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Elderberry Syrup Recipe for the Instant Pot

Elderberry syrup is an easy, all natural, immunity boosting home remedy that studies have shown can help shorten the effects of the flu. This elderberry syrup recipe uses the Instant Pot so that your syrup is ready in under an hour!

Dried elderberries and ingredients for elderberry syrup


Living in Washington State, I’ve heard quite a bit about elderberries (which are native to Washington) and what you can make with them. Elderberry syrup as an immunity booster has been the most recommended usage by far.

After three months of continual illness in our family I was ready to try almost anything, but I really prefer having science based evidence backing the claims of any treatment.

Elderberries on a bush

I am not a health professional, so I am NOT giving medical advice. But after talking with several doctors and naturopaths, I decided to do some research on the health benefits of elderberry syrup, and then share my finds with you.

I was surprised to learn that it wasn’t just bloggers singing the praise of elderberry syrup. It turns out there are dozens of scientific studies that have been done on Sambucus, the genus of flowering plants that elderberries belong in.


  • During a flu epidemic in Norway, 60 people experiencing flu symptoms for 48 hours or less were tested in this study. “Patients received 15 ml of elderberry or placebo syrup four times a day for 5 days, and recorded their symptoms using a visual analogue scale. Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza. These findings need to be confirmed in a larger study.”
  • This 2010 studied looked at the effects of a variety of botanicals in stimulating an immunoresponse in genes. “We conclude from this study that, in addition to its antiviral properties, Sambucol Elderberry Extract and its formulations activate the healthy immune system by increasing inflammatory cytokine production. Sambucol might therefore be beneficial to the immune system activation and in the inflammatory process in healthy individuals or in patients with various diseases.”

Elderberry Effect on Viral Titers Graph

  • The image above is from a 2017 study that looked at the viral levels of cell cultures after being treated with Elderberry. “Because influenza viruses use lipid rafts as their budding platform, dissociation of ha protein bound to the lipid rafts leads to reduction virion budding. Our study revealed that lipid rafts may play an important role during post-entry stages of influenza virus, since addition of EF following adsorption inhibited virus infection. Incubation of influenza virus infected-A549 cells with higher dose of EF may increase lipid raft integrity and inhibit release of infectious progeny virion particles from infected cells. “

So what do all these studies actually mean?

Combing through study after study, there is not enough evidence of testing on humans to say definitively that elderberry syrup will cure you of the flu. But there is a lot of evidence from lab studies that elderberry will boost an immunity response in your cells, and that was enough for me to give it a try.


While the extract of elderberries has so far not been shown to have an side effects, eating the berries themselves has been shown to cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Same for eating the leaves or stems.

Elderberries on a bush

That’s why you need to throw away or compost the berries you strain out when making your syrup.

Also, while my midwife highly recommends elderberry syrup to her clients, please check with your own health professionals on taking it if you have concerns about being pregnant or breastfeeding.


***This elderberry syrup recipe is NOT SAFE FOR BABIES.***

In fact I recommend this elderberry syrup for kids 2 and up, because of the inclusion of raw honey.

If you would like to make elderberry syrup for babies, just use the berries and water. Skip the honey, instead add 1/2 cup of organic sugar (to act as a preservative, not just for flavor) and boil it down until thicker.

Keep the syrup in the fridge and give them about 2.5 mL with a medicine dropper. You can also substitute agave syrup for the honey.


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I like using the Instant Pot to make my elderberry syrup, because I don’t have to babysit it, and it can cook a bit faster than on the stove. I also use the same mesh strainermesh strainer that I use for homemade milk kefir to strain the elderberry syrup.

I buy organic elderberries on Amazon. I’ve looked at various other websites and stores, and found this to be the best deal with quality dried elderberries.


Elderberry syrup and ingredients

  • Put dried elderberries, cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, whole cloves and half a lemon in the Instant Pot.
  • Add 4 cups filtered or bottled water.
  • Close the Instant Pot with the valve in the “SEALING” position, then cook on manual pressure for 10 minutes.
  • Do a quick pressure release, remove the lid, and set to “SAUTE”
  • Let it boil for about 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced by half.
  • Pour through a strainer, mashing on the berries with a spatula until all the liquid is released.
  • Let cool to 115 degrees F or less (to keep from overheating the honey) and stir in 1 cup of raw honey.
  • Keep in a jar or bottle in the fridge.


For those of you who are more visual, here’s a video showing all the steps for making elderberry syrup in the Instant Pot.


  • Make sure to let your syrup cool a bit before adding honey. The reason for using raw honey in this syrup is that raw honey has its own healing properties. But the medicinal properties can be rendered ineffective at high temperatures. I try to never make our honey hotter than 115 degrees F.
  • Adjust the flavors to suit your family. While there are definitely a variety of studies on health benefits of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and lemon, I mostly include those in the syrup for flavor. We like the added tartness from the lemon, but you may want to leave it out if you prefer your elderberry syrup to just be sweet.


Don’t have an Instant Pot? No problem! Just follow the recipe directions but simmer on the stove for 45 minutes to one hour until reduced by half. Then let cool and stir in your honey.


