Well, I don't know about you, but I've already been down with my first cold of the season. To make myself feel more comfortable, I've been relying on some great home remedies for colds, flu, and sinus infections. One thing that always seems to linger a little longer than the other symptoms is the cough. So annoying!
Homemade cough drops can really help by soothing a scratchy, tickly throat, so it doesn’t stimulate the cough. And, you’d be surprised, they are very easy to make.
How to make your own cough drops
The ingredients are simple: water, sugar, honey, lemon juice, ground ginger, and cloves. Everything goes into a pan and the mixture is cooked until it reaches the hard crack stage.
Candy molds can be used, but I find it's even easier to let the mixture cool a little bit and drop it by the spoonful onto a piece of parchment paper. (A marble slab helps the drops cool more quickly.)
The honey is soothing and works as a natural cough suppressant.
Lemon adds vitamin C.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory benefits and works to keep the immune system strong. So add as much or as little as you can handle!
The oil in cloves helps to fight germs and also loosens phlegm (source).
The drops need to be dusted with powdered sugar, cornstarch, or arrowroot starch to keep them from sticking together. Store them in a cool, dry place, and they should last for a few weeks. Dust them again if they become sticky.
Homemade Lemon Ginger Clove Cough Drops
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Candy thermometer (optional)
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground ginger add more for taste
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- powdered sugar or cornstarch for coating
- Gather your ingredients and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper, or greasing very well. A marble slab comes in handy and helps the drops cool quickly.
- Combine the ingredients, except for powdered sugar or cornstarch, in a heavy-bottomed pot or saucepan. Cook to hard crack stage, about 300°F, whisking every now and then in order to check the color and consistency. This may take between 15-20 minutes, or longer depending on the pan and stove. Test by dropping a little from a spoon into a bowl of ice water. If it cracks, it's ready. If it's chewy, cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the heat. Be careful not to let it burn - the temperature rises quickly at the end.
- Let the mixture cool slightly. Drop onto baking sheet into rounds. Allow to cool completely.
- Once cool, dust with the powdered sugar or cornstarch. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from any moisture. (Moisture will cause them to stick together.) Alternatively, they can be dusted and wrapped individually in small pieces of waxed or parchment paper.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified pediatrician who has been practicing for more than 20 years. Learn more about Hello Glow's medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.292
How long do you let them cool before you make the cough drops?
tracy laven says
I love the idea above of using a team instead of water. How about taking it a step farther and using an Echinacea tincture? I am guessing the alcohol would cook off during the process, but the benefits from the root would remain... Any thoughts on this or perhaps just adding fresh ground Echinacea root to the recipe? Thank you in advance for any feedback.
Aimée Sherrod says
I made my first batch of these three years ago. I wanted the drops but didn't manage to heat them enough and ended up with a mess instead. I did toss the first batch and tried again. This time, instead of tossing them, I poured the remainder into a 4 oz glass jar. That started the way I now make this. I make this and give it out as gifts, I gave a jar to the school secretary who was coughing and had a sore throat and said the prescription stuff wasn't working. I gave a jar to a co-worker who was miserable at work. He swore by it.
To use it as a thick liquid, I take the metal ring off the 4 oz jar and warm the jar enough to get the honey movable. I get a heaping spoonful and mix it with my favorite tea. I recommend this recipe to everyone!
Nancy Conway says
It does exist.....Yummly is the name of it. It's the only one I keep in my phone bc there's just too many apps but I keep it ,just for that reason.
Some people are so critical I can't wait to try these.
Emily P. Calloway says
I made Horehound cough drops but they did not harden. What did i do wrong. Is there a way to harden them?
Can I boil them more?
j jobson says
Is s there anything I can add 2 make them hard instead of chewy and sticky
Use Candy thermometer to higher temperature
Hi! So I made these and it was on my second batch that I was able to get it. You have to boil them until they get to the right stage. Table a bowl of cold water and drop a few drops from a clean spoon into it. When it's the right temp, you'll hear a cracking sound. Then you need to take it off the heat immediately because it'll burn quick
after i kept in a bottle all drops sticks to each other ??? Pls trll me why ds is happening ?
Lindsey Johnson says
Give them another dusting of the cornstarch and hopefully that will help. It's really common with cough drops to become sticky, especially homemade ones. (Kind of like candies do.)
