!

Homemade Kahlua

Makes almost three 75cl bottles

4 cups Boiling Water
2 cups Dark Brown Sugar
2 cups White Sugar
1/2 cup Instant Coffee – Regular or Decaf depending on your preference
1 Vanilla Bean
3 cups Vodka – this is about an entire 70cl bottle
3 clean and sterilised bottles – old wine bottles with screw tops are perfectHow to make Kahlua – Everyone’s Favourite Coffee Liqueur 1. But your sugars into a heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Stir the mixture until all the sugar is dissolved then add your coffee. Stir again until this is dissolved then cover your bowl and allow to cool until it reaches room temperature.2. Once cooled, slice your vanilla pod and scrape the gooey insides out with a knife and place it in the bowl.3. Pour the vodka into the mix and stir gently. Then, using a funnel, pour the coffee liquor into the bottles and seal. If any of the black vanilla is stuck to the bottom of the bowl just spoon it out and into the bottles as well.

4. Store your homemade Kahlua in a dark place and ideally you’ll want to wait about two to three weeks before drinking it. This is to give the flavours, especially the vanilla, time to meld before drinking it. But if you absolutely can’t wait that long it’s fine to drink immediately.

PS – Remember how I mentioned that a bottle of Kahlua costs about £14 at the shop? If you make it at home you end up spending about £4.50 per bottle.

How to make Kahlua – Everyone’s Favourite Coffee Liqueur

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50 Discussion to this post

  1. Jo says:

    Once again, home made costs so little compared to shop bought. That looks so easy to make too. I'm afraid that I don't care much for any alcohol other than wine, or perhaps a half of lager on a very hot day.

  2. That's brilliant! We had far too many strawberries last year, arrive all at the same time, so we froze them. People told us that would spoil them…..joke's on them, we were making strawberry daquiri's for my birthday!

  3. becky3086 says:

    Very interesting post! I really can't wait to try this.

  4. Nelly says:

    Thanks for the recipe. Cannot wait to try it!

  5. Of course the reason the shop bought drinks are so expensive is the Government tax placed on every bottle-the ingredients themselves are a small part of the cost.
    Just to make you all jealous, I have actually made Baileys in the Baileys factory! But I can't tell you the recipe!

  6. I wonder if it works with moonshine?

  7. I am afraid that coffee liqueur doesn't appeal in any way, shape or form. Sorry Tanya, you are on your own on this one. I can remember Christmasses past when my Aunt was always trying to press a Tia Maria on me – no-thank-you!

  8. Oh wow. My booze intake has risen since my son started Catholic school. all the fundraisers seem to involve it. Before Christmas we had a cocktail crawl, going from house to house, each one with a country theme. I made my chilli verde canapes for the Mexico house. Anyway, I couldn't remember the name of my favourite cocktail, it's the B52!!! I also got a bit of a taste for Irish coffee at the Church Christmas fair too. I think you have just made my day.

  9. Philippa says:

    One of John's favourite drinks has Kahlua in so will definately be trying this out. Never even thought of making it ourselves – thank you!

  10. Jo – Do you drink iced lattes? If so, you'll love this recipe. It's really not all that strong once you mix it half and half with milk.

    Mad Kiwi Bird – Sounds delicious! Freezing fruit does tend to break down its structure but if you're planning on using it for cooking or blending it actually doesn't matter – and anyway it enhances the flavour. I always freeze my bananas before using them in baking these days and I do the same for berries as well.

    Becky – Let me know how you get on 🙂

    Nelly – You're very welcome…enjoy 🙂

    Liquineer – This is very true about alcohol taxes/duty. And am VERY jealous about your experience of making 'Real' Baileys. Lucky you!

    Sunnybrook – You should try it! I'll bet it will work just fine.

    Elaine – To each their own 😉

    Green Lady – Whoo hoo! Am glad to help 🙂 And it sounds like those church ladies know how to party! Haha

    Philippa – Am really glad to give you the idea and hope that John enjoys his homemade Kahlua 🙂

  11. I learn something new every time I come to your blog Tanya.

  12. Jo says:

    I don't drink coffee in any form, Tanya, though I don't mind the coffee creams in a box of choccies, lol. Well you can't win us all, can you?

