Make Your Own Cough Drops

'Tis the season for colds and flu. If you're someone who likes to make your own natural remedies, this DIY recipe for cough drops is for you. No candy mold needed!

‘Tis the season for colds and flu (sometimes it seems like ’tis always the season!) and sore, scratchy throats and coughing are making their way through households everywhere. Soothe and quiet coughs with these all-natural cough drops that taste delicious.

If you’re someone who enjoys making your own natural remedies and likes to know the ingredients in the things your family consumes, this recipe is for you. Keep in mind that these are a bit time consuming and require some patience while cooking (if you’ve ever made candy you may be familiar with this fact), but the result is a tasty, all-natural lozenge that your whole family will love. The best part is no candy mold is needed!

The ginger in this recipe will give the drops a tiny bit of “heat”—if you don’t like ginger, you can omit it. See variations below.

Cough Lozenge - Farmers' Almanac

Honey Lemon Ginger Cough Drops

5 from 1 vote
Cuisine American


  • 1 cup organic honey (granulated sugar may be substituted)
  • 1 lemon, sliced (preferably organic; if not, wash the residue off the exterior)
  • Fresh ginger root – a 2" piece, peeled, and cut into thin slices (preferably organic)
  • 2 cups water
  • cups water
  • 2 cups water


  • Directions:
    In a large saucepan, place lemon and ginger slices in water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes.
    While liquid is simmering, prepare your candy "molds" using the following method:
    Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Pour enough powdered sugar to create 1" thickness and smooth down with a frosting spreader or knife so the surface is smooth.
    Next, using the back of a round teaspoon measure, make indentations in the sugar. Set aside. These indentations will be your candy molds.
Keyword honey lemon and ginger for cough
Make molds by using powdered sugar and a teaspoon measure.

Next, take the saucepan off the heat and strain solids out and reserve liquid to yield about 3/4 cup. Add liquid back to the saucepan and add the honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently so the mixture doesn’t boil up the sides. Your mixture is at the hard candy stage when the candy thermometer reaches 300º F. (NOTE: Honey scorches easily so do not be tempted to turn up the heat to speed the process).

If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can use the “ice water” method. To test if your candy is ready, drop a small bit of the mixture into a glass of ice water. The candy should form a hard ball. Take it out and test it. It should “crack” when bitten. If it’s still too soft, keep cooking.

When your candy mixture is ready, take it off the heat and stir down the bubbles. Be careful, as this mixture is very hot and can burn skin. Carefully spoon the mixture into each of the powdered sugar molds (you’ll need to work quickly) and let the candy harden completely at room temperature (do not refrigerate or freeze to speed up the process — they only take about 20 minutes to cool).

Dust drops completely in the sugar by swirling them around. Now they’re ready to enjoy! If the drops get sticky, dust them with cornstarch.

Yields approximately 36 cough drops, depending on the size of your individual candy molds.  Store in a zip lock plastic bag or pop in a candy dish.

cough drops

You can substitute the lemon and ginger in this recipe with any other herbs you like. Make an herb tea by boiling 2 cups of water and add 2 teaspoons of dried herbs (use organic if possible) of your choice. Some ideas are slippery elm, cinnamon, clove, or chamomile. Simmer for 20 minutes and strain away any solids until you have 3/4 to 1 cup of herb-infused tea. Then follow the recipe above, at the point where you add the honey.

To safely clean your pot: Allow your pot to soak in hot tap water until sugar mixture is completely dissolved, then wash as usual.

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5 stars
Thanks for posting this! I’m making these as part of a natural wellness gift for XMAS, but didn’t have a mold. You’ve fixed my problem! Also, can you correct the recipe? Water is listed 3 times at the bottom of ingredients, and clearly something is amiss there.
Thanks again FA!! ?

Tina  ‍♀️ Tinkerbell  ‍♀️

There was mentioned Cinnamon in the article. How much Cinnamon do you use to make the cough drops? I know Cinnamon has a natural cough suppressant in it! I have been using Cinnamon disc candies and Red Hot’s for a cough drop for several years now. I also use the cinnamon breath sprays. It seems to help my Asthma cough somewhat. The hotter the Cinnamon, the better it works!!! So, how much Cinnamon would I need to put in the recipe for the cough drops?

Susan Higgins

Hi Tina, you can try a half-teaspoon and taste the mixture and add more if you like it “hotter.”

James Obenland

Are all these recipies gluten free?

Sherri Nicol

I can not stand the taste of honey. Can cane sugar be used instead? Or brown sugar?

Susan Higgins

Hi Sherri, we haven’t tried it ourselves but we’ve read online from other bloggers that you can use granulated sugar. Brown sugar is too soft.


This looks like a beautiful recipe, however friends, we denature honey at these high temperatures and change it’s chemical constituents into indigestible and toxic components. As much as i want to say a resounding “YES” to the use of honey, please substitute agave syrup or coconut sugar. Our Bees have worked so darn hard for this important medicine and heating honey can cause indigestion and toxicity within our systems. Happy Fall to you all ~

Susan Higgins

Hi Carmen, it’s true that honey loses some of its important health properties but heating at high temperatures does not make it toxic or dangerous to consume. Straight from a beekeeper:

Susan Higgins

Hi Tickie, heating at higher temperatures as in candy-making is not as good as raw but it gives the drops a nice flavor, and it’s much better than using artificial ingredients as commercially sold products contain.


I love this idea! However, doesn’t cooking the lemon, ginger & honey destroy the benefitial properties of these ingredients? Most natural remedies state to ingest them in their raw form…
If not, I am going to make a batch with hibiscus tea cooked with the lemon & ginger.

Sandra L. Sprinkle

I was so happy to come across this recipe! We use a lot of cough drops, especially in the winter. Both our daughter and her husband and our youngest son and his girlfriend, for the most part, only consume organic foods/meds/drinks. We’ll definitely be making this recipe. Thank you so much for posting this.


Thanks for more wonderful Natural Solutions to everyday items. Try Using Horehound as well add a little more honey. Also Thyme and sage make a Natural Anti. inflamatory for lungs Thanks and everyone stay well this winter


Is there any other material to work with besides powdered sugar that can be suggested? Pls and ty.

Susan Higgins

Hi Jody, yes, you can use cornstarch, or purchase silicone candy molds (they even have them at dollar stores). Thanks for writing and good luck!

Guiama Nasa Ibrahim

I would like to know some recipes in making actual and practical manual herbal medicines… Thank You.

Guiama Nasa Ibrahim

Great idea for powdered sugar molds! I will be making these using dried thyme, mint, lemon. Thank you for the recipe ? thank you, I always like making natural that’s good for you.


Great idea for powdered sugar molds! I will be making these using dried thyme, mint, lemon. Thank you for the recipe 🙂


thank you, I always like making natural that’s good for you.


Thanks Susan
My wife and I will be making these soon – the ginger and honey combination sounds great !

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