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Main article: Alchemy (Skyrim)

Alchemy is very effective for leveling, making money, and making extremely strong armor and weapons when paired with Enchanting and/or Smithing.

Obtaining ingredientsEdit

Due to the wide variety of ingredients, obtaining them can be time-consuming and depending on the ingredients, costly. However, it is possible to aid the collection of ingredients using the following tips:

Obtaining free ingredients from vendorsEdit

Many of the Alchemy Vendors in Skyrim will allow the Dragonborn to take certain ingredients from the displays in the shops without cost or consequence. In addition, the stock displayed throughout the stores will respawn every ten days, providing a frequent stock of ingredients, some of which are hard to find. In order for this to occur, the vendors each require a quest to be completed:

The Merchant PerkEdit

Several ingredients cannot be purchased from Vendors without the 'Merchant' Speech Perk. These ingredients include:

Harvesting PearlsEdit

With the addition of The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn, Pearls and Small Pearls can be harvested from Pearl Oysters found on the coasts of Solstheim.


How the Alchemy mechanic works (overview)Edit

The Alchemy skill increases proportionally to the value/cost of the potion being brewed. The value of the potion depends on:

A) its effect type(s) (A Slow effect is very valuable, while Damage Health is very inexpensive)
B) increases with the potion's strength (either % or in duration), which is determined by the skill level, perks and apparel enchantments of the alchemist
C) increases if the potion has multiple effects (occurs when the ingredients used in a potion have multiple similar effects), even if the effects themselves do not mix well/conflict, such as Damage Health and Restore Health.

Most valuable single effectsEdit

Certain effects contribute more to the value of a potion than others. The best are (in order from the bottom):

These are two to three times more effective than other potions when giving skill points.

Best value reagent combinations for levelingEdit

Certain ingredients have additional modifiers and there is one in particular that must be mentioned:

When used in a Fortify Health potion, Giant's Toe adds almost 5 times more to the base value of the potion. A player with high enough skill can create Giant's Toe potions worth over 4000 gold (which is more than most merchants will have on hand unless you are high enough on the speech skill tree).

Best potions to sell, all include Giant's Toe:

(#) = BV

Best potions to sell, without Giant's Toe:

(#) = BV

has four effects & ingredients are easy to find

Best process tips for levelingEdit

Making big batches of potions at a time is most efficient and effective for leveling.

Buffs: The Thief guardian stone speeds up Alchemy skill improvement by 20%, as do the benefits from a good night's sleep (+10% for Well Rested or +15% for Lover's Comfort).
Potion Effects: there are no Fortify Alchemy potions in the game. It's best to use alchemy to make better potions to fortify enchanting, to make better gear to fortify alchemy, to make better potions to fortify enchanting, and so on.

Note that the "value" of the potion is not really reflected by the vendor price; improving vendor price does not change the potion's base value and thus does not affect the skill increase.

Leveling example 1Edit

An efficient way to level Alchemy to 100 involves the following steps:

  1. Alchemy Level 1 – 75: Buy skills from Arcadia in Whiterun. After buying a single level of skill, sneak and pickpocket your gold back. If done every time and with a couple of points invested in pickpocketing, you can get your alchemy to level 75 for free. If done earlier in the game, this can all be done at once, as the pickpocket leveling + alchemy leveling will level you up faster than you can be trained. Collect Giant's Toes and Wheat during this period and make enough potions to sell to Arcadia to cover the costs of buying skills.
  2. Alchemy Skill Level 76 – 90: Buy skills from Babette of the Dark Brotherhood. Also make potions with the Giant's Toes/Wheat you find. You cannot pickpocket her as she's considered a child, despite being hundreds of years old.
  3. Alchemy Skill Level 90 – 100: There are 5 skill books and 3 quests that increase Alchemy Skill, including one that raises it by 5 points. These will improve Alchemy Skill the remainder of the way.

To make money for training & level up at the same time, follow this simple process:

  1. Visit an alchemist merchant in one of the major cities in Skyrim.
  2. Buy all of their available ingredients.
  3. Create as many potions from those ingredients as you can, working from most expensive to least expensive. You don't even have to leave the merchant's shop to use their alchemy table.
  4. Sell potions back to the merchant to get your money back (plus their money as profit).
  5. Move on to another city, lather, rinse, repeat.

