Irish Cream Syrup

Dress up your coffee and cocktails with homemade Irish Cream Syrup! With flavors of coffee, chocolate, vanilla and whiskey, this easy-to-make syrup contains all the tantalizing flavors of Irish cream and is perfect for mixing into your favorite beverages.

A jar of Irish Cream syrup with a gold spoon. A green tea towel sits to the side.

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Irish Cream Syrup recipe

One of the best things to come out of the last few years, in my humble opinion, is the addition of Irish cream drinks to coffee menus everywhere.

The first time I saw a seasonal Irish cream coffee on a menu, I had to have it. And then I knew I had to try making it at home.

Irish cream syrup is not usually alcoholic, but you can add a little hint of that if you like! (Just for flavor, honestly.)

This recipe is inspired by my own homemade Irish cream recipe, which has notes of vanilla, coffee and chocolate, plus real whiskey if you want to deepen the Irish cream flavor.

You can use it to sweeten both hot coffee and iced coffee. And cocktails, too!

More coffee syrup recipes: Vanilla SyrupPumpkin Spice SyrupChocolate SyrupCaramel SyrupCinnamon Syrup

Foam is spooned on top of a glass of Irish Cream cold brew.

Why you’ll love this recipe

This sweet coffee drink is sure to be one you put on regular rotation. Here’s why I think you’ll love it, if you don’t already:

  • Add the flavor of Irish cream to your coffee — without spiking it with alcohol.
  • It’s much cheaper to make coffee drinks at home than to get them at a coffee shop. This one is great for a copycat version of Starbucks’ Irish cream cold brew recipe.
  • You can use as much of this syrup as you like to sweeten your favorite drinks and cocktails.

This delicious Irish cream coffee syrup is equally great for your morning coffee and the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. It can be used in iced drinks as well as hot ones.

And you can even mix it into cocktails! (Some ideas for you below.)

Since there’s no actual milk or cream in this recipe, it is dairy-free. You can mix it with almond milk, oat milk or whatever non-dairy milk you like!

An overhead view of a jar of syrup, a gold bowl of cocoa powder and a gold spoon.

What is Irish cream?

Irish cream is a creamy alcoholic liqueur made with flavors of chocolate, coffee and Irish whiskey. It is opaque and creamy, with a slight brown color.

Baileys Irish cream is perhaps the most ubiquitous brand of Irish cream here in the States, but there lots of other brands out there, including Carolan’s, Kerrygold, St. Brendan’s and Ryan’s.

This syrup recipe does not contain actual Irish cream liqueur, but if you like you can add a splash of Irish whiskey for flavor. (Not in an alcoholic way, but this would be similar to adding a bit of vanilla extract to a recipe!)

It also does not contain any cream, however. You can certainly add it to your favorite drinks along with milk or cream! But this syrup is especially great for adding you all the same flavor of Irish cream to black coffee.

Tools & equipment

To make simple syrups at home, you will need a medium saucepan to heat up the sugar and water together.

For this recipe, you will also need a whisk to combine the instant espresso and cocoa powder, as well as a fine-mesh strainer to strain out any solids that don’t fully absorb into the syrup.

The other thing you need is something to store it in. You’ll want to get an airtight container to keep your syrups in — they must be stored in the fridge.

A set of mason jars is a wise investment if you like making syrups. You can even add a special pour spout lid to your jar for easy pouring into drinks.

A jar of brown syrup with a gold spoon resting inside.

Ingredients

Though Irish cream syrup can be bought (Monin Syrups makes one), it’s SO easy to make at home with real ingredients. Here is what you will need to make this homemade Irish cream syrup:

Sugar

Either granulated sugar or cane sugar is my recommendation for this syrup. However, feel free to use brown sugar or honey instead. The color of the syrup is dark, so it doesn’t matter what kind of sugar you use.

You can also make this a sugar-free syrup by using your favorite sugar-free substitute.

Water

Filtered water or distilled water will give you the best, purest results, but tap water is totally fine.

For simple syrup, you typically need as much sugar as you do water, but this recipe is a little different.

Unsweetened cocoa powder

You will want to use unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe. Though it is a powder, it is not the same as the sweet powder used to make hot chocolate.

You will find it in the baking aisle of the grocery store. What you are looking for is “100% Cacao” or “100% Cocoa” on the label. (The spelling differs depending on the brand — “cacao” refers to the name of the bean that chocolate comes from.)

