Make your own elderberry syrup for cold and flu season!

How to Make Elderberry Syrup for Cold and Flu Season!

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Learn how to make elderberry syrup with this easy DIY recipe… 

FREE Printable Recipe Cards Included!

Are you interested in drug-free solutions to fighting off colds and flu viruses for your family? Then learn how to make this delicious homemade elderberry syrup recipe in a snap! 

Elderberry Syrup is one of my family’s favorite immune boosting remedies! We use this and other natural remedies to keep sickness at bay.

Over the years, we have rarely needed to resort to pharmaceuticals or conventional medicine.

When my family is sick, I usually open up the refrigerator for remedies as well as the medicine cabinet… and my medicine cabinet is stocked with homeopathic remedies!

With cold and flu season on its way, it’s time NOW to start stocking your family’s natural remedies medicine stash!

Flu season is also a great time to get serious about safeguarding your family’s health by eating a more nutritious, real foods diet!  If you are pregnant or nursing, you have an even greater reason to do so!

bulk batch of elderberry syrup in mason jars

How we use elderberry syrup

Elderberry syrup is a fantastic immune booster as well as a cold and flu remedy. It is also absolutely delicious and very easy to make!

The store-bought versions are very expensive and may also include ingredients that you don’t want. You are also never sure how it’s been processed. Many of the nutrients found in the homemade version may be lost to heat processing when factory-produced.

I like to make up a big batch of this yummy health elixir in the fall and have it on hand when sickness strikes. In fact, I just made up my annual batch (two days ago) and took some pictures to document the process for you in this post!

We take it to ease symptoms of colds and flu, and as a preventive medicine as well.

It stores well in the fridge and can be kept all winter long. When stored into cute little jelly jars, it also makes a great holiday gift for your health-minded friends!

DIY elderberry syrup recipe

What are the benefits of elderberry syrup?

Elderberry syrup has become popular in recent years, but it has actually been used medicinally for centuries!

It has been used in folk medicine to treat flus, colds and sinusitis, as well as coughs.

Ask your grandma and she is likely to report that she had been given elderberry syrup as a child. Cod liver oil was another traditional health food.

Unfortunately, most modern families have sadly abandoned these health-promoting home remedies!

Elderberry syrup is loaded with antioxidants, Vitamin C and immune supporting minerals. It also has amazing anti-inflammatory properties.

Also known to be anti-bacterial and anti-viral, elderberry syrup can be given during illness, as well as a preventative.

Scientific research also supports the use of elderberries for illness.

In one study, elderberry extract inhibited several strains of influenza and reduced symptoms. Another study found that the flavonoids in elderberry syrup were effective against the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus.

There have been other studies, as well, on the efficacy and safely of elderberry syrup, if you want to dig deeper into the research.

fresh elderberries

Is elderberry safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women?

There is currently not enough scientific evidence to either recommend it or to discourage its use during pregnancy or lactation.

However, surveys do indicate that many women use elderberry syrup during pregnancy and breastfeeding without any known issues.

The journal Frontiers in Pharmacology suggests that “due to lack of evidence of efficacy and safety, health care personnel should not advise pregnant women to use echinacea or elderberry against upper respiratory tract infection.”

This being said, it is always a good idea to discuss any dietary changes or supplements with your health care provider, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding!

Is elderberry syrup safe for babies? Try this elderberry syrup recipe without honey! 

Most elderberry syrup recipes call for raw honey. Babies under 1 year of age should NEVER be given honey!  They are unable to safely digest honey. Here’s why. 

*When making elderberry syrup for babies under the age of 1, always substitute date syrup for the raw honey. I love this organic date syrup! 

Like honey, date syrup is highly nutritious. It is safe for young children and also contains anti-bacterial properties similar to raw honey.

When making up your family’s batch, I would suggest reserving a smaller portion for baby and use the date syrup instead of the raw honey for that jar.

Always clearly label the jar to be used exclusively for baby.

For babies and young children, half the maximum dosage is usually recommended.

Learn more great ways to keep your baby healthy during cold and flu season.