Leveling alchemy to level up to 272Edit

Alchemy is probably the best skill to use to level using the restoration potion loop. Here is what you do:

  1. Get ingredients for several restoration potions, and enchanting potions.
  2. Enchant as much gear as you can with Fortify Alchemy.
  3. Equip your fortify alchemy gear and create a restoration potion.
  4. Drink the restoration potion.
  5. Un-equip and re-equip your fortify alchemy gear.
  6. Repeat steps 3 to 5 until you think your gear is high enough.
  7. Once you think your gear increases alchemy enough, create a fortify enchanting potion.
  8. Use your fortify enchanting potion, and enchant something with fortify alchemy.
  9. Wait until your active potion effects go away, unequip all of your old fortify alchemy gear, and then equip your new fortify alchemy gear.
  10. Buy tons of random ingredients.
  11. If you repeated steps 3 through 5 enough times, you should now be able to level alchemy from 15 to 100 by creating a single potion.
  12. Reset alchemy from 100 to 15, create a potion. Repeat until you reach your desired level, or until you run out of ingredients.


  • If your fortify alchemy gear is too high, the potions that you create will level you at a normal rate. If this happens you will need to start over and not loop restoration potions as many times. A good rule of thumb is if the value of your gear is a negative number, you went too high.
  • It is a very good idea to get the Experimenter Perk maxed out and eat as many ingredients as you can before resetting alchemy so that you will have a wider variety of potions available to make for leveling.

Making moneyEdit


Alchemy is arguably the most time- and cost-efficient way to make money in Skyrim; the ability to make money is limited by the money each vendor has (which in turn is a function of time), perks that the player has and the odd way that potions are priced by the game over time.

In general, making money from potions is determined by:

Expenses (the cost of raw materials, the time cost to gather ingredients or travel to vendors),
The effectiveness of the potion-brewing process and base value of potions made, and
The ability to sell the potions over time (i.e. finding a trade route which will let the vendors' money replenish as you get to them).

To reach level 100 Alchemy, approximately 200,000 septims worth of potions needs to be brewed. As early as level 10 one could be making over 1,000 from a single potion. For example: from a single Falmer-infested dungeon, one could extract 100 or more Chaurus Eggs, and a simple walk around Whiterun's outskirts at twilight can provide several Luna Moth Wings. This results in a rather valuable Invisibility potion. Additionally, the combination of Salmon roe, Garlic, and a Nordic Barnacle makes the most expensive base potion, but requires The Elder Scrolls V: Hearthfire.


Purchasing raw materials from vendors is generally efficient, because it avoids much of the time cost associated with finding many raw materials in the wild. However, for rare ingredients, a lot of time can be lost traveling to specific merchants.

In general, you should buy every ingredient (except elemental salts) in shops that are less than about 60 septims because the return ratio is astronomically high for even the weakest of potion types. There is almost no correlation between an ingredients cost or rarity and the potential value of the potion you can create from it. In fact, some of the most expensive and rare ingredients make the lowest valued potions and vice versa. The Giant's Toe (cheap but somewhat rare) in particular has the potential to create the highest value potions in the game at low levels (Giant's Toe + Wheat + Creep Cluster).

Another way to cover beginning expenses (and slightly boost your alchemy level is like so: In the tutorial, take as many spider eggs as your can from the Frostbite Spider nest. Upon exiting, many Blue Butterflies can be seen going to Riverwood and Whiterun. Collect these as well. Proceed to the nearest brewing stand, (Arcadia's Cauldron) and brew them together. The gold made here can usually be used to pay for additional ingredients for other, more advanced recipes.

Home ownership is another worthwhile investment for busy alchemists: it provides a convenient storage location for potions, ingredients, and buff equipment. The most affordable house in Skyrim is Breezehome in Whiterun at 5000 for the basic house, 500 more for an alchemy room.

With the Hearthfire DLC, you can easily grow ingredients for your most valuable potions in the garden and greenhouse respawning every 3 days. For a 5000 Gold you get a pitch of land with enough materials for a small house and a garden with 11 pitches of fertile soil. Owning all 3 construction sites of Skyrim grants 33 pitches of fertile soil, which is enough to make more potions than you could sell without investing points in the Speech perk tree.

