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Popular Substitutes for Baileys Irish Cream

Today’s guide will explore the different uses of Irish cream liqueurs. We’ve also listed the best substitutes for Bailey’s Irish cream for you to use in the recipes.

Baileys Irish cream is a heavenly blend of whiskey, cocoa, and cream. No wonder it’s one of the most popular Irish creams in the world. It’s sweet, delicious, and incredibly versatile.

Two glasses filled with Irish Cream.

What Is Baileys Irish Cream?

Baileys Irish cream is a creamy liqueur invented by the wine company Gilbeys of Ireland. The winery introduced the original recipe for Baileys Irish cream in the early 1970s. 

Contrary to popular belief, Bailey’s Irish cream has alcohol content. It has at least 17% ABV (alcohol by volume), which is low for cream liqueurs. Like most Irish creams, it has a thick texture similar to heavy cream.

Many people liken Baileys Irish cream to chocolate syrup and use it as such. Due to its sweet, chocolatey flavor, it’s often used as a sweetener for desserts and baked goods. It’s also a popular ingredient in cocktails, mocktails, and other beverages.

The Taste

This Irish cream liqueur has a light brown hue with a sweet aroma. Since it uses triple-distilled Irish whiskey, it doesn’t need preservatives. This is because the alcohol content preserves the cream and chocolate. What does Bailey’s Irish cream taste like?

For an Irish cream, it’s moderately sweet with hints of vanilla and chocolate. It’s also creamy and milky and has a distinct fruity aftertaste. Unlike regular Irish whiskey, it leaves a smooth finish or a melt-in-your-mouth feeling.

The Flavors

This Irish cream is affordable and available in most grocery stores. If you’re short on stock, there are other handy substitutes. You can also make homemade Irish cream in your kitchen. 

Other flavors of this cream liqueur include salted caramel, pumpkin spice, and hazelnut. There’s also a vegan variation of Baileys Irish cream, which uses almond milk instead of dairy.

Uses of Baileys Irish Cream in Recipes

Baileys Irish cream is famous for its mild flavor and versatility. You can use it for any recipe, from baked desserts to cocktails.

Here are other best uses of Baileys Irish cream.

1. Coffee

This cream liqueur is an essential ingredient when making Irish coffee. For this beverage, you’ll need Irish whiskey, sugar, coffee, and Baileys Irish cream. We recommend using espresso.

The acidic taste of coffee blends well with Baileys Irish cream’s milky and sweet flavors. The cream also mellows out the bitterness of coffee. Take your Irish coffee to the next level with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle.

2. Cocktails

Baileys Irish cream is also a bartender’s favorite. It’s a key ingredient in many cocktail and mocktail recipes. These include the mudslide cocktail, B-52 shot, and Baileys martini. An ounce of Irish cream is enough to level up your drinks during happy hour.

The mudslide is a classic blend of Irish cream, Kahlua coffee liqueur, and vodka. Meanwhile, a B-52 shot adds a citrusy flavor by including orange liqueur. Baileys martini is like the mudslide, except with crushed coffee grounds on the glass rim.

3. Cheesecake

Baileys cheesecake is another popular Irish cream recipe. The cream liqueur is usually infused with cream cheese or used in chocolate ganache. You’ll get a coffee brown-like color in your cheese when making this recipe. 

You can also use this cream liqueur as chocolate syrup and drip it over your cheesecake. It’s sweet, chocolatey, and savory all at the same time.

4. Hot Chocolate

Irish cream liqueur is the perfect pair for hot chocolate. The dark, earthy, and nutty cocoa flavors intensify with Irish whiskey. The result is a rich and decadent drink that’s amazing for winter mornings. It’s important to note that despite being a chocolate drink, it still has alcohol content.

5. Desserts

Like other cream liqueurs, you can use Baileys Irish cream for desserts and baked goods. Add it to any recipe or use it like chocolate syrup. It tastes excellent in brownies, cookies, cakes, and icing.

Glass filled with creamy liqueur and spilled coffee beans.

Best Substitutes for Baileys Irish Cream

If you don’t have cream liqueur on hand, no worries. Fortunately, you can find a substitute for Baileys Irish cream in many grocery stores.

Here’s a list of the best alternatives to try.

1. Emmets Classic Cream

Emmets Classic cream is an Irish cream liqueur that’s close to Baileys. Like the original Irish cream, it has the three primary ingredients. It also has a 17% alcohol content. This cream liqueur was also introduced around the same time as Baileys.

But the texture and creaminess of Emmets are notably thinner. Despite this difference, this cream liqueur still has a strong whiskey finish. Its coconut taste is unique, which is not present in Baileys Irish creams.

