How to make fire cider, an immune-boosting health tonic with fresh horseradish, ginger, garlic, onions, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar and honey.

You went WILD over my posts on the health benefits of apple cider vinegar and apple cider vinegar detox drinks, so when I came across this folk remedy using apple cider vinegar I knew I had to share it with you!

Enter: fire cider. Ever heard of it? It’s an immune-boosting health tonic that’s been used for decades to naturally protect against cold and flu and ease sinus congestion. There are a few brands on the market (which is how I got into it), but I quickly realized that fire cider is really easy to make at home.

Fire cider in a mason jar with rosemary on top.

Cold and flu season is almost over, but I’ve still been drinking my homemade fire cider regularly because the weather has been iffy here lately (we had flurries this weekend) and a few of our friends have been sick with the flu. Ugh!

The base recipe includes horseradish, ginger, garlic, onions, cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar. If that scares the bejeezus out of you, don’t worry, the last step before drinking is to add honey and any other flavors to sweeten/balance to your liking.

All the ingredients needed to make homemade fire cider.

So why would you want to choke this down? First of all it’s actually quite tasty… and addicting. Isaac and I have grown to crave the stuff. It’s an amazing balance of spicy, sour, sweet, sharp, herbal — basically every flavor I can describe.

Adding all the roots, herbs and fresh vegetables into a mason jar for fire cider.

Beyond the flavor, it’s packed with health benefits (hence why it’s called a folk remedy). I swear by it as an immune booster and drink extra when I’m starting to feel like I’m coming down with something, but the ingredients in fire cider provide a host of benefits.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar — has so many benefits but my personal favorite is that it’s a digestive aid. Be sure to check out this post for all the reasons ACV is amazing!

  • Horseradish — helps alleviate sinus congestion and headaches. Even chopping or grating horseradish has this effect. If you try this recipe, you’ll see!

  • Ginger — helps with digestion, infections and nausea.

  • Garlic — a secret superpower with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

  • Onion — has similar properties to garlic but is also great for preventing (or recovering from!) colds and the flu.

  • Cayenne Pepper — helps move blood through your cardiovascular system. Blood circulation = healing.

  • Honey — soothes inflamed tissues and organs. Using local honey can also help with allergies.

I know those ingredients still seem intimidating, but here’s a sneak peek before you get to the recipe: you’re essentially infusing apple cider vinegar with these flavors, straining the liquid and then adding honey to sweeten.

Everything for fire cider added into a mason jar, before shaking to combine.

There are soooo many ways to enjoy this elixir. I’m excited to make my way through this list!

  • Take a shot (about 1-2 Tablespoons) straight up.
  • Dilute the fire cider tonic with warm water, juice or apple cider.
  • Swap vinegar in a salad dressing for fire cider — this is happening ASAP.
  • Add to fried rice or cauliflower fried rice.
  • Use in Bloody Marys — alcoholic or not!
  • Drizzle over steamed veggies.
  • Use as a marinade for tofu, meat, etc.
  • Add to soup or chili.
  • Use as a hangover cure.

Note: Many people drink fire cider straight up (1-2 Tablespoons) out of a shot glass, but if you’re worried about your tooth enamel it’s best to dilute it with water or another liquid.

Fire cider in a shot glass being held by a woman's hand.

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How to Make Fire Cider


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 weeks
  • Total Time: 4 weeks + 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1 quart

Description

An immune-boosting health tonic with fresh horseradish, ginger, garlic, onions, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar and honey. Recipe inspired and adapted from Mountain Rose Herbs.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup freshly peeled and grated ginger root
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated horseradish root
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 10 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 2 organic jalapeño peppers, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 Tablespoons dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon turmeric powder or 2 Tablespoons freshly grated turmeric root
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup raw honey, or to taste

Instructions

  1. Add ginger, horseradish, onion, garlic, jalapeño peppers, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, turmeric and cayenne powder into quart-sized glass jar.
  2. Pour apple cider vinegar in the jar until all the ingredients are fully covered and the vinegar reaches the top of the jar. You want to be sure all the ingredients are covered to prevent spoilage.
  3. Use a piece of natural parchment paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal, or use a plastic lid if you have one.
  4. Shake jar to combine all the ingredients and store in a dark, cool place for 4-6 weeks, remembering to shake the jar a few seconds every day.
  5. After one month, use a mesh strainer or cheesecloth to strain out the solids, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. This stuff is liquid gold! The solids can be used in a stir-fry or you can compost/discard them.
  6. Add honey to the liquid and stir until incorporated.
  7. Taste your fire cider and add more honey if needed until you reach your desired sweetness.
  8. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator or in a cold, dark place.
  9. Drink 1-2 Tablespoons when needed.

Notes

Feel free to make this recipe your own with optional add-ins like cinnamon, orange and grapefruit.

  • Category: Tonics

Have you tried fire cider (or any other folk remedy) before? Let me know in the comments! I’m all about natural and holistic remedies like fire cider and I’d love to learn (and share) more.

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    66 comments
  1. My question is, I have lots of fresh rosemary in the garden right now. Can I just throw in a few sprigs of that into the mason jar instead of dried rosemary? And has anybody tried using organic dried rose hips in the recipe as well? I saw a different recipe that included rosehips and was wondering what people’s thoughts were on that! Thanks for the recipe can’t wait to make my batch up today!