Brewing processEdit

The same general tips used for leveling are applicable for improving the profitability of potions with a high vendor price: buffs and fortify Alchemy gear will both help improve potions that the vendors are willing to buy. It should be noted, however, that each vendor has a limited amount of money, and it is possible to empty a vendor's pockets with a single potion. One way to refill a vendor's available gold, is to wait 48 hours, or, the exploit: Buy, save, attack the vendor, and reload the save.

As mentioned before, the "base value" of a potion does not always reflect the vendor price, but a potion that a vendor wants can be brewed stronger, for a better sale price.

Sales and trade routesEdit

All vendors in the game, even with perks, have a limited amount of money; the Thieves' Guild fences have deeper pockets (about 4,000 septims), but very valuable potions will drain even those quite quickly. Once you have calculated and produced the most valuable potions, the remaining effort will be spent developing trade routes which will allow each vendors' money to refill as the player comes around to sell their wares. Alternatively, players can save immediately following a clearing of a merchant's inventory, kill the merchant, and reload the game just saved- this resets both the gold available, and inventory of that merchant. This saves considerable time versus fast traveling from location to location, and the load times associated with them.

Advanced Alchemy-Enchanting-Smithing Power-CraftingEdit

Exploit for extremely powerful weapons and armor: overviewEdit

Warning to all players: Usage of the Alchemy Exploit to create armor with too high (over 1 hundred thousand) points causes the game to go haywire, resulting in multiple crashes, hangs and serious lag in some areas. Please use with care to prevent loss of data. Recommended once you have leveled Alchemy, Enchanting and Smithing to 100 and have all perks which grant bonuses to these skills. Using Alchemy & Enchanting to amplify each other, so-called "Ultimate Weapons" and armor can be made using Smithing. This technique uses gear and stacking potion buffs to enchant gear with powerful buffs which in turn allow one to create stronger potions. To begin, start by wearing any existing Fortify Alchemy gear you have on hand. Then, use Alchemy to create a couple of potions of Fortify Enchanting, which allows the player to create stronger enchantments of Fortify Alchemy. The player can now create a stronger potion of Fortify Enchanting, and so on, building on each other. Note: The player may also utilize the (restoration perk) Necromage/Vampirism combo to expedite/enhance this process

In certain cases, there are a few pieces of headgear that glitch, allowing you to wear two circlets at once. So far we know the Thieves' Guild Hood and Pentulus Oculotis hemlets have this effect. The Falmer Helm glitch, although thought to have been patched, still seems to work after much testing, on Xbox and PC.

Method 1 (Basic)Edit

Step 1: Set initial Alchemy buffsEdit

Usually the player can enchant a set of four items with a skill fortification (Fortify Alchemy and Fortify Smithing only; Fortify Enchanting only exists as a potion).

Add +25% Fortify Alchemy enchantments on a ring, a necklace, gloves/bracers and a circlet. Wear all four pieces of enchanted equipment.

If you are unable to get the max +25% bonus, capping at only +20% instead, you may need to patch on Xbox or PS3.

Step 2: Create Stronger Fortify Enchanting PotionsEdit

Make a Fortify Enchanting potion. Have all your enchanting materials and armor on hand, as the potion's effects only last for 30 seconds. With this potion, you will be able to enchant +29% Fortify Alchemy and +29% Fortify Smithing to your gear (29% is the best you can get without exploits). With the Dual Effect enchanting perk, three pieces may serve double duty: a ring, a necklace and gloves/bracers will hold both enchantments. Wear the new Alchemy gear.

  • Attempted 3/18/2014, this step created a +30% bonus (Xbox)

- It is possible on PS3 to create +39% gear, but it actually prevents you from using the exploits regarding restoration potions etc. as the game can't seem to cope. So an interesting side achievement, but no better than the +29%.

Step 3: Create Stronger Fortify Smithing PotionsEdit

With +29% Alchemy gear, you will be able to create +147% Fortify Smithing potions and 37% Fortify Enchanting potions. With +29% Fortify Smithing gear and the +147% Fortify Smithing potions, you will be able to create and improve powerful weapons and armor. Use the 37% Fortify Enchanting potions to further enhance this gear.

