Thick Elderberry Syrup Recipe {NO more spills / texture of store-bought!} (2024)

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If you’re wondering how to thicken elderberry syrup, you’ve come to the right place.

It’s no secret – our family loves elderberry syrup. And this love affair goes even deeper now that we’ve perfected this thick elderberry syrup recipe that’s easy to pour. It’s the same nutritional profile and cold-fighting power in a thicker formula!

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Our Family’s Elderberry Syrup Routine

This year, our family is trying a new experiment. We are taking elderberry syrup every single day to see if it makes any difference in our number of sick days.

Last year, we only took the syrup when we were feeling bad. By then, it was too late and viruses had already taken hold.

So far, we’re doing pretty well. Every day after school, I call the kids into the kitchen to take a spoonful of my homemade elderberry syrup.

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The only problem is, I have to keep a towel handy. Because every single day, without fail, I get elderberry drips on my white linoleum floor.

Why, you ask?

Because the term “elderberry syrup” is a bit misleading. Sure, it’s full of healthy cold and flu fighting compounds and tastes great.

But, it’s not exactly syrup.At least, not the homemade recipes I’ve tried. More like elderberry juice.

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Which is perfectly fine, if you don’t mind the inevitable spillage as you pour the elderberry concoction onto your spoon and try to transport said spoon into your child’s mouth.

Unless you have Jedi balancing skills, your floor is getting messy.

Until now!

How to Make Elderberry Syrup That’s the Consistency of Store-bought

It took some trial and error, but after experimenting in the kitchen {a lot} I’ve come up with the perfect thick elderberry syrup recipe. It was quite an interesting journey! I tried a couple of different thickening methods to created a thicker elderberry syrup.

Chia Seed Thickened Elderberry Syrup

First, I used ground up chia seeds to thicken my syrup.

While the chia did the job of thickening, they also made the texture more grainy than smooth and changed the flavor profile. My boys didn’t like it, but my husband did. Also, I don’t think the chia version would last very long in the fridge.

The verdict? Chia works okay, but it’s not quite like storebought. So it’s honestly up to you to decide if you’d like to try it. (BTW, here are 15 interesting ways to use chia seeds you may not have thought of!).

If you do, use half the amount of ground chia to substitute for arrowroot powder.

Arrowroot Powder Thickened Elderberry Syrup

Next, I tried arrowroot powder (you can read all about its health benefits in the next section). Using the arrowroot created a thicker syrup, didn’t alter the flavor profile, and kept the syrup smooth, not grainy. Win!

The first time I made this recipe, I was able to whisk the arrowroot into the elderberry liquid and end up with a smooth result, no problem. But alas, even the arrowroot powder method had to undergo some troubleshooting.

Later, a friend tried this method and said hers turned out lumpy. I also got a couple of reader comments saying their syrup was lumpy. Sad.

I was determined to fix this problem!

What may have been happening was that the elderberry liquid was the wrong temperature in some cases, making it difficult to whisk in the powder. So to remedy this, I decided to try making an arrowroot powder + water slurry to add to the elderberry liquid.

And you know what? It was a success!

A slurry is created by mixing a dry, power-like substance with water to dissolve before adding it to recipes as a thickener. For this recipe, I add arrowroot powder and water to a jar and shake vigorously (this removes ALL lumps) before adding it to the elderberry liquid.

This method works perfectly!

A few people have asked if other thickeners can be used, such as organic cornstarch. I haven’t tried it, but don’t see any reason why it won’t work. If you try something different, please leave a comment and let me know your experience.

Read Next:

Thick Elderberry Syrup Recipe Ingredients

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  • Dried Elderberries – Immune system stimulators with vitamins A, B, and C. You can source them on Amazon, Vitacost, and other websites as well as certain health food stores. Hurry and grab some – stores usually sell out in the wintertime and hike up their prices!
  • Filtered Water – This doesn’t make or break the recipe, but we love using our Berkey filter because it filters out 99% of all contaminants better than generic filters at only 2 cents per gallon.
  • Local or Manuka Honey – Honey sweetens this syrup and contains enzymes, antioxidants, and antibacterial properties to help your body fight illness. I like using a mix of raw local (Alabama) honey and manuka (New Zealand) honey. Raw honey is best because it retains more beneficial properties than heated honey.
  • Arrowroot Powder – this serves as a thickener for this recipe. Entirely gluten free, arrowroot is a starchy tuber from Central America. Apparently, arrowroot powder is also an immune system booster, making this cold and flu fighter even more potent! It also contains B vitamins, iron, and potassium according to Downshiftology.You can find it here.
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More Elderberry Recipes to Try:

