How to Make Cream Soda

Two Methods:Simple Cream SodaCream Soda Brewed from Scratch

Cream soda is a sweet, carbonated soft drink that gets most of its flavor from vanilla. There are many commercial variations of cream soda available, but you can easily make your own.


Simple Recipe

  • 2 cups (400g) granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup (240mL) water
  • 1 whole vanilla bean or 1 tbsp (15mL) vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • ⅛ tsp (0.6mL) lemon juice or cream of tartar

Brewed from Scratch

  • ¼ to ⅓ cup (50–66g) white granulated sugar (plus a little extra)
  • About 1 pint (500mL) water
  • ½–1 tbsp (7.5–15mL) vanilla extract
  • 1/16 tsp (0.3mL) yeast

Method 1
Simple Cream Soda

  1. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 1
    Boil sugar and water in a saucepan. Mix 2 cups (400g) granulated white sugar into 1 cup (240mL) water. Bring the solution to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 2
    Mix in vanilla. For the best flavor, scrape out a whole vanilla bean, mix in the goo, then drop the empty pod in as well. You can substitute 1 tbsp (15mL) vanilla extract instead, or use vanilla paste as directed on the label.[1]
    • Not all extracts are created equal, and in cold drinks like this the flavor difference is obvious.[2] In the US, look for "vanilla extract" (or "vanilla flavor" for an alcohol-free option), and avoid "imitation vanilla." In Europe, look for anything labeled "natural." Most vanilla extracts from Latin America are inferior products, although often cheaper.[3][4]
  3. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 3
    Add lemon juice or cream of tartar. Stir in ⅛ tsp (0.6mL) lemon juice or cream of tartar. This will "invert" the syrup, which makes it sweeter, helps the sugar dissolve, and increases shelf life.[5] This ingredient goes back to at least 1852, and might be the reason it's called "cream soda."[6] Some modern commercial sodas use it as well, so you might be familiar with the taste.[7]
    • There may be some health concerns related to the "unbounded fructose" in inverted sugar.[8] Consider asking your doctor first if you have diabetes.
  4. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 4
    Simmer for 5–10 minutes. Simmer over medium-high heat, reducing heat if bubbles are building up above the surface. The mixture is ready when a candy thermometer reads 220ºF (104ºC), or when it's syrupy, brown, and covered in small, thick bubbles.[9][10]
    • If you don't have a candy thermometer, you might want to take the pan off the heat while the syrup is still clear or light brown, to prevent burning. The lighter the syrup is, the less caramel flavor the soda will have.
    • Sugar syrup gets dangerously hot. Handle with care and keep away from children.
  5. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 5
    Let cool 5 minutes. Move the pan to another burner and wait for it to cool to a safer temperature.
  6. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 6
    Steep at room temperature for one hour. This gives the syrup time to absorb the vanilla, which is the main flavor of cream soda.
  7. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 7
    Mix the syrup with carbonated water and ice. When you're ready to drink your soda, stir the syrup into carbonated water (seltzer) and ice. Try 1–2 tbsp syrup per 12 oz glass (15–30mL per 360mL), then experiment to make it as sweet or mild as you like your soda. That's one of the benefits to making it at home!
    • If you used a real vanilla bean, remove the pod and throw it away. If you dislike the seeds in your drink, strain the syrup through a cheesecloth. (Try it with the seeds first — many people don't mind them, and the cheesecloth will soak up some of your syrup.)
    • Store extra syrup in the refrigerator. It will usually last at least a week.[11]
  8. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 8
    Add cream or ice cream (optional). Most of the time, cream soda doesn't actually contain cream, but a spoonful of cream or half-and-half does give it a nice foam. For the full dessert option, use a spoonful of vanilla ice cream instead.
    • Since this soda is acidic, there is a chance that the dairy will curdle. Avoid this by pouring slowly and starting with chilled water. Lower-fat products (whole milk or skim milk) are more likely to curdle.

