Homemade Kahlua

Part of my baking mantra is that the best ingredients always have the best flavor! As such, I get the highest quality ingredients that I can find to use in my kitchen. That means buying in-season and local ingredients as much as I can. In some cases it means making it myself, like with this Homemade Kahlua.

Homemade Kahlua

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Kahlua is fabulous both in cocktails and in desserts (Kahlua Brownie Pie, anyone?). I’m a sucker for coffee (and for vodka!), so it makes sense. Homemade Kahlua is better than what you can buy in the store! It’s so easy to make, all you need is time!

Homemade Kahlua

Ingredients for Homemade Kahlua

All you need for Homemade Kahlua is four ingredients (and a little water)!

  • Sugar. Both for sweetness and its syrupy consistency.
  • Instant Coffee. Make sure it’s instant so that it dissolves and you don’t have any gritty coffee grounds in your kahlua!
  • Alcohol. I used vodka in my homemade kahlua, mostly because I had it on-hand, but also because it would let the flavors of the coffee and vanilla shine through. That said, you could choose to use rum or bourbon if you prefer!
  • Vanilla Bean(s). Your vanilla beans should be plump, soft (should be able to bend them without them breaking), and dark brown to nearly black in color. They will also smell fantastic! I always buy from companies that grow sustainably and use fair trade practices. The beans that I purchased most recently are these here. If you have leftover beans, might I suggest a batch of Homemade Vanilla Extract?
Homemade Kahlua

Bottles for Homemade Kahlua

You’ll also need two 12 ounce glass bottles for the recipe as written, but you can scale the recipe up or down depending on how much you’d like to make. Homemade Kahlua makes a fabulous gift, and it really doesn’t take any longer to double or even triple the recipe. 🙂 I use 12 ounce glass bottles like these here, which you can pretty up with a label and/or a bow if you’re gifting it!

Homemade Kahlua

After resting for 2-3 weeks, you’ll be rewarded with the best kahlua you’ve ever had! It’s worth the wait! It’s dark in color and syrupy with a more pronounced coffee flavor than in what you can buy at the store, and that fresh vanilla bean flavor lingers in the background… *drools*

If you are a kahlua fan, or have one in your life, trying your hand at Homemade Kahlua is a must!

Other posts you may like:

Homemade Chocolate Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

Kahlua Brownie Pie

Homemade Kahlua

Everything tastes better when you make it yourself! Make it now and in a few weeks you'll be all set for your next boozy baked good/gift/cocktail.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cool Time 30 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine Alcohol
Servings 4 12.5-ounce bottles


  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • cup instant coffee crytals
  • 1 cup vodka (or rum or bourbon)
  • 1 vanilla bean


  • Mix water, sugar, and instant coffee in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
  • Add vodka (or alcohol of your choice) to saucepan and stir to combine. Pour mixture into two 12 ounce bottles (see note). Cut vanilla bean in half, placing one piece in each bottle.
  • Allow bottles to set for 2-3 weeks. Strain kahlua to remove vanilla beans and rebottle.


Note on bottles: This recipe makes approximately 24 ounces of kahlua. I use 12 oz glass bottles like these here.
Tried this recipe?I’d love to hear all about it! Leave a review below, then snap a pic and tag me on Instagram!

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