Homemade Irish Cream (Light!)

This delicious homemade Irish cream has less fat than the original because of a smart substitution that you won’t even notice. But trust me, it tastes just as good. It’s way cheaper than buying a bottle too!

This delicious homemade Irish cream has less fat than the original because of a smart substitution that you won't even notice. But trust me, it tastes just as good. It's way cheaper than buying a bottle too!

Around holiday time, my mom sometimes would make some homemade Irish Cream. If you’re not sure what Irish Cream is, it’s a mixture of sweetened cream and whiskey with some other flavors. The most famous brand is Bailey’s but there are other companies that make similar drinks.

There’s nothing quite like it to sip on while sitting by the fire.

Why make your own Irish Cream? Because it’s less expensive than store-bought. And also, you can make it lighter.

Why lighter? I was about to make the version that I have written down on a recipe card from my mom (her recipe is soooo good) when I realized that it’s almost all cream. It’s made of cream, sweetened condensed milk, whiskey and a bit of flavoring. It seemed to me that if I sipped on a glass of that Irish Cream I would be sipping on mostly cream. Once I realized that, I couldn’t bring myself to make the batch I had planned.

What I did instead was to substitute some milk thickened with cornstarch for the cream. It just doesn’t have that really fatty cream. But I promise you’ll never know it. It’s still nice and thick and rich and full of warm cozy flavor.

The recipe still has the sugary sweetened condensed milk, the flavorings, and the whiskey. It doesn’t really matter what time of whiskey you use and if you have some bourbon collecting dust in your liquor cabinet that would work, too. Here are the primary differences between them.

If you want the traditional full-fat experience (and I really don’t blame you) check out the note at the top of the recipe below where instructions using heavy cream are given.

Here’s my light Homemade Irish Cream Recipe! Another delicious holiday drink to try is Light Homemade Eggnog using yogurt instead of cream.

Have a delicious day! -Christine xo:)


Homemade Irish Cream Recipe (Made a Bit Lighter)

  • Author: Allie McDonald
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 3


This delicious homemade Irish cream has less fat than the original because of a smart substitution that you won’t even notice. But trust me, it tastes just as good. It’s way cheaper than buying a bottle too!


  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 (14oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup whiskey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 12 Tbsp. hot chocolate powder
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso or coffee powder


  1. Into a 2 cup measuring cup combine 3 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch until smooth.
  2. Add enough milk to make up a cup. Pour into a small saucepan and heat over medium stirring constantly until very thick and bubbling.
  3. Remove from heat. (If at any point this mixture clumps up, whisk it to recombine). Scrape the thickened milk into a blender.
  4. Add the sweetened condensed milk, whiskey, vanilla, 1 tablespoon of the hot chocolate powder and the espresso powder.
  5. Blend until mixed. Taste. Add more hot chocolate powder if desired.
  6. Pour into a container with a tight-fitting lid. Put on the lid and refrigerate until serving.


If you want the full-fat experience, simply omit the cornstarch and substitute heavy cream for the milk.Start by putting the cold cream into a blender and then continue with

This post originally appeared in December, 2014 and was revised and republished in November, 2018.
Homemade Irish Cream (Light!)

13 responses to “Homemade Irish Cream (Light!)”

  1. Philip says:

    Any experience with doubling, tripling, quadrupling the recipe?

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Philip, I’ve never done it but given that it’s just mixing things up, I think it should be just fine. Let me know how it goes!

  2. Yinka says:

    Am happy and learning a great deal. I love to learn and make new drinks with the most possible available ingredient in my country.
    For this Irish cream, condensed milk is expensive, what can I use as a possible substitute that will still taste as good as using d original ingredients.
    Also how long can this drink last for. How do I preserve it.

  3. […] and I bet a dribble of kahlua or homemade Irish cream in there would be nice […]

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  5. […] If you’ve got kids under 18 in the house, it’s perfect. If it’s all adults, you should also check out my recipe for homemade Irish Cream. […]

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  7. Christine, this sounds fantastic! Hot chocolate powder…is that premade hot chocolate mix like Swiss Miss, etc., or baking cocoa or something else? Thank you! Pinned!

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Hi Joy, Yes a pre-made hot chocolate mix. You can also use chocolate syrup. Cocoa doesn’t dissolve well. Happy New Year! -Christine

  8. Jim says:

    I have to say, I made this yesterday and cannot believe how much better it is than the Bailey’s Irish Cream, and a lot less expensive. This is now my be Irish Cream. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Jim, Thank you so much for letting me know. I’m really delighted that you liked it. Happy New Year! -Christine

  9. Baby June says:

    Wow, I never knew you could make Irish cream at home! Maybe I could use this to make it dairy free…. :)

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Baby June, Yes, I think you could absolutely make this into a dairy-free treat. You could absolutely substitute almond or soy milk (or a mixture of both) for the milk and then go in with corn syrup or another thick syrup for the thickness and sweetness of the sweetened condensed milk. Probably not one-for-one. I’d bet less corn syrup than sweetened condensed milk and then make it up with some extra almond milk. If you make it, let me know how it turns out, please. I’m intrigued.

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