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.

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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

4.84 from 131 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 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
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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  1. Julie Smith says

    I really don’t like taking drugs but I will take Buckley’s when a cough is keeping me up at night but there’s none to be had around here so I tried your recipe. I find it takes about 15min to kick in but then gave as good of relief as the Buckley’s. And I’d much rather take cider vinegar, honey, water, ginger and cayenne than a medicated cough syrup. Thank you!5 stars

  2. Brian Ehrhart says

    I have a really bad cough I just got over a sinus infection in my allergies I’m gonna try this I hope it works I will let you know how I feel thank you for this recipe I’ll get back to you as soon as I love all the comments

  3. Lisa says

    Why can’t I print this recipe? It jumps to the recipe page and won’t let me print it. I’ve used this recipe for years but hadn’t needed it until now. I wanted to print it as my old printed copy got ruined by water.

    Disappointed that I can’t print it as it just jumps back to the beginning of this article. But still a great recipe.

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m glad the cough remedy helps, Lisa. Unfortunately, we are having some issues with the print feature. For the time being, if you scroll over and highlight the section you want to print, you can select “print” from your browser menu. I hope that helps!

    • Elisabeth says

      I’ve made this in the past this time I swapped the acv and cayenne for a local fire acv made by a local farm and hot sauce company…still works great will see how it works on my husband5 stars

  4. Jenifer says

    So far so good, worked better than honey alone or store bought cough syrup for a dry cough I’ve had along with a cold for a few days. Thanks!5 stars

  5. Dixie Rose says

    My 8yo has been coughing nonstop for a whole day. Off and on for 2 months. I don’t have fresh or jared ginger. Would it still be as potent without it? We are headed back to the Dr. for the umpteenth time. Nothing they do has helped.

    • Christine Cuppett says

      Is his cough congested? If so try giving him a cup of fenugreek tea. Fenugreek will loosen the phlegm so it can easily be coughed up and leave the body.

    • Laura leigh Shore says

      I use powdered ginger and it works great. This got us through pertussis! It worked better than even the prescription cough medicine, and now it’s the one we turn to for all kinds of coughs.5 stars

  6. Deb Irwin says

    I was in desperation last night! My husband has been sick this week and coughing to the point his stomach muscles were so sore. Last night I was looking for home made cough remedies and came across this recipe. I whipped up a batch and gave him one teaspoon. For the next 2 hours he slept like a baby. He woke up and I gave him another teaspoon and back to sleep he went. He slept all night for the first time this week. This stuff REALLY does work! THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU for sharing this recipe!!!5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      That is exactly why I share this recipe and am thrilled it helped him. It isn’t a cure for the cold by any means but relief from coughing is huge. Hopefully, he feels better soon.

  7. Cindy Meidam says

    Why does it get “slimy” after it sits for a few hours? I have made it twice and each time it has gotten slimy. I used ingredients, as listed. It stays liquid for a few hours and then turns thick so that I can’t mix it up. I even tried to mic the first one for a short time, thinking I could dissolve it but it didn’t work.

  8. Olive Wallace says

    My husband has Covid and is experiencing a bad cough. He has been using cough medicine and I decided to look for a homemade cough remedy. This one caught my eye and I made it and he’s been taking it. What a relief! The cough has subsided immensely and we know it’s this remedy. It’s working for him and I’ll be sharing it with others. He doesn’t mind the cayenne pepper and ginger, as we’re used to spicy things. Thank you for sharing this remedy. It works!5 stars

  9. Veronica says

    Hi! My 4 year old son has been coughing non stop and I’ve taken him to the dr and nothing they gave prescribed him seems to work. I want to try this but don’t know how much to give him.5 stars

  10. Janine says

    This sounds like a keeper for coughs. How much for adults and children? And how many times a day would you take it?
    Thank you.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      You can take this as needed. If your children are young, I start with a teaspoon, or whatever they are able to do. There’s nothing harmful here, though it might be too “spicy” or hot for some. My husband and I do a tablespoon whenever needed.

  11. Kara Stores says

    Reading all these comments about the magic they saw when used it. I was hopeful. I gave a teaspoon size to my child hoping it would stop him from coughing. He ended up coughing more. I gave him another spoonful. He said it was spicy. I don’t feel like it really helped with his cough. Maybe I need to give it a few more tries.3 stars

  12. Mike says

    I’ve checked my pantry don’t have any apple cider vinegar can I use white wine vinegar as substitute?my wife has a terrible cough thank you