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Flowers we Eat: 100+ Delicious Recipes Using Edible Flowers

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Flowers we eat are a simple way to infuse unique colors, flavors and medicinal benefits into your meals. It’s fun and easy, especially when picking fresh edible flowers from your vegetable garden. 

Edible blossoms have been used in cooking for ages and are now making a big comeback. In this article, you’ll learn about flowers we eat in more than 100 tasty recipes.

While broccoli and other brassica vegetables, such as cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, are technically flowers (their edible parts are flower buds), I’ve decided to dedicate a separate post to them rather than including them in this exhaustive list of traditional edible flowers. 

100+ Delicious Recipes Using Edible Flowers

Why Use Edible Flowers in Cooking?

Colorful Presentation

Most flowers we eat bring unique color to the dishes. Imagine a plain salad suddenly vibrant with red nasturtiums, yellow marigolds, and blue borage flowers. This colorful display can turn any meal into a work of art as well as well cakes and desserts or drinks.

Unique Flavors

Beyond their visual charm, edible flowers add unique and exciting flavors. Each flower has its own special taste. While roses and violets bring a sweet flavor, perfect for desserts or teas, nasturtiums have a spicy, peppery kick that spices up salads and sandwiches. Borage flowers taste like fresh cucumber, adding a refreshing touch to your dishes. 

Medicinal Benefits

Edible flowers aren’t just pretty and tasty—they also offer health benefits. Many flowers are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. For example, marigolds (calendula) have anti-inflammatory properties and can help with healing. Lavender is known for its calming effects and can reduce stress. Roses are rich in Vitamin C, which boosts your immune system.

By adding edible flowers to your meals, you’re not only making your food more beautiful and flavorful but also enhancing its nutritional value. It’s a simple way to add a touch of natural wellness to your diet.

foraging elderflowers

How to harvest edible flowers

Most edible flowers are best enjoyed when eating fresh and raw. Just simply pluck the petals and rinse them with water. Flowers are at their peak in both taste and appearance right after they bloom, rather than after a few days of being open.

When using edible flowers, it’s important to remember two things. First, not all flowering plants are safe to eat; some can be toxic. Stick to the flowers listed below or conduct thorough research to ensure safety. Secondly, don’t eat flowers treated with pesticides or other chemicals. Fortunately, most edible flowers—except roses—are easy to cultivate at home, which minimizes this concern. If harvesting dandelions, ensure they are from an organic source.

Which flowers we eat and how we use them in recipes

Bee Balm

Bee balm is one of the easiest flowers to grow. Its bright red blooms attract hummingbirds in the summer. Bee balm flowers have medicinal properties, fighting germs and soothing muscles. They’re used to treat colds, flu, coughs, upset stomachs, bloating, nausea, and cramps. 

Moreover, bee balm flowers calm nerves during stressful times, perfect for adding to cold drinks in busy summers. There are many ways to use bee balm—brew it into teas, make ointments, or use it in herbal steams. They’re also great on salads or in simple floral jellies.

Bee Balm Bread

Begonia

Colorful Begonia flowers have a crisp texture and a slightly sour, citrus-like taste, which makes them perfect for brightening up salads, fruit dishes, and drinks. You can also use begonia petals to garnish desserts or infuse them into syrups and vinegars for a zesty flavor.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Begonias 

Grilled Sea Bass with Citrus Begonia Dressing 

Strawberry Begonia Salad 

Begonia Flower Vinegar

Pistachio and Lemon Cream Tart with Sugared Begonias 

Begonia Fritters 

Begonia Cocktails 

Shortbread cookies with edible flowers
nasturtium salad

Borage

Borage small flowers taste like fresh cucumbers and are great in summer drinks, salads, and desserts People usually talk about eating the flowers, but borage leaves are edible too and tasty in salads. You can also cook the leaves like spinach in different dishes.

Borage Ravioli 

Soup with Borage

Borage Party Spread Appetizers

Calendula

Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is often used in cosmetics for its antiinflamatory properties but also in the kitchen for its culinary and medicinal benefits. These vibrant orange or yellow flowers have a slightly peppery taste with hints of citrus, making them versatile in both savory and sweet dishes.

Energy Bar with Calendula

Shortbread Cookies with Calendula

Cupcakes sprinkles

Chamomile

Chamomile flowers are small, daisy-like blooms known for their calming and soothing properties. While I love using Chamomile tea hair rinse to refresh my natural hair color, I also ejoy sipping this relaxing tea before going to bed.  However, did you know that you can use chamomile desserts, sauces, or herbal blends? Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and is considered a gentle healer in herbal medicine.

Lavender Chamomile tea

Homemade Chamomile Simple syrup

Carrot Chamomile Soup

Chamomile Gelato

Chamomile Cookies 

a pile of healthy pancakes with red clover and banana
Pancakes with red clover

Clover

Clover flowers, especially the red and white varieties, are another flower you can eat. These tiny blossoms have a mild, sweet flavor and are often ground into flour. Clover is also rich in antioxidants and vitamins, traditionally used to aid digestion and reduce inflammation. 

