For those just learning it, Skyrim's alchemy system may seem a little intimidating. With dozens of ingredients each bearing four effects, it can be tricky to learn how to optimize one's potions. The best recipes are the ones that can achieve more than one buff, but sometimes, a detrimental effect gets accidentally caught up in the mixture.
To help players get started, here's a list of some of the best potion recipes players can whip up in Skyrim. Each of these mixtures boasts multiple effects that complement each other, has no negative effects, and can serve the Dragonborn in plenty of different scenarios. All of the mixtures listed below are beneficial to the drinker — to harm enemies through alchemy, check out this guide to devastating Skyrim poisons.
Updated March 11, 2023, by Demaris Oxman: Skyrim's Alchemy crafting system continues to fascinate players over a decade after the game's release. The game's Anniversary Edition revitalized the player base with the addition of free Creation Club content, which added dozens of new quests, intriguing new mechanics, and hundreds of new items to the world of Skyrim. Among these are tons of new alchemical reagents, some of which boast effects not even found in the base game. With that in mind, this list has been updated to include a few more recipes, featuring ingredients from free Creation Club content.
15 Snowberries + Spriggan Sap + Blisterwort
Effects: Fortify Enchanting, Fortify Smithing
A Dragonborn looking to buckle down for a crafting session should chug this potion, as it provides the Dragonborn with increases to two handy crafting skills. Not only are these effects valuable, but they also work well with each other.
Applied enchantments will be more powerful, and weapons and armor will be improved to a greater degree. This will allow the player to craft stronger, more powerful gear to keep them alive in Skyrim's harsh landscape — or to sell for a few extra gold.
- Snowberries: These little red berries are abundant in Skyrim's colder areas. Look for them near Dawnstar and Winterhold.
- Spriggan Sap: Despite its name, players will not find this ingredient on killed Spriggans. The only way to get it is to buy (or steal) from an alchemy shop.
- Blisterwort: Like most mushrooms, Blisterwort is common in cool, damp areas, like caves and Dwemer ruins. It's especially plentiful in Chillwind Depths.
14 Ashen Grass Pod + Pine Thrush Egg + Purple Mountain Flower
Effects: Fortify Lockpicking, Fortify Sneak, Restore Stamina
The perfect potion for thieves, this recipe fortifies essential stealth skills, making it that much easier for the Dragonborn to break into houses and help themselves to valuables. What's more, if the player happens to be low on Stamina, this mixture will restore that as well.
Unfortunately, the Ashen Grass Pod is a DLC-exclusive ingredient, found only in Dragonborn. For those with the DLC, however, this potion is worth a trip to the island of Solstheim.
- Ashen Grass Pod: As mentioned above, this ingredient is exclusive to Solstheim. It can be found throughout the ash wastes on the southern half of the island.
- Pine Thrush Egg: These can be looted from birds' nests in Skyrim's eastern regions; they're most common in the Reach.
- Purple Mountain Flower: These are common in Skyrim's temperate regions, such as Whiterun Hold and the forests of Falkreath.
13 Briar Heart + Ectoplasm + Glow Dust
Effects: Restore Magicka, Fortify Magicka, Fortify Destruction
A perfect mixture for destruction mages, this potion ensures that the player has plenty of Magicka at the ready, and that their spells will do more damage.
Whether the player relies on fire, frost, or shock, this potion ensures that they have plenty of Magicka to cast their highest-level spells, while also increasing the damage that those spells inflict. Battlemages should pack a few every time they head into a fight.
- Briar Heart: As the name implies, these can be looted from Forsworn Briarhearts, which often serve as the final enemy in Forsworn hideouts. If players want a safer route, Briar Hearts are often available to buy from alchemy vendors.
- Ectoplasm: Loot this from the remains of ghosts. Alternatively, it is readily available in alchemy shops and the homes of mages or alchemists.
- Glow Dust: This ingredient is dropped by Wispmothers; however, since this enemy is fairly rare, players might have an easier time buying or stealing it from alchemy shops or various homes around Skyrim.
12 Daedra Silk + Blister Pod Cap + Red Mountain Flower
Effects: Nighteye, Invisibility, Fortify Magicka, Restore Magicka
This is an essential brew for stealthy mages, such as those who use Illusion magic to pass through enemy territory. It will not only render the Dragonborn invisible, but allow them to see in the dark as well. Even if the invisibility wears off, they can use the cover of the shadows to sneak successfully, and still be able to see clearly.
What's more, with both Fortify and Restore Magicka, the Dragonborn will have the resources to cast any other stealthy spells they need, such as Invisibility or Muffle. And if their stealth does fail, they'll have the resources to let their Destruction spells rip.
- Daedra Silk: As part of the Rare Curios creation, this ingredient is only available by purchase from Khajiit caravans.
- Blister Pod Cap: Another Rare Curios item, these too can be bought from Khajiit. In the Saints and Seducers creation, the Dragonborn can find them in the hollow stumps in the sewers beneath Solitude.
- Red Mountain Flower: Like the purple and blue variants, these grow all over Skyrim, especially in temperate regions like Whiterun and Falkreath.
