Homemade Old Fashioned Sarsaparilla Recipe

Updated to add:

This recipe is provided for historical informational purposes only.

The key ingredient in sassafras root is safrole, which the FDA banned for commercial use in food in the early 1960s following studies that found that rats fed large amounts of it developed cancer or liver damage.

Old Fashioned Sarsaparilla Root Beer Recipe


  • 3 tablespoons of sarsaparilla root (roughly 1/2 ounce)
  • 1 tablespoon of licorice root 1 qt. water
  • 2-3 teaspoons of dried Stevia leaf (or 3-4 Stevia teabags)
  • 2 qts. carbonated water.

Add the sarsaparilla and licorice to a quart of water and allow to simmer for roughly 45 minutes. Make sure you don’t actually allow the mixture to boil because this will make it bitter. Add in the Stevia and simmer for another 15 minutes.  Strain the plant material and put the pan back on the burner. Simmer this at a very low heat and wait for the liquid to reduce to half the level. Take it off the heat and then use a cheesecloth to strain it. You’ll then be left with 12 ounces of concentrate which then needs to be refrigerated. Once this is done you can add two ounces and add it to 10 ounces of carbonated water.

Then add the Stevia extact to taste, but only if you wish. This will provide you with six big glasses of root beer.