Red Clover Pancakes

Red Clover vinegar

White Clover Flour Cookies 

White clover iced tea

Red Clover Flour Muffins

Red Clover Biscuits 

Clover Blossom Soda Bread

Cornflower

Cornflowers, also known as bachelor’s buttons, have bright blue petals that make dishes look beautiful. They taste slightly sweet taste with a bit of spiciness, which works well in sweet and savory foods. You can use cornflowers to decorate salads, desserts, and drinks.  They are a nice way to add color and floralflavor to the dishes. People also like to put them on cakes or make them into tea. Cornflowers are healthy too, with lots of antioxidants.

Dahlia

Dahlia flowers have flower petals of various colors and shapes. Depending on the variety, their flavors range from mild and slightly earthy to spicy and tangy. YOu can add them to salads, desserts or use them as garnish.

Floral Ice Cubes
Floral Ice Cubes

Dandelions

Dandelions are more than just garden weeds; their bright yellow flowers are edible and versatile. The petals have a slightly sweet and honey-like flavor, perfect for adding to salads, sandwiches, or making dandelion wine. You can also batter and fry the flowers to make dandelion fritters. Dandleion buds are perfect for making dandelion bitters. Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, these popular edible flowers also offer nutritional benefits. They are traditionally used in herbal medicine to support liver health and aid digestion. 

Dandelion Honey

Fritters

Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Jelly

Cupcakes with Dandelions

Dandelion tea

easy steps to make elderflower cordial
making elderflower cordial

Elderflowers

Elderflowers are my favorite. These small, cream-colored blossoms have a delicate, floral flavor with hints of honey and citrus. They are great in cordial, desserts or cocktails. Have you tried dipping them in batter and stir fry them to make elderflower fritters? 

Fritters

Elderflower Cordial

Elderflower tea

Elderflower Ice Cream

Yogurt with Elderflowers

Elderflower Cider

Elderflower Liqueur

Gladiolus

Gladiolus flowers are tall and colorful, with petals that are different shades. They are admired for their beauty in gardens, but did you know their petals are also edible? Gladiolus petals have a mild, slightly sweet taste that makes them suitable for garnishing salads or decorating cakes. However, it’s important to note that while the petals are edible, other parts of the gladiolus plant are not. Therefore, only consume the petals and ensure they come from plants not treated with pesticides or other herbicides.

Gladiola Cookies

Hibiscus Iced Tea
Hibiscus Iced Tea

Hibiscus

Thier flowers are known for their cranberry-like flavor which you can taste when drinking deep red  Hibiscus tea. It is rich in antioxidants, which may support heart health and lower blood pressure. However, its petals also make great additions to salads, syrups, or sauces. 

Iced Tea with Hibiscus to lower blood pressure

Hibiscus popsicle with lemon

Rhubarb Hibiscus Compot

Hibiscus Tea

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle flowers are prized for their sweet nectar and delicate fragrance. YOu can infuse them in syrup, teas, or even made into honeysuckle jelly. In traditional Chinese medicine, honeysuckle is valued for its cooling properties and is used to soothe sore throats and reduce inflammation. 

Honeysuckle Vodka

Honeysuckle Sorbet

Jelly with Honeysuckle

Cake infused with honeysuckle simple syrup

sakura cherry blossom panna cotta jelly
sakura cherry blossom panna cotta jelly

Forsythia

Forsythia flowers bloom with vibrant yellow petals that are not just ornamental; they are also edible. They offer a slightly sweet and floral flavor. You can use Forsythia petals to garnish salads, desserts, and beverages. In traditional Chinese medicine, forsythia is highly valued for its anti-inflammatory properties and is commonly used in herbal remedies to treat colds and fever.

Forsythia Syrup 

Forsythia Jelly

Lemon Blueberry Cake with Edible Forsythia Flowers

Forsythia Wine

Lavender lemonade
Lemonade with Lavender

Lavender

Lavender is prized not only for its fragrance but also for its versatile culinary uses and health benefits. Known for its calming effects, lavender can help reduce stress and anxiety when consumed in teas or infused into dishes. Its floral and slightly herbal flavor adds a delightful twist to desserts like lavender shortbread cookies or lavender-infused honey. 

Lemon Lavender Bundt Cake

Lavender Shortbread Lemon Bars

Lavender Truffles

Lemonade with Lavender

Lilacs

Syringa vulgaris, also known as the lilac or common lilac, has been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties, which may help alleviate symptoms associated with inflammation. They are perfect for syrups, teas or sweets.

Syrup

Lilac Tea

Lilac Jelly

Cookies

Lilac Sugar

linden tea recipe

Linden

Linden flowers, also known as lime or basswood blossoms, are highly fragrant with a sweet, honey-like flavor. I love to turn them into a soothing tea with calming effects that help me sleep. You can also add them to salads or used to infuse syrups and honey.

Linden tea

linden chocolate

Blueberry Linden Flower Whiskey Smash

Linden Blossoms Sun Cake

Marshmallow

Marshmallow flowers come from the marshmallow plant (Althaea officinalis), known for its medicinal uses in soothing sore throats and digestive discomfort. Every part of the plant is edible. The pale pink or white flowers have a sweet flavor, and you can use them fresh in salads, infuse them into syrups, teas, or garnish desserts.

