It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I love Bailey’s Irish Cream. Well actually, make that any Irish Cream because I sometimes buy the less expensive versions. For years, though (make that decades) I’ve been making my own Homemade Baileys Irish Cream.
I gotta give a shout out to my friend, Jen, who passed me the recipe back in the early 80s. Oh my gosh, it seems a lifetime ago, and it is for some people, I guess. The funny thing is, I still feel like that kid! And I still make my Homemade Baileys.
About Homemade Baileys Irish Cream:
These days you’ll find this recipe all over the place, with just minor variations, so it’s nothing new. As a matter of fact, this same recipe has been on my site for years, I’m just giving it it’s own post today. That’s because I was spiffing up my other Irish Cream Recipe, my Baileys Irish Cream Copycat, and decided this recipe needs its own love! Besides, St. Paddy’s Day is just around the corner.
Now speaking of love, if you check out that other Irish Cream Recipe you’ll see I “reverse engineered” it from actual Baileys and you’re gonna see that I “dis” this recipe a little. I don’t think it’s as smooth as my reverse engineered Baileys, I think maybe it’s a little strong and a little sweet. But hey, that hasn’t stopped me from making this Baileys and enjoying it for decades and bonus that this takes about five minutes to make!
I also love mixing this Homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream and serving it for girl’s nights or parties. It’s a great hostess gift and it can never go wrong for a little Christmas gift if there’s someone on your list that loves Baileys! Just put it in a pretty little jar or bottle. Add a bow and a tag if you want.
How to Drink Bailey’s Irish Cream:
Whether you use the real Irish Cream, a knock off or any other recipe, there are so many ways to indulge beyond just sipping. I gotta say, not having to pay a fortune for the real stuff makes me feel like I can be a little more liberal with it!
- There’s no limit to cocktails that can be made with Bailey’s, both warm and cold, classic or new, plain or fancy. (There are so many fancy ones!) Check out Bailey’s Recipe Collection. The fabulousness just goes on and on and they just keep adding to it.
- If you have good taste, stay away from the Irish Car Bomb. Or the name at least; Irish Slammer is def less offensive. Eater talks a little bit more about it the history but certainly glosses over the length and seriousness of the Troubles in Ireland. Anyway, if I haven’t convinced you, you just do you.
- I always liked the layered shot of Bailey’s, Kahlua and Frangelica and I swear back in the day we called that a B-52, although now I find that’s a different shot usually with something orange, and the one I love is now called a Snickers. Maybe we didn’t know any better.
- And you just can’t beat a classic White Russian. But Baileys is good just as is, in a small cordial glass, on the rocks, or as I mentioned above, with a little milk and ice. A poor man’s (or woman’s) white Russian.
- Don’t forget to add a little (or a lot) to your coffee or maybe your hot chocolate and I don’t even want to think about adding it to your Hot Nutella. That just makes me want to run to the store and get me some Nutella right now!
Using Bailey’s in Desserts:
Baileys is just perfect in or on a dessert. Baileys really has an affinity for any dessert with chocolate, caramel or coffee, although sometimes you’ll see it paired with almond or other flavors. Mostly Baileys is used in a very moderate amount.
- Baileys with ice cream is incredible, just a little pour over the top, or mixed in a shake or even made into ice-cream. Make any of those with just plain vanilla ice-cream, caramel, chocolate, coffee, mocha or any of those with any wild mixture or add-ins. It’s just so hard to go wrong.
- And of course, Bailey’s is excellent with or in a dessert. It hardly matters, either something plainer like cheesecake, or combined into or with something chocolate, caramel or coffee. Think brownies, cakes, bread puddings, even dessert sauces. Really the possibilities are endless.
- Frosting sometimes has Baileys, but most really use so little it’s hardly recognizable. I gotta give a shout out to my fabulous chocolate frosting, Best Baileys Frosting. Its frosting that really tastes like Bailey’s is in it! Please ignore the unfortunate photos!
