Butterbeer is one of the most popular treats at Universal Studios Orlando. Parents' Food Director, Jenna Helwig, sampled all seven versions and ranked them. Cheers!

By Jenna Helwig
Paula Montenegro/Shutterstock

There is a lot of magical food and drink in the Harry Potter universe. Think chocolate frogs, pumpkin juice, and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans just to name just a few. But if you ask most fans, Butterbeer is the most iconic—and the most delicious-sounding. The folks at Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter seem to agree because they offer a whopping seven different ways to consume it. And believe me, you’ll want to try every one.

My family and I recently spent a couple of days at Universal Orlando, taking the Hogwarts Express from Hogsmeade (in the Islands of Adventure park) to Diagon Alley (in the Universal Studios park) and back again as we fulfilled my Butterbeer bucket list. Here were our favorite varieties, in reverse order.

Courtesy of Jenna Helwig
Courtesy of Jenna Helwig

7. Butterbeer Ice Cream

This is a hard ice cream that comes packed in small cups with lids at Three Broomsticks. It looked like vanilla with a thin ripple of butterscotch winding its way throughout. It was good ice cream, but didn’t remind us that strongly of Butterbeer.

6. Frozen Butterbeer

Think of this as a Butterbeer slushy with that thick layer of creamy marshmallow-y goodness on top. Important note: it isn’t really marshmallow, but the topping’s flavor and glossy texture reminds me of marshmallow fluff (mmm). The frozen Butterbeer was refreshing and had that lovely buttery flavor we were chasing, but it drank a little icy at times.

5. Butterbeer Soft Serve

We bought this delicious ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour in Diagon Alley. It was almost like the genius kitchen elves made a frozen dessert out of the marshmallow-y topping on the butterbeer beverage. The custard was thick, but not heavy, and it was wonderfully refreshing on a warm day. My only quibble is that the salty-sweet butterscotch flavor I’m craving in Butterbeer could have been stronger.

Courtesy of Jenna Helwig

4. Classic Butterbeer

The O.G. Butterbeer—a dark, buttery soda crowned with a luscious thick topping. We made a beeline for this baby as soon as we entered Hogsmeade, and good thing, because the lines for Butterbeer got increasingly long as the day progressed. The drink was refreshing, if unsurprising, and had more Butterbeer punch than the frozen version.

Courtesy of Jenna Helwig

3. Potted Butterbeer

After lunching on a Great Feast—chicken, ribs, veggies, corn on the cob, and salad—at Three’s Broomsticks, we somehow still had room for dessert. Thankfully so because otherwise we never would have tasted this rich and creamy treat. The Potted Butterbeer was almost like a thick butterscotch pudding with a dollop of Butterbeer whipped cream on top. Served in a cute little glass jar, it was definitely the fanciest take on Butterbeer we sampled. The texture was light and smooth, almost like a mousse or whipped cream. This was my husband’s favorite Butterbeer variation, hands down.

Courtesy of Jenna Helwig

2. Butterbeer Fudge

What a delightful surprise! I bought a slab of this mouthwatering candy at Honeydukes in Hogsmeade. Imagine a layer of butterscotch-flavored fudge topped with a thinner, creamier layer reminiscent of the classic Butterbeer topping. Like all fudge it was very sweet, but we gobbled this up faster than you could say, “Accio, Butterbeer!”

1. Hot Butterbeer

This, my friends, is Butterbeer nirvana. It looks and drinks almost like a cappuccino with that creamy, milky topping giving way to warm liquid below. My favorite part was that it had just a hint of salt that kept me coming back for more. The only drawback here is that hot Butterbeer is seasonal. Universal Orlando won’t say exactly what that means, but expect to see hot Butterbeer for sale from early fall until mid-spring. I’m not saying that you should plan your trip to Universal Orlando around the availability of hot Butterbeer. But, you should plan your trip to Universal Orlando around the availability of hot Butterbeer.

I could have easily downed three of these a day (except for the fact that I was sampling all the other Butterbeer varieties!). And I’m considering launching a campaign to convince Starbucks to permanently put these on the menu. Muggles of the world, who’s with me? #Butterbeer4Ever

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