make your own: elderberry syrup.

September 25, 2017

elderberry syrup | reading my tea leaves

I’ve been sniffly for the past few weeks. Which has been kind of yucky and kind of uncomfortable but also a marker of the season and a good reminder to take a few proactive steps to combat the worst of the season’s germs. I’ll be scheduling a flu shot for myself to stay on the safe side, but I also mixed up a batch of immunity boosting elderberry syrup. We made this batch from scratch early on a Thursday morning while Silas slept and Faye could flex her berry smashing muscles.elderberry syrup | reading my tea leaves

I stick to a fairly basic recipe: just dried elderberries, water, a few cloves, and a cinnamon stick, plus wildflower honey. Clean brown amber bottles are a nice choice for bottling up the syrup, but anything sterilized will do. I keep the bottle in the refrigerator and try to remember to take a daily teaspoonful for the duration of the fall and winter months. This year, Faye’s finding the results a bit too treacly for her liking, but stirred into morning oatmeal or smoothies or other yummy things, she gets the benefit of the berries without suffering through a spoonful.elderberry syrup | reading my tea leaves

Elderberry Syrup
adapted from Mountain Rose Herbals

4 cups cold water

2 cups of dried elderberries 

1 cinnamon stick

4-5 cloves

local honey (~1 pound)

Combine the berries and spices with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the heat and mash berries with the back of a wooden spoon. Strain over a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth (or, in a pinch, a nut bag you don’t mind staining a bit). Measure the juices and combine with an equal amount of honey (for this recipe that will be approximately a pound of honey, but the exact amount will depend on how much you reduce the juices while cooking.) Bottle in a sterile dark glass bottle. The syrup should last through the winter (~3-6 months) if kept refrigerated. (Needless to say, this recipe has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration!) elderberry syrup | reading my tea leaves

For more immunity boosting goodness, try fire cider.


You Might Also Like


  • Reply Natalie September 25, 2017 at 10:19 am

    I’ve been using the recipe you shared on Gardenista for a couple years now, and today’s version has me curious – why did you up the elderberries from 1 cup dried to 2? Any particular reason or just for an extra dose of goodness?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 25, 2017 at 10:23 am

      the proportions are just a little different——it’s the same basic recipe and honestly one that i usually don’t measure much at all!

      • Reply Natalie September 25, 2017 at 10:25 am

        Thanks! I suppose everyone’s take is a little different. I’ve also been adding dried orange peel and sliced fresh ginger to my blend and it’s lovely. I got my entire family hooked when I gave them their own bottles of it for Christmas 🙂

  • Reply mado September 25, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Random question – how do you sterilize your bottles? Hot water, or something stronger?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 25, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      just hot water! i just run my bottles through the dishwasher.

  • Reply Lanen September 25, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Love elderberry syrup. Another nice way to take it is in a cup of hot water. Elderberry hot toddy, anyone?

  • Reply Heidi September 25, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Where are your cute kraft labels from?!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 25, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      i think I found them on Amazon!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 25, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      They’re address labels and have rounded corners, but I trim them down!

  • Reply Shelbi September 25, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Yes, my mom uses elderberry for her immune system too, but she doesn’t make her own syrup. I’ll pass this on to her for sure.

  • Reply Jon September 26, 2017 at 6:43 am

    I made some elderberry syrup from a similar recipe a few weeks ago and it tastes great but is getting nore and more fizzy. Any idea what’s going on? (I do keep it in the fridge so it couldn’t be fermenting – could it?)

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 26, 2017 at 9:40 am

      Hmm! Interesting! Did your recipe call for a ratio of 1:1 for the elderberry juices and honey? With that much honey, I’d be surprised if it was already fermenting, but perhaps you had less honey or a juice that was less concentrated?

      • Reply Liz Anne Castle May 11, 2020 at 9:18 am

        I haven’t made your recipe yet, but look forwards to trying, my own recipe is great, but unfortunately starts fermenting also, just curious as to why ? again like Jon’s experience, except one of my fridge bottles exploded, is it because there is not enough honey? xxx

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 11, 2020 at 10:02 am

          Very likely yes! Lots of honey is key to avoid fermentating/spoiling!

          • Liz Anne castle May 13, 2020 at 9:46 am

            thankyou! x

  • Reply Kate September 26, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Love homemade elderberry syrup. I mix it with a little cod liver oil for my kiddos in the winter for a dose of vitamins A, D and K too. Cause that stuff is nasty alone.

  • Reply nina September 27, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Here in Denmark we traditionally make it with fresh berries as a sort of lemonade – obviously not possible for everyone, but very good. I keep it in the freezer in cubes (use the ice cube tray) to just add to whatever I want it in (porridge,hot toddies etc.). Saves the need for sweetening, and keeps well.

  • Reply Christie September 27, 2017 at 11:54 am

    This is very cool. I didn’t know about elderberry syrup, so I looked it up online. Here is information for others who might not have heard of this remedy:

  • Reply Tracey October 17, 2017 at 9:42 am

    The dried elderberries are sold by weight in ounces, can you help with the translation to cups? How many ounces by weight does your recipe call for? Thank you so much for this inspiration. I’m excited to make my own.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 17, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Didn’t weigh them—and was working with an marked jar of berries—so I can’t say for sure, but I bet Mountain Rose Herbals could help you there!

  • Reply johanna hussaini November 1, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Hi! Loved the recipe. Can this be given to babies as well? My daughter is a year old.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 2, 2017 at 11:44 am

      Hi there: Should be fine after one (definitely not before since honey’s not recommended to younger babies), but I would for sure check in with your pediatrician to be sure!

  • Reply Kelly Cormell November 1, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Where do you buy the elderberrys?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 2, 2018 at 6:54 am

      Mountain Rose Herbal! Link in the post!

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Comments are moderated.