Let's learn all about making your own Elderberry Syrup at home with dried elderberries! This recipe is tried and true, easy, tasty and health beneficial.
I've been making elderberry syrup for my family for quite some time now. Elderberry syrup is one of those things that everyone makes a little differently, I find. There isn't really a right or wrong way to go about making it, apart from the simmering step which ensures you extract the helpful compounds. Otherwise, elderberry syrup is something you can certainly tweak to suit your own personal tastes when it comes to the spices, and even the ratios. Elderberry syrup also makes a great first time herbal medicine making project. Elderberries have been used as a great immune system booster for hundreds of years!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Dried Elderberries: Dried elderberries are easily found in natural health food stores and online at places like Mountain Rose Herbs and Amazon. One up side of using dried elderberries, is apart from not having to go foraging around, they make it easy to make elderberry syrup any time of the year.
Cinnamon: I love throwing a cinnamon stick into the mix, but feel free to swap out the stick for about 1/2 teaspoon of the ground variety.
Ginger Root: Apart from the added health benefits of ginger (anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, to name a few), ginger root also adds a nice touch of spice. If you do not have fresh on hand, you can use 2 teaspoons of ground ginger.
Cloves: Cloves add a delicious earthy warmth and really make your kitchen smell divine (as a bonus!). If you need to use ground cloves, use about 3/4 teaspoon.
Raw Honey: No elderberry syrup would be complete without the sweet component! The upside of using raw honey in your elderberry syrup is that it adds additional health benefits. However, if you are a vegan or on a honey-free diet, feel free to swap it out for the sweetener of your choice. You can even use vegan honey! If gluten is a concern, see Is Honey Gluten Free?
How to Make Elderberry Syrup - Step by Step
If using raw honey as your sweetener, you want to make sure the elderberry liquid cools considerably before mixing in the honey, for the sake of maintaining maximum health benefits of the raw honey.
Can I use fresh elderberries instead of dried when making elderberry syrup?
Yes! If using fresh elderberries, I recommend using about 5 cups worth.
Can I make this in my Instant Pot?
Yes! We have a recipe for Instant Pot Elderberry Syrup on our sister site.
Can I cook it longer?
Yes. You are really aiming for visibly seeing the liquid reduce by about half while simmering. Sometimes this takes a bit longer (and sometimes a bit less!)
Can I change the spices?
Yes! That is part of the beauty and fun of elderberry syrup. Have fun experimenting and adding some of your favorite flavoring agents. I sometimes add citrus peel and star anise. Enjoy the process!
How long can I store elderberry syrup?
I find it keeps fresh tasting for about 2 months, stored in the fridge.
How many servings per day should I take?
For adults, 1 tablespoon daily is sufficient for maintaining optimum health, but if you are sick or coming down with something, up to three times daily is a suitable amount. For children, 1 teaspoon daily is sufficient, increasing up to three times daily when sick.
What can I do with the leftover, strained elderberries?
You can discard, thrown into a compost pile, thrown into baked goods, or you can make a tea or infused vinegar with the leftover elderberries!
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How to Make Homemade Elderberry Syrup
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Simmer for 35 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced by about half.
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature before straining, then stirring in the honey until dissolved.
- Funnel the mixture into jars or bottles with airtight lids. Keep stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 months. Enjoy!