Related:  23 Natural Remedies for Crying Babies

Related:  Coconut Oil Hacks for Baby

Related: 16 Tips to Keep Your Newborn Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

This post is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of professional medical advice. If you are pregnant, nursing, or caring for a sick child, please consult a health care practitioner before making dietary changes or self-treating. 

The Importance of Using Raw Honey in this Recipe

A key ingredient in elderberry syrup is RAW honey.

When shopping for honey, make sure that you look for local RAW honey. Most honey brands are heat-processed which destroys the naturally occurring enzymes, nutrients and antibiotic properties.

In addition, raw honey acts as a natural preservative preventing mold and other “nasties” from growing in your elderberry syrup.

You can find local, raw honey at farmers’ markets, local bee farms, natural foods co-ops and natural foods grocery stores. It’s always healthiest to buy honey that has been raised locally. Here’s why.

If you are unable to find it locally, I like this brand.

When making the syrup, it is very important to allow it to fully cool before stirring in the raw honey. (or *date syrup) Otherwise, the heat will destroy the antibiotic properties and other beneficial nutrients in the raw honey.

Is there a suggested dosage for elderberry syrup?

To prevent sickness, the typical recommended adult dosage is one teaspoon of homemade elderberry syrup once or twice a day.

More can be used during illness, with up to 3 teaspoons, 4x per day as suggested in this study. 

In my home, we use elderberry syrup to treat colds, flus, and coughs. Children love the taste and ask for it when they are sick!

Please note that elderberry syrup may cause loose stools in some children and adults. This is part of the detoxification and healing process of the elderberries.

For your comfort, you may need to ease off the dosage a bit if this becomes problematic.

3 ingredient elderberry syrup recipe shopping list:

  1. Organic dried elderberries. This is the brand that I love!
  2. Local, organic, raw honey or Organic Date Syrup
  3. Organic Cinnamon (optional)  We like the taste of cinnamon, plus cinnamon is also known to have lots of health benefits as well!

3 ingredients for elderberry syrup



1/2 Cup Organic Dried Elderberries

3 Cups Filtered Water

1 Teaspoon Organic Cinnamon

3/4 Cup Raw, local honey (or *date syrup)


Place dried elderberries, cinnamon and filtered water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Mash the elderberries to release any extra juices.

mashing elderberries for syrup

Strain the mixture into a glass bowl using a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Gently stir in the raw honey (or *date syrup) and mix thoroughly.

straining elderberries for syrup

Store and label in small glass jars, preferable amber jars. These jars will keep many months in a cool, dark pantry or refrigerator! The raw honey acts as a natural preservative.

2 mason jars of elderberry syrup

Making Elderberry Syrup in Bulk!

I like to make a large batch of elderberry syrup every fall so that we have enough on hand to last our family through the winter months.

I also like to give some away as gifts during the holiday season. Many of my health-conscience friends really enjoy getting a jar of this great health tonic!

In addition to medicinal uses, many people enjoy using elderberry syrup on pancakes or ice cream. We also really like to add elderberry syrup to our homemade kombucha recipe!

There are probably many ways you could enjoy this sweet syrup, if you are creative!

For this reason, I use the entire one pound bag of dried elderberries and have adjusted the recipe to do this. The larger batch makes about 7 quarts of syrup!

If you would like a printed recipe card copy of BOTH these recipes (small and large batch), you can download your free copy below!

bulk batch of elderberry syrup in mason jars

FREE Printable Elderberry Syrup Recipe Cards!

Prefer NOT to Make Your Own?

If you’d prefer the convenience of a store-bought version, try this organic elderberry syrup instead. It is delicious and made with organic elderberries. 


Babies under 1 year of age should NEVER been given honey!  They are unable to safely digest honey. Here’s why.  

When making elderberry syrup for babies under the age of 1, always substitute organic date syrup for the raw honey. Like honey, date syrup is also known to be highly nutritious. It is safe for young children and also contains anti-bacterial properties similar to raw honey.

This post is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of professional medical advice. If you are pregnant, nursing, or caring for a sick child, please consult a health care practitioner before making dietary changes or self-treating. 

Have you ever made or used elderberry syrup? Leave a comment. Thanks for sharing!

