If you’re a Harry Potter fan or just enjoy Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, you can easily make this fun, whimsical drink at home! Both the regular (cold) and frozen versions have a cream soda base and feature the flavors of butterscotch and vanilla. This recipe is non-alcoholic as-is, but it’s easy to spike for the adults!
Butterbeer is an iconic food (ok, technically a beverage) from the Harry Potter books and movies. And it came straight out of J.K. Rowling’s imagination!
This drink is popular with Harry Potter fans and non-fans alike at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. And for good reason – it’s delicious and great for cooling down with!
You might be surprised by how easy it is to make this drink at home. The regular (aka cold but non-frozen) version is as simple as cream soda topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of butterscotch sauce.
Additionally, the frozen variation is pretty easy too, although it does require a little bit of planning ahead. Just remember to freeze cream soda in an ice cube tray the night before and you’ll be all set to make it!
Frozen Butterbeer is rich, creamy, and silky smooth. Regular cold Butterbeer is fizzy and carbonated. They’re both topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a generous drizzle of butterscotch sauce. Choose whichever one is your favorite, or make them both for your next Harry Potter-themed movie night or party!
And with Harry Potter's birthday coming up on July 31, what better way to celebrate, right?!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- If you’re a Harry Potter fan, recipes inspired by the books are part of what make this story timeless.
- You can make this frozen or regular (aka, cold like a soda), and both versions are delicious!
- And if you like the flavor but it’s a bit too sweet for you, simply use half sparkling water and half cream soda.
The Best Copycat Harry Potter Butterbeer Recipe
Cream soda is the main flavor of this drink for both the regular and the frozen version.
A hint of butter and rum extracts add depth of flavor and really make it something special. However, no worries if you don’t have (or can’t find) these flavorings; it will still be delicious!
The Butterbeer at Universal Studios doesn’t have butterscotch sauce on top, but I like to add a drizzle. It makes the drink extra pretty and extra special, and really drives home the flavor!
Butterscotch Sauce Ingredients:
- Unsalted butter
- Light brown sugar
- Cream of tartar
- Heavy whipping cream
Pro Tip: Butterscotch sauce is quick and easy to make at home; check out step-by-step photo instructions for how to make butterscotch sauce here. But if you're pressed for time, you can use store-bought butterscotch sauce!
Ingredients in Regular Cold Butterbeer (Like a Soda):
- Cream soda
- Vanilla extract
- Butter flavor (optional)
- Rum flavor (optional)
Ingredients in Frozen Butterbeer:
- Cream soda – ⅔ frozen into ice cubes
- Vanilla ice cream
- Butter flavor (optional)
- Rum flavor (optional)
How to Make Butterbeer
The Cold Version:
Add cream soda and vanilla extract to a glass and stir gently to combine. Don't over-stir or you'll lose the carbonation in the soda.
Top with a dollop of whipped cream (or Cool Whip).
If desired, add a drizzle of butterscotch sauce.
The Frozen Version:
- At least 3 hours before you want to make it, pour 2 cups of cream soda into ice cube trays and let it freeze until solid. Once frozen, add the frozen cream soda cubes, vanilla ice cream, liquid cream soda, butter extract, rum extract, and salt to a blender.
- Process until smooth, tamping down as necessary. Be careful not to over-process or it won’t be thick and creamy.
- Divide between 4 glasses.
- Top each with whipped cream.
- Add a drizzle of butterscotch syrup, and serve immediately!
How to Make Butterbeer Alcoholic
If you’re making this for 21-and-older adults, it’s easy to transform it into an alcoholic beverage. To spike it, simply add a shot of whatever liquor you think sounds good. A few ideas are scotch, rum, bourbon, vanilla vodka, or butterscotch schnapps.
Tips for Success
- If you’re in a time crunch, go with regular cold Butterbeer instead of frozen! Not only do you not have to wait for the cream soda ice cubes to freeze, but you don’t have to process it in a blender either.
- Along those lines, if you don’t feel like making homemade Butterscotch Sauce, you can use store-bought (and it’s available on Amazon).
- To cut the sweetness of this drink a bit, you can use half sparkling water and half cream soda for both the cold and the frozen versions.
Butterbeer at Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter™
Above: This is the cold Butterbeer from Hogsmeade at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. When I'm at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, I prefer the cold (not frozen) version of this drink because the frozen variation tastes like a watered-down slushy to me. The cold version this tastes like a cream soda topped with Cool Whip.
You can find quite a few different Butterbeer drinks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
- Cold Butterbeer – Basically cream soda with a whipped topping that tastes like Cool Whip.
- Frozen Butterbeer – Similar cream soda flavor as the cold version, but tastes watered down to me and has a slushy texture. It also has a whipped topping.
- Hot Butterbeer – This reminds me of a white hot chocolate with a slight butterscotch flavor. It also has a foamy creamy whipped topping. It was a bit too sweet for me!
And they also offer a variety of Butterbeer-flavored treats:
- Ice cream
- Potted Cream (custard-like consistency)
To see more of my photos from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, check out my Butterbeer Brown Butter Blondies post.
