Best Potions in Skyrim

Top 10 Best Potions in Skyrim

by Dylan Warman


Spend enough time in Tamriel and you might ask yourself “what are the best potions to make in Skyrim?” as the game that just won’t die continues its status as one of the most beloved and open-ended RPGs to date. The vanilla experience can result in hundreds of hours of playtime for gamers, while mods add hundreds of more hours to that endeavor. During their time traversing Skyrim’s mountains, plains, valleys, caves, and other dangerous locations, Dragonborns will need beneficial items to supplement their weapons and armor (unless they’re using an outrageous build that allows them to decimate everything in their path with godlike endurance—enchanted weapons and armor are really all anyone needs). One of the most underrated additions to a Dragonborn’s supplies is potions, which consist of several different beneficial concoctions.

Skyrim Best Potions

In this list we’re going to take a look at Skyrim’s best potions for players with a penchant for alchemy in The Elder Scrolls.

Fortify Smithing Potion


Crafting weapons and armor is one of the primary ways the Dragonborn gets their hands on some of the absolute best equipment in Skyrim. To that end, this potion applies the Fortify Smithing buff to the player-character for 30 seconds, allowing gamers to improve weapons at a grindstone and armor at a workbench considerably more. If wearing armor imbued with the Fortify Smithing enchantment (which can be made even more powerful with the next potion on this list), this effect compounds. The result is equipment that will make even Legendary Dragons or Kaarstag seem like pushovers on higher difficulties.  Smithing Fortification is one of the best potions in Skyrim.

Fortify Enchanting Potion


This Fortify Enchanting potion improves the result of an enchantment. For players who make it a point to max out the Enchanting skill and acquire all of its perks, this concoction will help players add some ridiculously overpowered augmentations to weapons and armor. Gamers who like to enhance their Skyrim experience with mods, such as Enai Siaion’s Ordinator — Perks of Skyrim, crafting perks become even more useful, which synergizes well with the Fortify Enchanting Potion.

Fortify Archery (Marksman) Potion


Bows can be some of the most ridiculously overpowered weapons in Skyrim. For those Dragonborns, especially the sneaky kind, who want to eliminate their enemies from a distance, the Fortify Archery (Marksman) perk is a must-have. On top of armor and jewelry enchantments that apply this buff, potions that compound the effect can be made at any alchemy station. Once drank, these potions will turn the deadliest archers into proverbial gods at long range, felling most foes with a single arrow. Even the more difficult adversaries can only withstand a few well-placed arrows, especially if the first one is a sneak attack. Combine this potion with armor and enchantments that were further enhanced by the potions mentioned above and bow masters are unstoppable with the Fortify Archery potion.

Fortify & Restore Health Potion


If using Restoration Magic is not on a Dragonborn’s list of go-to skills, Fortify & Restore Health potions become far more useful. On higher difficulties, even with highly effective armor, stronger opponents can be irritatingly strong. Thus, potions that increase and refill health are an important addition to the Dragonborn’s inventory. A substantial stock of this potion can aid players in their endless quest for ridding Skyrim of all its evildoers (or goody two shoes, depending on one’s moral compass.

Resist Elements Potion


Dragons are perpetual encounters throughout Skyrim, with the toughest archetype emerging after players hit roughly level 78. Given these giant beasts’ proclivity for screaming fire, frost, and shock damage, potions that apply Resist Fire, Resist Frost, and Resist Shock go a long way to making these fights much more manageable. The need for these potions assumes one isn’t using some of the best gear with high-level enchantments or powerful magic that does better work than most of the game’s potions. These concoctions are also useful against necromancers and mages.

Potion of Invisibility


At first glance, Invisibility potions don’t seem like much of a necessity in Skyrim given how crazy effective the Sneak skill ends up being at higher levels. However, this potion is mostly useful for select moments in the game when sneaking past a guard who is staring straight at the door the Dragonborn needs to enter (hint: the quest to sneak into Goldenglow Estate unnoticed early in the Thieves’ Guild storyline) and refuses to move. There are spells that provide invisibility or other illusionary benefits, though, for those who do not delve into Skyrim’s magics, Invisibility potions work just as well. Be warned, however, that invisibility potions wear off if players commit any action besides moving, including something as simple as opening a door. A bonus benefit is popping an invisibility potion when close to death.

Potion of Pickpocketing


The Pickpocketing skill is one of the easiest to level up in Skyrim. However, the skill’s early levels can cause some frustration when trying to pick someone’s pocket unnoticed. Thus, potions that Fortify Pickpocketing help players nab keys from NPCs or snatch some gold. Getting a head start during the journey’s commencement with some extra money never hurt a young Dragonborn. That said, even the highest levels of Pickpocketing benefit from using this potion, as the chance of successful a successful pickpocket is determined by the value of the target item and whether said item is equipped on the NPC in question. Even with a maxed-out Pickpocket skill tree and Fortify Pickpocketing enchantment bonuses on armor, there is still a chance of being caught. Thus, using this potion essentially raises the chances of a successful pickpocket to 100%, unless stealing a mountain’s worth of gold.

Potion of Lockpicking


Getting through locks is one of the most essential skills in the Elder Scrolls. In Skyrim’s early- and mid-game, potions that Fortify Lockpicking help players get through some of the more difficult locks while scavenging treasure in crypts, whether opening a Master chest or getting through a door blocking the way to some valuable loot. More than that, lockpicking certain doors makes dungeon crawling much easier, as they often unlock shortcuts. If lockpicks are something one is struggling to accumulate and they wish to preserve as many as they can, lockpicking potions can help. A high lockpicking skill with a maxed out perk tree eliminates the need for this potion, but during the early game, it’s valuable.

Regeneration Potions


Magicka, Health, and Stamina are the three primary stats in Skyrim. Whether a sneaky archer, two-handed battleaxe (Wuuthrad) wielder, or daring battlemage, at least two of these three stats will always be important. As a result, potions that increase Magicka, Health, and/or Stamina Regeneration keep Dragonborns in the fight for longer or allow them to sprint further distances with quicker recovery intervals. Combine these potions with the aforementioned Resist and Fortify potions and players will find themselves with seemingly endless pools of these three stats.

Potion of Cure Disease


For gamers who do not wish to become a vampire or werewolf, Skyrim is fraught with diseases. It seems like around every corner lies some illness waiting to plague the Dragonborn. Vampires and werewolves are immune to such petty mortal sicknesses, but for those who choose not to help the Companions or join Harkon’s family in the Dawnguard DLC, the Cure Disease potion is a godsend. Ensuring one has plenty of this mixture in their inventory is crucial to keeping the Dragonborn healthy. Thus, picking up every garlic bulb a gmaer comes across while traversing Skyrim’s many terrains is pivotal to keeping Cure Disease potions in great supply.

While potions can be incredibly useful in Skyrim, with the right build, they become utterly unnecessary. The only potions that really matter are the first two on this list (Fortify Smithing and Fortify Enchanting), as they allow players to craft some truly magnificent and powerful gear. Everything else is secondary and rather unnecessary, unless looking to get a leg up during a character’s early progression.

- This article was updated on January 26th, 2022

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