Root beer is a classic American beverage that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is a sweet, carbonated drink that is flavored with sarsaparilla root, vanilla, and other spices. If you are a fan of this delicious drink and want to learn how to make it at home, you’re in luck! In this article, we’ll explore the steps involved in making root beer from scratch, including the ingredients you’ll need, the equipment required, and the brewing process.

Root beer is a delicious carbonated soft drink that has been enjoyed for many years around the world. It is a sweet and tangy beverage that is made from a combination of herbs, spices, and roots. If you are looking to make your own homemade root beer, there are a few simple steps that you can follow to create a tasty and refreshing drink that is perfect for any occasion. In this article, we will provide you with a guide on how to make root beer from scratch, including the ingredients and equipment needed, the brewing process, and tips for achieving the perfect flavor.

Ingredients for Making Root Beer

The first step in making root beer is to gather all the necessary ingredients. Some of the ingredients you’ll need include:

Sarsaparilla Root

Sarsaparilla root is the primary flavoring agent in root beer. You can find sarsaparilla root at natural food stores or online. It’s important to note that sarsaparilla root is not the same as sassafras root, which was traditionally used to make root beer but is now banned by the FDA due to its potential carcinogenic effects.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is another common ingredient in root beer. It adds a sweet, creamy flavor to the drink. You can find vanilla extract at most grocery stores.


Other spices that are commonly used in root beer include anise, cinnamon, and clove. These spices add depth and complexity to the drink.


Root beer is a sweet drink, so you’ll need to add sugar to the mix. You can use regular granulated sugar or another sweetener of your choice.


To carbonate your root beer, you’ll need to add yeast to the mixture. You can use either dry yeast or fresh yeast.

Equipment Required for Making Root Beer

In addition to the necessary ingredients, you’ll also need some specific equipment to make root beer. Some of the equipment you’ll need include:

One key takeaway from this text is that making root beer at home requires specific ingredients and equipment, including sarsaparilla root, vanilla extract, spices, sugar, yeast, a large pot, a strainer, bottles, and a funnel, among others. Attention to detail and patience are crucial for the brewing process, and experimenting with different flavors is encouraged for a unique root beer recipe.

Large Pot

You’ll need a large pot to boil the root beer mixture. Make sure the pot is big enough to hold all the ingredients.


After boiling the root beer mixture, you’ll need to strain out the solids. A fine-mesh strainer works best for this.


To carbonate your root beer, you’ll need to bottle it. You can use plastic bottles or glass bottles, but make sure they are designed for carbonation.


A funnel will make it easier to transfer the root beer mixture to the bottles.

Brewing Process for Making Root Beer

Now that you have all the necessary ingredients and equipment, it’s time to start brewing your root beer. Here are the steps involved:

Key takeaway: Making root beer from scratch requires gathering high-quality ingredients like sarsaparilla root, vanilla extract, and spices, as well as specific equipment like a large pot, a fine-mesh strainer, and carbonation-safe bottles. The process involves boiling the root beer mixture, straining out solids, adding yeast, carbonating the brew, and enjoying the refreshing drink chilled over ice. It’s important to be patient with the carbonation process and to experiment with different flavors to create your own unique recipe.

Step 1: Boil the Root Beer Mixture

In a large pot, combine the sarsaparilla root, vanilla extract, spices, sugar, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

Step 2: Strain the Mixture

After simmering the mixture, strain out the solids using a fine-mesh strainer. Discard the solids and let the liquid cool to room temperature.

Step 3: Add Yeast

Once the root beer mixture has cooled, add the yeast and stir gently. Pour the mixture into bottles using a funnel, leaving about an inch of headspace at the top of each bottle.

Step 4: Carbonate the Root Beer

Let the bottled root beer sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours to carbonate. After 24 hours, you can refrigerate the root beer to stop the carbonation process.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Your homemade root beer is now ready to drink! Serve it chilled over ice and enjoy the delicious flavors of sarsaparilla, vanilla, and spices.

Tips for Making Great Root Beer

Here are a few tips to help you make the best possible root beer:

Use High-Quality Ingredients

The quality of your ingredients will have a big impact on the flavor of your root beer. Use high-quality sarsaparilla root, vanilla extract, and spices for the best results.

Be Patient

Carbonation can take some time, so be patient and let your root beer sit for at least 24 hours before refrigerating it.

Experiment with Flavors

Once you have the basic recipe down, feel free to experiment with different flavors and spices to create your own unique root beer recipe.

FAQs for How to Make Root Beer

What ingredients do I need to make root beer?

To make root beer, you will need sassafras root bark, wintergreen leaf, vanilla bean, molasses, yeast, and sugar. You may also choose to add other herbs and spices, such as ginger root, cinnamon, or cloves, for added flavor.

Can I use alternatives to sassafras root bark?

While sassafras root bark provides a distinct flavor to traditional root beer, it contains a compound that the FDA has deemed potentially harmful in large quantities. As a result, many recipes now call for alternatives such as wintergreen, sarsaparilla root, or birch bark.

How long does it take to make root beer?

Making root beer typically takes three to four days. Initially, you will create a root beer concentrate by boiling the ingredients and allowing them to steep overnight. You will then add this concentrate to sugar water and yeast, which will ferment in a sealed container for another two days. After fermentation is complete, you can bottle your root beer and leave it to carbonate for an additional day.

Can I make root beer without yeast?

Yes! While yeast is commonly used to ferment root beer and create carbonation, there are alternative methods for achieving fizziness. One option is to use carbonated water in place of regular water when creating your sugar solution. You can also add baking soda or vinegar to your sugar water before bottling to generate carbon dioxide.

Is homemade root beer safe to drink?

When made properly, homemade root beer is safe to drink. However, it’s important to follow proper sanitation practices, as improper bottling or fermentation can lead to bacterial growth and potential illness. It’s also important to note that homemade root beer may exceed the caffeine limit recommended for young children, so keep this in mind when offering it to kids.

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