Cough Syrup Sundae

This ice cream recipe is for anyone who loves their cocktails so sickeningly sweet that their friends say “Gah, it tastes just like cough syrup!” because this ice cream actually does taste just like cough syrup.

A note about dosage: This recipe uses 180 mL of cough syrup to produce about 1 L of ice cream. The adult dose is 2 tsp (10 mL) every 4 hours, so one adult dose is 1/18th of the ice cream produced. The dose is on the order of a scoop of ice cream, but if you want to be precise, we suggest you don’t take your medicine by ice cream.


This recipe is adapted from the recipe for Maple Walnut Ice Cream with Wet Walnuts from The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments. We used a cherry flavored cough syrup in place of the maple syrup.

First, heat a 1.5 cups of milk and 2 tbs of sugar in a medium saucepan until the sugar is dissolved and the milk is warm but not hot. If it is too hot, it will cook the eggs and produce scrambled eggs instead of custard.

Once the milk is warm, pour it slowly into a small bowl containing five egg yolks while whisking. Then, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat while constantly scraping the bottom and sides of the saucepan with a spatula.

Once the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula, pour it through a strainer into a bowl containing 1.5 cups of heavy cream. Stir in 180 mL of cough syrup and 1/8 tsp of coarse salt and place the bowl in an ice bath. You can prepare an ice bath by putting about a tray of ice cubes into a bigger bowl and adding water, but not so much that the water spills into the smaller bowl.

Continue to stir as it cools. It is important to make the mixture as cool as possible in this step, before putting it into the refrigerator to cool, because it will cool much faster in the ice bath. Once the mixture is cooled, leave it in the refrigerator until it is thoroughly chilled, which should be about an hour or so.

We use an ice cream machine to make our ice creams, which is much easier than stirring the mixture in a salt bath. Even if you usually make ice cream by hand, this ice cream is especially difficult because one of the main ingredients in cough syrup is glycerine, which can also act as anti-freeze. Where conventional ice creams require at most one hour in our ice cream maker, the cough syrup ice cream required over two, and even then it only had the consistency of soft serve ice cream.

Ice cream scoop

Ice cream scoop

However, after leaving it in the freezer over night, it solidified with a very light and smooth texture.

To complete the cough syrup sundae, add a cough syrup syrup. We drizzled the same cherry flavored ‘tussin over the ice cream to give it that extra strength cough syrup flavor.

Cough syrup sundae

Cough syrup sundae


Yelena: It tasted pretty good until you got the horrific medicinal aftertaste.

Kristen: I agree with Yelena about the flavor. It really is divine for the first few seconds, though. And it actually does feel soothing the way you would expect a combination of ice cream and glycerine to feel. After freezing overnight, the ice cream became harder but maintained a very light, smooth texture.

Cheryl: It is definitely better as ice cream, but it still has that medicinal aftertaste.

Alex: The initial cherry flavor is actually pretty good, but it leaves a bitter medicinal edge that clings to your tongue.

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12 Responses to Cough Syrup Sundae

  1. Moya says:

    Your work is inspired. One of the best blogs I’ve ever read–I sincerely hope someone offers you a book deal.

  2. My prescription syrup is much tastier. But I can’t share. I am law abiding y’all.

  3. Jessica says:

    HAHA. I drank two bottles of cough syrup when I was 3 (was supposed to be napping, but had a “tea party” with my stuffed animals), so I would have loved this back then! 😉

  4. Anonymous says:

    Please tell me y’all used prescription cough syrup for this.

  5. Pingback: How To Make A Cough Syrup Sundae |

  6. Liv says:


  7. madonnaearth says:

    Ah, but just imagine you actually had a cold! I bet then it’d be pretty tasty even at the end!

    I’ve checked a few of your other posts; interesting food you guys, but I would have to pass.

  8. Pingback: TurDunkin’ Doughnut Turkey; Cough Syrup Sundae; Strawberry Pop Tartes ::Unwholesome Foods:: |

  9. bearron says:

    I am living for your site. Thank you for all the great tips. I posted a quick blurb on my blog, — this blog is truly inspired.

  10. JL says:

    I was inspired by your blog, but not brave enough to carry out my inspiration. How much caffeine can you get into… one slice of bread?

    See, beer bread is a simple recipe — requiring 3c self-rising flour, 3tbs sugar and 12oz carbonated liquid. For years, I’ve been using soda and extra sugar because there’s a lingering baking soda taste to most beer bread that gets hidden by sweeter recipes. But it got me thinking — I’m eating caffeinated bread! Sure, with Coca-Cola, that’s only about 4mg per slice.


    What if I used Red Bull? That’s something like three times the caffeine. And then, how else could I get caffeine into the bread? Dark chocolate chips? Mmm… Raw ground coffee beans — a bit much. Pure caffeine powder — cheating. Icing made from Monster and Amp? Perhaps. Could you get it so potent that one slice of toast had as much caffeine as the cup of coffee it’s served with?

    • Unwholesome soda bread is a great idea!

      I don’t want to say too much about a post in progress, but we had some success making jelly out of a reduction of Cocaine energy drink and gelatin.

  11. Evelyn says:

    I feel like you could actually get stoned from eating this. Except you would have to eat all of it.

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