11 Garlic + Slaughterfish Egg + Namira's Rot
Effects: Resist Poison, Regenerate Health, Fortify Stamina
Every Dragonborn should take this mixture along when delving into Dwarven ruins or other Falmer hideouts. These corrupted elves and their Chaurus pets use debilitating poison attacks, so a potion like this is invaluable.
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Additionally, even when the player does take hits, Regenerate Health ensures they'll bounce back quickly. Finally, with the extra stamina, they'll be able to perform extra power attacks to overwhelm their foes.
- Garlic: Commonly found in homes and kitchens, the Dragonborn can usually take Garlic freely if they are on good terms with the home's owner.
- Slaughterfish Egg: Clusters can be found near the shores of lakes and rivers across Skyrim. Lake Ilinalta and Goldenglow Estate are good places to look.
- Namira's Rot: Like most mushrooms, Namira's Rot is common in caves. Chillwind Depths has a plentiful supply.
10 Snowberries + Bone Meal + Frost Salts
Effects: Resist Fire, Resist Frost, Fortify Conjuration
Snowberries make several appearances on this list, because they are invaluable for providing elemental protection. Whether the Dragonborn's enemy prefers to roast or freeze their opponents, this potion will protect the player, thanks to Snowberries' alignment with the other two ingredients.
Meanwhile, Bone Meal and Frost Salts work together to provide the Fortify Conjuration effect. This ensures that the player's summons, from zombies to Storm Atronachs, will last longer.
- Snowberries: See above
- Bone Meal: As this is looted from draugr, skeletons, or other undead enemies, players can find a plentiful supply in any Nord ruin.
- Frost Salts: Difficult to find in the wild, Frost Salts can be looted from Frost Atronachs. They may also be in the hideouts of powerful mages, or can be crafted at the College of Winterhold's Atronach Forge.
9 Slaughterfish Scales + Thistle Branch + Tundra Cotton
Effects: Fortify Block, Fortify Two-Handed, Resist Frost
This is the perfect mixture for a proud Skyrim warrior. Players can use their battleaxes and greatswords to both deal heavier damage to enemies, and to more easily deflect incoming attacks.
The Resist Frost effect will also come in handy. For a Dragonborn fighting a Frost Dragon or Ice Wraith, this potion increases offensive power, and allows players to stay on their feet even with an ice spear through their chest.
- Slaughterfish Scales: Players can find these on killed Slaughterfish, or in alchemy shops.
- Thistle Branch: This purple flower is common in Whiterun Hold, Haafingar, and Falkreath.
- Tundra Cotton: These little white tufts are common in the tundra outside Whiterun.
8 Juniper Berries + Elves Ear + Vampire Dust
Effects: Fortify Marksman, Restore Magicka, Regenerate Health
Archery is a favorite skill among many Skyrim players, especially those who prefer to take out their enemies from a distance. With the damage boost that this potion provides to bows and crossbows, the Dragonborn might even be able to one-shot a few guards and sneak into a forbidden area.
Additionally, since some stealth builds use Illusion magic to soften their footsteps or render themselves unseen, this potion will assure that the Dragonborn has enough Magicka to perform their spells. And if they do find themselves caught in a fight, the Regenerate Health effect will make them much harder to kill.
- Juniper Berries: These are common in the Reach, especially on the road leading to Markarth. Look for short evergreen trees with clusters of small, pale green berries.
- Elves Ear: This dried herb is often found hanging in homes and alchemist shops. The owners will let the Dragonborn take it freely if they are on good terms.
- Vampire Dust: Loot killed Vampires to find this item. Clear out Haemar's Shame, Movarth's Lair, or do radiant quests for the Dawnguard.
7 Scaly Pholiota + Giant's Toe + Mora Tapinella
Effects: Regenerate Stamina, Fortify Carry Weight, Fortify Illusion
Whether searching for a destination or simply wandering the world, this potion is essential for a Dragonborn wandering Skyrim. Regenerate Stamina allows for frequent sprinting (or power attacks when facing foes), whileFortify Carry Weight lets players pick up every stray sword, chunk of ore, or interesting mushroom they find.
The final effect may seem out of place to some, but this school of magic can be life-saving during exploration. Use Clairvoyance to find a way out of that cave, Muffle to sneak past a pack of bandits, or Calm to quickly get away from a sabre cat.
- Scaly Pholiota: This fungus be found growing on dead birch trees, and is most common in the Rift.
- Giant's Toe: Players can loot this item from killed Giants, but to avoid being catapulted into the air, it might be safer to buy/steal it from an alchemist.
- Mora Tapinella: This fungus grows on tree stumps and fallen logs. Autumnshade Clearing near Riften has a fair number.
6 Blue Mountain Flower + Wheat + Rock Warbler Egg
Effects: Fortify One-Handed, Restore Health, Fortify Health
For warriors who find themselves wounded in a fight, this potion will get them back on their feet — and perhaps even help them gain the upper hand. With it, the player's swords, maces, and axes will deal more damage, giving them an advantage
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What's more, the potion both restores and fortifies the Dragonborn's health.Together, these ingredients both heal damage that has been done, and enable the player to take more hits while they dish out pain of their own.
