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Root Beer Float

With a root beer float, you can quench your thirst, refresh your body, and have dessert at the same time.

One sip of this cool and creamy concoction will have you walking, or rather –  floating, on sunshine.

The combination of sweet root beer and cold and creamy ice cream is a tried and true classic. It’s the ultimate refreshment!

Root Beer Float with Whipped Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream and Cherries
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It takes 2 minutes to prepare, and 10 seconds to finish. It’s just that addictive. 

What are you waiting for? It’s time to make yourself a well-deserved, old-fashioned treat.

Root Beer Float

A root beer float is a concoction made of root beer and vanilla ice cream.

It’s such a nostalgic drink that whenever I have one, I’m reminded of fond childhood memories. I loved it then, and I love it just as much today.

For this recipe, you’ll take the beloved float into a whole other level of greatness simply by adding whipped cream and cherries. 

Root Beer Float Ingredients: Vanilla Ice Cream, Root Beer, Whipped Cream and Cherries


  • Vanilla Ice Cream – Naturally, the top choice is good old-fashioned regular vanilla ice cream, but you can also use soft-serve ice cream as well. Since it has a softer consistency, it blends really well with the float.

Another good option is gelato. It’s denser than ice cream, which makes it great for floats. The only downside is that it’s not as creamy, since it contains less fat than regular ice cream.

  • Root Beer – It’s the star of the drink, so pick one of good quality. Did you know that root beer flavor is more than just root bark and vanilla? It’s a blend of several herbs and spices, too! 

The best one for me is, hands down, A&W. Not only is it a classic, but it also has the best flavor.

Sprecher is my next choice because apart from the sweetness, it’s also creamy! Option number three: Mug.

It’s not as excellent as A&W, but it’s good enough for root beer floats.

  • Whipped Cream – You can use Cool Whip, but can also make it yourself. Simply beat whipping cream and sugar in the electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  • Cherries – The added touch to make your float extra special!

Tips for the Best Float

  • It all starts with the glass (or mug). You’ll want the float to stay cold all throughout, but adding ice will make it watery. The solution? Frost the mug! Pop it in the freezer at least 30 minutes before making the float so it stays nice and cool as you drink it.
  • No space in the freezer? You can refrigerate the glasses instead, but they will take longer to chill – about 3 to 4 hours. 
  • If you’re in a hurry and forgot to frost your glasses, no worries. Here’s a simple hack: fill them up with ice and cold water, and freeze them for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • While I don’t mind the calories, I know some of you do! Don’t worry, you can always opt for diet soda and low-fat ice cream. It won’t be as sweet and decadent, but it will scratch that root beer float itch just the same.
  • Pour the root beer very carefully over the ice cream so it won’t fizz as much.
  • Want a slushie-like float? Freeze the root beer for 2 ½ hours before use.

Toppings for Root Beer Float 

There’s nothing basic about a root beer float, but there are also a ton of ways to dress it up. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Nothing beats the classic! The best way to finish off a root beer float is with a dollop of whipped cream and cherries. There’s just no competition.
  • For added refreshment, top the ice cream with fruits and berries. I’m thinking sliced strawberries and bananas.
  • You can’t go wrong with chocolate and vanilla, so garnish your float with shaved chocolate. You can use chocolate syrup, too! For something more subtle, you can dust some cocoa powder over the ice cream.
  • Have some leftover shortbread or sugar cookies? Crush them up and top the float with them.
  • Can’t get enough of peanut butter? This peanut butter float will knock your socks off: peanut butter ice cream, root beer, whipped cream, and crushed peanut butter cups. 
  • Not that kids need any more convincing to drink a root beer float, but you can add fun and color to the drink by topping it with rainbow sprinkles.
  • Finally, here’s my absolute favorite: warm salted caramel. Simply drizzle some of it on top of the float and taste the difference. I love how it adds a warm and salty contrast to the cold and sweet beverage. It’s the perfect balance of flavors.
Glasses of Homemade Root Beer Float with Whipped Cream, Ice Cream and Cherries

Root Beer Float Variations

The original root beer float formula is root beer + vanilla ice cream. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try other soda and ice cream combinations! Here are other variations:

  • Make a tooty-fruity creamsicle float with some orange soda, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and orange slices. 
  • Or how about a very berry drink? Make it with strawberry soda, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, fresh strawberries, sprinkles, and shortbread cookies. For more strawberry flavor, you can use strawberry ice cream instead of vanilla.
  • Chocolate makes everything better, so why not make a chocolate float? All you’ll need are chocolate ice cream, root beer or cream soda (make your own with one of these homemade soda recipes ), whipped cream, and chocolate shavings or sprinkles.
  • Love cookies and cream? Turn them into a float! Make it with cookies and cream ice cream, cream soda, whipped cream, and some crushed Oreo cookies.
  • Any Harry Potter fans out there? You’ll love this Butter Beer float. I know I do. Here’s what you’ll need: vanilla ice cream, butterscotch soda, and whipped cream. It’s so good, one sip will take you straight to Hogsmeade!
  • For a sweet and tangy drink, make a key lime float with lime sherbet, lemon-lime soda, whipped cream, and a lemon wedge. 
  • Cheesecake and cherries are always a great pair, so turn that into a drink. All you need are cream cheese ice cream, cherry soda, whipped cream, crushed graham crackers, and cherries.

Is There a Difference Between an Ice Cream Soda and a Float?

They sound like the same thing, but yes, there is a difference. An ice cream soda is a beverage made with club soda. It’s sweetened with flavored syrup and a scoop of ice cream. 

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It’s also tasty and refreshing, but it’s no root beer float! A root beer float is an awesome combination of root beer and vanilla ice cream.

I like them both, but if I had to pick, I would pick a root beer float any day.

Root Beer Float



Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1/2 pint vanilla ice cream

  • 1 (12-fluid ounce) can or bottle of root beer

  • 1/2 cup whipped cream

  • 4 maraschino cherries


  • Place a scoop of ice cream each into two tall glasses.
  • Pour the root beer carefully, filling the glasses a third of the way.
  • Add another scoop of ice cream and fill the glasses with root beer 2/3 of the way.
  • Repeat the step until the glasses are full, ending with ice cream.
  • Top the glasses with whipped cream and cherries. Enjoy!
Root Beer Float

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

6 thoughts on “Root Beer Float”

  1. I make this a lot as my husband loves root beer. My mom used to make this back in the 50’s for my dad who also loved root beer. I am not a root beer lover, but I love cream soda. Did you know that if you mix equal parts of any brand cream soda and any brand of orange soda the result tastes like an orange cream soda or a creamsicle. I never tried it with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream but I bet it would be great. I enjoy your emails and have tried a lot of your recipes. Keep up the good work.

  2. I really like your selection of recipes. However, it would help those of us who are diabetic to know wha the amount of sugar in a recipe is (and we can replace with “pretend” sugar, and also the amount of carbohydrates in the recipe. Keep up the good work!


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