I am wondering if keeping them in the fridge would help as well or no?
I followed the recipe but didn't drop any into water, just simmered for 20 min. After they cooled a bit I added 6 drops of Thieves essential oil and 3 Lemon essential oil. While the taste is great, they aren't getting hard. Can I re heat them and try again?
Backyard Bkeeper says
The defensive properties of honey are vast and we'll documented. Although low water, high glucose can make the environment inhospitable to "bugs," the top two would be the Bee-defensive 1 protein and "bleach.". This is a great recipe. Thank you.
Hi! Just want to say I had a cold and started to make those cough drops and take one a day and this as been a little over two years now and never had a cold since. But I take one every morning in my coffee.
This is so unnecessary, walk to the nearest Walgreens and buy some cough drops.
Why be so negative? Lots of people enjoy making heir own recipes with no preservatives. The only way you know what is in your food is if you make it yourself.
Then why did you google the recipe and look all the way down it, you wanker
Don't be a turd! says
Wanker...lol...better than a toaster!
Don't be a turd! says
Aw crap...TOSSER!!! Being a toaster is just so passé!
Don't be rude. Not everyone has a Walgreens around the corner. The closest one to me is 35 miles away!
Misty Haines says
Because some people can't afford to by expensive cough drops and this is cheaper, and also some like to know what they are putting into their own body!
It actually is necessary if you don't want all the chemicals in your food. Why do you think people are having such a hard time fighting off illness in the first place. Our bodies are stressed.
We are also putting ways to many carbs in our body which the body doesnt need. Your pancreas is working harder to process those carbs into glucose which wears your pancreas out and make you feel sick. The glucose which is processed becomes fat and builds up. We've already got enough glucose in our body to survive. That's why lots of people end up with type 2 diabetes.
Because many folks are returning to natural living!! It's crafty and fun to show kids how things were made before preservatives and big machines clumping out process foods. I'm in a wilderness group just for items like this to be able to survive without stores and live off land.
My never hardened, what did I do wrong?
Neither did mine. I guessing I didn't heat it to crack temperature. I didn't have a thermometer.
kato paul malunda says
what kind of candy mold can i u,thank you
Hi can I use liquid cloves and fresh minced ginger in the jar and if so what is the consistency that I use as the cloves and ginger already has liquid.
Yes you can use fresh ginger. About a Tablespoon of smashed up ginger. It's actually healthier! Not sure on the liquid clove with potency vs fresh.
I agree with Gail. - I have been looking for sugar-free and artificial sweetener-free soar throat and cough remedies & ecipes for ages but in vain. Sugar is bad for your health in general and in particular when the immune system has to work hard such as during a cold. And artificial sweeteners are no good either (they give me the runs!). I don't mind if the remedies don't taste nice, I just want some with only healthy and effective ingredients in them. I guess I'll have to go experimenting myself and create my own :-) . By the way, I don't trust honey either because the overwhelmingly vast majority of its ingredients is sugar outweighing the tiny beneficial components that might be in there. It is said to act against bacteria, which I'm convinced is due to its high sugar content!
how much "more" sugar could store bought lozenges have than these. I am sure these are better from an ingredient standpoint, but I'm not sure I see the sugar reduction.
Made these tonight, and they are wonderful! Only thing I changed was the water. Instead, I made a strong tea using half a cup of water & 2 tea bags of Traditional Medicinals Echinacea Plus Elderberry. Let it steep for about 15mins. Again, they are wonderful. Kind of remind me of a Ricola. Won't be buying cough drops or throat lozenges again. Thank you for sharing :)
I wish I read this before I made them. The tea idea is brilliant.
I used tea instead of water as well - echinacea. Two great minds...
I made and didnt get hard on will try again..didnt have a it heated enough I guess.need a thermometer..
Burnt my self wicked bad, made a mess and they take forever and taste bad
Samantha LaPlante says
Fantastic recipe! Made these in a bind and I was out of honey, so I replaced the honey with agave nectar and added about 1tbsp corn starch for thickening, came out great!
Jessica Ballard says
How long do these last for in an airtight container?
Charlotte | The Midnight Blog says
I'm currently going through my second cold of the season, with a very, very sore throat. Making these tonight! Thank you so much for sharing. :)