Alchemy is the art of dipping one potion into another potion. The potion you are dipping into can not be a potion of water or a potion of polymorph, and the potion you are dipping can not be a potion of polymorph. If it goes well, the two potions will mix into one new uncursed, diluted potion. For those who are not spoiled, alchemy is difficult to learn.

Though most of the effects of alchemy are dangerous or unpredictable, a few specific recipes are worth it: you can use potions of gain energy to upgrade your potions of healing and extra healing. You can also use potions of gain level for these upgrades, if you don't need to gain levels.


  • Do not involve any potion of acid in alchemy.
  • Do not dip a cursed potion into anything; it will cause an alchemic blast!
    • Dipping into a cursed potion, however, is no different from dipping into an uncursed potion, and in fact is a good way to use up a cursed potion.
  • Do not involve any unidentified potions in alchemy; you need to know the identity of both potions to use the recipes. Identifying input potions through alchemy is not feasible because of the high chance of random effects.
    • Identifying output potions, on the other hand, is quite common and often useful.

Danger of alchemic blasts[]

Even if you are following the recipes, there is a 1/10 chance of an alchemic blast. Furthermore, if you dip a potion of acid or any cursed potion into another potion, you will always cause an alchemic blast. The mixture will explode, the blast will take 1 to 10 HP from you, and it will generate vapors from the potion being dipped. The blast will also abuse your strength.[1]

Benefit of stacking[]

Stacking potions before performing alchemy is often beneficial. Dipping a stack of any number of potions into a stack of one or more other potions will alchemize all potions in the former stack, while consuming only one potion of the latter stack.

For example, dipping one potion of speed into a stack of three potions of healing will leave you one potion of extra healing and two potions of healing, consuming only one potion of healing in the process. However, dipping a stack of three potions of healing into one potion of speed will give you three potions of extra healing (the one and only potion of speed in the latter stack being consumed).

In summary, always dip the larger stack of potions of one type into the smaller stack of potions of the other to get the most out of alchemy. Additionally, you may wish to consolidate stacks of potions of the same type by ensuring they have the same beatitude and dilution (in particular, if you have both diluted and non-diluted potions, you should dilute the non-diluted so that they stack, since the result will be diluted anyway). If the stacks of both types of potion are large, you may choose to hold between one and three potions back from the larger stack so that you can perform alchemy on the remains of the smaller stack.

If an alchemy attempt results in an explosion, only one potion of each type will be used up.


The mixtype function decrees the alchemy recipes in this game. Each recipe requires you to mix two potions. The order of potions does not matter: whether you dip a potion of healing into a potion of speed, or dip a potion of speed into a potion of healing, you will make a potion of extra healing (with the 1/10 chance of an alchemic blast instead). The outcome will always be diluted, regardless if the input potions were.

In the below tables, the result is on the left and the ingredients are on the right; sometimes there is a numbered list of multiple recipes. Try skimming the left column for the potion that you want to make. All potions in the tables do link to their articles.

Simple recipes[]

These recipes have the greatest likelihood of succeeding. Potions of extra healing and full healing are useful to have throughout the game, because quaffing them while fully healed is a common way to increase max hit points. Potions of gain ability are a good way to increase attributes early in the game, but are of little use late in the game when your attributes are already at maximum.

It is not usually necessary to manufacture potions of see invisible via alchemy, because potions of see invisible are relatively common anyway, and a single blessed potion of see invisible will convey the intrinsic permanently.

To make Use these ingredients
potion of extra healing
  1. potion of healing + potion of speed or
  2. potion of healing + potion of gain level or
  3. potion of healing + potion of gain energy
potion of full healing
  1. potion of extra healing + potion of gain level or
  2. potion of extra healing + potion of gain energy
potion of gain ability
  1. potion of full healing + potion of gain level or
  2. potion of full healing + potion of gain energy
potion of see invisible
  1. potion of fruit juice + potion of gain level or
  2. potion of fruit juice + potion of gain energy

Difficult recipes[]

Some recipes do not always produce the same result. The potion of enlightenment formula is almost never worth attempting because the probability of success is so low. Potions of gain level, however, are often worth obtaining via alchemy, because they are more useful than the potions used to make them, and the chance of success is higher than with enlightenment.

To make Use these ingredients
  1. potion of confusion + potion of gain level or
  2. potion of confusion + potion of gain energy
  1. potion of enlightenment + potion of levitation

Multiple step recipes[]

It is possible to use the result of alchemy for further alchemy, as long as you follow the normal recipes. Diluted potions work fine.

One example is making blessed potions of full healing and gain ability from all those healing and extra healing potions you've collected. You will need to re-stack your potions at all intermediate stages: bless stacks so all will have the same identified BUC status, and dilute concentrated potions so they will stack with the newly-alchimized ones. Along the route:

healing >> extra healing >> full healing >> gain ability,

only the first step can be done using a potion of speed, the rest need gain energy/gain level. Leave over enough full healing, and bless all the end results.