Method 2 (Advanced): Using Fortify Restoration Potion exploitEdit

This method was reported to produce +280% Fortify Enchantment potions, which allowed the creation of items such as Dragonscale Armor (Legendary) with an armor value of 5,793, Health +141 and Health Regeneration 70% faster, value of 100,126 gold. Bear in mind that this is by no means the maximum strength attainable, as one can create iron daggers with billions of damage and enchant apparel to fortify health by billions of points. Additionally, effects granted by Standing Stones, such as the The Atronach Stone, will increase, allowing greater immunity to magic while having an even slower magicka regeneration. These results will also give you the ability to level multiple skills to 100 in a single action. For example, selling an item after using the loop to a good extent, can create items worth enough gold to level speech from 15 to 100 by selling one item. Making a large amount of fortify enchanting and smithing potions is recommended, as you can reset your skills to legendary, and sell another enhanced item to reach 100 in that skill again. One fortify smithing potion could allow you to improve items and armor many times, thus enabling the ability to level speech continuously many times over.

Having 100 in Smithing, Enchanting and Alchemy are recommend to shorten the process and reduce the number of Fortify Restoration potions needed, but the nature of the exploit permits starting very early-on with fairly weak items and abilities provided enough Fortify Restoration potions can be created.

The fortify restoration glitch was fixed as of patch 1.9 so the exploit no longer works.

The reason this exploit works is:

"Fortification enchantments fall under the restoration school. They are affected by your restoration level, and more over, the bonus they give you is only calculated upon equipping."

The basic sequence of steps is as follows:

  1. Make the potion.
  2. Go into Potions menu and drink the potion.
    • Do not leave the inventory menu.
  3. Go to Apparel menu, un-equip alchemy gear, then re-equip alchemy gear. (It's now stronger while potion lasts.)
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 six or seven times, and then make smithing or enchantment or whatever potions.

Before beginning the cycleEdit

  1. Have two of your highest level Fortify Restoration potions, and ingredients for many more (about 20).
  2. Have the ingredients for as many Fortify Enchanting and Fortify Smithing as possible on hand.
  3. Have the following gear on hand:
  • a circlet (Fortify Alchemy)
  • a ring (Fortify Alchemy + Fortify Smithing)
  • a necklace (Fortify Alchemy + Fortify Smithing)
  • gloves/bracers (Fortify Alchemy + Fortify Smithing), and
  • armor or clothes (Fortify Smithing).
The level unaided is usually 25% at 100 skill Enchanting/Alchemy, but this exploit is so massive it really doesn't matter, as long as you have some value of Fortify Alchemy on those items.

Take all of your Fortify equipment off, to prepare to take advantage of the Fortify Restoration Potion exploit. Be sure to also remove any items with the Fortify Health enchantment (see below).

Amplification cycle (thorough method)Edit

If you have prepared your Fortify Restoration potions in advance, then follow these steps:

  1. Drink the first Fortify Restoration potion. Then drink the second.
    • Do not exit the inventory menu.
  2. (Re-)equip your Fortify Alchemy equipment. You should find that after consuming Fortify Restoration potions, the enchantments are stronger than they were before.
    • You may now exit the inventory menu.
  3. Make two new Fortify Restoration potions.
  4. Wait for the timer to run out on your initial Fortify Restoration potion effects. (You can check this under the "Magic -> Active Effects" menu.)
  5. Remove your Fortify Alchemy equipment.
  6. Repeat this sequence of steps until you have created Fortify Restoration potions with the desired strength. Then, mass-produce these potions.
    • Note that if you are still affected by Fortify Restoration potions that you have already consumed, the effects of Fortify Restoration potions in your inventory will appear greater than they are. This is to say that the potions will be weaker once the immediate effects of this process have worn off. Keep this in mind when creating a stockpile of boosted Fortify Restoration potions for future use.
It is not known whether you must leave the inventory screen prior to consuming the second potion. Assuming that your Fortify Restoration potions are of equal base value, the potions will enhance the skill once, but they will also enhance the enhancements once as well.
Additional Fortify Restoration potions will not grant any bonuses unless they have different base values. This means you should usually consume only two potions per cycle.
Alternatively, you can drink one Fortify Restoration potion, re-equip your Fortify Alchemy gear, and make a new potion, and repeat ad infinitum. Each time you drink a potion and re-equip your gear, your next potion will be more valuable, allowing each potion's effects to stack with the previous potion without limit. (tested on Xbox360 2-6-2013).

