A boozy-flavored dessert that's indulgent and perfect for a special occasion. The star is the unmistakable taste of Baileys (Irish cream liquor), infused into an impeccably smooth and creamy cheesecake filling. It has a melt-in-your-mouth quality and sits atop a buttery, crumbly base, offering a fantastic contrast in textures.
Baileys is a sweet liqueur from Ireland, with a distinctive flavor. It's somewhat mellower than others and very creamy, making it ideal for desserts.
We already have an irresistible chocolate Baileys cheesecake, and it was about time we added a pure Irish cream cheesecake to the list.
Why make this recipe
- Unique flavor: Baileys adds a gentle hint of Irish whiskey and a whisper of chocolate and vanilla notes, creating a luxurious and comforting flavor profile.
- Simple yet elegant: while it sounds fancy, this cheesecake is relatively easy to make and offers an elegant final product that is perfect for the holidays and special occasions like St. Patrick's Day recipes.
- It can be made ahead: it keeps well in the fridge for several days and can be frozen.
- Baileys liquor.
- Cream cheese: regular, full-fat cheese.
- Sour cream: regular, full-fat.
- Cream: whipping, heavy whipping or heavy cream.
- White granulated sugar.
- Vanilla extract.
- Eggs: fresh, large.
See the recipe card towards the end of this post for quantities. You can check the Ingredients page for more details and the brands we use.
Variations & substitutions
- Different Baileys flavors: experiment with different types, such as caramel, chocolate, strawberries and cream or apple pie.
- Chocolate topping: I use shaved white chocolate, but you can serve this dessert with chocolate sauce or a drizzle of chocolate ganache.
- Chocolate chips: both semisweet and white chocolate chips can be sprinkled on top before baking.
- Nuts: add some chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter or use in the crust for crunchiness and flavor.
- Different cookie crust: use chocolate or Oreo cookies to make the crust (like we do with the baked cheesecake or the Oreo cheesecake).
See this chocolate cheesecake with Baileys for a decadent alternative.
How to achieve a creamy consistency
A creamy cheesecake, isn't that what we all want? Achieving it is not hard, but a few details must not be overlooked.
- Baking temperature: a low oven temperature creates a custardy-style filling. This way, there's no need for a water bath which can be annoying.
- Cooling down: the oven is turned off and the cheesecake is left inside with the door closed. It then needs to cool down completely to room temperature before you chill it. Why? Because it needs to cool down gradually. She's not friends with sudden changes in temperature.
- Refrigeration: once it's cooled down, it goes in the fridge, well wrapped. At least 8 hours for best results. I never leave it less than 12 hours, and usually a day or 2.
I have a recipe for an 8-hour cheesecake. The creaminess is out of this world, unlike anything I ever tasted! That's what slow baking does.
How to make Baileys cheesecake
Mixing the batter: while you can use an electric mixer to beat the soft cream cheese with the sugar, use a wire whisk after that so you stir and integrate the rest of the ingredients but don't incorporate much air. This will make the cheesecake not puff much during baking and ensure a creamier consistency.
Sour cream topping
It adds texture and flavor to the cheesecake. If your cheesecake cracked slightly during baking, it will cover it.
Offset spatula: it's a great utensil to spread the topping. You can also use the back of a spoon.
The top will slightly color and dry as the cheesecake is kept in the oven for a while before cooling down completely.
IMPORTANT: for best results and a creamy consistency, follow the cooling down and refrigeration instructions in the recipe card and in this post.
- Cool down completely at room temperature. This can take 2-3 hours. Avoid placing a hot cheesecake directly in the fridge as it can lead to condensation and affect the texture.
- Refrigerate it. Once cooled, cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap or place a freezer sheet directly on top without pressing much. This helps to keep the cheesecake moist and prevents it from absorbing any odors from the fridge. Baileys cheesecake should be refrigerated at least 8 hours before serving, but overnight or a day is often better to ensure a creamy consistency.
- Freezing a cheesecake. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and the aluminum foil or a freezer-safe airtight container and keep for a month. Thaw, uncovered, at room temperature.
- Shelf life. Properly stored, Baileys cheesecake can last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The alcohol content in the Baileys helps preserve it a bit, but because it's a dairy-based dessert, it's best not to keep it for too long.
Related recipes you might like:
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For the graham cracker base:
- 1 ½ cups ground graham crackers
- ½ cup (110g) unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
- 32oz regular cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- 5 eggs
- ¼ cup Baileys
- 2 tablespoons cream
For the sour cream topping:
- ¾ cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons Baileys liqueur
For the cookie base:
- Preheat oven to 325°F /170°C.
- Have ready a 9-inch (24cm) springform cake pan with a removable bottom.
- Grind cookies in the food processor until you have fine crumbs.
- Add the melted butter, and mix until the mixture looks like wet sand. Or add cookie crumbs to the bowl with the melted butter and mix with a spoon.
- Press this mixture firmly onto the bottom of the pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack while making the filling.
- Turn the oven down to 300°F/150°C.
For the cream cheese filling:
- Preheat oven to 300ºF/150°C.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese on low speed until very smooth. You can use an electric mixer or wire whisk. If the cheese is at room temperature, mixing by hand should not be a problem.
- Gradually add sugar and beat until well incorporated.
- Add eggs, mixing until incorporated but not beating, and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- Add vanilla, baileys and cream, stirring to incorporate well. Don’t beat.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 300°F/150°C, turn the oven down to 250ºF/120°C and bake for another 30 minutes. (This can vary depending on your oven). At this point, the cheesecake should jiggle quite a lot in the center. Don't be tempted to bake it longer.
- Return the cheesecake to the oven and keep it for ½ hour with the door closed. It will keep on baking and firm up with the residual heat.
- Take the cake out of the oven and spread the topping, leaving a ½-inch edge around, being careful not to tear the top.
- Very carefully, run a small smooth-bladed knife around the edges (top part) to loosen up any bits that might be stuck.
- Cool to room temperature, wrap the pan in plastic without removing the cheesecake, and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours. I recommend 1 day for the creamiest consistency.
- Remove the cheesecake from the cake pan carefully by running a knife around the edges and using a spatula to lift it from the pan. Transfer it to the serving plate and sprinkle chopped white chocolate on top before cutting.
- Keep leftovers refrigerated or frozen, covered in plastic wrap or an airtight container.
For the topping:
- In a small bowl, mix sour cream and baileys.
- You can add a few drops of vanilla extract if you want to. I normally don't.
- Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have enough workspace, the ingredients at the correct temperature and other equipment you need. This will make the process so much easier.
- Baking time: consider that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- For best results and a creamy consistency, follow the cooling down and refrigeration instructions in the recipe card and in this post.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cooling + refrigeration time: 11 hours
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Cheesecakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Baileys cheesecake