Toddler taking a spoonful of elderberry syrup

If my kids had their way, they would drink a cup of elderberry syrup a day. Even though you could certainly drink more, or even pour it on your pancakes, I prefer to treat it like a medicine.

I looked at various brands of elderberry syrup to determine how much to take.

Here’s the elderberry syrup dosage we use:

1 teaspoon a day during cold and flu season
1 teaspoon every 3 hours when sick

2 teaspoons a day during cold and flu season
1 tablespoon every 3 hours when sick

As adults, we up our dose to a full tablespoon when sick because it seems like it takes longer for us bounce back than it does for the kids.


Elderberry syrup is an easy, all natural, immunity boosting home remedy that studies have shown can help shorten the effects of the flu. This elderberry syrup recipe uses the Instant Pot so that your syrup is ready in under an hour!


If you’re in a pinch and can’t make your own elderberry syrup, you can buy it already made at most health food stores and pharmacies. You can also buy the syrup on Amazon. I like the Nature’s Way brand.

Sambucol is another great brand with a variety of products from elderberry liquid extract, to elderberry gummies, elderberry lozenges, and elderberry syrup.


Yield: 60 doses

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Elderberry syrup and ingredients

Cook time includes getting the pot up to pressure and the manual quick release of the steam.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 4 slices ginger root
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 cup dried elderberries
  • 4 cups filtered or bottled water
  • 1 cup raw honey


  1. Put ginger, lemon, cinnamon, cloves and elderberries in the Instant Pot. Add the water.
  2. Put the lid on and set the vent to "SEALING". 
  3. Cook on MANUAL for 10 minutes.
  4. Do a quick pressure release, remove the lid, and set to "SAUTE". Boil the syrup for 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half.
  5. Pour through a strainer, mashing on the berries with a spatula until all the liquid is released. Make sure you throw the berries away (in the trash or in the compost) as they are not safe to eat.

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64 thoughts on “Elderberry Syrup Recipe for the Instant Pot”

  1. Gostaria de receber essas receitas em Portugues
    Me interessei pela receita mas não entendi
    Essa fruta existe aqui no Brasil?

    • Hi Kathy, I don’t know a lot about using the extract, but I believe you can just take it as is. If you want the flavors and sweetness of the syrup. Maybe try mixing a little with some raw honey and a pinch of cinnamon powder. If you like that you could probably do it with the whole bottle of extract and keep it in the fridge. Basically, the liquid we strain off from the Instant Pot is an extract, it just has added flavors from the cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and lemon.

  2. Since honey is safe for children 1 and up, is there any other reason you wouldn’t want to give this to a 1-2 year old? Or is it just the honey?

    • Pasteurized honey is safe for kids 1 and up, but some scientists/medical professionals have said not to give kids raw honey under age 2. I don’t know the specifics on that, but choose to play it safe, especially when making a recommendation to someone else. You can definitely ask your pediatrician about it. They might say it’s okay!

  3. Really interested to try this! We’re on our 2nd round of cough/cold this winter in our house. I don’t have an insta-pot and not really interested in purchasing one at this time. Could this be made another way?

    • Great question. There’s not really any advantage to cooking it longer in a crockpot, so I’d do it on the stove. I’ll add stovetop directions to the post. Just simmer on the stove from 45 minutes to 1 hour and then follow the straining and cooling instructions and stir in honey.

  4. Thank you for the recipe! I’m curious; you mentioned Sambucol but then recommended Sambucus by Nature’s Way (which is what I have). Are they comparable? Also, I have elderberry EXTRACT by Nature’s Answer, which is a lot stronger (12,000 mg per 2 tsp, as opposed to only 100 mg per 2 tsp of the SYRUP mentioned above). Any thoughts on that? I’m new to this, so just trying to understand. Thanks!

  5. I have blueberries growing in my yard. When I make the juice for jelly there is always a bitter taste. I have tried picking off each individual berry with no stems, but it still tastes bitter. What am I doing wrong? Why would dried berries be any different?

    • I would guess you could do them similar to fresh elderberries. I think 2-3 cups of the frozen elderberries would be good. You might not need as much water using fresh. Maybe only 2 cups. I’m not sure since I haven’t tried it.

  6. Warning to anyone with asthma, taking elderberry syrup will reduce the effectiveness of your rescue medicines. I use elderberry for myself but can not use it on my son, as he relies on his puffer to clear his airways during an attack. Elderberry is contradicted in anyone using a puffer for their lungs (check with your pharmacist and they will confirm, it’s listed in their book of interactions). Be careful, and use it safely and while being well informed.

    • Great warning, thank you Jenn! That’s why I encourage people to check with their doctor before taking it. Really important to know that homeopathic remedies are contraindicated in some cases.

  7. If I wanted to double this recipe, I know I probably don’t need to increase the cooking time on the instant pot. But what about the boil down time with the sauté function afterwards? Should I increase that time?

  8. Hi… Which brand organic dried elderberries you used ? I am little bit confuse which one to pick ? Can we use regular organic honey ? Thank in advance

  9. Hi, I only have a 1/2c of berries so Im cutting everything else in half. Im assuming I would cut the time in half as well for the cook time and simmer. Is this correct?


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