Homemade Kahlua

I know it’s hard to believe, but I spend time in the kitchen on things other than baking. We bought a second refrigerator not long after moving to Texas because I was having a hard time fitting all our groceries in the one in our kitchen. I try to make nearly everything we eat from scratch, and that takes a lot of groceries. On top of the baking and the cooking, I take on the occasional DIY kitchen project. I’m not talking cabinet painting or replacing countertops. I mean that I’m making something that I would typically just buy. Prime example: this Homemade Kahlua.

I really like kahlua. I’m a sucker for coffee (and for vodka!), so it makes sense. Occasionally I’ll make a cocktail with it, but more often than not I’m making sweets with it (surprise, surprise). It would also make great gifts! The recipe is quick and easy, but then the kahlua needs to sit for 2-3 weeks before it’s ready.

I used vodka, but you could also use rum or bourbon if you prefer. You’ll also need four, 12.5-ounce glass bottles for the recipe as written, but you can scale the recipe up or down depending on how much you want. I purchased both my vanilla beans and the bottles for the kahlua from I really like their selection and have purchased many items from them over the years. One of the bottles that I ordered got smashed in shipping, and they had a replacement out to me the same day. Love them. (They’re also in Michigan, which makes them *that much more awesome*.)

After resting for 2-3 weeks in my liquor cabinet, I was rewarded with the best kahlua I’ve ever had. It’s dark in color and syrupy, as you’d expect for kahlua. The coffee flavor is much more pronounced than in what you can buy at the store, and that fresh vanilla bean flavor lingers in the background.

If you are a kahlua fan, or have one in your life, trying your hand at making your own kahlua is a must! My head is swimming in ideas for cocktails and sweets to use it in…I’ll keep you posted on those. 😉

Other posts you may like:

Homemade Chocolate Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

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.
Recipe adapted from Beanilla (link here).
Servings 4 12.5-ounce bottles


  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup instant coffee crytals
  • 2 1/4 cups vodka (or rum or bourbon)
  • 1 vanilla bean


  • Mix water, sugar, and instant coffee in a large saucepan. Heat and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
  • Add vodka to saucepan and stir to combine. Pour mixture into (4) 12.5-ounce bottles (see note). Cut vanilla bean into quarters, 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: Beanilla has some great glass bottles to choose from. You can find the ones that I purchased here.

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