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Skill: Alchemy

Alchemy is the art of brewing potions and poisons by combining ingredients with matching effects. Initially, you don't know the effects of ingredients and must discover them by eating ingredients, reading recipes, or brewing them into potions.

Some NPCs (notably alchemists) may offer you basic recipes while conversing. Perks in this skill allow discovering more effects by eating; increase the effectiveness of created potions and poisons; remove the positive effects from poisons and the negative effects from potions; and allow you to gather twice as many ingredients from plants. The alchemy skill tree has 9 perks, requiring 15 perk points to fill.


In-game Description: An alchemist can create magical potions and deadly poisons.

Alchemy is a useful complement to any character style. The most basic potions restore Health, Magicka or Stamina, while poisons cause weapons to inflict greater damage. With a more thorough understanding of the ingredients, you can brew formulas which produce the effects of many magic spells and enchantments. While many potions are available for sale, knowledge of alchemy gives you more flexible, and potentially more powerful, potions than can be bought.

Skill Perks

Alchemy Perk Tree
Alchemist (5 ranks): 0/20/40/60/80 Alchemy. Potions and poisons you make are 20/40/60/80/100% stronger.
Physician: 20 Alchemy. Potions you mix that restore Health, Magicka or Stamina are 25% more powerful.
Benefactor: 30 Alchemy. Potions you mix with beneficial effects have an additional 25% greater magnitude.
Experimenter (3 ranks): 50/70/90 Alchemy. Eating an ingredient reveals first two/first three/all its effects.
Purity: 100 Alchemy. All negative effects are removed from created potions, and all positive effects are removed from created poisons.
Poisoner: 30 Alchemy. Poisons you mix are 25% more effective.
Concentrated Poison: 60 Alchemy. Poisons applied to weapons last for twice as many hits.
Concentrated Poison
Green Thumb: 70 Alchemy. Two ingredients are gathered from plants.
Green Thumb
Snakeblood: 80 Alchemy. 50% resistance to all poisons.
Alchemy Perk Tree
Perk Rank Description ID Skill Req. Perk Req.
Alchemist 1 Potions and poisons you make are 20% stronger. 000be127
2 Potions and poisons you make are 40% stronger. 000c07ca 20 Alchemy
3 Potions and poisons you make are 60% stronger. 000c07cb 40 Alchemy
4 Potions and poisons you make are 80% stronger. 000c07cc 60 Alchemy
5 Potions and poisons you make are twice as strong. 000c07cd 0 80 Alchemy
Physician Potions you mix that restore Health, Magicka or Stamina are 25% more powerful. 00058215 20 Alchemy Alchemist
Benefactor Potions you mix with beneficial effects have an additional 25% greater magnitude. 00058216 30 Alchemy Physician
Experimenter 1 Eating an ingredient reveals first two effects. 00058218 50 Alchemy Benefactor
2 Eating an ingredient reveals first three effects. 00105f2a 70 Alchemy
3 Eating an ingredient reveals all its effects. 00105f2b 50 90 Alchemy
Poisoner Poisons you mix are 25% more effective. 00058217 30 Alchemy Physician
Concentrated Poison Poisons applied to weapons last for twice as many hits. 00105f2f 60 Alchemy Poisoner
Green Thumb Two ingredients are gathered from plants. 00105f2e 70 Alchemy Concentrated Poison
Snakeblood 50% resistance to all poisons. 00105f2c 80 Alchemy Experimenter or Concentrated Poison
Purity All negative effects are removed from created potions, and all positive effects are removed from created poisons. 0005821d 100 Alchemy Snakeblood
  Green thumbs also get extra ingredients from crops, egg nests, barnacle clusters, and other objects, but not from creatures, passive creatures, or nirnroot plants.
  Prior to Patch 1.9, the prerequisite perk for Purity was only Experimenter, even though the perk tree indicated Snakeblood was needed.

Skill Usage

An alchemy lab

Alchemy can only be performed at designated alchemy labs.

To create a potion (or poison) you must combine two or three ingredients which share a magical effect. If the shared effect is a beneficial one (e.g., Restore Health), you create a potion; if the shared effect is a negative one (e.g., Damage Health), you create a poison. Multiple-effect potions can be created if the combined ingredients have more than one effect in common. A list of some useful craftable potions is provided at Useful Potions.

Each ingredient has a total of four available effects. Eating the ingredient always allows you to discover an ingredient's first effect; the Experimenter perk causes additional effects to be discovered when you consume an ingredient. Additional effects can be discovered by experimenting to see what ingredient combinations successfully yield potions. When an ingredient is selected, it will grey out all other ingredients where a combination has previously been attempted and failed. Unlike in Oblivion, your Alchemy level does not affect which effects you can discover or use. When an effect has been identified, the effect will be listed in the Alchemy menu screen, allowing you to sort ingredients by effect.

