Spicy Fire Cider Recipe – Natural Cold Remedy

Fire Cider natural remedy for colds, flu and sore throat

I first discovered a recipe for “fire cider™” a few years ago when I got a copy of Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs book that shares this recipe and many others.

It is a traditional recipe that contains garlic, onion, ginger, cayenne, vinegar and raw honey. The original recipe calls for horseradish, but I typically substitute echinacea root.

Fire Cider™?

I recently found out that a small company has trademarked the term fire cider™ and manufacture and sell it. This has a lot of small herbal remedies sites up in arms as this is a very old recipe that has been used for decades. From my understanding, this means that I could not sell this product pre-made, but it does not limit the ability to make it at home.

For the sake of simplicity, I’ll just call this recipe “Spicy Cider” from now on.

Spicy Cider harnesses the beneficial properties of onion, garlic, ginger, and herbs plus vinegar and raw honey for an immune boosting and nourishing drink with a little kick.

How Does Fire Cider Taste?

Judging by the ingredients in the recipe, you might not expect it to taste very good. I didn’t either and I was quite pleasantly surprised by the taste. I’ve even tried it on salads as a dressing and it has a mild peppery and sweet vinaigrette flavor.

In the winter months, I sometimes take a teaspoon or so of this a day or use it on salads. If illness hits, I’ll take that dose every few hours or add a tablespoon to hot water or herbal tea a few times a day until I feel better.

For the kids, I reduce the cayenne or leave it out and they don’t mind the taste too much since the honey helps balance out the vinegar taste.

Spicy Cider Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and rough chopped
  • 3 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon dried echinacea root (optional)
  • Apple cider vinegar (organic with “the mother”)
  • Raw organic honey
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper powder

Spicy Cider Instructions

  1. Place onion, garlic, ginger and echinacea root in a quart size mason jar.
  2. Add apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs.
  3. Cap tightly and leave in the jar for 2-3 weeks, preferably in a sunny or slightly warm place.
  4. Strain and discard the herbs.
  5. Mix with equal parts raw honey and add cayenne powder.
  6. Store in the fridge and take 1 teaspoon as needed daily or when illness strikes. I’ve taken as much as 1 tsp an hour during illness until I felt better.

Ever made a spicy cider like this? What is your favorite natural remedy for cold and flu?

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Reader Comments

  1. I wear by this stuff! I have been using Fire Cider for years; ever since my mom went to an herbal school in Forestville, CA. and learned about it and many other amazing herbs.Rosemary was there for part of the teachings. Rosemary is awesome. Her book is also.

    We use horseradish in our recipe.

    Thank you for posting this recipe to share with people! It really helps either fight off a cold or extremely reduce the severity of cold like symptoms when you are fighting one.

    • Where do you get your horseradish root?

      • Our local food co-op carries it.

    • How much horseradish did you use?

  2. how long will is the shelf life in the refrigerator?

  3. We do this at our house, but our recipe is slightly different!! We add horseradish, turmeric, lemon, thyme, rosemary and jalapenos. I have heard of adding in elderberries as well!!

  4. How long does a batch last in the fridge?

  5. Hi there. Can you use echinacea drops instead of the dried root?

  6. Would there be a way to speed up the process of making this. Me and the kids are sick now!

    • Add all the ingredients you have and shake multiple times a day. Leave it in a warm spot in the house (near fridge or stove works for us) and start using it tomorrow, you’ll get some benefit and it will get stronger each day.

  7. Looks like a great recipe! How long does it last in the fridge? Thank you.

  8. How do you find that this compares to elderberry syrup?

    • Similar in strength for helping with illness. Different people like different things though.

  9. How long can you keep it in the fridge?

  10. Fire cider without horseradish in it??? Craziness! Also, that tiny amount of echinacea in powdered form isn’t doing much other than wasting your money… I’d just stick with a tincture of echinacea, 1 drop for every 2 pounds of body weight taken every few hours at the first sign of illness.

    • At what age can this tincture be used?

      • I would say as soon as their palate can handle it…..a chaser of natural juice might help.

  11. My favorite remedy for colds/flu is garlic….chopped into tiny bits and swallowed like small pills followed by a glass of water. Garlic in soups too. I started making fire cider this fall and I think it has been a good source of immune boosting power against colds for us.

    • Re garlic… I use Garlic water! I chop up an entire head of garlic after skinning it, place it in a pan of boiling water and then drop it down to a simmer for 35-45 minutes. To a glass I add about 1/2 a lemon’s worth of juice, cayenne, and honey. I then pour the water into the glass and drink it up as quickly as possible as the benefits of the garlic will quickly diminish over a short period of time. Believe it or not, the garlic water is not a intense as you would think.