Making Homemade Baileys Irish Cream:
It’s kind of amazing how many food bloggers and recipes there are out there these days! And how many sites this recipe now appears on. The funny thing is, and I’ve checked a lot of them, this recipe has stayed almost exactly the same over the years, with only a few tweaks here and there. I’m putting down the original just as I got it all those years ago with one exception. I’d recommend pasteurized eggs if you use them.
These days most people just leave the eggs out of the recipe, so do the same if you wish. A few other tweaks you might see are just minor changes. Sometimes the amounts of the coffee granules, the chocolate syrup, the vanilla, and the almond extract are changed a little, and sometimes the almond extract is omitted. I usually put a little less almond extract in than is called for in the recipe. I use 1/4 teaspoon instead of a half.
Speaking of that egg. It’s there to help emulsify the Homemade Baileys and add body. The protein also helps balance the sugar. I wrote a whole lot about the eggs and egg safety in my other Baileys Irish Cream Copycat, post. Flip over to that one if you’d like to read more. I’ll spare you, here, lol! I really did write a lot…
As far as making this recipe, add the ingredients in order to the blender so you’ll have to minimally mix and work quickly before the hooch curdles the cream. Back in the day we’d just toss everything in the blender and turn it on! These days, blenders are so much more powerful. Be careful and blend on low just until blended, or you might find yourself actually whipping that cream!
Storing Baileys Irish Cream Recipe Copycat Version:
The recommended maximum storage time for all these old 1980s Bailey’s recipes is almost always two months. There isn’t really any valid safety reason for that time period. The alcohol will inhibit any bacterial growth.
If eggs are used and there is any question about storage, check my other Bailey’s Irish Cream Recipe for more info or just think of it this way. If you have used a contaminated egg (about 1 in 20,000 are contaminated according to the CDC, the contamination will not grow at refrigerator temperatures and eventually, although we don’t know how long (weeks) for this percentage of alcohol, will clear the Baileys. This gets safer with time. Of course, you can leave the eggs out or use pasteurized eggs.
As far as quality, I think you’ll find with no way to commercially emulsify any Homemade Irish Cream recipes that after several weeks the cream could possibly separate or clump. Actually it could be strained and reblended, although that’s a project I’m guessing most people wouldn’t be too keen to do. My best advice? Make it, drink it, enjoy it. And then make another batch!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I hope even more you’ll enjoy the Homemade Baileys! You’ll find all my pricing breakdown at the bottom of the page below the recipe.
Happy St. Paddy’s Day!
Homemade Baileys Irish Cream
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: about 5 1/2 cups, 1 1/3 L 1x
- Category: Beverages
- Cuisine: Irish
- 1 3/4 cups Irish whiskey
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 4 eggs, pasteurized, optional
- 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
- 1 to 2 teaspoon instants coffee granules
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (I usually only used 1/4 teaspoon)
Combine all ingredients in a blender, serve over ice. Store in the fridge.
Keywords: Alcohol, Bailey's, Beverages, cocktail, Cream, Eggs, Homemade Baileys, St Paddys, whiskey
I’ll be sharing at CookBlogShare this week, the Lazy Gastronome, as well as at Fiesta Friday, hosted this week by me! Yep, that’s right, me. Stop by if you’d like; I see a few Irish & Irish/American recipes being shared!
Saving Money on Homemade Baileys Irish Cream:
How much your homemade Baileys runs you depends on your ingredients. It’s always going to be far less expensive to make a homemade Baileys than to buy one, especially if you buy the whiskey on sale. But there are some things you probably want to keep in mind.
- The first is this recipe makes MORE than a 1L bottle of Baileys. It makes about 1 1/3 liters.
- The second is, the most expensive ingredient is the whiskey. Getting that at a great price is the biggest factor to both the outlay for ingredients and the cost of your Homemade Baileys.
The other thing is how much money are you going to have to put out to buy all the other ingredients and how much is it going to cost to make the recipe. Thinking about the outlay and the cost, you’ll want to factor in:
- How many of these ingredients do you have on hand?
- If you have to buy ingredients, will you ever use them again?
- Will you make more than one batch of Irish Cream?
