Magical Flavors

Super Simple Harry Potter Butterbeer Recipe (Updated for 2023)

If there’s any one drink – any one flavor – that truly represents the magical world, it has to be Butterbeer. Almost anywhere in the world that you can step from the muggle world to the magic one for a second, you can find Butterbeer. But do you have to visit the Wizarding World or Harry Potter studio tour to enjoy this delicious treat? Nope! You can make Butterbeer at home! All you need is a really good Butterbeer recipe…

When I decided I wanted to make Butterbeer at home, I started researching all of the different ways other people have made it at home. I scoured 20 different recipes and finally came up with one of my own. As you’ll see, my Butterbeer recipe is super simple and delightfully delicious.

Butterbeer Hero

The “official” Butterbeer recipes are a complete secret – nobody knows exactly what the witch and wizard chefs in Orlando, Osaka, Hollywood, or Leavesden actually use in their recipes. Instead, we’ve all had to try and figure it out ourselves – and everyone has their own way to do it – myself included!

If you want to jump right to my Butterbeer recipe, use the Table of Contents to get right to it. Otherwise, read on to learn about the different kinds of Butterbeer, the main ingredients in Butterbeer, and other ways to make Butterbeer. Oh, and I included the 20 other Butterbeer recipes I reviewed – in case you want some options.

This post was originally published in April 2020; I re-checked this recipe in April 2023 to make sure it was still delicious!

4 Ways to Make Butterbeer

While Butterbeer is simple to make, it can get a little more complicated when you consider there are four ways you can make it. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different types of Butterbeer.

1. Cold

Cold Butterbeer is the main way people prepare Butterbeer at home – probably because it’s by far the easiest. When you’ve got a craving and can’t summon Butterbeer out of thin air (dang you, Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration!), a simple, quick Butterbeer recipe is the best Butterbeer recipe. My favorite Butterbeer in the world is the cold Butterbeer at the Harry Potter studio tour in England.

2. Frozen

Frozen Butterbeer is my second favorite way to have Butterbeer, especially at the Wizarding Worlds. This version is perfect whether you’re sweltering in the Orlando humidity or working on your tan under the Los Angeles sun.

The basic difference between cold Butterbeer and frozen Butterbeer is that frozen is a blended slushy. While most of the recipes I found use vanilla ice cream to accomplish this, I’m pretty sure that the official way is by using ice cubes made of frozen cream soda blended into the rest of the recipe.

3. Hot

Hot Butterbeer Recipe

It’s not as common, but it is more true to the books: in the magical world, Harry, Hermione, and Ron enjoy hot butterbeer on their visits to The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. As you can probably guess, hot Butterbeer is a hot version of the others; in all three hot Butterbeer recipes I found it was an ingredient that helps thicken up the drink and make it saltier and creamier.

4. Boozy

You can make your Butterbeer for Hogwarts alumni rather than Hogwarts students by adding some alcohol. I found three recipes that added alcohol to the list of main ingredients: one used Butterscotch Schnapps, another used Vanilla vodka, and a third made a boozy Butterbeer punch with light beer.

If I had to choose, I’d go with Butterscotch schnapps, and I included a recipe for this near the end of this post.

The Main Ingredients in Butterbeer

Butterbeer Recipe Ingredients and Wand

When I started researching and trying recipes to make Butterbeer, I noticed something right away: at its core, Butterbeer is an astonishingly simple drink with three main ingredients.

1. Cream Soda

The primary liquid in Butterbeer is cream soda; it’s the core ingredient you’ll use the most of, no matter what Butterbeer recipe you’re making.

Most Butterbeer recipes use store-bought cream soda, though I did find one that makes it from scratch, and a boozy version that uses cheap light beer and spices instead.

2. Butterscotch

The ‘butter’ part of your Butterbeer comes from butterscotch – not butter itself. Luckily, butterscotch is easy to find; you can use butterscotch syrup (like the kind you put on ice cream, which is where I found it in the store) or melt down butterscotch chips if you’re feeling fancy. In any event, this is what takes your cream soda and makes it real Butterbeer.

3. Whipped Cream

Finally, whipped cream is the third ingredient you need to make Butterbeer. It’s necessary to top the drink, and without it, the whole flavor and mouthfeel is off.

You can either make your own whipped cream (look at you!) or just buy whipped cream of your choosing at the store. I went with Cool Whip because it’s got a bit more density than whipped cream from the can. (I especially recommend Cool Whip if you’re making hot Butterbeer, as can whip will melt right away.)

Extra Flavors You Can Add

Butterbeer in Mug with Harry Potter Books

As I perused the 20+ recipes I used to research and perfect my Butterbeer recipe, I noticed several special ingredients some people use. This first category is the other flavors beyond the cream and butterscotch that the main ingredients add to the recipe.

Vanilla Flavor

The number one extra flavor that you can add to Butterbeer is Vanilla. As we all know, vanilla is a great neutral flavor that adds a little depth and mellows out other flavors – in a sweet drink like Butterbeer, it’s a big help.

  • Vanilla Flavor – Using vanilla flavor is best if you’re making hot or cold Butterbeer. You don’t need a lot; a dash or two will do.
  • Vanilla Ice Cream – The easiest way to make frozen Butterbeer uses vanilla ice cream (as I share in a recipe below).
  • Vanilla Vodka – If you want extra boozy Butterbeer, you can add vanilla-flavored vodka for an extra kick.

Rum Flavor

If you want booziness without the booze (or with it), rum flavor is the ingredient to add. Some recipes I consulted use rum extract – which like butter extract adds flavor without changing the core recipe or mouth-feel.

If you want to booze it up though, a medium aged rum will do the trick; just add a little more butterscotch to keep the same consistency.

