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

Maribel Valdes

Can you use a sugar substitute?

December 20, 2023 at 19:44pm
Can you can this? If you plan on using mason jars that is? Thinking long term storage here…. haha!
October 3, 2023 at 09:29am

I store my Kahlua in a large plastic container with a lid. Kind of like the plastic 1 gallon contour van fins in Walmart. I love it in this to “steep” for several months. When I’m ready to strain it, I put a vanilla bean in each jar to continue extracting that flavor. I usually gift it in 1 quart jars or 1 pint if I have a lot of requests.

September 19, 2023 at 11:43am
Michele Hofer

When the Kahlua recipe says cover the Kahlua for a couple of weeks, what does that mean? Leave it in what kind of container and cover with what? A metal, glass or plastic container? Cover with a lid, cloth, plastic wrap or what? Please help! Thank you

October 26, 2022 at 00:33am
Robin Martz

I used to make Kaluha all the time in the late 70s. I used split vanilla bean and strong brewed coffee with vodka. I think once I figured our the formula, I didn’t measure. It was one of my favorite treats. Then I had more babies and quit drinking. Lol.

July 4, 2022 at 23:34pm

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