Moringa Flower

Moringa flowers are edible and known for their slightly bitter taste. They are commonly used in traditional medicine for their antioxidant properties and are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Moringa flowers are nutritious and often added to salads, stir-fries, or soups. 

Moringa Flower Sabzi

Milkweed

Milkweed flowers have a mild, sweet flavor, and they can be added to salads or used as a garnish for desserts. They are also important for pollinators like bees and butterflies and have been traditionally used in Native American cuisine.

Cooking Milkweed Shoots

Orzo with Milkweed

nasturtium salad
salad with nasturtium flowers

Nasturtium

Nasturtium blossoms are more than just beautiful; they bring a peppery zest to dishes and contain high levels of Vitamin C, making them a nutritious addition to salads and soups. Nasturtia flowers’ vibrant hues of orange, yellow, and red can brighten up any plate.

Nasturtium Salad with Peaches and Pepitas

Avocado Guacamole with Nasturtium Blossoms

Nasturtium Salad with Strawberries

Pansies and Violas

Pansies and violas are not just pretty flowers; they bring a mild, slightly sweet flavor to the dishes. These delicate blooms are perfect for garnishing salads, desserts, and drinks, adding a pop of color and a subtle floral taste. You can crystallize them or freeze into ice cubes.

Violet Tea

Syrup

Violet Jelly

Herb Salad with Pansies

Pasta salad with edible flowers

Salad with pansies
Salad with pansies

Peonies

Peony’s large and fragrant blooms are mildly sweet with floral flavor and ideal for salads, desserts, or drinks. You can also infuse them into syrups and teas to add a delicate floral note. Alternatively, Crystallize or sugar-coat the petals to use as decorations. In traditional Chinese medicine, peonies are used for their anti-inflammatory and calming effects. 

Peony Flower Jelly

Strawberry Peony Jam

Peony Ice Cream with a Blackberry Honey Swirrel 

Rose Petal and Peony Ice Cream

Peony Colada

Peony Royal Cocktail with Peony Vodka

Roses

beyond their beauty and scent, roses are also naturally uplifting and contain certain plant flavonoids that possess anti-stress effect and antidepressant properties (2) They have a sweet and slightly fruit taste that stands out in desserts and drinks. Pluck some rose petals to chop and add to tea or ice cream. The lower, white portion of the petals can be bitter, so before using them, do a taste test and remove the white portion if needed. 

I enjoyed making these recipes, hope you will too:

Rose ice cream, if you are into ice cream, here are over 10 floral ice cream ideas with edible flowers.

Rose petal tea

Jam

Cordial

Rose Truffles

Cookies

Rose Milk

Cherry Blossom Cookies
Cherry Blossom Cookies

Sakura

In Japanese, cherry blossoms are called “sakura” and they are a powerful symbol of spring. Due to their brief blooming period, they also represent the transient beauty of life.

Cherry blossoms are widely loved in Japan and are used to create various delicacies like tea, sake, and mochi.

Sakura latte

Cookies

Sakura Panna Cotta Jelly

Sunflowers

While the seeds are a popular snack, the petals and buds of sunflowers are also edible and flavorful. The petals taste mildly bittersweet and add a slightly nutty flavor to salads and soups. When dried, you can brew them into teas. Young sunflower buds, when steamed or sautéed, have a taste reminiscent of artichokes and you can enjoy them as a unique vegetable.

Tulips

Tulip petals come in various flavors. Some are sweet, while others have a slight spiciness. They can taste like beans, peas, or cucumbers. While people often use them to garnish salads, they serve as edible cups for appetizers and dips. If using the whole flower, remove the pistil and stamens from the center. When using individual petals, trim off the bitter ends for the best taste.

Chocolate Mousse filled Tulip cups

Tulip Salad

Herbs and spices

While I always use herbs and spices in cooking, they aren’t typically considered edible flowers. However, some herbs do produce edible flowers,  like basil, chives, and thyme, as their blooms are medicinal and add a specific taste.  

Chive Blossoms

Chive blossoms are delicate flowers with a mild onion flavor. They are often used as a garnish for salads, soups, and creamy dishes. YOu can pickle them too.

Chive vinegar

Chive Dip

Compound butter with Chive Blossoms

how to make saffron tea

Saffron

Saffron is a prized spice derived from the dried stigmas of the crocus flower (Crocus sativus). It is the most expensive flower on this list. The tiny threads, called stigmas, are carefully hand-picked from the flower heads. Just a few threads are enough to add a vibrant yellow-orange hue and specific aroma to dishes like paella, risotto, and desserts.

Saffron tea

Saffron Sauce

Thyme blossoms

Thyme flowers are small and delicate with a similar flavor to thyme leaves but milder and slightly floral. You can use them fresh as a garnish for dishes like roasted vegetables and grilled meats or even add them to cocktails for a unique herbal note.

Thyme Blossom Infused Honey

edible flower recipes
Vladka Merva on June 27th, 2024

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