- Blue Mountain Flower: Like its purple cousins, these bloom all over Skyrim's temperate areas.
- Wheat: Players can usually find this growing on farms throughout Skyrim.
- Rock Warbler Egg: Look for these in birds' nests in the mountains, especially in areas with juniper bushes nearby.
5 Purple Butterfly Wing + Garlic + Bee
Effects: Regenerate Health, Regenerate Stamina, Regenerate Magicka
Added in the Saints and Seducers creation, Purple Butterfly Wings have the power to speed the regeneration of each of the player's three core resources. Combining it with Garlic and Bee will bring out all three of these effects in one superpowered elixir.
Whether the Dragonborn is throwing power attacks or high-level spells, this potion will ensure that they can do so in quick succession, making even tough bosses much easier to take down. And with HP regenerating faster as well, the player themselves will be difficult to knock out.
- Purple Butterfly Wing: Purple butterflies can be found flitting around the overgrown sewers during the Saints and Seducers questline. Catch them to collect their wings.
- Garlic: See above
- Bee: These passive insects can be found buzzing near beehives, which may be found wandering the wilderness of the Rift or Falkreath. They are also commonly available from alchemy merchants.
4 Luna Moth Wing + Vampire Dust + Skeever Tail
Effects: Invisibility, Regenerate Health, Fortify Light Armor
Invisibility potions are always handy to have around, but this brew is so much more than that. When sneaking through enemy territory as a thief or assassin, this potion ensures that even if the player does break invisibility, they'll be equipped to handle the ensuing fight.
Not only is this potion useful; it's incredibly valuable as well. Players can craft dozens of jars of this brew to quickly level their Alchemy skill, or earn a pile of Septims.
- Luna Moth Wing: These nocturnal insects are found throughout Skyrim. Look for small, glowing bugs at nighttime.
- Vampire Dust: See above
- Skeever Tail: These little rats are in caves and basements everywhere, and their tails can be looted once they are killed.
3 Charred Skeever Hide + Mudcrab Chitin + Swamp Fungal Pod
Effects: Resist Poison, Cure Disease, Restore Stamina, Restore Health
Four-effect potions are rare in Skyrim, and even rarer are all four effects beneficial. This magic brew will get players back on their feet no matter what has them down. With both Resist Poison and Cure Disease, it's excellent for venturing through areas like Falmer hideouts, which are laden with disease-causing traps and venom-spewing Chauruses.
Meanwhile, a little extra Health and Stamina are always welcome, no matter the Dragonborn's playstyle. This potion will bring the Dragonborn back from the brink of death more resiliant than before, and give them the energy to pull off more power attacks (or sprint away from the enemy).
- Charred Skeever Hide: In some caves and bandit hideouts, players may find a skeever roasting on a spit; loot it to get this item. It can also be purchased from shops.
- Mudcrab Chitin: Mudcrabs live near lakes and riverbeds throughout Skyrim. Kill them to loot their chitin.
- Swamp Fungal Pod: As the name suggests, this ingredient is common in swampy areas; look for it in Morthal and the surrounding marshes of Hjaalmarch.
2 Dwarven Oil + Snowberries + Fire Salts/Moon Sugar
Effects: Restore Magicka, Regenerate Magicka, Resist Fire/Frost
This potion is perfect for a battle between mages. With its first two effects, it ensures the Dragonborn doesn't run low on spellcasting power during crucial moments. Players replenish their Magicka and ensure that they get it back quickly after using it.
Since Skyrim's enemies are many and varied, players can adjust this potion to counter their enemy's attacks. Depending on the type of enemy the player is facing, they may decide whether Resist Fire or Resist Frostis more useful to them. Fighting Ahzidal or another fire-based Dragon priest? Choose Fire Salts. Need protection from a Forsworn Briarheart's frosty attacks? Moon Sugar is the way to go.
- Dwarven Oil: These little jars are, predictably, quite common in Dwarven ruins.
- Snowberries: See above
- Fire Salts: If the player can loot them before they explode, they can get Fire Salts from Flame Atronachs. Alternatively, keep an eye out for them wherever mages dwell, or craft them at the Atronach Forge.
- Moon Sugar: As it is not found in the wild, the only way to obtain Moon Sugar is by purchasing or stealing it from shopkeepers or Khajiit caravans.
1 Lichor + Comberry + Jazbay Grapes
Effects: Restore Magicka, Fortify Magicka, Regenerate Magicka, Spell Absorption
The ingredients included in the Rare Curios creation include a few effects that were not available in any base game ingredients, and Spell Absorption is one of these. When under this effect, the Dragonborn will not take damage from hostile spells; rather, those spells will fill their Magicka reserve.
Considering the Spell Absorption as well as the other effects listed above, this potion is a godsend to mages who find themselves knocked down in battle. Drink it to turn the tables on a powerful magic user.
- Lichor and Comberry: Both are ingredients exclusive to the Rare Curios creation, and can only be purchased from Khajiit caravans.
- Jazbay Grapes: These are typically found growing around the hot springs in Eastmarch.
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