Today, I am here to tell you about one of the most perfect Items known to man. Well, to me. I’m talking about an old fashioned root beer float, friends.

I have fond childhood memories of getting root beer floats with my family after my dad’s softball games, and I’m going to share with you the best way I’ve found to make your float rich and creamy from the first sip!

And if you like your ice cream with a side of ice cream, try pairing this retro soda fountain classic with a slice or two of birthday ice cream cake or maybe some Neapolitan ice cream cake.

A tall glass of root beer float with a cherry on top and a bottle of root beer next to it.

What Is a Root Beer Float?

At its simplest, a root beer float is just two ingredients: root beer, and ice cream.

But something about the dairy in the ice cream makes the fizz of the root beer Stay.

And that is the magic of this kind of float. That fizzy-creamy combination. So good.

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Ingredients for Creamy Perfection from Sip One

Here’s what you’ll need:

Collage of ingredients for making a creamy root beer float.
  • vanilla ice cream: You’ll use a couple of scoops of frozen vanilla ice cream and a little bit of melted vanilla ice cream. If you swap out for chocolate ice cream, you’ll have made a “brown cow.”
  • root beer: your favorite brand, but for me, a less-sweet, spicy one is nice here. Dad’s is a good option as is the Boylan’s I used
  • whipped cream: Totally necessary? No. But it makes this drink extra special!
  • maraschino cherries: Also not totally necessary, but it makes it fancy!

Is a Root Beer Float Considered a Dirty Soda?

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Root beer floats predate the dirty soda craze that began in Utah by decades and decades.

In that a root beer float is a soda with an addition–ice cream and some melted ice cream–in this case, yes, it does fit the definition of a dirty soda.

You can “dirty up” your float even more by adding additional syrups. Raspberry or cherry would be great in a root beer float!

Making Them Creamy from the First Sip

A close up of the top of a root beer float with whipped cream and a cherry.

I did have one issue with root beer floats as a kid, though.

I had to wait for the ice cream to melt so the float would be nice and creamy.

How to remedy that?

  • Put some melted ice cream in the bottom of the glass first.
  • Pour in a bit of your soda.
  • Add more, non-melty, ice cream
  • Top off with more soda, some whipped cream, and of course a cherry on top.

Creamy, fizzy, sweet, perfect.

An old fashioned float to be proud of. One you can drink right away and not worry if it won’t be creamy enough.

PRO TIP: For a slightly less sweet float, pour in a couple of tablespoons of cream rather than melted ice cream.

Two root beer floats with whipped cream and cherries on top.

More Root Beer Goodness

Here are some other recipes that use root beer in some creative ways. Enjoy!

  • Chocolate Root Beer Cake–with root beer in the cake and the glaze, and chocolate to boot, you pretty much cannot go wrong.
  • Root Beer Ribs–cooking it down turns the brew into a sweet and sticky glaze. You don’t necessarily know it’s root beer, but you know it’s delicious!
  • Root Beer Barbecue Sauce–an unexpected addition to your favorite barbecue sauce. Keep this idea in your back pocket, for sure.
5 golden stars for rating recipes

The Best Root Beer Float Recipe

Jennifer Field
To make an old-fashioned creamy root beef float that is creamy from the word “go,” melt a couple of tablespoons of ice cream per float and pour that in the bottom of your glass first. You’re welcome. Now go make one immediately.
4.75 from 4 votes
Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Beverages
Cuisine American
Servings 4 floats
Calories 568 kcal


  • ½ cup vanilla bean ice cream melted but still cold
  • 8 scoops vanilla bean ice cream
  • 4 12 oz bottles your favorite root beer
  • 1 cup whipped heavy cream unsweetened (my preference)
  • 4 maraschino cherries


  • Pour 2 Tablespoons of melted vanilla ice cream in the bottom of your glasses.
  • Top off with about 1/4 of the bottle of root beer.
  • Add one scoop of ice cream to each glass and then slowly fill with root beer until the foam reaches the top rim of the glass.
  • Plop in another scoop of ice cream. Spoon or pipe on a generous swirl of whipped cream, and then perch a drained maraschino cherry on top.
  • Enjoy, and keep your bottle of root beer right next to you, because as you sip, you’ll want to keep adding root beer. It’s like a bottomless float!

Did You Make Any Changes?


You can change up the flavor of your soda and make any kind of float you want. Orange soda makes a great creamsicle float, and a Coke float is another family favorite. Enjoy!


Serving: 1gCalories: 568kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 4gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 119mgFiber: 1gSugar: 60g
Keyword best root beer float, how to make a root beer float, root beer float
Did you make this recipe?Please tell us what you loved!

Next time you’re thirsty and feeling nostalgic, do make a creamy root beer float.

Not much different than a regular one, to be honest, but no waiting for the ice cream to melt.

Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Take care, and have a lovely day.

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  1. This is really such a beautiful post, really the perfect post for your dad. When I read it I found myself drawn into the story in an unexpected way…. to close this chapter in your life, in your dad’s life, is just so touching. I am so happy that you could make his wish come true. And the root beer float is perfect.

  2. Jenni,

    What a beautifully written post. I feel like I was on the journey with you and could taste the honeysuckle juice. You sure know how to make sure Dad is smiling down on you!


    p.s. sharing on Desserts Required’s FB page manana.

  3. Such a beautiful post, Jenni. My dad is in his last years and I can’t imagine life without him. He loved root beer floats, too, how funny. Must be a generational thing. I’m so sorry for you loss, but it sounds like you have so many memories to comfort you.

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