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Elderberry Soup – Fliederbeersuppe

elderberry soup

Elderberry soup is packed with a lot of vitamins and for me also with lots of memories. My grandmother cooked this soup for us children in fall and we all had a purple mouth after eating it, laughing about each others dyed tongues and lips. Another memory involves my then boyfriend Stephan. We put a huge cooking pot on the tank of his motorcycle and drove out to the country. There we picked as many elderberries as we could fit into that pot and drove back home to Hamburg. Later we made juice from the elderberries and cooked soup and delicious jam.

Link to Elderberry Juice: https://goo.gl/RwZuWH 


That Purple Berry

The German word for Elderberry is Fliederbeeren or also (in other regions of Germany) Holunderbeeren. This recipe for Elderberry Soup is from the North of Germany, an area which is called Schleswig-Holstein. It is north of Hamburg and goes all the way up to the border of Denmark. This is where I grew up for the most part of my childhood, near a town called “Kaltenkirchen” which could be translated to “cold churches” – totally true!

elderberry soup fliederbeer suppe

… and since German churches are so cold, we need to protect our health … JUST KIDDING! But Elderberry really have an amazing health benefit and I highly suggest having a bottle of this juice in the pantry during flue season. I copied this list of benefits from the website of biotta’s description of their elderberry juice:

  • Treats respiratory illness
    • Reduces symptoms of cold and flu
    • May help reduce swelling in mucous membranes, such as the sinuses, relieving nasal congestion
    • Antiviral properties of elderberries were able to effectively inhibit the H1N1 virus, and offered similar effects to prescription medications like Tamiflu
  • Antioxidant-rich
    • Flavonoids in elderberries have antioxidant properties and may help prevent damage to the body’s cells
    • Lowers cholesterol, improves vision, and boosts the immune system
  • Good source of Potassium (15% DV)
    • Eating a high potassium diet strengthens the bones and the muscles, while promoting faster healing of injuries like cuts and bruises.

elderberry soup


Elderberry Juice

Finding Elderberry juice here was not so easy. I couldn’t find it at any store and even amazon didn’t carry what I was looking for. All I found was elderflower juice – not the same thing! I gave up on it until recently. I started another internet search and eventually had success. What I didn’t think of when cooking the soup in the video, was, that store bought juices often contain added sugar. Since I used to make my elderberry juice from scratch, my amount of sugar added to the already sweet juice. So be aware that your soup might already taste sweet before you add the sugar. I highly suggest that you try the soup before you add the sugar and decide for yourself how much more sweetness the soup needs.

The soup traditionally comes with grit dumplings and in my childhood I was always trying to get as many of these as I could. And if my grandmother had any leftover of them, she would later fry them in some butter until they are golden-browned and serve them with cinnamon and sugar – soooo gooood!

elderberry soup

Is this a dessert?

Did I mention that this is more of a kids dish and usually served for lunch? My kids decided it’s more a dessert though – obviously they are living in the US for too long already to understand that sweet dishes don’t necessarily need to be a dessert. It’s a German thing!

elderberry soup

Elderberry Soup - Fliederbeersuppe

A sweet soup, packed with vitamins!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert, Lunch (or Dinner), Soup
Cuisine German, Schleswig-Holstein / North
Servings 4 servings


For the Grit Dumplings

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup grits
  • 1 pinch salt and nutmeg
  • 2 eggs

For the Soup

  • 1 bottle elderberry juice (about 500 ml)
  • ¾ cup clear apple juice
  • 1 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar (maybe less)
  • 2 sour apples


  • Heat the milk with the butter, salt, nutmeg and sugar and bring to a slight boil.
  • Add the grits to the boiling milk and stir until the mass holds it's shape and easily lifts from the bottom of the pot.
  • Set aside to cool a little.
  • Add 1 egg and mix it in. Then take the 2nd egg and mix it in.
  • Bring in second, larger pot with water to a boil.
  • Use two large spoons to create the dumplings and add them to the slightly boiling water.
  • After about 8 to 10 minutes the dumplings start to float to the surface of the water, that indicates that they are ready to be taken out.
  • Set the dumplings aside and cook the soup.
  • For the soup add the elderberry juice and the apple juice to a pot.
  • Heat until the juice starts to boil.
  • In the meantime peel the apples and cut them into small cubes.
  • Taste the soup and add sugar to your liking. Be aware that the juice already contains sugar.
  • Once the juice starts boiling, mix the corn starch with two Tbsps. of water, then add it to the soup and stir.
  • Let cook for about 3 minutes, then add the apples and cook for an additional 4 minutes.
  • Serve the soup in a deep soup plate and add the grit dumplings.
  • Optional: Add some cinnamon and sugar.


Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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7 thoughts on “Elderberry Soup – Fliederbeersuppe”

  1. Thorunn Sleight

    Hi Barbara,
    I have elderberry bushes in my garden and would really love to try making the soup. A couple of questions for you:
    How is it best to make the juice? I notice that you don’t start the recipe with the berries.
    We don’t have grits here in Iceland. Would it be possible to make the dumplings with semolina?

    Thanks in advance for your answer!

    1. Yes, sadly we don’t have elderberries growing in the Houston area, so I had to use storebought juice. But in Germany, I made the juice by cooking the berries in a large pit and then once the juice has come out, straining them through s fine sieve or cheesecloth (which will never be white again). Now, since boiling might decrease some of the vitamins in the juice, it might be a better method to get a juicer.

  2. Fliederbeer Suppe!

    My legacy from my grandmother. No one in uk does this. It is my favourite dish. It is so special to me. I will gather elder berries every year to make this until I am unable to. And preserve some in sealed jars to use during the winter.

    I never realised anyone else knew or cared.

    1. Oh, that is one of my childhood memories, too, and I love the taste of that soup so much! How can something so healthy taste so good, right?

  3. Hallo,
    Ich bin eine Hamburgerin die in England lebt. Glücklicherweise wachsen bei uns überall Fliederbeerbüsche! Auf der Suche nach einem Photo von dem Gericht bin ich auf die Website gestoßen. Super gemacht, gut erklärt, schöne Bilder!
    Ich hab mal eine Frage: Bei uns soll eine Rezeptsammlung mit regionalen Gerichten zusammengestellt werden, dh englische Gerichte und die von Einwanderern. Ich hab Fliederbeersuppe als Vorschlag eingereicht. Wenn‘s angenommen wird brauche ich ein Photo. Das könnte ich aber frühestens im Oktober bekommen, vorher gibt‘s keine Beeren! Ich müsste sonst mit Roter Beete schummeln… Dürfte ich Dein Photo (natürlich mit Quellenangabe) benutzen? Ist nicht kommerziell, sondern mehr eine Aktion für die Gemeinde.
    Viele Grüße aus Shropshire,
    Claudia (seit 30 Jahren hier, aber immer noch Hamburgerin)

    1. Ja, kein Problem. Ich finde Fliederbeersuppe kann man gar nicht genug teilen, sie ist so lecker und gesund und die Farbe ist einfach wunderbar! Lade Dir das Bild einfach runter und gib den Blog als Quelle an.

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