  12. im a diabetic with high blood pressure and thyroid problems and can’t take a lot of store medications so I am very interested in natural remedies. Thank you this is very helpful not only for me but my family and friends.

  13. Id like to try this recipe but have a couple questions. Once you strain the mix do you add in equal parts honey to the amount of liquid in the jar or do you mix a tsp of spicy cider and a tsp of honey when youre about to take each individual dose? Also, how long will this store in the fridge? Im excited to try this out!

    • I mix with equal parts honey right after straining and it has lasted 3+ months in my fridge before (because I finished it)

  14. felt myself coming down with strep yesterday- I felt a little off the day before, woke up the next morning with a sore swollen throat. DH wanted me to get some antibiotics- nope- natural first- so I had some lemon ginger tea, added 2 TBS raw honey and 2 TBS apple cider vinegar and drank a cup every 2-4 hours. I could tell a difference after the first cup! By the end of the day(4 cups later) my throat was completely fine! not sore or swollen at all!
    My throat was a little dry this morning so I have made myself another cup of tea- and after just a couple sips, my throat is back to normal!
    It doesn’t taste the best- but it’s not bad- and best of all- it works!
    I’m sure the garlic and pepper would be a good addition, but just the thought of drinking garlic makes me gag! so this is a good alternative!

    • Best thing I have found for strep is Golden Milk (Turmeric). When my daughter got strep, I made some and she drank it 3-4 times the first day and sore throat gone. Second day about 3 times and felt good as new. Third day 2 times just for good measure.

  15. We make a similar recipe but with horseradish, spanish onion and habanero peppers and we call it Plague Tonic. It has no honey however, and is extremely unpalatable!! Knock your socks off! In fact, I have to be almost dead to take it it’s so bad! I am totally trying it with honey next time!
    We made ours in a huge batch and it has lasted a couple of years in the fridge. I don’t think the vinegar allows it to go bad. Actually, it’s so strong, how would I know??
    My husband is super tough and gargles with it when he’s feeling a sore throat coming on. Swears by the stuff!

  16. What is the amount of ACV?

    • It will differ depending on the shape and size of your jar, and precisely how large your ginger/onions/garlic heads are.

      • I am really bad with measuring things out so roughly how much apple cider vinegar and honey do you use? i know you mentioned “equal parts” but what does that mean?

        • It means the same of each. So it might make it easier to strain your cider into a measuring cup, and then see how much liquid you are left with. Then add the same amount of honey. So, for example, if you have 1 cup liquid after straining your cider, then add 1 cup of honey to that. You likely will not have much, but I like round numbers 😉

  17. Something my husband uses is called “Fire Tonic”, we got the recipe from a local health food store. He has a weak immune system and catches a lot of things in the winter. If he takes this daily or when he knows he is going to be around a lot of people it has kept him well, It even healed a friend after one use. It contains equal parts of Apple cider vinegar (with mother in it), ground up horseradish, ground up ginger, ground up garlic, chopped up fine onions, ground up jalapenos. We use a bullet to grind each one up. Put all together in a tight lid jar and store in refrigerator. Take 1 tsp. to 1 Tbsp. once or twice a day. The cons are it does not taste great but it does the job. Also you smell like garlic.

  18. Quite a few cold remedies have ginger. I tried the Elderberry Syrup and the Homemade Cough Syrup (7 Natural Remedies for Winter). This recipe also has ginger.

    As I developed a horrible rash with the other remedies, is there another herb that I could use to replace the ginger? . . . just add more Cayenne? Astragalus ? Suggestions ?

    • I would try getting fresh turmeric root and using that instead of the ginger.

  19. I have never heard of (with mother in it) pertaining to Apple Cider Vinegar. Please explain.

    • “The Mother” is the substance that makes the vinegar to vinegar. Some brands strain it out because it looks a little cloudy and some people think that it is weird. The best brands leave the mother in. It is the healthiest part of the vinegar to consume.

  20. Thanks Katie wellness mama for the recipe of fire cider…
    Now I don’t have to buy flu syrups anymore.
    Does it work for cough too?