Your Alchemy skill level, Alchemy perks, and Fortify Alchemy enchantments determine the strength of any potions or poisons that you create (see Alchemy Effects for details). In turn, mixing potions/poisons leads to Alchemy skill increases. The effects of multiple Fortify Skill potions generally do not stack; if you already have a Fortify Enchanting potion in your system, there is no benefit to drinking another. The exception to this rule is Fortify Restoration potions; since Restoration governs all Skills, a Fortify Restoration potion will reinforce any Fortify <Skill> potion if drunk together.


Result = fAlchemyIngrediantInitMult x BaseMag x SkillMult x Alchemist Perk[1.0 to 2.0] x Benefactor Perk[1.25] x Physician Perk[1.25] x Poisoner Perk[1.25] x Sum of Enchantents[1.0+]

  • fAlchemyIngrediantInitMult: 4
  • fAlchemySkillFactor: 1.5
  • BaseMag: Alchemy effect base magnitude
  • SkillMult: 1 + fAlchemySkillFactor x (Skill/100) - (Skill/100)

If result < 0, then result = BaseMag


Identifying Effects

  • You can try various recipes found in-game, or you can simply mix ingredients together randomly. A more effective strategy is to notice commonalities between ingredients. Those that grow near each other often have similar effects (such as Purple Mountain Flower + Thistle, or Lavender + Red Mountain Flower + Tundra Cotton). Insects that feed on flowers often have the same effects. Similarities between names (such as, "Frost" and "Snow") also provide a hint. Placement of ingredients in kitchens and display shelves usually indicate they combine with nearby ingredients.
  • The Experimenter perk allows you to discover more effects each time you eat an ingredient.
    • The 1.9 patch and the Dragonborn add-on both have features that let you clear a Perk Tree and reinvest those perks in other places. So you can get as many perks as you want in Experimenter, eat one of each ingredient, and then clear the Alchemy tree to put those perks elsewhere, giving you all the benefits of this perk without having to waste the 6 perk points it would take to get all the effects.
  • Here is a list of potions you can brew that will most efficiently let you discover all possible effects. This assumes that you can get most ingredients pretty easily and eat one to discover the first effect, with exceptions made for pearl, small pearl, powdered mammoth tusk, and wisp wrappings. Crimson nirnroot is excluded because you just mix it with a nirnroot once you've reached that quest stage. Ingredients from official add-ons are not on this list.
    • This list will not reveal all effects for all ingredients, only the full list of possible effects. Many ingredients' effects will not be fully revealed.

Buying Many Ingredients Efficiently

The simplest way to get any vendor to restock is to save the game, attack the merchant, and then reload. This will reset both the merchant's inventory as well as their gold available.

If you prefer a method that doesn't rely on a glitch, ingredient shops replenish their stocks every 48 hours. Markarth is exactly 25.5 hours away from Riften, so fast traveling from Markarth to Riften will make sure you get into town during the same time you left plus 1.5 hours, a day later. Thus, you can create a 51-hour round trip circuit between the two cities if you have large amounts of materials to buy or sell. This will cut down on your waiting for shops to be open if you arrive after business hours.

Skill Increases

Character Creation

The following races have an initial skill bonus to Alchemy:


