Root Beer Extract Vs. Concentrate

  • By: Max S.
  • Date: September 13, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.

In making your root beer at home, using either root beer extract or concentrate will get you a splendid soft drink. However, there is a slight difference between their use in making the drink. 

Root beer extract possesses a milder flavor compared to root beer concentrate. So you need more quantity to get the required flavor. On the other hand, root beer concentrate has a much sharper flavor than the extract. In making your soft drink with this, you’ll need much less. 

Root beer is a north-American soft drink with a distinct and sweet flavor. It is manufactured by several large beverage companies, including the Coca-cola company, A&W, Mug, Barq’s, and Dr Pepper.

The safrole oil from sassafras bark and roots gave the soft drink its primary flavor, but since its ban in 1960, manufacturers have used a mixture of other ingredients to make the soft drink. Other ingredients used to produce root beer include wintergreen oil, cherry bark, birch bark, etc. 

While most people prefer the original safrole-flavored soft drink, root beer extracts and concentrates contain notes of sassafras. They are popularly used in making root beer, especially at home.

Read on to find out which is better for making root beer at home, the extract or concentrate. 

What Is Root Beer Concentrate?

two glass bottles of root beer concentrate
What is Root Beer Concentrate?

Root beer concentrate contains sassafras extract and is used to make homemade root beer. It also adds the unique flavor of the soft drink to cakes, cookies, desserts, and more. The concentrate is stronger than the root beer extract and is usually used in smaller quantities. 

What Is Root Beer Extract?

glass bottle of root beer extract
What is Root Beer Extract?

Root beer extract is used as a flavor to make homemade root beer. Its usage goes back decades. The original extract is a sweetened, effervescent substance made from sassafras. 

However, the primary flavor used in root beer nowadays is an extract of a blend of vanilla, wintergreen, and other ingredients. 

Apart from serving as the primary flavor for homemade root beer, this extract can be used for your cakes, ice cream, and even cookie ingredients. It is common amongst North Americans. 

Where Does Root Beer Extract Come From?

North America is home to several famous soft drink brands, such as Big Red and Dr Pepper. It is also home to the root beer extract. The carbonated substance is made using the root and bark of the Sassafras albidum or the vine of Smilax ornata, also known as Sarsaparilla, as the main flavor. 

What Can I Use Instead Of Root Beer Extract? 

six glass bottles of root beer extract
What Can I Use Instead Of Root Beer Extract?

In place of root beer extract, you may use the following ingredients and mixtures to produce tasty beverages and desserts.

  • Vanilla bean paste: Originating from the orchid vanilla planifolia, the vanilla bean paste is obtained from the seeds inside the pod. These seedpods undergo thorough processing before they’re used as extracts. 
  • Licorice: Licorice is obtained from a plant named Glycyrrhiza glabra, and its extract can be used as a flavor. 
  • Ginger Juice: Ginger juice supplements carbonated drinks like root beer. It is made from raw ginger rhizomes. 
  • Orange flower water: Orange flower water is a genuine extract obtained by distilling orange flowers. Middle easterners commonly use this water for cooking flavored foods. 

What Is Root Beer Syrup?

Root beer syrup is made from natural sarsaparilla root with sugar canes and molasses. Root beer syrups are brewing supplements. They are usually additions to the boiling mixture during the conclusive stages of brewing. The main syrups commonly used in brewing are starch-based or sucrose. 

Root Beer Extract Substitute

Vanilla bean paste, licorice, ginger juice, and orange flower water can substitute for root beer extracts. While they add different flavors, they also taste pretty good when used in making your soft drinks, cakes, and cookies.

What To Do With Root Beer Extract?

two glass bottles of root beer extract
What To Do With Root Beer Extract?

Root beer extract is used to make root beer at home easily. It also adds a distinct flavor to homemade cakes, sugar cookies, and frosting.

Following the steps below, you can make your root beer at home using root beer extract and yeast.

  • Add 1 cup of sugar to a plastic bottle using a funnel
  • Add 4 teaspoons of baker’s yeast
  • Shake for proper mixture
  • After the mixture is settled in the bowl, add 1 tablespoon of root beer extract
  • Fill the bottle halfway with cold water
  • Shake again to mix
  • Add more water until the bowl is almost full and shake to mix
  • Store your root beer mixture at room temperature and allow it to ferment for 3 – 4 days
  • The bottle will feel hard after fermenting. Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to cool until the next day
  • Bring out the soft drink and serve with ice cream.

For making root beer at home using root beer concentrate, follow the steps below. 

  • Add one and half cups of water to a medium saucepan and boil
  • Add a three-quarters cup of sugar to the water and stir properly
  • Add one and half root beer concentrate and stir until you achieve a proper mix
  • Refrigerate until you want to serve
  • Add 1 litre of cold soda water to the root beer and mix before serving

Here, you can also learn how to make your apple soda at home.


Root beer extract and concentrates are both used in creating homemade root beers. They are also used in making cookies, cakes, and desserts at home. The concentrate is stronger than the extract and should be used in smaller quantities.

Vanilla bean paste and some other ingredients listed above may be used to substitute for root beer extract when it is not available. Also, In this post, I list steps you can follow to make your root beer at home.