  • Easy Elderberry Gummies
  • Instant Pot Elderberry Syrup
  • Apple Cinnamon Elderberry Syrup
  • How to Make Elderberry Tea

Thick Elderberry Syrup Notes & Tips:

  • For in-depth information on the benefits of elderberry syrup and the price of homemade vs. store bought, read this post.
  • Dosage:For prevention, 1 teaspoon 1-2 times daily. For illness, 1-3 teaspoons up to 4 times daily. Use the smaller dose for children and a bigger dose for adults.
  • Although the arrowroot powder creates a smooth thick syrup, it does settle after sitting in the fridge since it doesn’t include any artificial ingredients as a binder. Simply give your syrup a good shake before using.
  • If you want to add a little something ‘extra’ to your syrup, try adding a cinnamon stick, fresh ginger, and a couple of cloves to your berries while they simmer.
  • I like to store the finished syrup in the 4 ounce small mason jars. They freeze really well and are great to give as gifts or even sell during cold/flu season!
  • You can even use this as an elderberry pancake syrup recipe! Such a delicious, unique flavor to top pancakes with. This syrup is only meant to be taken 1 TBSP daily for adults though, so mix it with pure maple syrup if using for pancakes.
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Yield: 3 cups

Thick Elderberry Syrup Recipe {easy pour}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

A thick elderberry syrup recipe for easy pouring, with all the same immune boosting properties you need! Thickened naturally with arrowroot powder means no more spills.


  • 1 cup dried elderberries
  • 4 cups filtered water, divided
  • 1 cup raw honey
  • ¼ cup arrowroot powder


  1. Combine elderberries and 3 cups of the water in a large pot (save the extra cup of water for later). Bring to a boil and stir; reduce heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Thick Elderberry Syrup Recipe {NO more spills / texture of store-bought!} (7)
  2. Allow mixture to cool. Strain through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a large bowl, making sure to mash or squeeze all the elderberry juice out. Thick Elderberry Syrup Recipe {NO more spills / texture of store-bought!} (8)
  3. Return elderberry liquid to a pot on the stove. Heat on medium heat until simmering. In a separate jar, add the additional one cup of water and 1/4 cup arrowroot powder. Shake vigorously until arrowroot is dissolved to make a "slurry." Thick Elderberry Syrup Recipe {NO more spills / texture of store-bought!} (9)
  4. Add arrowroot slurry to simmering elderberry liquid. Heat for several minutes and whisk until mixture begins to thicken. You can adjust the amount of arrowroot to your desired thickness, or add a bit more water if it's too thick.
  5. Once elderberry liquid is cool, add honey and mix well. Transfer to small jars for storage. Thick Elderberry Syrup Recipe {NO more spills / texture of store-bought!} (10)
  6. Syrup keeps in the freezer for 6 months and the fridge for 3 weeks.
  7. Dosage: For prevention, 1 teaspoon 1-2 times daily. For illness, 1-3 teaspoons up to 4 times daily. Use the smaller dose for children and a bigger dose for adults.


Shake syrup well before using, as natural ingredients will settle.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

4 cups

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 22Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 0g

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If you enjoy this recipe, would you mind leaving a recipe rating in the comments section? I’d really appreciate it!

You may also like: Basic Simple Elderberry Syrup (Original Recipe)

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Not keen on making your own? I recommend Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Syrup for superior quality.

Have you ever tried elderberry syrup? What did you think?

With Joy,

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Thick Elderberry Syrup Recipe {NO more spills / texture of store-bought!} (2024)


Is homemade elderberry syrup better than store-bought? ›

Homemade Elderberry Syrup vs Store Bought

By comparison, my homemade syrup is about a quarter of the price of over-the-counter options. The other draw back of over-the-counter versions is the sweetener, usually it's glucose. My recipe uses raw honey as a sweetener, which has so many healing properties.

How to tell if elderberry syrup is bad? ›

Our shelf life study deemed our syrup safe out of the fridge for up to 5 days. As always, we recommend you keep an eye on the consistency, taste and smell of the syrup. Do not consume if it starts growing white mold, smells bad, tastes bad or fizzes upon opening.

