Vegan Irish Cream (Dairy-free Bailey’s copycat)
Giving up dairy doesn’t have to mean missing out on the best things in life! And what would a winter weekend morning be without Bailey’s in hot coffee? This vegan Irish cream is the perfect Bailey’s copycat recipe, with all the creaminess and none of the dairy.
the key to creamy: oat and coconut
Bailey’s actually already makes a vegan version of their Irish cream: Bailey’s Almande with almond milk. I whole-heartedly recommend it if you like to drink Bailey’s by itself over ice or in other cold preparations. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cut it for Irish coffee – the best and primary use for Irish cream in my opinion. The almond just isn’t creamy enough and it tends to separate a bit.
Oat milk has been taking the coffee scene by storm over the past few years, and for good reason. It lends a perfect creaminess without a noticeable flavor, and it is much less resource intensive than nut milks! This makes it the perfect candidate for a vegan Irish cream recipe. Oat replaces most of the dairy in this recipe.
Homemade Irish cream also usually calls for sweetened condensed milk. I have never heard of such a thing in oat milk form, but it is pretty easy to find a coconut version! When you shop for it, you might find it in the baking aisle (possibly separate from other canned coconut milk). The sweetened condensed coconut milk works great for a quick and easy vegan irish cream . One day I may try my hand at a homemade sweetened condensed oat milk…leave a comment if any of you readers try this!
blending the coconut milk
The one catch with using coconut milk is that the fatty solids in it (which lend so much creaminess) are trickier to mix in and may separate over time. That’s why it is important to use a high speed blender and blend this recipe for a few minutes. This will allow the coconut oils to emulsify and mix in beautifully with the alcohol.
storing your vegan irish cream
Since some of the coconut solids will separate over time, I would suggest storing your irish cream in a jar or bottle with a tight lid so you can shake it up before each use.
I probably should recommend that you store it in the refrigerator for the longest life. You certainly can do that, and you might want to if you don’t use irish cream very often. But cold coconut milk will separate more and be harder to shake back to smoothness. This isn’t really a problem, since it will melt just fine as soon as it hits hot coffee! But it will certainly look a little less appealing as you pour.
Instead, I store this at room temperature in the liquor cabinet – just like plenty of people store traditional Irish cream. And think about this if that worries you: heavy cream spoils a lot more easily than oat milk! The alcohol content protects even the dairy from spoiling, so it will certainly be able to keep oat and coconut milk fresh for a good while.
For really long term storage (if you only want an irish coffee once in a blue moon), you can pour your vegan irish cream into an ice cube tray immediately after blending. Once they have frozen, transfer them to a plastic bag or container and keep them in the freezer to add into your coffee when the mood strikes you.
serve vegan Irish cream with…
- hot coffee for a delightful breakfast pick-me-up or after-dinner coffee
- mixed 1:1 with espresso, cappuccino style
- mixed 1:1:1 with espresso and Kahlua for a creamy espresso martini!
- for the perfect fall morning breakfast, have an Irish coffee with these pumpkin muffins
Vegan Irish Cream
- High-speed blender
- 1 2/3 cup Jameson Irish Whiskey
- 1 1/3 cup oat milk (Planet Earth "Extra Creamy" works great)
- 2 7 oz cans sweetened condensed coconut milk (or just a 14oz can if you can find it)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp amaretto (or almond extract / more vanilla)
- 2 tbsp vegan chocolate syrup
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder (don't use grounds, it won't work)
- Combine all the ingredients except the whiskey in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
- Continue to blend at medium speed while adding whiskey slowly to prevent separation of the oat milk.
- Once all the whiskey is added, blend at the highest speed for a minute or so to help the condensed coconut milk fully combine and emulsify.
- Store in a jar with a tight lid that can be shaken. Solids from the coconut may separate and float on the top, but shaking before pouring will help combine them and they will melt as soon as they hit hot coffee! Storing at room temperature will also help keep it smooth – this may theoretically shorten the life but I've had no problems.
- This recipe comes out darker brown than classic Irish Cream. That’s just because the oat milk isn’t as intensely white as heavy cream would be, so it is overwhelmed by the chocolate and espresso. Don’t worry, it still tastes just the same!