How to Make Rosella Cordial

Recipe – Rosella Cordial

Gluten Free  |  Dairy Free  |  Nut Free  |  Vegan

Another delicious way to preserve fresh Rosellas is to make Rosella cordial.  This vibrant red syrup can be added to still or sparking water for a thirst-quenching drink and enjoyed throughout the year.  Its tart, sweet flavour will delight your taste-buds, and the deep red colour is tantalising. 


  • Approximately 48 (4 dozen) Rosellas – freshly picked

  • 3 litres of Water

  • Raw Organic Sugar (approximately 2.5 kg but the exact amount of sugar required is determined by the amount of liquid – see step 8 below)

  • 2 tablespoons Citric Acid

  • Juice of 8 Lemons – freshly squeezed and strained

This recipe makes up to 3 litres of cordial.


  1. Wash and drain the whole Rosellas (calyxes and seeds) and place in a large, heavy-based, stainless steel saucepan. 

  2. Add the water to the saucepan and ensure it covers the Rosellas, adding extra water if needed.  The saucepan needs to be large enough so that the contents reach less than half way up the sides because it will bubble up during cooking.

  3. Bring the Rosellas and water to the boil and simmer gently until the fruit is soft and the colour has faded from the calyxes (about 20 minutes).  Watch carefully to ensure it doesn’t boil over.  The liquid will reduce slightly and turn vibrant red.

  4. Strain the contents of the saucepan through a fine sieve and reserve the liquid.  The fruit can now be discarded and added to your compost.

  5. Allow the liquid to cool slightly then measure the total volume.  It is likely to be approximately 2 ½ litres or 8 to 10 cups.  Once measured, return the liquid to the saucepan.

  6. Add an equal amount of raw sugar to the Rosella liquid.  For example, for every cup of liquid add one cup of raw sugar (or for every litre of liquid add 1 kg of sugar).

  7. Heat gently and stir well until all the sugar is completely dissolved.  Then bring quickly to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

  8. Add the strained lemon juice and citric acid.  Stir well.

  9. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.

  10. Carefully pour the syrup into warmed, sterile bottles.  A funnel will make this easier.  Fill into the neck of each bottle, but don’t overfill, and then seal the bottles with lids immediately. Allow to cool.

  11. Label and store in a cool, dry, dark place. 

  12. Rosella Cordial will keep well for at least 12 months.  Once a bottle is opened, it is best kept in the refrigerator.

  13. This Rosella Cordial is delicious added to still or sparkling water for a refreshing drink.  You may also like to add a few slices of fresh lemon and some ice cubes into individual glasses or a large jug for sharing.

  1. Enjoy!

Preparing the Bottles

To prevent contamination and lengthen the shelf life of homemade cordials, it’s important to first sterilise the bottles.  Choose glass bottles with an airtight lid.  Remove any old labels and ensure they are free from cracks or chips.  Wash in hot soapy water and rinse, then sterilise using one of the methods below.


Preheat the oven to 120oC.  Place upright bottles and lids separately on a baking tray.  Heat in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove bottles and fill immediately with the cordial.


Place bottles and lids in the dishwasher on the hottest cycle.  Remove and place upside down onto a tray lined with a clean tea towel.  Allow to drain, then turn right way up and fill with cordial while still warm.


Place bottles and lids in a deep saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to the boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and boil for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove and place upside down onto a tray lined with a clean tea towel.  Allow to drain, then turn right way up and fill with cordial while still warm.

Read how to grow Rosellas in your home garden.

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