Instant espresso powder

You’ll want to use some instant coffee or instant espresso powder. You can substitute a splash of real coffee if you like, but it can make the syrup a bit runnier.

If you grab some instant espresso powder, you can also use it to make whipped coffee, where it’s a key ingredient.

Vanilla extract

A splash of vanilla extract adds a bit of sweet vanilla flavors to your syrup. It can be optional but it really adds some complex flavor.

High-quality vanilla will be a great addition to your pantry and you’ll taste a difference if you bake with it. You can also use vanilla bean paste if you like.

A green bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey sits beside a green and white dish towel on a white surface.

Irish whiskey

If you like, you can add a splash of Irish whiskey, like Jameson. This kind of whiskey is an ingredient of Irish cream liqueur, so a little bit of whiskey will help to recreate that unique flavor.

There’s only one teaspoon of whiskey in this simple syrup recipe, so it’s really just for flavor and won’t get anyone tipsy. Feel free to omit this ingredient if you want to keep it completely non-alcoholic.

A jar of Irish Cream syrup sits on a gold platter with tools and ingredients next to it.

How to make Irish Cream Syrup

Here’s how to mix up your own Irish cream syrup at home. Let’s take it step by step.

A blue spatula stirs sugar and water together in a saucepan.
A spatula rests in clear liquid in a saucepan.

In a small saucepan, heat sugar and water. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat.

Spices are stirred into a liquid in a sauce pan using a blue whisk.

Whisk in a dusting of cocoa powder and espresso powder. Continue to whisk until completely dissolved and few or no lumps remain.

A closeup of a blue whisk sitting in brown liquid.

Then use a fine-mesh strainer, strain into a jar or bottle. Stir in vanilla extract and Irish whiskey.

Let cool to room temperature, then store in the fridge in a food-safe, airtight container for up to one month.

Uses for Irish Cream Syrup

There are so many ways to use this Irish cream simple syrup. It’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or to enjoy during the holiday season.

Here are a few favorites of mine:

Of course, this recipe was designed for using in coffee. Stir it into your morning coffee, latte or iced coffee drink. It’s wonderful with French press coffee.

Starbucks makes an Irish Cream Cold Brew that you can make at home with this syrup, cold brew concentrate and a sweet cream on top.

Another great coffee drink it would be great in is the coffee soda, which adds bubbly club soda to sweetened coffee for a light and refreshing beverage.

You could use it to sweeten Irish coffee and iced Irish coffee for extra Irish cream flavor. And don’t forget to make Baileys whipped cream to go on top!

On the cocktail side of things, try it in an Irish old-fashioned with Irish whiskey. (My husband did this and it was so very good!)

Another perfect way to use it is to drizzle it over your favorite ice cream. (Might I suggest Baileys ice cream?)

A jar of Irish cream syrup sits on a gold plate with a gold spoon next to it on top of a green dish towel.

FAQ

What does Irish Cream syrup taste like?

Like Irish cream liqueur, Irish cream syrup has notes of whiskey, coffee, chocolate and vanilla. The syrup doesn’t contain any cream or milk, however, which makes it perfect for mixing with creamy coffee drinks.

What is in Irish Cream Syrup?

Irish cream syrup is a variation of simple syrup that contains sugar, water, cocoa powder, espresso powder and vanilla extract. A splash of Irish whiskey can be added for flavor.

More coffee shop recipes

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

A jar of Irish Cream syrup sits next to a gold plate holding a gold bowl of cocoa powder and a gold cocktail jigger. A gold spoon sits on a green dish towel to the side.

Irish Cream Syrup

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Add the flavor of Irish Cream Syrup to your coffee drinks and cocktails with this easy recipe.
5 from 36 votes
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ingredients

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ¾ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Irish whiskey optional

instructions

  • In a small saucepan, heat sugar and water. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat.
  • Whisk in cocoa powder and espresso powder. Continue to whisk until completely dissolved and few or no lumps remain.
  • Stir in vanilla extract and Irish whiskey.
  • With a fine-mesh strainer, strain into a jar or bottle.

notes

Store in the fridge for up to one month.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

nutrition information

Yield: 12 servings

amount per serving:

Serving: 0.5ounce Calories: 34kcal Carbohydrates: 8g Protein: 0.02g Fat: 0.04g Saturated Fat: 0.01g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.003g Sodium: 1mg Potassium: 4mg Fiber: 0.02g Sugar: 8g Calcium: 1mg Iron: 0.02mg
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