Skill Books

Free Skill Boosts

Gaining Skill XP

  • Alchemy experience gains are proportional to the gold cost of the potion being brewed. Details of the gold cost calculation are provided at Alchemy Effects.
  • Fortify Alchemy enchanted apparel (Hand/Head/Ring/Amulet) with a high combined bonus (+100% or more) greatly increases the effectiveness of alchemy training. It is recommended to level Enchanting first for this purpose. +100% means double the value and thus twice as much skill XP per potion brewed.
  • Get the Alchemist, Physician, Benefactor and Poisoner perks as soon as they unlock while training.
  • The most expensive single effects (using standard ingredients) are Paralyze, Damage Magicka Regen, Invisibility, and Slow. Since the effect costs are additive, a potion with more effects may have higher sell value than a potion with only one of these high value effects.
  • Using the Giant's Toe ingredient to create a Fortify Health potion results in potions that cost 5.9 times more than standard Fortify Health potions, therefore those potions are more valuable than Paralyze potions. This means that the most expensive potions (resulting in maximum XP gain) will always include Giant's Toe in some way. For example, according to this app, the highest value potions that you can create will be:
With Giant's Toe: Hanging Moss + Bear Claws + Giant's Toe or Blue Butterfly Wing + Blue Mountain Flower + Giant's Toe
Without Giant's Toe: Glow Dust + Glowing Mushroom + Hanging Moss or Creep Cluster + Large Antlers + River Betty
  • With the Hearthfire add-on, Salmon Roe (when used to create a water breathing potion) is far more valuable than Giant's Toe for creating the most expensive potions, but that ingredient is very hard to obtain in large quantities. The reason for this is that the Fortify Magicka and Waterbreathing duration values appear to have been swapped with one another, as Fortify Magicka is normally 60 seconds, while Waterbreathing is normally 5. In particular, combining Salmon Roe, Histcarp and any ingredient containing Regenerate Magicka creates the most valuable potion that can be crafted. A particularly good way to produce potions is using Windstad Manor as both Histcarp and Salmon can be grown in the fish hatchery (using Unrelenting Force to obtain the roe) and Regenerate Magicka ingredients such as Jazbay Grapes can be grown in the garden. All of these ingredients will respawn every three days, providing an easy means to level up Alchemy very rapidly. The Unofficial Hearthfire Patch swaps the duration values of Salmon Roe's Fortify Magicka and Waterbreathing effects, bringing the value of potions which make use of it back in line with similar potions which don't.
  • With the Hearthfire add-on, an easy way to get an initial boost to your Alchemy skill at the start of the game is to catch 3-8 leaping salmon on your way to Whiterun, then buy some Garlic from Carlotta Valentia's stall and collect the Nordic Barnacles from the pond below the bridge into Dragonsreach.
  • With the Dragonborn add-on, Boar Tusk (when used to create fortify health or stamina) is equal to Giant's Toe, but when used to fortify health and stamina is greater than Giant's Toe in value.
  • Rather than worry about which ingredients to buy, it is probably best just to buy all the ingredients from any alchemist merchant except the most expensive (Daedra Heart, Frost Salts, and Void Salts) because the money made back from selling potions will allow you to empty the merchant of all the ingredients they have as well as all of their gold. Just work through the whole inventory making potions for maximum XP.
  • With the Hearthfire add-on installed, farming becomes an option. Both the exterior garden and the greenhouse add-ons to the player-built homes allow for the growing of certain alchemy ingredients, and some of the most valuable two-ingredient potion effects can be made from those grown in the new planters.
  • Fully clearing the dungeon during the Frostflow Abyss quest not only yields close to 100 Glowing Mushrooms but also over 400 Chaurus Eggs with the expensive Invisibility effect.

Leveling Method

  • Fast and easy method to train alchemy using all your ingredients:
  1. Identify as many effects of the ingredients you wish to use as possible (definitely necessary if you don't look them up).
  2. Find the highest value effect to brew from your available categories list. Select two ingredients, one of which should have another relatively expensive effect. Try to avoid rare ingredients or generally those that you will need later (like those with Fortify Enchanting/Smithing/Carry Weight effects).
  3. Go to the category of the other expensive effect, select a third ingredient and brew the potion. Repeat.
  • As an added bonus, if one wishes to train both through skill usage and via trainer, one should brew their potions inside Arcadia's Cauldron in Whiterun. Arcadia is an Expert Alchemy trainer, so the player can pay her to train, which will increase the gold she has to buy absurdly expensive and useless potions.

While this method is unlikely to produce the best potion values possible, it requires no planning or selective ingredient gathering, potentially saving much time. Try to use more valuable ingredients, like Giants' Toes.


One achievement is related to Alchemy:


  • Additional effects add to a potion's value regardless of whether the effect is negative or positive.
  • Dwarven Oil and Taproot have exactly the same effects so you can make a high value potion with just these two items.
  • Guards will talk about your Alchemy skill if it is level 30 or higher: "Fancy yourself an alchemist, hmm? Never could get the hang of that." and "Hey, you mix potions, right? Can you brew me an ale?"
  • There are (according to preliminary calculations) 21974 distinct and efficient alchemy recipes possible in Skyrim only using the ingredients provided at the game's release on 11/11/11. "Distinct" means order of ingredient listing is ignored. "Efficient" means each ingredient contributes at least one effect the mixture would otherwise lack.
  • Note that the Purity perk will reduce your ability to earn money via Alchemy, since potions or poisons that mix positive and negative effects gain their value from all of their effects, and Purity removes the conflicting ones without any compensation.
  • Vampire players receive an additional 25% increase to the strength of any potion (when consumed) or enchantment (when equipped), if you have the Necromage perk. Therefore vampire characters with Necromage are able to reach higher potion strengths. The added strength of the enchantment or potion will show up on your "Active Effects" list when used.
    • PC Only This issue has been addressed by version 1.2.3 of the Unofficial Skyrim Patch; Necromage no longer boosts the power of spells and enchantments used on a vampire player.


  • Fortify Archery potions affect all types of weapons.
  • Fortify One-handed potions won't affect daggers.

External Resources

Online Resources

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