Creating ultimate gearEdit

  1. Drink two of your most powerful Fortify Restoration potions.
  2. Don all your Fortify Alchemy gear.
  3. Create a number of Fortify Enchanting and Fortify Smithing potions.
  4. Use these potions when enchanting or smithing weapons and armor.
Reported enchantmentsEdit
  • 280% Fortify Enchanting potions and Grand Soul Gems can be used to create enchantments like 101% reduction in magicka (allowing free spellcasting) or 82% magicka resistance (allowing total immunity to magic attacks, when using multiple enchanted items).
  • 380% Fortify Smithing potions can be used to improve one-handed Daedric Swords to do 375 damage.
  • A ring with Fortify Alchemy and Fortify Smithing enchantments, both of which made potions, weapons, and armor 45931976% more powerful.
  • An amulet or necklace that carries Fortify Pickpocket and Fortify Lockpicking enchantments with a 1822597120% value.
  • A ring with Fortify Unarmed and Disease Resistance enchantments, carrying values of 75848537%.
    • Such a ring allows one to punch an enemy to death in one hit, and is particularly useful in brawls.
  • Boots with Fortify Carry weight and Fortify Sneaking enchantments at a value of 2012349860%.
  • Gauntlets with the Fortify One-Handed and Fortify Two-Handed enchantments at 1822597120% value, allowing for instant kills with any one handed or two handed weapon, regardless if the weapon is enchanted or not.
    • For some reason, this does not work with daggers of any kind.
  • A helmet with Fortify Archery and Fortify Magicka Enchantments at values of 1834562733%, allowing for infinite spellcasting and the infliction of massive damage with any bow.
  • An armor plate with Fortify Health and Fortify Stamina enchantments, carrying a value of 725639462%.

Variation on Method 2 - Unlimited Fortify Restoration (tested PC)Edit

Fortify Restoration Potion Exploit With No Waiting (Tested PC/PS3/Xbox)

  • Proceed as detailed in Method 2, but do not wait for the Fortify Restoration active effect timer to run out. Take off Fortify Alchemy gear, drink the stronger Fortify Restoration potion (only 1 potion or the effect will be lower), and put Fortify Alchemy Gear back on. The Fortify Restoration active effect timer will reset to 60 secs and the gear will retain all bonuses, making it even stronger. Create two new Fortify Restoration potions and repeat ad infinitum. Once the appropriate level of Fortify Restoration is reached, create potions of Fortify Smithing and Enchanting, then enchant and improve armor.
  • This exploit was reported as creating:
    Restoration Overpowered

    A maximum Fortify Restoration bonus. Higher than this causes negative values.

Potion of Fortify Smithing +78,650,224% with a value of 1,216,647,552 and
Potion of Fortify Enchanting +19,662,556% with a value of 211,830,656.
It seems to have a limit on the PC: a fifth potion (when using +25% gear) makes Fortify Enchanting and Fortify Smithing improvement values hit 4% and 1% respectively.
  • It was also reported that using the above potions, Daedric Armor was improved to have an armor rating of 664,347 and value of 71,419,736 (billions possible with perks). Using the Fortify Enchanting potion to attempt to enchant this armor with Fortify Destruction, resulted in a game crash, possibly because the effect variable was too high. It has been suggested that there is probably a "sweet spot" value somewhere between 100% and 255% magicka reduction that can be enchanted without causing a crash, although for practical purposes 100% is all that is necessary.
  • I have noted that when you have finished making your super potions, if you equip your normal armor while the fortify restoration potion is still in effect that as you would expect all the enchantments are boosted. The part you might not expect is that the boosted carry weight (if said enchantment is applied to any of your equipment) does not return to normal when the potion wears off. This will last until you have removed your equipment. At this point if you re-equip your gear it will give the normal bonus.
  • NOTE: This exploit is also the best way to quickly improve the alchemy skill (and other skills, for that matter i.e. selling someone one of your over-powered potions should max the speech skill, even if the speech skill is at 15): using just salt piles and Cyrodilic spadetails, one can go from 25 to 100 in minutes. By doing this it is possible experience a "level burn": if the created potions are really powerful, a single brewing can make you earn tens of skill points at once (like going from 30 to 100), thus make you earn two (or more) character levels at once. This does not result in only gaining one magicka/health/stamina boost, but if you like to use the level-up magicka/health/stamina replenishment tactically you may want to be careful until your alchemy skill reaches 100. Although, if used properly, this exploit should make you an invincible killing machine anyway, so the level-up replenishment would be somewhat irrelevant.