  13. Oh this sounds excellent!! Can't wait to try it out for myself 🙂

  14. I hope you enjoy it Fiona 🙂

  15. Yum! I didn't know you could make this home made! Great gift idea!!

  16. Shaheen says:

    This is perhaps my favourite liquer of choice, but for a while I have had to walk by it at the supermarkets as the price has been outwith my present income. I so appreciate this recipe and cannot wait to try it – will do once I have settled into my new home in Wales. Thank you for sharing Tanya.

  17. Sandy says:


    I recently found your blog and totally enjoy reading it. Thank you
    for this recipe, the Kahlua will make a great Christmas gift.

  18. Mumra says:

    If you can get Al Kool or 180 proof alcohol there will be a purer taste. Also I think some real coffee beans would be a nice touch.

  19. Anonymous says:

    How long will this last?

    • Not long…the bottle is usually empty within a week or so 😉

      I'd say about three months though it probably could last much longer. You'll actually find similar recipes claiming a year, two years, or indefinitely but without evidence I'd be conservative on shelf-life due to the water content and lack of preservatives.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I'm going to have to try this! Thanks 🙂

  21. not sure where I would find vanilla bean.. how much vanilla abstract would suffice in it's place?

  22. Tanya, I happened to find your lovely blog and love it! Especially the Kahlua recipe. Do you happen to like Amaretto Di Sarrono? I have a recipe that is awesomely wonderful! I and spouse only drink the very expensive Amaretto but I too have the recipe that you are unable to tell the difference. Let me know if you want it…Elaine…[email protected]

  23. Making homemade Kahlua looks very tempting! Do you know if the original is made with vodka? I always liked Kahlua, but not other drinks with vodka. I'm wondering if it would taste about the same to substitute rum or whiskey in your recipe, or if those are too strong-tasting.

    • You really can't taste the Vodka when the Kahlua is finished but you could try rum or whisky if you wanted. It might taste really strong (bad?!) though!

    • Lesley Standridge says:

      Tanya is right about the Vodka you will not be able to taste it at all. But it is something you have to watch when you drink it, cause it will knock you on your butt, if not careful.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Made mine a few weeks ago, found some cool bottles in dollar store that are intended for olive oil! I think the Mexican variety is made with rum, I used a combination of vodka & brandy! I recommend giving it a shake every few days to keep it infused. Can hardley wait to try it. ( I did try a taste because all I made did not fit into the amount of bottles I bought and now know it is good to elet the vanilla infuse!)

  25. Wolf says:

    Finally found the bean all across town, And just completed 2 bottles and one cup. Wine type bottles with rubber glass stopper. Used a Caribbean spiced rum since I was using it for white russians and my morning coffee I did not see the need for the vodka.. Now off to a dark cool room for three weeks. And onto the Baileys directions.. 🙂 Why stop now! LOL

  26. Sue Harrop says:

    How much vanilla extract should you use in place of a vanilla bean

    • lovelygreens says:

      I’ve never tried making it without a vanilla bean but I will tell you this: you can make an entire bottle of homemade vanilla extract with just one vanilla pod.

    • Lesley Standridge says:

      You buy a regular size bottle like from a Dollar General or Family Dollar Store, and it only costs a dollar, if you don’t want to do the Vanilla bean, however that is what I would do. Cause the fresh Vanilla bean is so much better and will be able to tell the difference in a hurry!

  27. could you please tell me if the 1/2 cup of instant coffee is just the granules or coffee made up with water. Thank you. J 🙂

  28. Susan Sparke says:

    Try using espresso. Amazing!

  29. Diana Hunt says:

    I have m,ade the same for years, only with coffee beans. For this you need a larger bottle and about six weeks to get the real taste. Stored cool and dark, give the bottle a good shake every two days. Voila. Afterwards strain off and throw away zhe beans and put in a smaller bottle. A great present for the men. Here they drink it cooled as a shot. If you put more sugar in so that it is thicker it tastes wonderfull with vanilla ice-cream.

  30. Cindy says:

    Could you use Splenda instead of sugar in th this recipe?

  31. Patti Hamlin says:

    Made this toda. OMG is it ever wonderful! Got most in dark space for 2 weeks but just had to try it!

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