2. Carolans Irish Cream

Carolans Irish cream is a strong contender for cream liqueurs. Unlike the original Baileys, it’s the only Irish cream that contains honey. As expected, Carolans is sweeter, creamier, and works as a perfect substitute.

We highly recommend using this creamy liqueur for chocolate desserts. You can also drink it on its own. Try it out neat, on the rocks, or mixed with other liqueurs.

3. Molly’s Irish Cream

Molly’s Irish cream is one of Ireland’s biggest cream liqueur producers. Unlike the original Baileys recipe, this cream liqueur has a touch of coconut flavor. It also has a thick and creamy texture with a smooth whiskey finish.

This Irish cream is notable for its distinct sweetness, so it’s perfect for desserts. It also pairs well with coffee cocktails, martinis, or other liqueurs. We recommend trying it out with citrusy cocktails to maximize its sweetness.

4. Ryan’s Irish Cream

Ryan’s Irish cream is an affordable substitute for Baileys. This Irish cream doesn’t have the same thick and creamy texture, but it has a similar flavor profile. This can be a handy option if you’re after the color and sweet taste.

This creamy liqueur is fun to add to quick beverages or espresso shots. You can also use it as a cheap alternative to infuse cakes and baked chocolate goods. You’ll still get the same delicious results for a lower price.

5. Coole Swan Irish Cream

Coole Swan Irish cream is a premium substitute for Baileys. It’s known as one of the top cream liqueurs on the market. Its rich and intense flavors can add a touch of luxury to any recipe.

Unlike the original recipe, this Irish cream uses single-malt Irish whiskey. It also exclusively uses Irish dairy fresh from the region. And instead of cocoa, it uses Belgian white chocolate. It doesn’t have the same tan color, but it’s incredibly delicious.

6. Five Farms Irish Cream

Five Farms Irish cream is another worthy alternative to Baileys Irish cream. Although a bit more expensive, it’s definitely worth the flavor. This cream liqueur’s name comes from the fact that its ingredients come from five farms.

Its fresh ingredients and 10% whiskey content allow the dairy to take center stage. We recommend drinking this Irish cream as is or on the rocks. 

7. Saint Brendan’s Irish Cream

Saint Brendan’s Irish cream is a liqueur named after an Irish monk. Like Baileys Irish cream, it has the same vanilla and chocolate flavors. It also has a subtle sweetness likened to marshmallows.

This Irish cream is another affordable option that will get you delicious results. It tastes excellent in martinis, Irish coffee, or vodka-based drinks.

8. Hard Chaw Irish Cream

We recommend Hard Chaw Irish cream if you want a stronger cream liqueur for your recipe. Producers couldn’t add too much whiskey as it would cause the liquor to spoil faster. Instead, they add potcheen, an Irish drink made from malted barley and potatoes. This makes Hard Chaw one of the most potent Irish creams in terms of alcohol content.

9. The Irishman Cream Liqueur

The Irishman cream liqueur is another unique take on Irish creams. It’s similar to Baileys in terms of textures and ingredients. But it does have several vital flavors that make it stand out from the rest.

Unlike the original recipe, the Irishman adds toffee and pure vanilla flavoring. This makes their liqueur creamier and sweeter. Plus, it has an intense and fragrant aroma from pure vanilla. It’s perfect for rich and luxurious drinks.

10. The Whistler Irish Cream

Unlike the original Baileys, Whistler Irish cream has a higher alcohol content. It has 19% ABV and comes from a single pot of still Irish whiskey. 

This cream liqueur is famous for its rich, decadent, and distinct chocolatey taste. It has strong hints of vanilla and leaves a velvety mouthfeel. We recommend this Irish cream for cocktails.

11. Merry’s Irish Cream

Merrys Irish cream is a more affordable premium cream liqueur. What makes it luxurious is that it only uses fresh ingredients. The brand only uses dairy collected during a 12-hour timeframe.

Merrys Irish cream is also known for its many flavors. This makes it a great Baileys substitute for any recipe. You can choose from toffee, salted caramel, or strawberry Irish creams.


Baileys Irish cream is an alcoholic cream liqueur produced in Ireland. It has three main ingredients: Irish whiskey, cream, and cocoa. It has 17% alcohol content and is excellent for adding to beverages.

You can also use this cream liqueur for many dessert recipes. A good substitute for Baileys Irish cream is Emmets Classic Cream. Like Baileys, Emmets have similar flavors and textures. For a non-alcoholic substitute, we recommend using Baileys Irish creamer.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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