Gluten Free Coffee Liqueur Recipe (aka Likuah) or Kahlua

“Coffee Likuah”. That’s what I accidentally called this concoction when I was creating this recipe. I suppose I had tested the batch one too many times! It’s actually the perfect name for this coffee liqueur. I was thinking “coffee liqueur” but also thought how similar it is to Kahlua. So, out came “coffee likua”. Even without the alcohol, it is an amazingly tasty syrup!

You can use this gluten free coffee liqueur in baked recipes like Gluten Free Tiramisu Cake, Gluten Free Tiramisu Cheesecake, or as an after-dinner drink. I like to add a little to flavor homemade whipped cream.

You know what else is great? Add some to a clear mug, if you have them for hot cocoa and then add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream to it. Yum!

If you wish to make a dairy-free version of the cocktail in the photo, substitute heavy cream with coconut milk.

Gluten Free Coffee Liqueur Recipe (aka Likuah) or Kahlua

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Makes approximately 2-3/4 cups liqueur

Gluten Free Coffee Liqueur Recipe (aka Likuah) or Kahlua

Similar to kahlua, this gluten free coffee liqueur is a delicious, sweet treat that you can use in baking, as an after dinner drink, or to flavor whipped cream or even ice cream.


  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • 1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons gluten free instant coffee (Nescafé Dark Roast)
  • 1 cup gluten free vodka (or rum to make Kahlua)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


  1. The first thing you do is to create a simple syrup: Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Lower the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes or until a little syrupy.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the coffee until the crystal fully dissolve. Set in the refrigerator until it at least reaches room temperature.
  3. Stir in the vodka and vanilla and store in a decanter in the refrigerator for up to two months. For baking or adding to desserts, you may use this liqueur right away. For drinking, allow it to ferment at least a week.

4 Replies to “Gluten Free Coffee Liqueur Recipe (aka Likuah) or Kahlua”

  1. Thanks so much for this recipe. My daughter-in-law was diagnosed with celiac disease and we usually enjoy a Black Russian on Christmas Eve, so this will be perfect to keep the tradition alive. I do have a question regarding whether I should use vodka or rum to make the syrup. If I use rum, will it be more like a classic Kahlua? Also, when you say to let it ferment for a week, does that mean to keep it on the counter for a week or in the refrigerator?
    Thank you again…I am so excited to try this ?

    1. Andrea,

      That is correct. Add the vodka and vanilla at the same time.

      I have also learned that for drinking, allow this liqueur to ferment at least a week. Otherwise, use it immediately in desserts.


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