Feeling under the weather this cold and flu season? Soothing tomato tea can help soothe that sore throat and clear out your sinuses.
Sickness has swept through my house over the past few weeks, and when it was my turn to be sick, I turned to my old friend: tomato tea.
I've been making tomato tea for over 20 years, and it's become a go-to when I'm dealing with a nasty cold or flu. Over the years, my recipe has evolved as I made it again and again, using what was in my pantry and what seemed appealing.
Here, you'll find the recipe that I usually make along with substitutions to help you use what you have. Because the last thing you want to do when you're sick is run to the store.
Tomato tea is not a cure for the cold or for the flu, meaning that it most likely won't shorten the duration of your illness. What it definitely does is help give you temporary symptom relief for a sore throat and stuffy nose.
It's also a good way to sneak in a snack when sickness has sapped your appetite.
Ingredients and substitutions
Here's a quick breakdown of why the tomato tea helps you feel better while you drink it and for a while afterwards:
- ginger - There is evidence that ginger is a good pain reliever. Adding a dash of fresh or ground ginger to your mug can help soothe a sore throat and may even offer some relief to sore muscles.
- spice - The ginger, garlic, and hot sauce make this drink pretty spicy, and that's no accident. Spicy foods and drinks help with sinus congestion, and they have a numbing effect that's nice on a sore throat.
- warmth - Just like spice, a warm drink helps ease congestion. Don't just sip this tea - breathe the steam deeply. It's so soothing!
- nutrition - The reason this drink is made with tomato juice is because when you're sick, chances are you're not inclined to eat. The tomato juice delivers some calories and vitamins to help you feel a little bit less weak. A cup of tomato tea has around 65 calories, 84% of your vitamin C, 31% of your vitamin A, 11% of your iron, 23% of your potassium, and 4% of your fiber needs for the day. Not bad for a little mug of goodness!
How to make tomato tea
Warm the tomato juice on the stove or in the microwave. It's even OK if it's a little bit too hot. That nice steam is good for soothing your poor nose and throat!
Add the rest of the ingredients to your mug, and stir.
Sip, and enjoy!
- You can make this on the stovetop, if you're feeling up to it. For quicker results, use the microwave.
- If you do feel a cold coming on, you can mix up a big batch of tomato tea, so you can shake, pour, and heat it as needed. It will keep for up to a week in the fridge.
You can store tomato tea in the refrigerator for up to a week. Feel free to make a big batch, so you can warm it up as needed!
Frequently asked questions
Any savory vegetable juice, like V8, will work in place of the tomato juice, if needed.
Sure! Add a little agave or maple syrup to sweeten it, if you prefer.
Any hot sauce that you like will work! You can even use crushed red pepper flakes or black pepper. Use what you have on hand.
I've been drinking tomato tea for years to soothe cold and flu symptoms. It's an easy way to get something into your belly while providing temporary relief for a sore throat and congestion.
The combination of ginger and garlic in this warming drink team up to reduce inflammation and help clear your sinuses!
More recipes for when you are sick
- 12 ounces tomato juice or vegetable juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice Or 2 teaspoons of vinegar. I've used rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and even balsamic to make this in the past.
- sriracha sauce to taste, or use hot sauce of your choice, or a pinch of cayenne or crushed red pepper or black pepper
- 1 pinch of ground ginger or ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic minced or crushed, or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Warm the tomato juice on the stove or in the microwave. It's even OK if it's a little bit too hot. That nice steam is good for soothing your poor nose and throat!
- Add the rest of the ingredients to your mug, and stir.
- Sip, and enjoy!