Homemade Irish Cream Recipe (Made a Bit Lighter)

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!

Homemade Irish Cream (but this version is a bit lighter due to a really smart substitution that you will never ever notice)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. The recipe still has the sugary sweetened condensed milk, the flavorings and the whiskey. 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.

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.

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!

Here’s my light Homemade Irish Cream Recipe:

Light Homemade Irish Cream

This is a lightened version of Irish Cream. 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 steps 2-3.


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


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

Another delicious holiday drink to try is Light Homemade Eggnog using yogurt instead of cream:

egg nog (22) edit portrait 600px text


Have a delicious day! -Christine xo:)

This post originally appeared in December, 2014 and was revised and republished in December, 2016.

11 Responses to “Homemade Irish Cream Recipe (Made a Bit Lighter)”

  1. joy @ yesterfood — December 25, 2014 @ 11:50 pm (#)

    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 — January 2, 2015 @ 2:22 pm (#)

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

  2. Jim — December 25, 2014 @ 12:53 pm (#)

    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 — January 2, 2015 @ 2:23 pm (#)

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

  3. Baby June — December 20, 2014 @ 10:11 am (#)

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

    • Christine Pittman — December 24, 2014 @ 9:15 am (#)

      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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