  21. Katie,
    I started making a variation of this at home this fall. My husband calls it witches brew (teasingly) I have also been adding an infusion of marsmallow root and mulllein to mine with some lemon juice and sometimes some flavored kombucha for taste. I usually get sick every year when the seasons change and anytime my husband or I feel a sniffle or soar throat we take a couple spoons full of this, so far I have not gotten sick yet. my husband did aquire a small cold when I first decided to try it and it seemed to shorten his. I want to thank you for giving such helpful information, your site is a definate go to when I am researching something.

  22. I’ve got some raw coconut vinegar. Am I correct that it would do instead of the raw apple cider vinegar?

  23. I decided to try this as it sounded great! I put all ingredients together and placed in a warm place and 2 days later checked it. I found that my garlic cloves had turned a blue the color of copper. Nothing else was blue, just the cloves. Does this mean mold? It doesn’t really look moldy. Is this normal? Should I toss this? I’m not sure what to do.

      • my liquid is green/blue…ok still?

    • I had this happen too! Thx for sharing!

  24. I just came across this post and realized I just bought something very similar…all raw ingredients…its delicious and nice to have in the cupboard if you need it in an emergency! Once opened, it does need to be refridgerated.

    Here is the website…

  25. Hello, I have had this brewing for a few days now, is it normal for the colour to turn blueish?

  26. I recently got back from a trip to which i had to fly. I felt a cold coming on and had a runny nose. Lucky i had started my first batch of this 2 weeks earlier, and it was ready. I took 1 tsp every couple of hours and with in 2 days i was 100%. This would have usefully been a week to 2 week ordeal. It differently has a kick to it, but i kinda liked that.

  27. Katie, I had never heard of anything like this until your post. It sounds great and I think I might try it daily for general health but with the horseradish instead. I was just reading in the book Food-Your Miracle Medicine how healthy onions, garlic & hot spices are for us. I love your blog with such great natural health tips & recipes. Thanks for all you do & God bless!

  28. Is it possible to make several batches of this at a time and then freeze some?

      • That is great! Would you freeze up the whole recipe or strain out the veggies first?
        Thank you,

  29. If I were to be in a place without refrigeration, would the healing properties still be in place if I used dry ingredients vs fresh?

  30. Thank you for this recipe and I am so anxious to taste this recipe. EXCEPT, I made the mistake of adding the honey at the start. Should I keep it in the refrigerator now?

  31. My jars have been out for a week and a half. The liquid in one of the bottles is greenish/blue and the other looks normal. Did I do something wrong?

    • I made two jars last week and they also look green to me. Like moldy almost. I capped them tightly with parchment paper under the lid and placed them on a window sill that gets morning light. I used the recipe from here but added fresh thyme and oregano. I’m curious is this is the herbs breaking down. Did you add any green herbs?

  32. a word of caution on raw ACV with the mother. my naturopath said it’s the leading cause of SIBO in her practice. I have been drinking it for a few years and have many symptoms of SIBO and am getting tested. i’m steering clear from now on! organic, pasteurized and filtered vinegar from now on (and no kombucha either!)

  33. Which do you think is better the fire cider or elderberry syrup? Or do they have two different uses?
    I swear by the elderberry syrup but it is quite costly.

  34. I have made elderberry syrup for a few years and was on here today for that recipe (have it simmering now). I noticed this recipe. How would you say these compare? Does one seem to be better than another, for different ages (kids vs adults?), one daily and one as needed? Just trying to decide if I need this one as well.
    Thank you! Going to make elderberry gummies tonight. My first time to try that version!

  35. I made fire cider recently and I strained out all the big stuff, but there is still a lot of…particulate(?)..or powdery stuff…so it’s cloudy if stirred. I personally don’t think it would be an issue to leave it because it’s from the healthy ingredients I used to make the fire cider and I would assume the powdery stuff would be beneficial, as well, but I decided to go a search and I am not finding anything about anyone saying they chose not to thoroughly strain theirs. I think this is probably just because a very clear liquid is more appealing to the eye, but I’m not positive. Can you shed any light on this topic? I really don’t think there’d be a problem leaving it all in there as it’d probably just serve as some extra oomph with fighting colds (the main reason I made it), but since it seems everyone thoroughly strains theirs, I just thought I’d ask to see if maybe there actually is a reason to strain it really well.

    • Still waiting for an answer :/ Wondering what I’m supposed to do with my fire cider.

      • I’ve seen some recipes where they talk about eating the chunks in it if you can handle it, so I doubt a bit of particulate would be an issue.

  36. how many mls is this recipe supposed to make as you do not state how much ACV you are using. I would like to make 4 batches of 200mls each to give to my family members

  37. I tried making this but I’m not sure if it came out right. Is it normal after 2-3 weeks for the liquid at the bottom to be GREEN? Or is that mold and I should discard?? Help!