  2. I made 5-6 jars of firetonic last May and have not yet strained them. Do you think they are still good or do you think they are spoiled? Do you know if it’s possible to have botulism even in the acidity of the vinegar?

  3. I have a severe allergy to jalapeno and other hot peppers. Would I be able to omit them or just add something in their place?
    Thanks
    Danielle

  4. Hey!
    Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe.

    I forgot to put a barrier between my cider and the metal lid of the jar, I also left it somewhere near a heat vent over night. Do you think this may have made the cider unusable?

  5. I wasn’t paying enough attention and added my honey along with my other ingredients (before storing for 4-6 weeks). Think it will ruin it?

  6. I just took mine down today and so far it’s been a hit! I love the fresh taste and 3 of my 5 sons have given their votes of approval so far. The other 2 will get to taste it soon. Thank you so much. This is exactly what I had hoped for and will expect to stay healthier than ever with it’s immune boosting properties.

  7. Hi there! I accidentally added the honey with all the other ingredients. Should I be concerned? The cider sat out for a month. I just strained it and divided it into smaller bottles. When the cider settles, I notice a thicker substance collecting at the bottom that disappears when I shake it up. Is that normal? Thanks so much. Giving it out as gifts and I’m worried about making anyone sick.

      • Hi Brittany, I’ve got my jars all ready with the fire cider and it looks beautiful. Thanks for your recipe.

        Question on the parchment paper. When using a mason jar with a metal lid, should we cut a circle of parchment paper to fit up into the lid nice and neatly or instead do you twist the lid onto a square of the paper and trim it up? I did the latter of the two and it’s working well but I’m wondering if it is perhaps letting a little bit of air out as I don’t feel any pressure when I push down on my mason jar lids. Is this a ferment that we’re looking to build a little pressure with like you would find in a sauerkraut or kvass?

        I guess that’s two questions 😉

        Thanks so much 🙂

  8. Hi there,I loosely followed your ingredient list(added more of each ingredient, and and covered in Bragg’s ACV) Is there “too long” of a time to let everything sit? I am well past the 4 week mark. I Made multiple gallon batches at a time and thought more time would be better, but then before I knew it, it’s been about 6 months and I still have several glass jars that haven’t been strained. Can the veggies go bad even though they are in vinegar? Botulism? I used glass mason jars and plastic lids but I didn’t do any type of boiling the jars for the seal. Just put all the ingredients in and put the lid on. They’ve been in a dark cabinet since May. I hope I didn’t ruin everything. I don’t have experience with “canning”. Would love someone who knows about canning to help. Thank you!

  9. I started the batch yesterday and wen’t to do my daily shake and realized my oranges were floating. I opened the jar and without realizing it used a metal fork to push the top pieces down. Think that will have a negative effect because of the metal? And is it okay I opened the lid? Thanks!

  10. Hello! Any thoughts on substituting powdered organic horseradish for the fresh? According to all the retailers in my area, horseradish root can only be had around the holidays (i.e.- December) where I am located. I would love to get a batch started before then!

    • Shoot! I’m sorry that you’re not able to find fresh horseradish in your area. I honestly don’t think it would work as well with powered horseradish and I’m not sure how much to recommend that you use. Maybe try searching for a fire cider recipe that uses dried? Sorry that’s not much help, but I really do think fresh horseradish will work best.

  11. Hello! I was curious…could I juice the fire cider recipe and use it right away or does it for sure need to sit a month? I feel like the juicer would infuse everything while pressing (cold pressed) but wasn’t sure if it needed to sit in order to ferment or solely to infuse. Thanks in advance 🙂

  12. I forgot to add the lemon juice and I only had 1tsp of turmeric to add. Is this going to be an issue for the recipe?

    My second question is: I’m keeping it in the cupboard but it’s not cool..do you recommend the fridge instead?

    Thank you

  13. It would be nice if you would give proper attribution to the recipe since it is not your own. You said you found it so why not give the creator credit?

  14. This is so delicious I want to chug the whole jar! I have tried fire cider once in the past and wanted to try and make it myself. The only thing I did different was substitute honey for agave nectar to make it vegan. I will be making this again for sure.

  15. What happens if its been setting for 10 weeks? Is it still salvageable? This first time making it and then family issues happened so was forgotten about.

  16. I made mine on 12/10/18. Been in the fridge the past few months and I’m straining the liquid today. I hate tossing the leftovers and wondering if I could add more Apple cider vinegar to the leftovers and brew another batch. It wouldn’t be as strong, but might work. Thoughts?

  17. Is this a tincture or not? I feel frustrated by the lack of clarity between tinctures, potions, and brews. Please advise.

  18. So, what if I stupidly added the honey to the mix from the start? Other than being a sticky mess when filtering do you foresee any issues?

  19. Ginger doesn’t need to be peeled most of it’s grown hydroponically anyways, everything should be organic and I threw everything except the jalapenos, rosemary and onions into the blender at medium grind and it works fine everytime if you strain it out at the end.

    • unpasteurized would be MUCH better as it is a living food with benefits that are lost if pasteurized. you would still get some benefit using pasteurized vinegar i reckon.

  20. Hey I’m excited tp try this. Do i need to stick them in boiling water like you do canning to seal?or is clean from the dishwasher fine?

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