Homemade Cough Remedy

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This Homemade Cough Remedy is a spicy, honey-cider syrup potent enough to calm a cough and soothe a sore throat. Over the past few years, this handy little remedy has become one of the most popular posts on this website.

As I mixed up a batch for my son last night, I decided to re-share it with all of you, as a testament to just how much we use it!

Homemade Cough Remedy - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

After making it all the way through the holidays without a cough, a sneeze, or a fever, cold season hit us like a freight train on New Year’s Day. My boys were miserable and I started to feel it as well after a couple of days.

I remembered saving this Homemade Cough Remedy recipe to try, so I shook up a tiny little test batch and tested a spoonful on myself.

Consider yourself warned, this is a natural cough suppressant that is both seriously spicy and potent enough to actually clear your head. Personally, I think it tastes better than any store-bought cough syrup I’ve tried.

With only a handful of pantry ingredients and a few minutes of effort, this Homemade Cough Remedy was sitting on my counter.

I was amazed at how well it worked to completely clear our congestion. My oldest son was willing to try it as well and I couldn’t believe how quickly it worked on his cough.

Homemade Cough Remedy

It cleared his throat and he slept solidly through the night. Over the counter cough medicines don’t even accomplish that for us!

The powerful ingredients in this remedy are common everyday items: ginger, cayenne, cider vinegar and honey. Yet they work together to create a potent remedy for cold symptoms. It’s definitely worth trying before turning to the medicine cabinet once again this winter.

Homemade Cough Remedy recipe made with common everyday items - found at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Updated to add: I’ve been making this cough remedy for so long now, all three of my kids request it anytime they start coughing. The serving size (or dosage) will vary depending on the person. My 11 and 13-year-old sons take a tablespoon without a problem, my 7-year-old takes about a teaspoon. A full tablespoon works great for my husband and for me.

Kitchen Tip: I use this jar to store the cough remedy.

Homemade Cough Syrup

  1. Place the vinegar, honey, water, cayenne, and ginger in a small jar and shake to combine.
  2. Leave at room temperature for a few days or place in the refrigerator for longer storage.
  3. Shake well each time, before using. The spices will not dissolve into the liquid. It will not be a thick syrup, it should remain watery.
  4. Take as needed and have a happy and healthy new year!

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Homemade Cough Remedy

4.82 from 90 votes
This remedy is a spicy honey-cider syrup potent enough to calm a cough and soothe a sore throat.
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Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Servings: 6 tablespoons


  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar preferably Bragg’s, if available
  • 2 tablespoons honey locally produced raw honey is best, if available
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


  • Place all the ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine.
  • Leave at room temperature for a few days or place in the refrigerator for longer storage.
  • Shake well each time, before using. The spices will not dissolve into the liquid. It will not be a thick syrup, it should remain watery.
  • Take as needed and have a happy and healthy new year!


Calories: 3kcal · Vitamin A: 5IU
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally published 1/8/13 – recipe notes and photos updated 1/3/22}

This cough remedy has been gently adapted from and with thanks to Nancy Vienneau’s (no longer active) blog, Good Food Matters.

Homemade Cough Remedy - get the directions at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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492 Comments Leave a comment or review

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    • Mary Younkin says

      It will keep fine for at least a week or two. There isn’t really anything in it that will go bad. That said, the directions as written are only enough for a few doses. I typically just mix it up as needed.

  1. Laura Leigh shore says

    This is our go-to cough syrup, and it works better for us than any store-bought one we’ve tried. It helps calm the dreaded tickle cough better than store-bought ones we’ve tried, too.5 stars

  2. Amy Carson says

    Hi. I just made this. I used heinz apple cider vinegar. Mine didn’t turn out to be a nice redish color like yours. It’s more of a tannish/brownish color. I shook it up and it’s sitting now. Does the color matter? Thank you.

  3. Marlen says

    Just made this 2 days ago, and works really well. I have replaced it for the over the counter stuff, which is bad for the liver and not working well. This is so much better, and much better taste “spicy but sweet” I found that what works best for me is a tablespoon and a half.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I did with my own kids, as noted in small doses. But, you’ll want to make your own decision on that as I’m not a doctor and have no authority to advise you there. I hope they feel better soon!

  4. Angela says

    Made this and it’s amazing. I didn’t have cayenne so I substituted ground hot paprika and I had fresh ginger no dry so I grated that into it instead. Thank you5 stars

  5. Coramay Wilson says

    I made this recipe and I love it, it’s spicy but sweet and works so well. I will be using this from now on instead of OTC meds, thank you so much5 stars

  6. Alexandra says

    Im dealing with a cough right now from allergies, can you use right after mixing it up or do you have to wait?

    • Mary Younkin says

      Alexandra – I find it works best if you let it sit for a few days before using it but I don’t see an issue if you use it right away. Although I admit I have never personally tried it.

  7. Lisa says

    I don’t have ground ginger on hand and all stores are closed. Is there anything I might be able to substitute with?4 stars

  8. Dee Miller says

    I was skeptical about how it was going to taste. I was pleasantly surprised how good it tasted. This is something you can take on a daily basis just for staying healthy. Apple cider vinegar has so many health benefits when taken. Apple cider vinegar is awesome for digestive issues as well as the Cayenne and Ginger. The honey adds just the right amount of sweetness as well as several health benefits too. This is going to be my new everyday go to for staying healthy. THANK YOU for sharing this.5 stars

  9. Ecm says


    Just made a batch, and gave it to my husband and I took some. My husband just tested positive for Covid and the cough is dreadful. I have a tickle in my throat I’m thinking sinus issues. I have tested negative tho. I hope this works. The taste is nasty as hell.

  10. April says

    I cannot give this enough stars! To say it relieved the dreaded tickle in the throat is a severe understatement. I have not been able to load up on enough OTC cold medicine to have any effect on it. It would return as soon as any cough drop was dissolved. I was literally praying for ANY relief and finally felt led to look up homemade cough…THIS IS MY SAVING GRACE! Thank you so MUCH for posting this!5 stars

  11. Eric E says

    How long do you think it is good in the fridge sealed in a mason jar? Been using this for a couple months now and has been great!5 stars