Stack of water >> sickness >> fruit juice >> booze >> confusion >> enlightenment >> gain level

A much more complicated recipe is for making lots of potions of gain level. Gather lots of potions, turn them into water, dip the stack of water (blessed or uncursed) into some potion, this counts as random alchem (see below), 25% of the time you will get potions of sickness, the other times you may lose one potion of water, or get some other random result, in those cases, just dip again unless you get something good from the random result. Cancel the sickness into juice. Dip into speed for booze. Dip into enlightenment for confusion. Dip into gain level or gain energy for a 1 in 3 chance of enlightenment (the other 2/3 they become booze, which moves you back a bit). Dip into levitation for a 2 in 3 chance of gain level, the rest of the time it counts as a random result, and probably means you have to start the whole thing over again, although if the stack is big enough, you don't need to turn them into water. This recipe uses up expected 23.67 potion, including all the trackbacks and alchemic explosions. To conserve resources, you can dip the water into otherwise useless acid, and cancel sickness using a unicorn horn.

Mostly-useless recipes[]

Only in rare cases would you ever use these recipes, since you're using up some good potions to make bad ones. For example, maybe you really need a potion of booze to confuse yourself, or potions of hallucination are smoky potions in your game, or you want to poison missile weapons in the early game. Most players, however, would find these recipes useless:

To make Use these ingredients
potion of booze
  1. potion of fruit juice + potion of enlightenment or
  2. potion of fruit juice + potion of speed
potion of confusion
  1. potion of booze + potion of enlightenment
potion of hallucination
  1. potion of booze + potion of gain level or
  2. potion of booze + potion of gain energy
potion of sickness
  1. potion of fruit juice + potion of sickness

Random alchemy results[]

If you perform alchemy on two potions that do not have an otherwise defined result, and you did not dip into a potion of acid, then NetHack will give you some random result:

  • Your stack may turn into potions of water. (1/8 chance, but 1/1 chance if dipping a diluted potion into another potion)
  • Your stack may turn into potions of sickness. (1/4 chance)
  • Your stack may turn into a random potion type, with the usual probabilities that apply to random potions found in the dungeon. (1/8 chance)
  • One of your potions may evaporate, the one potion dipped into will also be used up. (1/2 chance)

Color alchemy[]

The Color Alchemy Patch, notably incorporated inUnNetHack 3.5.2, changes the rules of alchemy to be based on artistic color mapping. It makes use of the primary colors red, blue and yellow, and the secondary colors orange, green and purple, as well as black and white. All primary and secondary colours have a light and dark variant:

Color Light Dark
Red Pink Potion Ruby Potion
Blue Sky Blue Potion Brilliant Blue Potion
Yellow Yellow Potion Golden Potion
Orange Orange Potion Amber Potion
Green Emerald Potion Dark Green Potion
Purple Puce Potion Magenta Potion

Mixing potions together gets the following results:

Mix These To Get This
Red + Yellow Orange
Red + Blue Purple
Yellow + Blue Green
Any two secondaries Brown
Any dark + White Corresponding light
Any light + Black Corresponding dark
Black + White Gray
Any Other Combination Random Alchemy Result, as above

Mixing two light primaries will create the light version of the secondary, and the same goes with dark. Mixing a light and a dark primary will create either result at random unless one of the primaries is diluted, in which case the secondary will have the same light/dark level as the undiluted potion.

These potions are considered colorless:
Murky, Milky, Dark, Smoky, Swirly, Bubbly, Effervescent, Fizzy and Viscous.

The patch also changes two potion names: Purple-Red becomes Amber, and Cyan becomes Viscous.

Finally, a Potion of Polymorph, regardless of its color, will simply polymorph anything it is mixed with.


In SLASH'EM, dipping a valuable gem into a potion of acid will generate another type of potion. The potion you get is defined by its randomized description, not by its identified description. For example, if you dip a ruby into acid, you will always get a ruby potion whether ruby potions are full healing or hallucination in your game. Note there are no gems that give out milky, smoky, sparkling, blood-red or clear potions. (Nor luminescent, icy, fizzy, bubbly, muddy or puce.)  There seems to be a chance that any dipping can result in an explosion, as in any alchemy.

Gem to dip into acid Resulting potion color/appearance
Dilithium crystal None - Always explodes
Opal Cloudy potion
Ruby Ruby potion
Garnet Pink potion
Jasper Purple-red potion
Jacinth Orange potion
Agate Swirly potion
Citrine Yellow potion
Chrysoberyl Golden potion
Amber Brown potion
Topaz Murky potion
Emerald Emerald potion
Turquoise Sky blue potion
Aquamarine Cyan potion
Jade Dark green potion
Sapphire Brilliant blue potion
Amethyst Magenta potion
Fluorite White potion
Black opal Black potion
Jet Dark potion
Obsidian Effervescent potion
Diamond None - Won't dissolve
Worthless glass No effect