Spicy Fire Cider Recipe – Natural Cold Remedy

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Fire Cider natural remedy for colds, flu and sore throat
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » Spicy Fire Cider Recipe – Natural Cold Remedy

I first discovered a recipe for fire cider years ago. It didn’t sound like something I wanted to try immediately, but when I read about the immune-boosting benefits I decided to be brave and give it a try. Years later, it’s a staple at our house around cold and flu time.

Fire cider is a traditional recipe that contains garlic, onion, ginger, cayenne, vinegar, and raw honey. The original recipe calls for horseradish, but for the sake of the kids I typically substitute echinacea root.

Fire Cider

Fire cider harnesses the beneficial properties of onion, garlic, ginger, and herbs, plus vinegar and raw honey for a 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.

If you try fire cider and like it, I highly recommend Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs book as the reason I first discovered this remedy (and may I suggest my Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox book for many more natural remedy and beauty recipes as well!).

On to the recipe:

Fire Cider natural remedy for colds, flu and sore throat

Spicy Fire Cider Recipe

An old herbal remedy that uses the germ-fighting properties of onion, garlic, ginger, and herbs. plus vinegar and raw honey for an immune boosting and nourishing drink with a little kick.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 14 days 5 minutes
Author Katie Wells




  • Place onion, garlic, ginger, and echinacea root, organge, and jalapeño if using in a quart size mason jar. Make sure garlic is at the bottom and completely submerged.
  • Add enough apple cider vinegar to cover the ingredients. Use a fermentation weight to make sure all ingredients are below the liquid level.
  • Cap tightly and leave in the jar for 2-3 weeks, preferably in a sunny or slightly warm place.
  • After 2-3 weeks, strain and discard the herbs.
  • After straining, measure the apple cider vinegar left and mix it with an equal amount of raw honey and add the cayenne pepper.
  • Store in the refrigerator and take 1 teaspoon as needed daily or when illness strikes. I’ve taken as much as 1 teaspoon an hour during illness until I felt better.


Nutrition Facts
Spicy Fire Cider Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 tsp)
Calories 0
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Don’t worry about the garlic turning green — it’s a normal reaction for garlic immersed in an acid. 

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Shani Muhammad, MD, board certified in family medicine and has been practicing for over ten years. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or work with a doctor at SteadyMD.

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

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


134 responses to “Spicy Fire Cider Recipe – Natural Cold Remedy”

  1. Celine De Brito Avatar
    Celine De Brito

    5 stars
    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?

  2. Julie Avatar

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

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      “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.

  3. Doug Avatar

    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 ?

    1. Dianne Avatar

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

  4. Melinda Avatar

    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.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

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

      1. Aliaon Avatar

        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?

        1. Wellness Mama Avatar

          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 😉

  5. Lauren Avatar

    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!

  6. carrie Avatar

    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!

    1. Deedra Avatar

      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.

  7. Lauren Avatar

    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!

      1. Juliette Avatar

        After straining I have 350ml of apple cider, garlic, onion and ginger mixture. Are u saying that I need to add 350ml of raw honey?! Thanks

    1. Shawn Woodell Avatar
      Shawn Woodell

      I only add 3 tablespoons of honey to a 1/2 pint of the cider. You really just sweeten it to taste for you. The honey is good for you but I don’t use 1/2 and 1/2. Too sweet for me!

  8. Surinda Archuleta Avatar
    Surinda Archuleta

    5 stars
    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.

  9. Jody Avatar

    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.

    1. Tana Avatar

      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.

      1. Janet Avatar

        I would think having the garlic in boiling water will have already destroyed most of its benefits?

  10. meghan Avatar

    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.

      1. Tracy St.Croix Avatar
        Tracy St.Croix

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

  11. Alanna Avatar

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

    1. Stephanie Avatar

      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.

    2. JM Avatar

      Natural is BEST.
      I made fire cider for the first time March, 2017. I used it at the first sign of a sniffle or just not feeling right. It stopped the sniffle almost immediately and I never had a cold or flu all year. Normally I at least catch a cold once or twice during the season.

      I also added horseradish, turmeric, nasturtium leaves and flowers, 2 x Thai Chilies, fresh olive leaves, and herbs from my garden: sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, lemon balm. Y

      You can start consuming it the next day and it will be effective, but it will strengthen over time. Many of the goodies in these ingredients will leach into the vinegar quite rapidly.

      Not a few of the fire cider ingredients are effective against super bugs and I will always have it in the cupboard ready for use. I don’t keep it in the fridge and it is still good after 10 months. Vinegar is a preservative.

      Yes, elderberries are a good addition too. I didn’t add them to mine as I had already made some elderberry tincture and it is wonderful too but I think the fire cider is better. Next time I will add them to my mixture as they can only add more benefit to the brew.

      This mixture can also be poured over your meals to add wonderful seasoning. The left over vegetables and herbs can be added to food as well, so there is no waste.

      1. JM Avatar

        I never add honey. If I intended to, I would add it as I was consuming it. That may have something to do with it keeping well non-refrigerated.

        1. Shawn Woodell Avatar
          Shawn Woodell

          I add the honey to a 1/2 pint of it and keep it separate from the original jar. I add the honey as I need more in my 1/2 pint jar.

  12. Katy Avatar

    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!!

    1. Shawn Woodell Avatar
      Shawn Woodell

      I made mine 3 years ago and it is still good and works great. I keep it in the refrigerator.

  13. Heather Cover Avatar
    Heather Cover

    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.

    1. Marilyn Avatar

      I put leaves of peppermint , fresh dill, fresh basil ,lemon, marigold flowers, fresh ginger dried elderberries, bay leaf, peppercorns, fresh cayenne pepper , fresh jalapeño, fresh garlic and apple cider vinegar and let set for one month then strain. Can add raw honey.

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