How to Make Your Own Kahlua Recipe

Bring a homemade touch to baked goods (or holiday gifts!) with our super-simple Kahlua recipe.

It’s easy to pick up a bottle or two at your local grocery store, but making your own Kahlua allows you to control the alcohol and sugar content. It’s also less syrupy and tastes even better than the name brand! Plus, homemade Kahlua makes the perfect gift for when the holidays roll around.

What Is Kahlua?

Kahlua is a brand of coffee-flavored liqueur that was founded in by four friends in Mexico in 1936. The liqueur is made by combining arabica coffee with sugar, vanilla and rum, and is used in classic cocktails like the White Russian, Espresso Martini and Mudslide.

Craving a White Russian? Here’s how to make one at home.

How Do You Make Kahlua?

The key to a truly delicious homemade Kahlua comes down to the quality of ingredients used. Be sure to use fresh-brewed coffee and a decent brand of alcohol for a rich liqueur that’s full of flavor. Here’s how our New York Community Cook, Sue Stetzel likes to make it.

What You Need:

  • 4 cups strong brewed coffee
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups good quality white rum (or vodka, if you prefer)

Step 1: Make Coffee Simple Syrup

In a saucepan, bring the coffee and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Step 2: Combine Ingredients

Stir the vanilla extract and alcohol of your choice into the cooled coffee simple syrup until combined.

Step 3: Store

Pour into clean bottles, cap tightly and store in a cool, dry place.

Step 4: Drink!

Use your homemade Kahlua as a base for cocktails, add it to a cup of coffee or even use it in desserts, like this Kahlua fudge cake.

Can Kahlua Go Bad?

If stored properly, your homemade Kahlua will maintain its flavor and potency for about three to four years. Kahlua that has gone bad will smell off and have a watered-down taste.

Use Your Homemade Kahlua to Make Dessert:
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Up Next: The Best Coffee Liqueur + 9 More Liqueurs to Bake With

Caroline Stanko
As Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.