Potions provide healing, protection and other benefits, or can be made into weapons to throw at your enemies.
Before you start
Many critical ingredients are found only in the Nether. Before you can brew potions, you will need to find Diamonds, mine Obsidian and build a Nether Portal. Then you can go into the Nether and collect a Blaze Rod and some Nether Wart.
See our full guide here to get started.
The Brewing process
First build a Brewing Stand:
Then you can fill some glass bottles with water, place them in the stand and start adding ingredients.
Your first added ingredient should always be Nether Wart. This will turn the water into a Awkward Potion. This potion doesn't do anything, but your next ingredient will turn it into something useful.
See the list of recipes.
After you have added your main ingredient you will have a basic potion. These modifying ingredients will improve or change the effects of your potion:
Fermented Spider's Eye
This ingredient will corrupt your potion: in some cases it will make your potion do the opposite (eg. it turns a Potion of Healing into a Potion of Harming, or a Potion of Swiftness into a Potion of Slowness). otherwise it will turn your potion into a Potion of Weakness.
Redstone will increase the duration of many potions. Most potions will last 3 minutes, but Redstone can turn them into an 8-minute version.
Glowstone can make potions twice as powerful, but they will only last half as long.
Gunpowder will turn your potion into a Splash Potion.
Add gunpowder to your potion to turn it into a splash potion, which can be thrown and will affect nearby players and mobs.
Mundane Potion and Thick Potion
If you mess up and forget to add Nether Wart first, you'll end up with one of these instead of an Awkward Potion. The only useful thing you can do with one of these is add Fermented Spider Eye followed by Gunpowder to make a Splash Potion of Weakness. This is useful in two situations: it will stop Cave Spiders from being able to poison you, and it is used to turn Zombie Villagers back to normal.
Brewing in the Nether
You can't place water in the Nether to fill your bottles, but you can make a cauldron and fill that with a bucket of water.
The Most Useful Potions
Potion of Fire Resistance
This will keep you safe if you are messing about with lava or fighting Blazes in the Nether.
Splash Potion of Harming
This is a useful weapon, but it's even more useful in farming. A Splash potion of Farming can kill hundreds of chickens all at once.
Splash Potion of Healing
Undead Mobs (Skeletons, Zombies, Zombie Pigmen and Withers) are actually healed by a potion of Harming, and damaged by a Potion of Healing. So this is your weapon against them, and will be useful if you have build a mob grinder to kill large numbers of Zombies or Skeletons.