Does store bought elderberry syrup go bad? ›

HOW LONG DOES IT LAST AND HOW DO I STORE IT? Our elderberry syrup has a shelf life of 2 years unopened. Once opened, it needs to be refrigerated and is good for up to 6 months.

Why did my elderberry syrup ferment? ›

Yes, it can, if the making process was faulty or storage wasn't ideal. When people say that elderberry goes bad, they're referring to fermentation. Elderberry ferments for a variety of reasons. For example, if left out for too long a time, prepared in a way whereby the PH is lower than 4.2, it will start to ferment.

What form of elderberry is most effective? ›

When it comes to maintaining a strong immune system, black elderberries (Sambucus nigra) are the preferred choice.

Why does my elderberry syrup taste bitter? ›

With ripe elderberries, it's easy to remove them from the stems using the tines of a fork. Make sure there are no stems in the berries, as this can cause bitter syrup, as well as being mildly poisonous. A tiny amount is fine.

What are the side effects of too much elderberry syrup? ›

What Happens If I Take Too Much Elderberry?
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Weakness.
  • Dizziness.
Sep 28, 2023

Is it OK to drink fermented elderberry syrup? ›

Elderberry has been shown to be one of the most effective natural remedies for strengthening the immune system and preventing colds and flus. Take 1 tablespoon of our syrup up to three times a day if you feel like you're coming down with a cold or flu. If you do get sick, don't stop taking it!

Should I refrigerate elderberry syrup? ›

HOW LONG DOES ELDERBERRY SYRUP LAST? Once open, store in fridge and enjoy syrup and shrub within 4 months and the juice within 4 weeks.

Who should not take elderberry? ›

Elderberry appears to have few side effects when used properly for short periods of time (up to 5 days). Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take elderberry. If you have an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, ask your doctor before taking elderberry, as it may stimulate the immune system.

Is elderberry syrup better than gummies? ›

The most potent form of elderberry is raw elderberry syrup (Dr. Mobley suggests syrup made with organic, fresh-pressed elderberries). The syrup is absorbed most quickly by the body—whereas if you take elderberry gummies, capsules, lozenges, or teas, they're less potent and/or take longer for the body to digest.

How much homemade elderberry syrup per day? ›

Here are recommended guidelines:
  1. For Adults: Preventative Use: Take 1 tablespoon daily during cold and flu season. ...
  2. For Children (Over 1 Year): Preventative Use: Take 1 teaspoon daily during the cold and flu season. ...
  3. For Toddlers (1-2 Years): Preventative Use: Take ½ teaspoon daily during the cold and flu season.

Why is elderberry syrup so expensive? ›

Commercial elderberry syrups are pricey because of pasteurization. Although it is a standard practice in many manufacturing processes, it kills the healthy properties of honey (if the honey was even added), large amounts of low-quality sweeteners, Low amounts of actual elderberries, and often cheap additives.

How long to cook elderberries to remove cyanide? ›

To neutralize toxins, specifically cyanide-inducing glycosides, heat treatment is a must. Boiling elderberries for at least 30 minutes is the go-to method. This ensures the destruction of harmful compounds.

Why is alcohol in elderberry syrup? ›

Elderberry syrup is just a little bit more complex to create than elderberry tincture in terms of ingredients and preparation, but it's still a very simple process. This recipe is more kid-friendly, but you have the option of adding alcohol for a longer shelf life.

Is homemade elderberry syrup good for you? ›

Elderberry syrup is known as a powerful cold preventative and remedy. Just one cup of berries contains about 58% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It's also a great source of antioxidants — which may protect your cells from damage and help prevent heart disease and cancer.

How much homemade elderberry syrup should I take daily? ›

Preventative Use: Take 1 teaspoon daily during the cold and flu season. During Illness: Increase to 1 teaspoon 3 times a day at the onset of symptoms.

Is homemade elderberry syrup safe? ›

Elderberries can be toxic when eaten raw but are safe to eat when cooked. The standard preparation method of boiling them down to make a “syrup” or “gummy” makes them safe to eat (figure 1).

Can you take homemade elderberry syrup daily? ›

Elderberries offer excellent nutrition that contains antioxidants and vitamin C, which can boost the immune system among other benefits. Yes, you can take elderberry supplements daily, even three to four times a day. However, you should not take more than the recommended daily dose.


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