★★★★★

Homemade Root Beer (Floats)

Nothing can match the refreshing taste of a Root Beer Float! It’s even better when you swap the store bought soda for homemade root beer. You’ll want to make these all summer long.

Check one off the summer bucket list! This recipe isn’t just for a homemade root beer float. I’m also going to teach you how to make root beer without one of those fancy soda machines.

Homemade root beer with vanilla ice cream topped with whipped cream and cherry.

Why this Recipe is Best

I’ve been buying bottles of McCormick Root Beer Concentrate since I made this root beer float fudge.

On the back of the bottle is a recipe for homemade Root Beer. I was intrigued by this, having never tried my hand at it before. It had never occurred to me I could make one of my all time favorite summertime sodas at home.

The recipe on the bottle was a little plain, so I added a bit of my own pizzazz.

  • Handful of ingredients
  • Ready in no time
  • No added chemicals or preservatives

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make homemade root beer.

Root Beer Concentrate: I use McCormick or Watkins brand, which can be found on Amazon (and sometimes in stores too)! Some brands are clear…which leave you with an odd looking root beer!

Vanilla: Vanilla bean paste and homemade vanilla sugar added a better dimension of flavor and more sweetness to the soda. Using vanilla extract will NOT be enough flavor. However, you could scrape the seeds out of a vanilla bean pod and combine it with the extract to achieve rich vanilla flavor.

Club Soda: plain club soda provides the perfect carbonation!

I poured the fizzy drink over a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a tall glass and popped in a long straw.

Ahhhh. . .cool, sweat and creamy perfection! The homemade root beer is so much better than almost any bottled version I’ve tried. And if you’re going to have a root beer float you might as well go all out!

Easy Instructions

It’s much easier to make the root beer than I would have ever thought. You make a syrup from the root beer concentrate and then combine it with club soda.

Step by step photo instructions showing how to make homemade root beer.

To make the root beer syrup:

Boil water and whisk in vanilla sugar until it’s dissolved. Then, you remove the sugar water from heat and stir in the concentrate and vanilla bean paste. Refrigerate this mixture for at least 30 minutes.

If you won’t be serving the root beer right away, you can also leave this syrup concentrate in the fridge until ready to use!

Note: When you mix in your club soda you need to serve your root beer immediately or it will go flat.

How to make root beer float:

When you’re ready to enjoy the root beer, pour the syrup into a large pitcher and top with club soda. Serve right away in a glass over ice for a refreshing beverage OR with a scoop of ice cream for a root beer float.

Be sure to add whipped cream and cherry on top!

Homemade root beer being poured into a tall glass with vanilla ice cream.

Serving Suggestions

Vanilla is the traditional ice cream for a root beer floats and the one I reach for most often. The vanilla flavor helps bring out the vanilla notes in the root beer while softening the sharper spicier flavors. I recommend an ice cream made with real vanilla beans for best taste.

You could also substitute all or half of the vanilla ice cream for chocolate. In some regions this creamy drink is called a brown cow or a black cow!

Cookies and cream ice cream is also a delicious twist to this classic root beer float!

Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t have vanilla sugar? Feel free to substitute regular granulated sugar in the recipe.
  • If you don’t have vanilla paste and can’t find it, substitute a teaspoon of vanilla extract instead with the scrapings of a vanilla been pod.
  • Don’t add the club soda to the concentrate syrup until you’re ready to drink the root beer. It’ll quickly go flat if not enjoyed soon after pouring.
Homemade root beer in a tall glass with ice.

More Root Beer Concentrate Recipes

I know how frustrating it can be to spend money on a bottle of flavoring you hardly ever use. Root beer concentrate is a worthwhile purchase if you love root beer and root beer flavored desserts.

Along with Root Beer Float Fudge you can use this ingredient for making Root Beer Meringue Cookies and Root Beer Float Truffles.

There’s also a good chance you’ll want to just keep making this homemade root beer over and over until the bottle runs out!

Use your homemade root beer recipe in our delicious Root Beer Pulled Pork (yes you read that right)! So delicious.

More Easy Summer Recipes

Yield: 6 servings

Homemade Root Beer Floats

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Nothing can match the refreshing taste of a Root Beer Float! It's even better when you swap the store bought soda for homemade root beer. You'll want to make these all summer long.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspooon root beer concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 quart club soda
  • 1 quart vanilla bean ice cream

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, boil water. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla sugar until completely dissolved. Mix in root beer concentrate and vanilla bean paste. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or until ready to serve.
  2. When ready to serve, pour into large pitcher. Mix in the club soda. For a glass of homemade root beer, serve over ice.
  3. For a root beer float, scoop ice cream into large glass. Pour fresh root beer over ice cream and enjoy!

Notes

  • Don't have vanilla sugar? Feel free to substitute regular granulated sugar in the recipe.
  • If you don't have vanilla paste and can't find it, substitute a teaspoon of vanilla extract instead with the scrapings of a vanilla been pod.
  • Don't add the club soda to the concentrate syrup until you're ready to drink the root beer. It'll quickly go flat if not enjoyed soon after pouring.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 594Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 53mgCarbohydrates: 70gFiber: 0gSugar: 70gProtein: 1g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on May 21, 2021

Comments & Reviews

  1. Floats have always been a staple in our house. Perfect for summer and such a yummy recipe! My teens loved this recipe! Excited to make these during the summer more often!

  2. Root beer floats is a tradition at our house. Now we have a new way to do them! Thanks for sharing on our “Strut Your Stuff Saturday”. Hope you come back next week. -The Sisters

  3. Thank you for this! I am so excited to try it. I happen to have ALL the ingredients, including a bottle of club soda I have no idea why I have or, before now, how to use! 🙂

  4. I had no idea you could make your own root beer. I mean I guess ultimately you can make anything at home…but I never would have thought to do this. Call me lazy but a bottle of A&W works for me:-) Although, can you believe I don’t like ice cream in mine? Looks like something we don’t have in common:-)

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