This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.


How to Make Elderberry Syrup with Fresh or Dried Berries

In this post we'll share how to make elderberry syrup with fresh or dried berries or juice. Making your own is a great way to save money on this wonderful immune supporting tonic. It's great for kids and adults during cold and flu season.

I noticed years ago that the ingredient lists on most commercial elderberry syrups for kids don't contain much elderberry. Now we make our own so we know it's the real deal.

Studies have shown that elderberry syrup helps treat the flu virus. (See more information on those studies at the end of the post.)

homemade elderberry syrup in swing top bottle

How to Use Elderberry Syrup

To use elderberry syrup as a preventative, give a tablespoon per day to adults or a teaspoon per day to children. 

At the first sign of illness, give adults a tablespoon full every 2-3 hours. For children, give a teaspoonful every 2-3 hours.

Elderberry Syrup Recipes

We have two recipes – one made with dried berries, the other made with juice.

dried elderberry syrup ingredients

Elderberry Syrup Recipe Using Dried Elderberries

Easy elderberry syrup recipe made with soothing herbs, honey and dried berries.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Stovetop Cooking
  • Cuisine: American


Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup dried organic Elderberries (4 ounces)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 1 organic cinnamon stick
  • 5 organic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger or a pinch of dried organic Ginger root (optional)


  1. Place berries, water, and spices in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until liquid is reduce by one half.
  3. Strain the mixture into a bowl, squishing juice out of the berries.
  4. Stir in honey. Allow to cool and stored in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.


This will last for 3 weeks or more stored in the refrigerator. You can freeze for longer storage to keep the honey raw. Freeze in ice cube trays if you would like to take out small amounts as needed.

Keywords: elderberry syrup

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

Note: To preserve all the benefits of your raw local honey, make sure to heat the syrup gently. Do not bring to a boil.

elderberry syrup on top of wood stove

How to Make Juice from Fresh Elderberries to use for your Syrup

Strip the berries from the stem and rinse off any debris. You can use a steam juicer to make elderberry juice, or cook the berries down on the stove top and strain.

removing elderberries from the stems

Do not use mechanical juicers that leave the berries raw. Heat deactivates the cyanogenic glycosides and alkaloids in the elderberries, which makes them safe to consume.

To make elderberry juice on the stove top, first remove your berries from the stems. I load my berries into a heavy bottom pot to prevent scorching, then mash them with a potato masher and add about 1/4 inch of water.

Simmer, stirring regularly, until soft and mushy, about 30 minutes. Press the cooked berry mixture through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. (You can also use an old t-shirt, towel, or pillowcase to line the strainer. The cloth will get stained.)

Let the berries drain until juice stops dripping, usually several hours or overnight. Discard the skins and stems and use the juice for syrup or jelly.


Elderberry Syrup Recipe with Lemon and Cloves

Elderberry, lemon and cloves combine for a gentle syrup for colds and coughs.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 34 cups 1x
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Canning
  • Cuisine: American


Units Scale
  • 1 pint elderberry juice
  • 1lb (450g) of sugar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 10 whole cloves


  1. Sterilize two 16-ounce jars or four 8-ounce jars, keep hot. Heat lids and rings in hot water, keep warm but not boiling. Fill water bath canner and bring to boil.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Heat and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil and boil for ten minutes (this infuses the flavor of the spices into the syrup).
  3. Strain out cloves and ladle hot syrup into sterilized jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims clean and screw on the lids.
  4. Process for 10 minutes in water bath canner (add 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level). Makes around 1-2 pints (3-4 cups) of syrup.


Adapted from Ashridge Trees in the UK.

Keywords: elderberry syrup

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!


Elderberry Syrup with Honey and Cinnamon

Elderberry, cinnamon and honey combine for this soothing elderberry syrup for kids.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 pints 1x


Units Scale
  • 1 quart elderberry juice
  • 2 cups honey
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or 1 tablespoon citric acid* – if canning


  1. Sterilize three 16-ounce jars, keep hot. Heat lids and rings in hot water, keep warm but not boiling. Fill water bath canner and bring to boil.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive pot. Heat and stir until all honey is dissolved.
  3. Simmer for ten minutes. (This infuses the flavor of the spices into the syrup.)
  4. Ladle hot syrup into sterilized jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims clean and screw on the lids.
  5. Process for 10 minutes in water bath canner (add 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level). Makes around 3 pints of syrup


To keep the honey raw, don't can the syrup, refrigerate instead.