Caramel Flavor

One more flavor you might want to add is caramel; I didn’t see any recipes that used caramel flavor in the same recipe as vanilla or rum flavors (these three flavors never overlapped, actually). I recommend caramel flavor rather than something like caramel syrup because of the consistency you want your Butterbeer to have.

Extra Umami You Can Add

Hot Butterbeer Recipe

‘Umami’ is the savory flavor, and it’s pretty spectacular in my opinion. If you want your Butterbeer to be a bit more savory, these ingredients will add that element.

Butter Flavor

There are two ways to add butter to your Butterbeer.

Not to be confused with butter, butter extract adds the flavor of butter without the fatty, creamy mouthfeel of butter. This is an optional ingredient because you get a butter flavor from the butterscotch – but if you want to add an extra salty buttery flavor this is what to add.

In hot Butterbeer, all three recipes used actual butter as part of the ingredient list. I include it in my hot Butterbeer recipe below, too.


Salt is a great ingredient if you want the flavors in any dish or drink to ‘pop’ a little – that’s why airplane meals have extra salt to amp up the flavors while you’re on a plane. The recipes I found ranged from a ‘pinch’ to an entire teaspoon of salt (it’s a more complicated, spiced recipe!).

Apple Cider Vinegar

Like salt, apple cider vinegar is a good ingredient to cut some of the sweetness and bring out the complexity of the flavors of cream soda and butterscotch. On its own, apple cider vinegar is mostly sour and a little sweet, and a small amount of it will help make your Butterbeer a bit more nuanced.

Extra Sweetness You Can Add

Butterbeer Recipe - Close Ups

If your Butterbeer isn’t quite sweet enough, these special Butterbeer ingredients can take it to the next level.

Marshmallow Cream

Not sweet enough? Marshmallow cream adds an extra layer for you super-sweet tooths out there. In most cases, the Butterbeer recipes I consulted use marshmallow cream mixed with whipped cream.

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Similar to marshmallow cream, you can use sweetened condensed milk to level up the sweetness of your Butterbeer. In one recipe I found using this ingredient, they warmed their butterscotch with sweetened condensed milk and butter extract to make a deliciously rich base.

Brown Sugar

If you’re making your own whipped cream, you can use brown sugar instead of powdered sugar – it’s a little more complicated but creates a whipped cream with a rich molasses flavor. Or, you can have some fun and use butterscotch syrup and brown sugar to create a ‘rim’ on your Butterbeer glass.

The Basic, Simple, Best Butterbeer Recipe

Butterbeer Recipe - How to Make Butterbeer

Okay, here’s the thing: if you’re making Butterbeer at home it’s not going to have the same magical flavor as you might find at the Wizarding Worlds or Harry Potter studio tour. Let’s just use a Banishment charm on that idea right now.

Instead, the best thing about making Butterbeer at home is that it’s astonishingly simple to get a mug of Butterbeer. You can make it more complicated by adding extra ingredients and flavors, making your own whipped cream, butterscotch, or cream soda… or you can just use this super simple Butterbeer recipe that’s on-point and won’t take you ages.

Yield: Serves 4

The Best Butterbeer Recipe

Butterbeer Pin
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 6 oz Cream Soda
  • 1 tbsp Butterscotch Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Whipped Cream
  • Dash of Vanilla Flavor


    1. Take Butterscotch and drizzle it in and around the inside walls of your glass.
    2. Slowly pour in Cream Soda while mixing with a spoon; you’ll notice the cream soda go from clear to opaque (cloudy) as you mix. Stop 1/4″ from the top of your glass.
    3. Add the dash of Vanilla Flavor.
    4. Top with Whipped Cream.


Level Up: How to Make Simple Frozen Butterbeer

To make frozen Butterbeer, modify the main recipe as follows:

  1. Using a blender, combine your Cream Soda and 1 scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream with a gentle blend.
  2. Take Butterscotch and drizzle it in and around the inside walls of your glass.
  3. Slowly pour in the blended Cream Soda while mixing with a spoon; you’ll notice the cream soda go from clear to opaque (cloudy) as you mix. Stop 1/4″ from the top of your glass.
  4. Top with Whipped Cream.

Level Up: How to Make Simple Hot Butterbeer

Hot Butterbeer Recipe

To make hot Butterbeer, modify the main recipe as follows:

  1. Using a pan, warm the Butterscotch on low heat with added 1 tablespoon of butter and 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream.
  2. Slowly pour the Cream Soda into the pan, mixing as you add.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool, then add to a temperature-safe mug. Stop 1/4″ before the top of the mug.
  4. Add a dash of Vanilla Flavor.
  5. Top with Whipped Cream.

Level Up: How to Make Simple Boozy Butterbeer

To make hot Butterbeer, modify the main recipe as follows: Instead of 1 tablespoon of Butterscotch, use 1 teaspoon of Butterscotch and 1 shot (1.5oz) of Butterscotch Schnapps.

  1. Drizzle the inside of your glass with Butterscotch syrup.
  2. Slowly mix in Cream Soda.
  3. Add shot of Butterscotch Schnapps and dash of Vanilla Flavor. Stop 1/4″ before the top of the mug.
  4. Top with Whipped Cream.

Do you have questions or feedback about my spectacular but simple Butterbeer recipe? Let me know in the comments!

Butterbeer Pin
Butterbeer Pin
Butterbeer Pin

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  • Katy Rank Lev

    Your tips helped us have an amazing experience at universal Florida and now your butterbeer tips took us right back. I made myself the hot today during an ice storm and stirred in a shot of sailor Jerry. Exquisite. Thank you!!

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