How to Make Root Beer

Making root beer at home is easy once you gather all of the necessary supplies. It's a great family project which teaches kids that not everything tasty comes from an aluminum can.


  • 1 cup table sugar [sucrose] (Can be adjusted slightly for preferred sweetness)
  • Root Beer Extract (1 tablespoon)
  • Powdered baker's yeast (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Cold and fresh filtered water
  • 1 two liter bottle


  1. Image titled Make Root Beer Step 1
    Sterilize anything that will touch your Root Beer. This includes pots, funnels, tubes/siphons, measuring cups, and bottles. You can boil these items or simply run them through a dishwasher, as the high temperature will kill any unwanted bacteria. (You shouldn't touch the brew, but washing your hands is a good idea too.)
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    Using a clean bottle and a dry funnel, add the ingredients in sequence as stated in the steps that follow. Add a level cup of sugar or cane sugar. You can adjust the amount to achieve the desired sweetness.
  3. Image titled Make Root Beer Step 3
    Measure 1/4 teaspoon powdered baker's yeast and place in the funnel. The yeast should be fresh and active, and any brand that is available will work.
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    Shake well to make sure that the yeast grains are distributed evenly into the sugar.
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    Swirl the sugar/yeast mixture in the bottom. This is done in order to make it concave and enable it to catch the extract in the middle.
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    Replace the funnel and add 1 Tbsp of root beer extract on top of the dry sugar. Notice how the extract sticks to the sugar. This will help dissolve the extract.
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    Fill the bottle halfway with fresh, cool tap water that has little or no chlorine. Pour through the funnel. Rinse the extract stuck to the funnel and tablespoon. Swirl to dissolve the ingredients.
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    Fill the bottle to the neck with fresh water, leaving only about an inch of head space. Securely screw the cap so as to seal the bottle. Invert repeatedly to thoroughly dissolve the contents.
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    Place the sealed bottle at room temperature for about three or four days. Eventually, the bottle should feel hard to a forceful squeeze. Once that happens, move it to a cool place (below 65 F (18 C)).
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    Refrigerate overnight to thoroughly chill before serving. Crack the lid of the bottle just a little to release the pressure slowly.


  • Artificial sweetener cannot be used to replace the sugar. Sugar is required for yeast to generate carbon dioxide which carbonates the beverage. No sugar, no carbonation. You might experiment with less sugar and add a substitute to make up for the lower sweetness. You can add 1/4 oz by weight of corn sugar (dextrose) or cane sugar to carbonate the soda and sweeten with a substitute.
  • Use bottled water instead of tap water to guarantee better freshness.
  • There will be a sediment of yeast at the bottom of the bottle, so the last bit of root beer will be turbid. Decant carefully if you wish to avoid this sediment.


  • There might be alcohol in this homemade soft drink. The alcoholic content which results from the fermentation of this root beer has been found, through testing, to be between 0.35 and 0.5 %. Comparing this to the 6% in many beers, it would require a person to drink about a gallon and a half (5.7 L) of this root beer to be equivalent to one 12 ounce (355 mL) beer. For people who cannot metabolize alcohol properly or have religious prohibition against any alcohol, consumption should be limited or avoided.
  • Do not leave the finished root beer in a warm place once the bottle feels hard. After a couple weeks or so at room temperature, especially in the summer when the temperature is high, enough pressure may build up to cause the bottle to explode!

Things You'll Need

  • funnel
  • 1 cup measuring cup
  • 1/4 tsp measuring spoon
  • 1 Tablespoon measuring spoon
  • clean 2 liter (0.5 US gal) plastic soft drink bottle with cap

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Sodas and Fizzy Drinks