Don’t forget to print out this easy elderberry syrup recipe for how to make homemade elderberry syrup! 

36 thoughts on “How to Make Elderberry Syrup for Cold and Flu Season!”

  1. I can’t wait to make this for my family. Just one question. How many jars of the raw honey do I need to make a big batch. I would buy the one you recommend. Thank you. And have a great day. Gail

    1. Hi Gail! Good question!! One pound of honey is approximately 1-1/3 cups, so you will need 5-6 jars of the honey that I linked to in this post. (depending on how sweet you like your elderberry syrup) The syrup might start fermenting if you store it a while, but it still tastes great and is edible, so don’t worry if you notice this happening! Best kept cool for long-term storage. I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do! Thanks for reaching out 🙂

    1. Hi Crystal!
      This stores a few months in the fridge. You may notice some fermenting taking place even when stored in the fridge, but this is perfectly fine and safe. We actually like it better that way since it becomes slightly carbonated after a few months. Hope this helps!

    1. There is really no approved dosage for elderberry syrup. However, I give my children about 1 teaspoon a day for prevention and about 1 teaspoon 3-4x day when sick. Make sure you heed the warning to avoid honey for babies and children under 12 months, though! Thanks for visiting! So glad to hear from you, Crystal. I hope you enjoy the syrup as much as we do!

  2. I just made this elderberry syrup and it is not syrupy, it is more like liquid. I doubled the recipe and let it cook longer than stated in your recipe but it is still good.

    1. Hi Angie! Thanks for your comment. Elderberry syrup is more liquid than “syrupy” so you are totally fine. Mine does tend to get thicker as it sits in the fridge, though. The honey will thicken and you may need to shake or stir it before serving. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Desiree! I have never tried canning elderberry syrup, so can’t really speak to that. If you decide to try it, please let me know!

  3. Made a big batch yesterday (it’s delicious!) we have 4 1 quart amber mason jars stored in our basement, how long do they keep not being in the fridge?

    1. Hi Trish! Honey is a natural preservative, so if your basement is cool and dark, it should keep through the end of winter. I have noticed that mine tends to ferment but it doesn’t spoil…just a bit fizzy, but we actually like it better that way! If you are substituting date syrup for the honey, I would definitely recommend storing in the fridge and labeling it “Baby only”. Hope this helps!

    2. I am so excited to make this!! I am making a big batch for a workshop I am doing with elderberry syrup+ essential oils. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. One more, I forgot to ask…the large batch makes 7 quarts? That isn’t a typo? I am sure not, but just checking…thanks so much!! 🙂

    1. Good question!! I have heard that it’s best to avoid freezing it, but I’m not totally sure about that. If you do choose to freeze it, make sure that you do so in glass jars and freeze only in jars with straight sides. When freezing liquids in a standard canning jar, I always fill liquids about an inch below where the jar starts to curve. This prevents the jar from cracking as the contents expand during freezing. 
      Elderberry syrup keeps pretty well without freezing as long as you keep it cool and dark. 

    1. Hi Jennifer!
      Thanks for visiting, but I have never tried making gummies with this recipe. As long as you don’t heat the honey, it should still retain all the beneficial nutrients in the original syrup, though! Please let us know if you try it!!

    1. Hi Kim! The recipe will work just fine with distilled water. The reason that I prefer filtered water, in general, is that minerals in the water are removed during the distilling process. If you have a way to filter water without distilling, that is ideal. Elderberry syrup made with distilled water is still very healthy and beneficial!

  5. Hello I have tried several times to Download the recipes by sending my email and I’m not getting anything can you please email them to me . Thank you soo much

    1. Hi Diane! If you don’t have a water filter, then store-bought spring water would be better than tap water. Thanks for visiting and enjoy your elderberry syrup!!

  6. Hello!
    I made this last year and it turned out great! It’s that time of year to do it again! I can’t find my large batch recipe and tried to get the file emailed to me a few times and it hasn’t come through.
    Anyway you can send it to me? Thanks so much for the help!

    1. Hi Robyn!
      Thanks for reaching out! Glad you liked the recipe. It’s a good one! I’m sorry that you are having trouble with the emails. I just sent you the link!

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