To prepare and keep the honey raw, simply simmer the elderberry juice and cinnamon sticks together for 10-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm. Stir in honey until dissolved.

Store in the refrigerator and use within a month or so or freeze for longer storage. Oversized ice cube trays work well.

Keywords: elderberry syrup

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

Cooking elderberry syrup
Elderberry syrup on the stove top.

Harvesting Elderberries

The first time I made elderberry syrup, my friend, Tami, harvested and processed a ton of berries into juice. She brought juice over later in the week, and we set to work making syrup and jam.

Elderberries grow on large shrubs that like plenty of moisture. The American black elderberry is native the eastern United States.

You may be able to find it in the wild, but make sure you have a positive ID before harvesting. You can see the plants and tips for identification here.

cluster of elderberries on the plant

Elderberry bushes are also available through nurseries, so you can grow your own. We have a large elderberry patch planted at the north edge of our yard.

Learn how to grow elderberries here.

If You Don't Have Access to Elderberry Bushes

Making elderberry syrup from dried elderberries is cheapest, but the juice based syrups have a little more berry flavor. 

Wyldewood Cellars elderberry concentrate is made with pure elderberry juice and water. (Most products contain other juice or additives.)

Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Syrup is USDA certified organic elderberry syrup, and is made with:

  • Organic Black Elderberry
  • Organic Acerola fruit
  • Vitamin C (from Organic Acerola)
  • Organic cane sugar
  • water
  • lemon juice

Pick the Right Cinnamon!

Note: Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum or Cinnamomum verum – true cinnamon ) has better medicinal qualities than cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomom cassia).

I usually buy my Ceylon cinnamon sticks in bulk to save money and split the purchase with friends. I store any unused cinnamon sticks in a vacuum sealed mason jar to keep them fresh.

Storing Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Can your elderberry syrup to store at room temperature, or keep it refrigerated or frozen. It should last for 3 weeks or more when refrigerated.

For longer storage, canning or freezing is recommended. Use an ice cube tray to freeze small amounts to thaw as needed, or wide mouth freeze or can jars.

You can double or triple the canned syrup – just adjust the sugar and other ingredients accordingly.

If you have an abundance of berries, the honey elderberry syrup makes a pretty good pancake syrup or ice cream topping, too.

Is it Safe to Can Elderberries?

Lately, there's been a wave of negative propaganda put out against elderberries, claiming that they are not safe to can.

The issue is pH, which varies based on cultivar and growing conditions. Many commercial varieties have a pH above 4.6, which would be unsafe for canning. That said, some are below 4.6, especially wild varieties grown on acidic soil.

If we look at pH only, we're completely ignoring that elderberries are naturally antimicrobial. This study shows that “standardized elderberry liquid extract possesses antimicrobial activity against both Gram-positive bacteria and gram-negative bacteria”.

Honey is also acidic and naturally antimicrobial. If you add extra acid and follow safe canning procedures, there's no way that elderberry syrup will be less safe to can than other fruit juice.

If you are still concerned, you can get a pH meter to test acidity. pH strips won't work because the juice stains the strip.

Health Benefits of Elderberries

Elderberries have a long history of use, but recent studies confirm numerous health benefits, too. Elderberry syrup was one of the few things my youngest could take for coughs that didn't upset his stomach.

Elderberry fruit is:

  • Very high in antioxidants
  • Has antiviral and anti inflammatory effects
  • Stimulates the immune system, helping you to fight off cold and flu viruses

Although the European elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has been more well studied and cultivated, the American elderberry contains similar anti-cancer compounds.

Note:  Some sources list the European elderberry as Sambucus nigra sbsp. nigra, and the American elderberry as Sambucus nigra sbsp. canadensis. Their properties are very similar.

Elderberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of various small fruits as measured using the ORAC method. [ORAC] = Oxygen Radical absorbance Capacity.

When tested, elderberry fruits had an ORAC value of 147. This compares to 62 for blueberries, 95 for cranberries, 53 for mulberries, 40 for raspberries and 36 for strawberries. (Source: “Elderberry as a Medicinal Plant“)

Note: If you have an autoimmune condition, avoid prolonged use and/or consult with your doctors. Elderberry may also interact with diuretics and immune suppressing medication.

Please see your healthcare provider for severe or long lasting symptoms.

DIY elderberry syrup

Is Elderberry Syrup Effective Against the Flu?

Yes! Scientific studies show that elderberry syrup helps fight the flu virus and beat flu symptoms. They include:

I'm very thankful to have a stash of elderberry syrup on hand for the coming winter months!

Can dried elderberries be reused to make two batches of syrup?

During cooking, the berries give up their healing compounds to the syrup. This means it's best to use new berries each time you make a new batch.

More Herbal Recipes

You may also enjoy our other Natural Remedies articles. Popular posts include:

Note: If you're looking for the elderberry jelly recipes, see Elderberry Jelly Recipes. We also have instructions for How to Make Elderberry Wine.

If you've found this post useful, please considering sharing it.

filling mason jar with homemade elderberry syrup
Laurie Neverman

This article is written by Laurie Neverman. Laurie is a lifelong learner with a passion for natural remedies and holistic healing. She’s successfully improved her eyesight, cleared her psoriasis, and gotten off of prescription medication.

Last updated in 2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Hello,

    I want to make the syrup with honey and it seems easy enough, However how do you make the juice? I am going to do 3 batches at a time and need 3 quarts of elderberry juice. So how do you make the need juice? Do you just boil down 3 quarts of the berries? Mine are frozen.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Barbara.

      To get the juice from the berries, remove the stems and cook until well softened, about 30 minutes or so, stirring as needed.

      Place the berries in a jelly strainer or old flour sack towel or pillowcase (they will stain) and hang to let the juice drain out. I hang a towel from up upper kitchen cabinets. My mom used to hang hers from the back of a chair.

      You can squeeze the towel to speed things up, but that will get more pulp in the juice. If you don’t mind the pulp, not a problem.

  2. My husband purchased today,8 ounces of elderberry something, it was $23.

    My husband and I are struggling to make ends meet yet want to be healthy and My 81 and 1/2 year old mama lives next door, Praise the Lord 🙂

    This Elderberry concoction in a tiny jar with plastic to cover it from the lid is loaded with seeds.
    Is that okay ?

    1. The compounds in the seeds should break down with proper heating, but without knowing how the concoction was processed, I can’t say for sure. Is there any way to find out how long it was heated?

  3. I’ve been making and giving away quart jars of elderberry syrup for awhile now. I buy the dried berries (I’m thinking of getting some trees to grow) and simmer 1 cup berries in 4 cups water about 45 minutes or until it reduces not quite by half. I mash the berries, strain the whole thing, add some honey to taste (not much) and let cool. Then I put it in the coldest part of my fridge to prevent any mold as it makes quite a lot. I work in a school and am always being coughed on. I almost never get sick anymore. The one time I did my symptoms were very mild. The last time I made it, I used 2 cups of berries and it didn’t reduce all that much and I got 3 quarts for about $8 worth of berries. Much less expensive than store-bought syrup.

  4. I just ordered a bunch of dried berries to make syrup to get our family through the rest of flu season. We are dieing here. I noticed that you don’t include canning instructions for the dried berries. Can I just follow the instructions for the others to can the syrup I make from the dried berries?

    1. The dried berry recipe makes a small batch by default, and as it’s currently written, the honey is still potentially raw. (Assuming you started with raw honey.)

      If you want to make a larger batch and then can it like the others are canned, it should be okay.

  5. Hi I have just opened a pack of dried elderberries to make some syrup and noticed they are mouldy. Are they safe to use?