If you never cook, don’t have a well-stocked pantry (and assuming you don’t have bottles of whiskey around) and just run out and purchase all the ingredients for this recipe, the initial outlay for your homemade Baileys is going to be considerable; probably more than buying a bottle of Baileys.
- Keep in mind one bottle of Homemade Irish Cream is 1 1/3 bottle of Baileys.
- If you make more than one bottle, you’ll have recouped your cost.
- If you are able to store and use some of the ingredients and put them to good use, either in future batches or for something else, that’s going to make this recipe more cost-effective.
If you cook & bake it’s likely that you will not have to shell out a lot of $ to buy all the ingredients at one time to make this recipe. Your initial outlay will be lower. Again, assuming that you’ll be buying the alcohol.
- You may already have instant coffee on hand for chocolate recipes and at least vanilla and possibly almond extract in your pantry for baking.
- Whether you have to buy all the ingredients or have some of them, the cost per recipe will likely be very close; it’s the initial outlay of cash for the ingredients that can vary & it’s the price of the hooch that’s going to make the biggest difference.
So let’s do the math: First of all, I’d highly recommend purchasing any alcohol on sale! There’s really no reason to pay full price ever for alcohol of any kind and all of these will be on sale regularly and somewhere at a low around St. Paddy’s Day and will be on sale throughout the year. Crunch your numbers. Often smaller bottles on sale are less per unit than larger bottles on sale. Sign up for email alerts from your favorite store.
- A liter (about 33 ounces) bottle of Baileys as I post this in 2020, not on sale was $28.79. On sale, it was $24.99.
- Keep in mind the recipe makes about 5 1/2 cups, about 44 ounces or about 1 liter and 1/3).
- If you use a good imported whiskey (and you don’t have to, which could potentially lower your cost) a liter of Bushmills was $21.90 and the same amount of Jameson Irish Whiskey, $22.99. In my math, I’m just making it easy and calling it $22.00. On sale, I found both for $14.99.
- A liter contains 4.22 cups, about 4 1/4 cups. The recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups of whiskey, so each bottle of whiskey will make two bottles of Homemade Baileys and leave you with 3/4 cup of whiskey leftover.
A few hints on the pricing of ingredients. This is basic pricing, with no great shopping heroics; just picking up ingredients. It does pay to do a little shopping around, though. Other than the price of the whiskey which is the largest outlay, buying ingredients on sale for the most part, doesn’t affect the price per bottle so much (because the amounts used are so small) but can make three or four dollars difference on the initial outlay of ingredients.
- Condensed milk is always on sale around holidays and store brands are usually cheaper. Look lower on the shelves.
- The cream is almost always less per pint (16 ounces/2 cups) rather than by 1/2 pint (8 ounces/2cup) and Walmart and Aldi have great pricing.
- Instant coffee is kind of a crapshoot as to what is available and what the price is. Kava is usually reasonable but the difference in pricing can be a lot with different brands and the same brand at different stores! You might want to shop around if what you see at your store seems out of line.
- Hershey’s chocolate syrup is usually about the same per ounce by the can or the larger bottles, so the can is a great way to shave a little off the initial price. I priced out using a can. You can use any brand you like but you’ll have quite a bit leftover so buy something you will use up.
- Vanilla: the best pricing I’ve found, just buying off the shelf, no coupon or sales for vanilla, is the two-ounce bottles at Target, Essential Vanilla. The almond extract was lower at my grocery store and at Michaels and Joanne Fabrics!
In the chart, below, I didn’t count any taxes and YMVV. I’ve figured the column per recipe and adjusted it per liter (even though you won’t be making a liter) so you can truly compare the cost of a liter of Baileys to the cost of a liter of this recipe. The first figure in each column is using the $22.00 for the whiskey and the second is using the $15.00 sales price. I did all the addition then rounded the final number.
I think you’ll agree that even if you don’t have all the ingredients on hand and you use sales priced whiskey, this recipe can be very well worth your while! I haven’t even seen a knock off brand that approaches this pricing.
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