Butterbeer at Starbucks
Have you heard of Starbucks secret menu? It’s a game-changer. And it’s not really a secret (search the hashtag #starbuckssecretmenu on Instagram to see for yourself).
Anyway, if you Google “starbucks secret menu”, it’ll pop right up. There you’ll find Starbucks recipes (and ordering instructions) for treats like Cinderella Latte, Polyjuice Potion Frappuccino, Churro Frappuccino, Twix Frappuccino, Squid Games Frappuccino, and Sour Patch Kid Drink, to name just a few! The list goes on. And on. And on, on, on!
If you have a favorite dessert, cereal, drink, or popular show, there’s probably a way to order it at Starbucks (off the secret menu)!
Of course there’s a Butterbeer Frappuccino on the secret menu at Starbucks! And it’s absolutely decadent and delicious.
Above: This is the Starbucks Butterbeer Frappuccino. We ordered it from the Starbucks inside Universal Studios!
I have a top secret confession. If I'm being honest, I actually like the Butterbeer Frappuccino from Starbucks better than the Frozen Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™! I actually order it at the Starbucks inside Universal Studios instead of getting it in the Harry Potter area.
Hear me out though! The frap version at Starbucks is richer and more decadent. It’s thicker and creamier, and has a milkshake-like consistency. On the other hand, the frozen version in the Wizarding World has a slushy-like texture and a more watered-down flavor.
And as a bonus, sometimes the lines are longer in the Wizarding World so you’ll save time by ordering the Starbucks version when you’re at Universal Studios!
How to Order a Grande-Sized Butterbeer Frappuccino Off the Secret Menu at Starbucks
- Ask for a Grande Crème Frappuccino base
- With 3 pumps caramel syrup
- And 2 pumps toffee nut syrup (bump it up to 3 if you like things on the super sweet side)
- Then top with whipped cream and caramel drizzle
Or better yet, make it at home!
What Does Butterbeer Taste Like?
When Bon Appetit magazine asked Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling “How is butterbeer made and what does it taste like?” (January 2002), she replied “I made it up. I imagine it to taste a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch.”
For our Harry Potter-inspired Butterbeer recipe, the frozen version is creamy and rich with a mixture of cream soda and vanilla ice cream. And the regular (not frozen) drink is sweet and fizzy with a creamy topping. Both are finished with a drizzle of butterscotch sauce.
What is Butterbeer Made Of?
In the Harry Potter books, this drink contained butterscotch, sugar, and water.
Does Butterbeer Have Alcohol in it?
According to the book series, Butterbeer had a slight alcoholic content. It could get house-elves, who were more sensitive to it, intoxicated. (Read more in Chapter 28 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.)
However, if you’re on vacation in Orlando and wondering if your kids can have Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, yes they can! The version of this drink served at Universal Studios is non-alcoholic.
Similarly, this recipe is non-alcoholic! But if you’re making this for 21-and-older adults, it’s easy to make an alcoholic Butterbeer. To spike it, simply add a shot of scotch, rum, bourbon, vanilla vodka, or butterscotch schnapps.
More Butterbeer Flavored Treats to Make
- Butterbeer Popcorn
- Harry Potter Butterbeer Brown Butter Blondies with Toasted Pecans
- Butterbeer Pudding
Butterbeer – Frozen and Regular (Cold) Versions
Frozen Butterbeer (See Notes For Regular Cold Butterbeer):
- 1 cup whipped cream for topping (or Cool Whip)
For the Butterscotch Sauce:
- Add the butter to a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the brown sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Cook until the sugar is melted and the mixture is boiling, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Carefully add the cream (it will bubble up), and stir to combine. Let it boil for about 3 to 5 minutes until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, stirring occasionally. It should reach 225F on a candy thermometer, but you don’t really need a candy thermometer to make this.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Use it now, or let it cool to room temperature and store it covered in the fridge for up to 2 months. Before serving, reheat it in a double boiler on the stovetop or in 10-second increments in the microwave, stirring between each increment.
To Make the Frozen Butterbeer:
- At least 3 hours before you want to make the Butterbeer, pour 2 cups of cream soda into ice cube trays and let it freeze until solid.
- Once frozen, add the frozen cream soda cubes, vanilla ice cream, liquid cream soda, butter extract, rum extract, and salt to a blender. Process until smooth, tamping down as necessary. Be careful not to over-process or it won’t be thick and creamy.
- Divide the Butterbeer between 4 glasses. Top each with ¼ cup whipped cream and 2 tablespoons of butterscotch syrup.
- Serve immediately.
- To Make Regular Cold Butterbeer (Not Frozen): Gently stir together 3 cups cream soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon butter extract (optional), and ¼ teaspoon rum extract (optional) in a large pitcher, being careful not to over-mix so your soda doesn’t go flat. Pour into serving glasses, spoon the whipped cream on top, and drizzle on the butterscotch sauce. Serve immediately.
- To Reduce the Sweetness: Use half sparkling water and half cream soda.
- To Make Alcoholic Butterbeer: Add a shot of scotch, rum, bourbon, vanilla vodka, or butterscotch schnapps to each serving.