  6. Thank you for your post! I usually use dried elderberries but a friend gave me fresh elderberries which i cooked in my instant pot with water and spices…is this sufficient cooking enough to start enjoying thw syrup after i add some honey?
    I have been looking all over online and can only find dried elderberry recipes. Blessings!

    1. The glycosides and alkaloids in the seeds break down with heat, but I don’t know exactly how quickly they break down at whatever temperature and pressure you used in your instant pot. (I haven’t been able to find many references on the topic.)

      If you strain out the berries and simmer a little on the stove top to concentrate your brew, that should eliminate any glycosides and alkaloids that are left. (The drying process also helps to eliminate these compounds when you end up using dried berries.)

  7. I see the recipes above call for either dried elderberries, or juice. What quantity of fresh elderberries would be used?

    1. The amount of juice you get from your berries will depend on the berries and how you juice them. (Some berries will naturally be larger and more juicy than others.) We always start by juicing what berries we have available, and then making syrup or jelly based on the amount of juice on hand.

      As I understand it, steam juicing will give a slightly higher yield, but I don’t have a steam juicer yet. You’ll probably need roughly 3-4 times the volume of berries to yield the desired amount of juice. For instance, to get one cup of juice, start with one quart of berries.

  8. I only found elderberry concentrated juice. If I’m making the syrup with the hone how much concentrated juice should I use?

  9. I’d like to suggest Ceylon cinnamon rather than the usual cinnamon, it’s far more medicinal. I have seen sticks of it before now.

    Could you use the powder though? If so how much & what would the procedure be?

    1. I usually buy organic Ceylon cinnamon sticks in bulk through our buying club. I’ve updated the post to clarify the preferred cinnamon and added links for purchase. If you wanted to use cinnamon powder, I’d probably use only a small amount if you were going to mix it in and leave it, because too much would potentially cause irritation. Maybe 1/8 teaspoon per batch?

  10. Envious of everyone with access to fresh berries 🙂
    I just discovered elderberries this fall, dried, and I’m the picky eater in the family and I love them. Will be investing in more can I see drinking this as my iced tea as well as medicinal purposes. I did learn that you can brew them twice so I can at least get good use for my money.

  11. Thanks for your recipes and your comment about using your juicer! I just made the Elderberry Syrup with Honey & Cinnamon and the Syrup with Lemon and Cloves recipes from elderberry bushes I planted last summer. Both recipes were very tasty.

  12. My brother planted some of them here in northern Utah and they did not do much for a few years. I planted mine and in three years they were 10 feet tall. The difference, we determined, was that I fertilize with ammonium sulfate 3-4 times a year. The summer he fertilized, they exploded. I only fertilize in the early spring now as they are about 18 feet tall. Apparently eelderberries are heavy feeders when they are growing.
    Best wishes,
    Gary Gorringe

      1. I planted 4 bushes fall of 2014 and they have grown over 10 feet high already! I took the flowers from 2 of them, for cordial and drying, and am already seeing ripening berries on the other 2. Mine get full sun, and water when it rains in NE Kansas. I make the tincture because it lasts forever but am wondering if I can just add whiskey to the juice. Anyone know the poroportions of doing that?

        1. Wine is shelf stable at around 10-13% alcohol by volume, so if you could do the math for the volumes you’re mixing, you should be able to get a shelf stable product. For example 1 cup zero percent alcohol (juice) + 1 cup 20% alcohol (40 proof) should equal 2 cups of roughly 10% alcohol.

  13. Can anybody help me? I am making elderberry jelly and syrups but am wondering if there is any way to store plain elderberry juice? I would like to have it on hand when needed. Thanks to all for any advice!

      1. Thank you so much for your quick answer. I’ve been biting my nails while this juice bag is dripping as to whether or not I had to immediately do something with it. I was up until almost 5 AM with these precious little commodities. Where they used to literally be almost everywhere in this area, all of the new subdivisions that replaced all of the farms has literally made elderberries a “thing of the past”. I’m hoping to be able to sprout quite a few of the seeds and get some elderberries planted in my back yard!