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Homemade Kahlua {Coffee Liqueur}

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When I was little, my Mom went through a Kahlua phase that joyfully caused her to have ice cream in the freezer for like a month straight.  Having any sort of sweets on hand was literally unheard of in our house, but when she discovered this coffee liqueur and how good it tasted on ice cream, she stocked up!  To our further delight, Mom let us have it with her!  That is until Dad found out and told us that our Kahlua and ice cream days were over.  Mom seemed stunned at his outrage, as if she hadn’t realized that giving alcohol to children 9 and under might be folly.  I was majorly bummed at the time, but appreciate Dad’s intervention now.  With my addictive nature (have I mentioned my sweet teeth?), I hate to think of what my teen years might have been like with an unlimited supply of delicious Kahlua!

Although I don’t drink, I do love to bake with alcohol because it’s excellent for highlighting and intensifying flavor.  Because of my early exposure to Kahlua, it is my favorite liqueur and the one I use most often in baking.  I go through a large bottle of it every year, using it in Mocha-Frosted Kahlua Brownies and THE Mocha Crunch Cake exclusively.  Seriously, I make those two things so much that I need that much Kahlua just for them!

Unless you live in Mexico, Kahlua doesn’t come cheap, so I was thrilled when my friend, Suzie, shared her recipe for homemade Kahlua with me.  It never even occurred to me that it was something you could make at home, or I could have saved hundreds of dollars by now!  It is so much cheaper to make it yourself, and just as delicious.  You can use it in any recipe that calls for Kahlua with good results.

Homemade Kahlua {Coffee Liqueur}

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2/3 cup instant coffee
2 cups boiling water
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
3 cups vodka
1/4 cup Buttershots (a butterscotch flavored liqueur, optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean

Place coffee in large glass bowl.  Pour water over and stir.  Add sugars and stir until most of the heat has dissipated.  The sugar won’t be completely dissolved but that is OK.  Stir in the vodka, Buttershots, and vanilla or vanilla bean.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about two weeks.  Stir every day or every couple of days.  Remove vanilla bean, if used, and ladle into bottles using a funnel.  Keeps in refrigerator for about 6-8 months.

Makes about 2 liters.

Recipe source: Suzie S.


About Veronica

I have a kitchen addiction and love to collect & share recipes. My passion is baking but I love to cook as well. The only thing I don't like to do in the kitchen is wash dishes, but my husband generally does them for me in exchange for his dinner.

85 responses »

  1. Does it sit in the bowl for 2 weeks or bottle? What kind of bowl do you use? I want to make some for xmas presents. Thank you


  2. Been making this for years but slightly differently. Use three cups white sugar. No brown. 1 cup instant coffee 2 1/2 cups boiling water. 1 tsp vanilla,and 2 1/3 cups rum. Mocconna coffee tastes best.Richer flavour. Stir it in the boiling water till sugar dissolved then add rum and vanilla/ Bottle straight away. But then had to wait 3 weeks to use it. Also have a good Baileys recipe but doubt that one is cheaper to make.


    • Definitely going to try thIs and would also love to make Baileys – would you be able to share that recipe?


      • Baileys
        1 cup cream
        1 tin condensed milk
        1 2/3 cups whiskey
        2 tsp instant maconna coffee
        dissolved in a little hot water
        2 tblsp chocolate topping
        1 – 2 tsp vanilla essence

        Blend all at high speed in blender for 15 -25 secs
        Bottle securely and refrigerate. Shake before using. Ready to use immediately.


  3. My father-in-law gave me a recipe that called for a fifth of vodka and a pint of brandy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your story is so funny. I must give this a try.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Soooo if you DON’T use vanilla bean.. But vanilla extract instead.. Does it still need to sit out for 2 weeks and why


  6. Kailua is made with rum.



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