How to Make Butterbeer, a Recipe Any Witch, Wizard or Muggle Will Love

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Turn your spellbooks to page 394, fellow wizards, because today we're learning how to make butterbeer!

“I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory and even put a stopper in death.”…well, maybe not. But what I can do is teach you to brew the best butterbeer recipe outside of Universal Studios. No “foolish wand-waving or silly incantations” required.

The best part? We’re sharing recipes for chilled, frozen and hot butterbeer. No matter the variation you choose, your Muggle friends and family are guaranteed to give you an “O” for Outstanding on your butterbeer brewing O.W.L. Don’t forget to whip up one of these Harry Potter-inspired recipes to go with your drink.

Now, repeat after us: Accio butterbeer!

What Is Butterbeer?

Butterbeer is a beverage enjoyed by witches and wizards in the famed Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

Mentioned frequently throughout the series when Harry, Hermione and Ron visit the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade Village or celebrate another Gryffindor Quidditch win, butterbeer is described by J.K. Rowling as a beverage tasting “a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch” and is served either foaming hot in mugs or cold in a glass bottle. However, you can also get butterbeer frozen—in addition to hot and cold—if you visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios, and it’s ridiculously refreshing on a hot summer day spent walking around the park.

No matter how you prefer to enjoy butterbeer, you’re sure to taste hints of butterscotch and shortbread in each sip. The texture of cold butterbeer reminds us of cream soda, while a steamy cup of butterbeer is almost like hot chocolate.

Is Butterbeer Alcoholic?

While the version served at Universal is nonalcoholic in order to allow as many fans as possible to enjoy this special foam-topped drink, in the books and films, butterbeer is said to contain at least a bit of booze. Harry notably wonders in Half-Blood Prince what Ron and Hermione might do “under the influence of butterbeer” at Professor Slughorn’s Christmas party. And in Goblet of Fire, Winky (a house elf) is often seen inebriated in the Hogwarts kitchens beside empty butterbeer bottles.

For Harry Potter purists (over the age of 21) who wish to enjoy butterbeer as authentically as possible, we’ve included ideas for how to make a boozy beverage at the end of this guide.

How to Make Butterbeer

The following recipe potion explains how to make a batch of chilled butterbeer. It’s as close as you’ll get to the “real” thing without needing a ticket to Universal Studios or toting an owl through King’s Cross Station to board the Hogwarts Express on platform 9 3/4. Time to head to the Potions supply cupboard!

If you’re not so hot at potion-making, hop on your Firebolt. Here’s how and where to buy butterbeer.

Ingredients

Butterbeer ingredients Lauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Yield: 2 (12-ounce) chilled butterbeers

Butterbeer Foam:

  • 1/2 cup water, hot
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
  • 1/2 envelope Dream Whip whipped topping mix
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon butterscotch syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon butter extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon caramel extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Butterscotch Cream Soda:

  • 2 (12-ounce) can or bottle of your favorite cream soda, chilled
  • 2 teaspoons butterscotch syrup

Tools You’ll Need

  • Electric Mixer: I used a mixer to whip the foam into soft, bubbling peaks.
  • Clear Glassware: A clear glass is ideal for serving so you can see the butterbeer topped with foam.
  • Mixing Bowls: You’ll need one large mixing bowl (or cauldron) for this recipe.

Directions

Step 1: Melt the marshmallow fluff

melted marshmallow fluff for Butterbeer

In a large mixing bowl, combine the marshmallow fluff with the hot water. Stir to dissolve the marshmallow and then place the bowl in the freezer for 15-30 minutes until cool.

Step 2: Whip the foam

whipped marshmallow fluff for ButterbeerLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Remove the chilled marshmallow mixture from the freezer and stir in half a packet of Dream Whip, salt and powdered sugar. Blend with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender for 30-60 seconds until the mixture bubbles and foams.

Step 3: Flavor the foam

Butterbeer ingredientsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Add the butterscotch syrup, butter extract, caramel extract and vanilla and mix for another 10-15 seconds until incorporated.

Editor’s Tip: In testing, we found Watson’s Caramel Extract, McCormick’s Butter Extract and Torani’s Butterscotch Syrup to have the best butterbeer flavor. All are available at most major grocery retailers or online via Amazon. Here are our favorite vanilla extracts.

Make sure you know the difference between caramel, butterscotch and toffee so you pick up the right flavorings!

Step 4: Pour the butterbeer into a glass

Fill a large glass mug with 12 ounces of cream soda. Then, stir in the butterscotch syrup.

Editor’s Tip: Be sure to only fill your glass 3/4 full with cream soda. You want to make sure there’s room for a generous amount of foam!

Step 5: Top it off

Butterbeer topped with whipped toppingLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Finish with a heaping scoop of butterbeer foam. Don’t be shy! Serve immediately.

Butterbeer Recipe Variations

Butterbeer with whipped toppingLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Frozen Butterbeer

For a special summer treat that’s more refreshing than pumpkin juice, try a blended butterbeer (or head to Starbucks and try their secret menu Butterbeer Frappuccino). It’s a simple adaptation that requires only a blender and an ice cube tray.

  • Freeze the cream soda in an ice cube tray the night before.
  • Blend with the butterscotch syrup and a bit of unfrozen cream soda until smooth.
  • Top with prepared butterbeer foam. Enjoy!

Warm Butterbeer

While chilled butterbeer is most popular in Universal’s Muggle world (and ideal for a Harry Potter birthday party), those loyal to the books will recall that Harry first tried butterbeer warm, saying it was, “the most delicious thing he’d ever tasted and seemed to heat every bit of him from the inside.”

  • In a saucepan, warm 1 cup of half-and-half with 2 tablespoons of butterscotch syrup (or homemade butterscotch) until simmering. Do not boil.
  • Divide the mixture between two heat-safe mugs and then top each with 6 ounces of cream soda (at room temperature).
  • Spoon prepared foam generously on top. Sip away!

Alcoholic “Boozy” Butterbeer

Add a shot (or two) of one of the following flavored liqueurs or spirits to the cream soda before topping with foam for a drink that tastes like it’s straight from the Three Broomsticks.

  • Vanilla or Caramel Vodka
  • Butterscotch Schnapps
  • Dark Rum

Still looking to infuse more magic in your life? Head down to Starbucks for one of these secret Hogwarts house Frappuccinos.

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.