Notes on superpowered potions, enchantments, and smithingEdit

  • Crashes can occur if some stats are increased too far through enchantments, smithing, or both.
    • In other cases, buffs that are way too high may overflow and go negative.
  • Fortify Smithing potions only affect the improving of the weapon/armor, not the initial forging, so looted items are just as useful as created items. When dealing with overflowed Alchemy and Smithing potions, created potions may have values of 0, or it may be impossible to improve weapons or armor.
  • Enchanting weapons with this system is not a good idea. A Sword with 5646863563 Fire damage (to cite a typical example) will have an unusable enchantment as even a fully charged weapon has not enough charges to power one use of the enchantment, thus the enchantment is unusable, leaving the weapon permanently filled, but the enchantment unusable.
    • Superpowered weapons can instead be created by using superpowered Fortify Smithing potions, and then given ordinary enchantments.
    • Superpowered weapons based on their enchantments can have their problem mitigated by wearing fortify spell cost apparel (for example, a sword with an extreme absorb health enchantment can have a usable enchantment if one can reduce destruction costs by 100%). This will be easy to make if the exploit is being used.
  • Even if a Fortify Health enchantment confers a ludicrous boost to health, it is still possible to take damage, particularly during certain quests. If you boost your health by millions of points, and then take large amounts of damage from quests, then health potions will not allow you to regain your health, and removing the Fortify Health equipment before the damage is healed will cause you to drop dead on the spot.
    • Similar bugs will occur if you use a superpowered Fortify Restoration while wearing an item with a Fortify Health enchantment. If your health increases to ten million points or higher, then removing the enchanted armor will cause you to drop dead instantly.
    • Drinking a superpowered Fortify Enchantment potion for example (5 million) and then using restoration spell to regenerate health, provided that you have an enchanted armor that will not reduce magic or an overpowered armor with millions of magic will restore your health loss accumulated from enemy hits while having an overpowered Fortify Health enchantment armor, after that you can remove the armor without dying instantly and put it back again when you need it.
    • Using the same methods to create a super powered fortify health regeneration piece of apparel (e.g. fortify health regeneration 100000%) can mitigate the problem of health loss as well. Health also regenerates by percentage, so a long wait would suffice for preventing death should the armor be removed, unless one is a vampire and is in sunlight.
  • Be careful with superpowered Fortify Carry Weight enchantments, as carrying massive amounts of items will cause potentially-catastrophic lag when opening any inventory menu (e.x. viewing containers, talking to shopkeepers).
  • Superpowered Fortify Sneak enchantments are situational. When sneaking, you're completely undetectable. If you attack an enemy, they will know you're there, but will do nothing until you stand up. If Guards are looking for you in a city, you will NOT be able to go anywhere until you leave the area, just like normal.
  • No matter how powerful a Fortify Pickpocketing enchantment is, pickpocketing attempts are capped at a 90% success rate.
  • A shield with superpowered Fortify Block and magic-resistance enchantments will still only allow for resistance equal to the damage cap and magic resist cap of 85%. However, near total magic resistance is possible by adding maximum elemental resistance, leaving only 3% damage taken by magicka based spells and dragon's breath attacks. It's a good idea to add Fire/Frost resist to an enchanted item.
  • Superpowered Fortify Lockpicking enchantments make lockpicking extremely easy; turning the lock with the pick at practically any angle will succeed.