    • Same thing happened to me and noone responded when I asked so I tossed both jars. Seems like a few people have asked the same question though.maybe it was right.

      • So I started doing a little Internet researching and apparently it is normal for garlic to turn greenish blue when it’s in an acidic environment like being soaked in vinegar. The websites I looked at said it was safe to eat. Hope this helps!

        • That is helpful! When sitting in the jar, does it go bad any point? Is 3 Weeks the maximum time?

  38. Could you use strong kombucha instead- I have loads turning into
    Vinegar!! 🙂

    • I make a different version of fire cider that I always use kombucha that has turned to vinegar, when I make it. The first time I made it this way was just because I was out of ACV and I live a long way from a store. It worked so well, I intentionally let kombucha go to vinegar just for this purpose. Just so you know, it will grow a new scoby.

  39. Can you take this while pregnant?

    • No. I read horseradish is something to avoid!

      • I used echinacea instead of horseradish, should I still avoid if pregnant?

  40. I love fire cider!! I just made some of this today and I was ridiculously excited until I put my honey in with everything else! I can’t seem to find an answer anywhere online if this is still safe? Should it be thrown out? I’m also worried it will act like the ginger bug and ferment. (I have it in a Fido jar of that makes any difference)
    Thank you for any insite you may have on this.

    • It should still be ok. Maybe put in the fridge to be safe?

  41. Thanks for posting this recipe. I Followed the directions exactly and put the jar by my window. Now after about two weeks the onions, ginger, garlic and vinegar have turned a greenish-blue color. Does that mean it went bad? Is it safe to eat?

    • The concoction will turn greenish blue. That’s ok and expected. I thought mine had gone bad as well. Unfortunately I tossed mine out before anyone told me it was a normal reaction.

  42. What type of onion is best to use? How long is this good for in the refrigerator?

  43. How long will this keep in the fridge? Thanks.

  44. I’d also like to know how long You can keep this. Mine is now 3 or 4 months old and I occassionally take it, but it seems like it Gets stronger (and a bit frizzy)?!

  45. Leave out the cayenne for the kids? That’s too bad! Maybe it’s the Texan in me, but by the time i was fourteen, I would eat whole jalapenos! (Though, I would scoop out the seeds in the middle, I was only so adventurous xD )

    Great recipe, can’t wait to make use of it and make my fiance have a bite! He’s a New Englander, he might have a bit more trouble than me, lol!

  46. Just a question about this in your recipe: “Cap tightly and leave in the jar for 2-3 weeks, preferably in a sunny or slightly warm place.”
    I’ve been researching various recipe’s for this and this is the first time I’ve seen this. Any other recipe’s I’ve read say a a few weeks in a “cool, dark” place. Any insight on this? Thank you.


  47. Just finishing making my first batch today. The onion and garlic turned fluorescent green over the last two and a half weeks, and the liquid smells horrible! Is all that normal? It smells and looks better now that I’ve added the honey and cayenne…
    Looking forward to trying this as illness seems to be making the rounds in our house…just dreading the taste! LOL

    • Yes, the green is a reaction of the vinegar and the alliums and nothing to worry about. Unless it smells moldy or rotten it should be fine to use.

  48. I’ve read that the inside of the lid should be metal as the fumes could react with it.
    I’ve also read of people straining the ‘mash’ and using in soups, stir fry’s, and slaws.

  49. I made this a few months ago and forgot about draining it. It’s been in my pantry… Do you think it is safe to use or should I dump it? I need it now as my daughters sick with a fever and flu.

  50. Hi,
    I have been making fire cider for a long time. I recently gave the recipe to my brother, but forgot to write add the honey or maple syrup once the cider was done fermenting and was strained. He added maple syrup in the beginning with everything else and it is fermenting now. Do you think this is ok to leave for 4-6 weeks, or is the batch ruined? Thanks in advance!

  51. I made a batch of this and let it infuse for over a month. But then it in the fridge before adding the honey. I took it out today and wanted to heat it up just a tiny bit so I could add honey, but I forgot about it on the stove. It didn’t boil, but the temperature got up to 160-165 f. Did I just completely ruin the benefits by killing off all the good enzymes? I added some raw honey and put it back in the fridge but I feel totally sick about it! Does it have any benefit now?

    • It should still be fine. There will be many properties in it that are not affected by the heat 🙂

  52. We accidentally added the honey in after the rest of the ingredients and before fermenting. Will that make the batch bad?