How to Make Elderberry Syrup with dried Elderberries

The cold and flu season is nearly upon us, and I want to be ready.

Yes, I feed my family a whole foods diet, rich in nutrients and vitamins and minerals. But, despite my best efforts, sometimes a bug comes to stay in our house. Of course, my kids learned how to share, so they do.

elderberry syrup from dried-elderberries

Instead of running to the pharmacy for some OTC medicine that may have ingredients that I don’t want to give my kids, I make my own remedies to help deal with symptoms.

Enter in the humble elderberry, and the elderberry syrup.

Elderberries have been used medicinally for hundreds of years and may have a measurable effect in treating flu, allergies, and helping with respiratory health. (source:Wikipedia)

dried berries

Instead of buying the elderberry syrup at the health food stores at the rate of $20 for a 4oz. bottle, I make my own.

Raw Versus Dried

Raw elderberries are actually toxic. Cooking them into a syrup eliminates the toxins from them, making them safe to use. You can make the syrup from raw, foraged berries or from bought dehydrated berries. The method will be the same.

To get started with raw elderberries, remove the berries from the stems.

The easiest way I have found to do this is by running a fork down the stems. You will want to wear gloves, or your hands WILL get stained. Measure 1 cup of raw elderberries to 4 cups of water.

I bought a 1lb. bag of dried elderberries for less than $20 and got to work!

more dried berries


Step 1. First, I took 2 cups of filtered water, and brought that to a boil.

Step 2. Then, I added 1 cup of the elderberries and took off the heat. I let the elderberries steep for 30 minutes, and swirled the pan every so often. I don’t have a real reason why I swirled it, I just like to do that.

berries steeping

Step 3. Drain the elderberries, and put the water back into the pot. I used a wooden spoon to “push” the rest of the tea into the jar. Your berries can now be composted.

Step 4. f honey, or brown rice syrup for every 2 cups of reduced water. Allow to the honey and water to simmer for 5 minutes to thicken.


Store in the fridge for up to 3 months.

How To Use

To use, simply add 1/4 cup of the syrup to a large mug and fill with hot water to drink as a tea, or take 1 Tablespoon by mouth while symptoms persist.

draining berries

You can simply add a tablespoon of the syrup to a person’s daily diet as an immune support. Or, you can and use it in these ways:

  • As a pancake syrup
  • to top oatmeal or other porridge
  • as a sweetener in tea or coffee
  • as a topping for cake or ice cream treats

**This post is for educational purposes only. The information provided by myself is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any conditions. If you are seeking medical advice, please speak with a licensed healthcare professional.**

22 thoughts on “How to Make Elderberry Syrup with dried Elderberries”

  1. Ohh, girl, I am bookmarking this page! I have heard such wonderful things about elderberry syrup and *gulp, bought a bottle at my local health food store for about $15. That just isn’t right. I will definitely give this recipe a try. Afterall, there are still a couple more months of cold and flu season left.

    Thanks and have a great week!
    <3 Nicole

  2. Sarah @ Nature's Nurture

    This is actually something I’ve been wanting to try making for a while, and I think I’m going to start now to be ready for cold and flu season this year. Thanks for the easy to follow guide!

  3. I was wondering… If I made this and shipped it to friends in various parts f the country would it be safe? Assuming they refrigerated it when they got it, of course. I got my elderberries today! 🙂

  4. Just made the syrup and the house smells wonderful. I was wondering whether I can make a second less concentrated batch of elderberry syrup from the strained elderberries. I am sure there is still a lot of goodness in them. Don’t feel like tossing them out. Please advise. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. I am sure you could make a second batch…it may not have the concentrated flavors, but it should still work. If nothing else, the syrup would make great jelly!

      1. Do Not eat the berries!! They can really upset the stomach and can be toxic. The properties are all emitted with the first cooking. Nothing beneficial if reusing the berries.

        1. There are all kinds of elderberry dessert recipes from reputable sites that include using the full berries, not just a boiled down syrup. Seems like they are not toxic . ??

  5. i have a high speed blender – wondering if i were to blend the whole mixture rather than straining off the liquid, could that intensify the healing properties? or would you recommend against doing that for any reason? thanks!

    1. Do not blend the berries! The berries must be boiled for a certain length of time then strained and discarded. They have toxic properties and can make you really sick if it’s not done long enough.

  6. I am definitely excited to try this recipe. I added a few slices of fresh ginger to the elder berries while steeping. We will see how it turns out. I am planning on giving small jars to family for the season. Thank you!

    1. How was it with the ginger? I’m undecided as to use it or not. I had read a couple of comments that it made the syrup spicy?

    1. All parts of elder- roots, stems, leaves fruit and seeds contain a cyanide-like substance in them. When this substance hits your gut, it creates hydrogen cyanide ( that’s what was used for capital punishment before it was ruled as too cruel). Cooking the fruit releases most of the toxin into the air as it is very volatile, the the seeds generally pass through the digestive system without releasing the toxin (but I would not try to blend berries into syrup for fear of breaking the seeds) and elderflowers contain such a tiny amount that they are generally considered safe (in Germany there is a popular cordial made from elderflowers).

  7. Going to try wizzing the cooked berries & liquid in the ninja then strain, i think that will get the most out of them.

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