Delicious Homemade Kahlua Recipe Using Vanilla Beans

In Vanilla Bean Recipes, Tips, and Helpful Information Blog 11 comments

If you’re in the process of researching how to make homemade Kahlua using Vanilla Beans, then you’re in the right place. The team at Vanilla Bean Kings are just as passionate about premium vanilla beans and products as they are about cooking with them.

In our vanilla bean recipes section, we’re creating quite the resource for you! Here, you’ll find some of the best vanilla bean recipes, including our very own homemade vanilla extract recipe, and other inspirational seasonal vanilla bean recipes.

However, the focus of this post is how to make homemade Kahlua using Vanilla Beans. Without further ado, here are the recipe, ingredients list, and instructions!

Recipe for Homemade Kahlua

Although you don’t necessarily have to use vanilla beans to make Kahlua, there is a certain something that you cannot find or taste with any other ingredient that you get when making Kahlua with vanilla beans.

We will admit that this particular recipe has taken us a little time to master. It’s certainly worth taking the time to experiment with the flavors for yourself to get the perfect balance of sweetness for your individual tastes.

This recipe is simple and involves combining just four ingredients, then leaving them to mature for between 2-3 weeks. Sounds easy enough!

The result?

A perfectly formed, coffee-flavored liquor that you can enjoy with friends, family, loved ones, or even give as a gift!

Ingredients List for Homemade Kahlua

  • Sugar
  • Freshly Brewed Coffee
  • Vodka OR Rum
  • Vanilla Beans OR Vanilla Extract

Which is best when making Kahlua: Vanilla beans or Vanilla Extract?

Either is fine! If you can, using vanilla beans for Kahlua will give you a premier flavor profile. If cost is a concern, you can still use fresh vanilla beans without having to worry about purchasing extra for a cheaper bulk price. In fact, you only need about 5 vanilla beans to make a gallon of Kahlua. If you don’t want to use vanilla beans, then using a premium vanilla extract (organic if possible) is still going to give a wonderful tasting Kahlua.

With both options, the longer you can leave it, the more chance it has to age. However, when you make Kahlua with vanilla extract, you can pretty much make it and drink it immediately, without having to wait around for everything to meld together.

Which alcohol is best when making Kahlua - rum or vodka?

The two main choices you have are vodka and rum. Rum is traditionally the preferred choice, and you can use white or dark rum. There’s something quite comforting about dark rum, but either is fine. Because vodka doesn’t have such a potent smell as rum, sometimes people prefer this to rum.

On occasion, we do see homemade Kahlua made with brandy; and if you’re a fan of brandy, why not try it out for yourself? Just make sure you leave to age for at least a month instead of the usual 2-3 weeks.

How long will a batch of homemade Kahlua last once it’s produced?

If you make sure you seal it nice and tight, when stored properly, a batch of Kahlua can last for anything between 3-4 years.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Making Homemade Kahlua

The recipe below will yield 16 cups (1 gallon) of homemade Kahlua! 


  • 5 cups of freshly brewed, hot coffee
  • 8 cups of sugar
  • 5 Vanilla Beans OR 5 tablespoons of vanilla extract
  • 5 cups of preferred spirits (rum or vodka are great!)


  • Stir the sugar into the hot coffee until all of the sugar is dissolved, then let it cool down.
  • Next, add in your vanilla and the alcohol of your choosing. Stir!
  • Cover your mixture and then leave it in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks.
    • Note: If you use brandy, you’ll want to extend this period to at least four weeks.
  • When you uncover your mixture, strain it, remove the beans, and place it into air-tight bottles (glass is always better than plastic).

If you decide to use vanilla extract instead of whole vanilla beans, then you won’t actually need to leave the mixture to settle. In our opinion, you don’t really get the same depth and intensity of flavor as you do with vanilla beans, but it’s still a pretty nice drink!

Hopefully, you’ve found what you came for on your visit to this page today. However, if you want to learn more about any of our vanilla bean products, or you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you, and we’re always happy to help.


11 thoughts on “Delicious Homemade Kahlua Recipe Using Vanilla Beans

Alan Gordon

Does it make sense to slit the vanilla beans down the center to increase the flavor?

May 12, 2024 at 11:59am

Oh and on instant coffee, yes and no… Yes u can use it in place of fresh brewed (instant coffee STRAIGHT, no flavoring, no preservatives, etc., just straight 100% coffee). Then, No, I wouldn’t use instant coffee bcuz I love the nostalgia & the love going into the whole process. To me, anytime u put genuine love into something, u can never go wrong and it tastes better… Also another thing when using brewed coffee, the acids & oils haven’t conjoined within the coffee yet so it helps builds on the flavor profile. Again, just my opinion. Thx for reading my blah, blah, blahing…. Lol Love & Peace, always, always!

May 10, 2024 at 07:54am

Yes all great questions, in my opinion for answers as I have my own recipes for Kahlúa. I wanted to look up some variables/other ideas & ended up here… Sugar substitute? I guess u can try it… Me, in particular, I would not for the simple fact that if u need a sugar substitute in ur drink then u probably should not be drinking it. Glass or plastic? Glass is ALWAYS the way to go but hey, if plastic is ur thing then by all means, go for it. Mason jars are what I use. No need to “can” it as the aging process will end up sealing the jars naturally. I live in a house will a crawl space. My husband created an access for my canning & flower bulbs winter storage. I have a small shelving unit that I placed down there & that’s where my canning & Kahlúa rest for the winter until Summer or Fall come around… Just make sure that ur jars/lids are sterile & ur good to go. I say this for the fact that my 1st time I thought the alcohol content would keep sterile, well it didn’t & had white floaty things on top of the liquor, idk maybe I didn’t use enough alcohol. In any case though, it’s just my rule of thumb to always use glass, use “real” ingredients & anytime u are storing food/drinks, they should ALWAYS be free of contaminates. For the Kahlúa; running the mason jars through the dishwasher w hot water and high heat drying process, does just fine for this. For foods, “canning”, I sterilize the old fashioned way, in a huge pot of boiling water. And don’t forget about the utensils ur using either, they should be free of germs & bacteria as well, again u can use the dishwasher for that. As for how tight you put the lid on?? Tight enough so if knocked over, it doesn’t leak. Not that they get knocked over, just best way I can explain on how tight or loose the lid should be. Again, these r just MY opinions & what I do when making Kahlúa. Hope this helps everyone & good luck! CHEERS!! Love n peace

May 10, 2024 at 07:44am
Kelly Butler

How come there are no answers to all of these questions? They’re very good questions that I would like to know the answers to as well. What do you store it in for 3 weeks glass a pot how do you cover it. Can you use instant coffee? I’m a little confused it would be great to have some answers. Thank you

March 30, 2024 at 18:23pm

I would also like to know what type of container is used to make the Kahlua in? With a tight cap or loosely covered for three weeks? Thank you.

December 22, 2023 at 21:10pm

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