Method 2
Cream Soda Brewed from Scratch

  1. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 9
    Pour the sugar into a sterilized bottle. Pour ¼ to ⅓ cup (50–66g) white granulated sugar into a 1 pint (500mL) sterilized bottle. In this recipe, we'll use sugar and yeast to carbonate our own soda.
    • There is a chance of explosion from any home brewing. A plastic bottle is less sturdy (especially the bottle cap), but less dangerous if it does explode. A glass bottle from a brewing supply store is less likely to explode, but more dangerous.
    • This is a very small batch compared to most brewing projects, which is good for a first timer who doesn't want to waste ingredients on mishaps. If you've already done some home brewing, you can increase this to a larger batch.
  2. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 10
    Add vanilla extract. Pour ½–1 tbsp (7.5–15mL) vanilla extract into the bottle, depending on how strong a flavor you're going for. Vanilla is the main flavor in most cream sodas.
  3. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 11
    Warm the water in a saucepan. Heat the water until it reaches a temperature between 95 and 105ºF (35–40ºC).[12] Cold water will not activate the yeast, and hot water will kill it.
  4. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 12
    Activate brewer's yeast and add it to the bottle. Combine a small pinch of yeast (about 1/16 teaspoon / 0.3mL)) with a little warm water and 2 tsp (30mL) sugar.[13] Cover the mixture and wait about 6–10 minutes, or until you notice foam and a distinct yeast scent. Pour the mixture into the bottle, using a funnel.
    • You can use baker's yeast in a pinch, but this is not recommended. You may end up with unpredictable amounts of carbonation, or a less pleasant flavor.
    • You can skip the activation, but the soda will take longer to carbonate.
  5. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 13
    Add water and shake. Fill the bottle with warm water, leaving 1–2 inches (2.5–5cm) of space at the top. Secure the cap, and shake it until the ingredients have dissolved.
  6. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 14
    Let ferment at room temperature. Leave the bottle in a warm, draft-free location, preferably at 68–77ºF (20–25ºC).[14] Check on it once or twice daily. The soda is ready when the bottle feels hard when squeezed, anywhere from 12–72 hours. If you didn't activate the yeast, this usually takes at least 48 hours.
    • Leaving it at room temperature too long can generate enough pressure to explode the bottle! This is especially true at high temperature or if using old yeast.
  7. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 15
    Move to the refrigerator. Place bottle in refrigerator (below 40ºF/5ºC) for 24-48 hours to stop fermentation and let the yeast settle. Try to put it in a part of the refrigerator that isn't subject to temperature fluctuations (towards the back, away from the door). Try not to agitate the bottle at all.
  8. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 16
    Pour the drink carefully. Pick up the bottle slowly, to avoid disturbing the sediment at the bottom. Pour into a new bottle or a glass, leaving the last bit of sediment-filled liquid at the bottom of the bottle. Mixing that portion into your drink can lead to an overpowering yeasty taste.
  9. Image titled Make Cream Soda Step 17
    Add a dollop of ice cream (optional). You can drink your cream soda plain, or mix it with ice cream for dessert.


  • You can remove the label's residue from a bottle by rubbing it with vegetable oil.
  • If you'd like, you can strain with cheesecloth or a even a cotton t-shirt to remove yeast from the cream soda.
  • If the soda has a yeast flavor, add more vanilla flavoring.
  • You may vary the amounts of sugar or vanilla extract to change the taste.
  • You can replace up to 50% of the sugar with sugar substitutes, but keep the rest. For the simple version, the real sugar will caramelize for more flavor. For the brewed version, you need some sugar to feed the yeast.[15]


  • Using glass bottles when fermenting is highly discouraged. It is difficult to judge pressure inside the bottle, and like plastic bottles, glass can explode. Exploding plastic is messy, exploding glass is dangerous.
  • You can substitute some of the sugar with artificial sweeteners, but not all of it. Sugar is needed for the fermentation and thus the carbonation.
  • If the bottle is put in a very cool space before it finished fermenting, it will not have adequate carbonation.
  • If you don't wait for the yeast to ferment, there will be no carbonation. If you wait too long (especially during the summer), the bottle may explode. This can be prevented by simply keeping the bottle cold once it has finished fermenting.
  • There may be trace (around 0.35% to 0.5%) amounts of ethyl alcohol due to fermentation of yeast/sugar, which also produces the carbonic acid needed to make it bubble. However, if left out for several days, it will continue to ferment until all of the sugar is consumed and the alcohol content will be considerably higher. Note also that local laws pertaining to the production and consumption of alcoholic beverages may apply. (For example, some "dry" areas maintain zero tolerance for alcohol in beverages.)

Things You'll Need

  • For Yeast Method
    • 500ml Bottle (or other seal-able container)
    • Funnel
    • Sugar(Brown)
    • Vanilla Extract
    • Water (tap or bottled)
  • For Syrup Method
    • 5 Cups Of Sugar
    • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
    • Carbonated Water
    • Vanilla Ice Cream [Optional]

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