It can be argued that the value of cough drops may have as much to do with the act of sucking on the lozenge as with what it contains. Sucking on a cough drop promotes the flow of saliva in the mouth, lubricating and soothing the throat and helping with the flow of the mucus. That said, some of the benefits of a cough drop can be achieved with a piece of hard candy. In fact, cough drops are made pretty much the same way hard candy is made, but with a few additions to further alleviate symptoms.

Ginger root is loaded with antioxidants and other virus-fighters and its “heat” helps sooth cold symptoms (as well as migraines and upset stomach). The flavor of ginger is strong, but is tamed by other ingredients used in this cough-busting recipe.

Honey has antimicrobials and antibacterials long used to soothe coughs and other cold symptoms.

Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral elements and has been used for centuries to help speed recovery from colds.

Lemon provides vitamin C and has other antiviral properties helpful in combating coughs and colds.

These soothing drops have no dose limits, no “may cause drowsiness” and use familiar ingredients that may already be in your kitchen. Like any cough drop or hard candy, a choking hazard means they are not recommended for small children. These natural cough drops do a great job of soothing a scratchy throat and calming a cough.

Step 1

Gather Ingredients

Natural cough drops are prepared in the same way hard candy is made, but with a few added cough-busting ingredients commonly found in the kitchen to help calm a cough and soothe a sore throat. 

Step 2

Chop Ginger

Peel a 1-1/2" piece of ginger root and cut it into slices. 

Step 3

Boil Ginger and Cinnamon Water

Place ginger slices and a cinnamon stick in 1-1/2 cups of water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 4

Remove Ginger and Cinnamon

Remove the ginger root and cinnamon stick from the saucepan and discard. 

Step 5

Add Sweetners

Add 1-1/2 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup of honey to the infused water in the saucepan and return to boil over high heat.

Step 6

Dissolve Sugar

Stir until sugar has dissolved and place a candy thermometer in pot to monitor heat.

Step 7

Turn Up The Heat

Once sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and keep an eye on the pot as temperatures rise. As the temperature rises, the boil will be volatile, but will calm as the sugar approaches the 300 degrees F necessary for the candy to harden when it cools (this is known as the “hard crack” stage).

Step 8

Water Evaporates

As it nears “hard crack”, the water will have cooked away, the color will darken and the consistency is molten.

Step 9

Watch Temperature

Watch closely. When the candy thermometer reads between 300 and 305 degrees, remove from heat. 

Step 10

Add Citrus

Stir in 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Take caution when adding the juice, which will sputter and splash as is comes in contact with the sugar. 

Step 11

Pour Into Molds

Immediately pour into candy molds. The number of lozenges will vary depending on the size of the molds. We got about 50 pieces, some shaped like traditional lozenges and others as hearts, Christmas trees and candy canes.  

Step 12

Remove From Molds

Once cooled completely (at least an hour), remove from molds and place in a lidded container with 1/2 – 1 cup of superfine sugar to keep the lozenges from sticking together when they are stored. Shake to coat. 

Pro Tip

Powdered sugar can be used, but tends to clump. Superfine sugar can be made from regular sugar by placing in a food processor for a minute or two to reduce the size of the crystals. 

Step 13


Brush excess sugar off cough drops and store in an airtight container in a cool, dark location. Use anytime to soothe a sore throat or cough. Your movie date will thank you.