How to Make Your Own Cough Drops (2023)

During the cold season or any time when air quality is poor or there are other airway irritations, having your own homemade cough drops can help soothe and relieve coughs and sore throats. If you enjoy making candy, preserves, or other confections, you will love the addictive process of making your own cough drops. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making cough drops at home, providing you with four different recipes and techniques to add throat-soothing ingredients. By following these recipes, you can use what you have on hand and be as creative as you like in crafting your comforting cough drops.

Cough Drop Base

The cough drop base is made from caramelizing a sweetener. You can use sugar, honey, maple syrup, or molasses as the sweetener. In the recipes below, we will be using raw honey as the base, as it has excellent soothing capabilities and is antibacterial as well. To caramelize honey, bring it to a boil and stir consistently until it reaches about 250 to 300 degrees F. Be careful not to let it burn. When the honey has reached the desired consistency, you can do a spoon test to see if it will start to solidify at cooler temperatures.

Adding Flavors That Help Sore Throats And Coughs

There are several ingredients that can make your cough drops even better. You can add ingredients containing menthols such as peppermint and eucalyptus to make your cough drops refreshing while helping to open the airway. Items with soothing and immune-boosting properties like elderberry syrup or echinacea can also be used. Citrus flavors such as lemon combine excellently well with the bacteria-fighting compounds in ginger. Alternatively, you can use the numbing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral components of cinnamon and clove.

Ways To Include Helpful Cough Drop Ingredients

There are many ways to infuse your cough drops with beneficial cough-fighting combinations. One way is to make a strong tea and boil it into the cough drop base. Another option is to use real, whole ingredients such as lemon juice and fresh ginger. You can also add food-grade essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus. Another method is to use fresh, ground, or dried herbs and spices. You can experiment with different methods to find your favorite way of creating comforting homemade cough drops.


  1. Honey Echinacea Cough Drops Made With Tea

    • 4 tablespoons raw honey
    • ½ cup strong echinacea tea
    • Boil the tea and let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Add it to the honey and let it boil together, stirring consistently for about 10 to 15 minutes until desired caramelized consistency is made. After the concoction passes a spoon test, drop it onto a clean surface such as a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Peppermint Eucalyptus Honey Cough Drops Made with Essential Oils

    • 4 tablespoons raw honey
    • 10 drops each of food-grade peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils
    • After caramelizing the honey, add the essential oils once the honey has passed the spoon test. Stir well and let the mixture pass the spoon test again. Drop a good amount for the desired cough drop size onto a clean surface.
  3. Honey Lemon Ginger Cough Drops Made With Whole Ingredients

    • 4 tablespoons raw honey
    • ¼ cup high-quality lemon juice
    • 4 to 5 slices of fresh ginger
    • Combine all ingredients before adding heat to allow the honey, ginger, and lemon flavors to mix well. Bring all the ingredients to a boil. Drop the mixture onto a clean, dry surface.
  4. Honey Cinnamon And Clove Cough Drop Made With Spices

    • 4 tablespoons raw honey
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
    • Mix all ingredients together and bring to a boil. After boiling and allowing the mixture to foam two or three times, do a spoon test to check the desired consistency. Spoon the mixture onto a clean surface.


To prevent the cough drops from sticking to each other, you can dust them in icing sugar or wrap them individually in wax paper or parchment paper. As they may become too soft at room temperature, it is recommended to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Adding a thickener such as cornstarch can make the cough drops harder, but it may affect their healthful benefits.

You can use these homemade cough drops as you would any store-bought cough drop, knowing exactly what ingredients are in them. However, please note that if a child is too young for a normal hard candy, they are probably too young for these cough drops due to the choking hazard. It is also important to suck on these cough drops rather than chew them, as they can stick to your teeth. Enjoy the soothing relief provided by these homemade cough drops.

Remember, always consult with a healthcare professional if you have persistent coughing or a sore throat that does not improve.

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