Edible Flowers for Cakes, Salads & Drinks

When it comes to edible flowers, there are literally hundreds of types you can eat. This post will give you the low-down on how to use edible flowers as garnish and the difference between fresh, candied, and dried edible flowers. Additionally, I’ll give you a ton of fun ideas for using blooms in your cooking!

Pink plate topped with three shortbread with edible flowers.

As soon as spring rolls around, I find myself inspired to reach for the edible flowers. Cooking with this unusual ingredient adds style, color, and flavor to your meals. I love using flowers in everything from salads, cakes, and cocktails, and never get tired of the extra sparkle they add. 

So keep reading to discover more about using edible flowers in your home kitchen.

Plate filled with blueberry, lemon and lavender scones, surrounded by fresh blueberries, lemon and chamomile.

What flowers can you eat?

Before you head to the yard to start harvesting, it’s important that you are 100% sure a flower is edible. It is easy to confuse species, and in the worst cases, this can have serious consequences. So PLEASE, if you plan on picking your own flowers, make sure you know exactly what you are harvesting. If you are in any doubt, check out this comprehensive guide.

In addition, I recommend only using organic flowers where possible. This will make sure you’re not consuming any pesticides or other nasties. What’s more, always wash your flowers before using.

Visit my Amazon store to shop all of my favorite edible flower products!

Types of edible flowers

Edible flowers can be dried, fresh, or candied. Because of this variety, you will find a type for every dish! Here’s a quick overview of the differences.

Pitcher filled with water, ice, lemon slices and edible flowers

Fresh edible flowers

Incorporate fresh flowers into salads to add color and flavor. Freeze flowers into ice cubes to add a touch of beauty to punches and other drinks. Flavor oils, vinaigrettes, jams, and marinades.

Fresh edible flowers can be found at farmers markets, specialty produce stores and online:

Dried edible flowers

It is common for flowers to be dried to preserve them. Dried edible flowers are perfect for baking, teas, and cake decorating. Also, I like to use them in the actual baking process, like in these Blueberry, Lemon & Lavender Scones or Shortbread Cookies with Edible Flowers (Violas). They can also be used to infuse drinks and syrups.

Candied or crystalized edible flowers

Sugared flowers are best suited to baking and cake decorating. They can be made at home or purchased online:

Tip: Flowers all have different flavors, so it’s important to match them with the food or drink they suit. Also, just because a plant is technically edible, doesn’t mean it tastes good! Chamomile flowers, for example, look gorgeous and are 100% edible, but don’t have the best flavor. For this reason, they are best suited for decoration.

Edible Flowers for Salads & Main Meals

Fresh edible flowers are so lovely to add to your meal! They can make the dish look elegant and resonate a feeling of Spring/Summer. Some favorite edible flowers for salads and main meals include:

  • Artichoke flowers: Delicious when cooked until tender.
  • Chrysanthemum, chamomile: Beautiful flowers that can be used as garnish.
  • Marigolds: Have a yummy mild lemon taste. This makes them a great option for adding color to salads. Also good for sprinkling onto any sweet or savory meals that would benefit from a boost of something mild and zesty.
  • Lavender: Great for amplifying the flavor of savory foods, like plant-based cheese.
  • Nasturtium: Has a peppery taste that makes it great for adding a pop of color to salads.
  • Sunflowers: These colorful flowers can be cooked whole.
  • Violas: Very neutral taste, add pretty pops of color to salads, and plant-based cheese.
  • Zucchini flowers: Their mild flavor makes them perfect for this fried zucchini blossoms recipe.
Pitcher full of iced butterfly pea tea with lemon slices.

Cakes & Cookies

Baked goods are the perfect match for edible flowers! My favorite being lavender and rose.

  • Lavender: Super tasty when added to cakes, scones and shortbread cookies.
  • Rose: Rose water can be found in lots of cake batter and frosting recipes. Additionally, rose petals and rose buds can also be used fresh or dried for garnish.

Edible flowers can be dried or pressed at home, or purchased online:

Shortbread cookie with purple violas edible flowers

Edible flowers for drinks

Fresh or dried edible flowers are great for drinks, either in the drink or used as garnish. Some of my favorites are:

Spinach smoothie garnished with pink rose

Syrups, ‘Honey’, Sugar Crystals & Jams

Edible flowers add a delicious complexity of flavor to syrups, sugar crystals, jams and water.

  • Syrups (and plant-based ‘Honey’): Dandelion, chamomile and lilacs. Use to drizzle over cakes, cereal and add to mocktails/cocktails.
  • Sugar crystals: Lavender and lilac are tasty when added to sugar crystals. Use to sprinkle over cakes, cookies and for sugar rimmed glasses.
  • Jam: Rose: Rose hips (rosella) makes delicious jam.
  • Rose water: Rose petals are great for making deliciously floral rosewater.

Start cooking pretty

Are you ready to use edible flowers into your cooking? Check out my Amazon store for all my favorite dried edible flowers, syrups, sugars etc!

What’s more, my Amazon store is full of vegan products and ingredients. From herbs & spices to beauty tools and beyond! I try hard to vet all of this products to bring you only the best items. Thank you so much for shopping using my affiliate links.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll make a small commission if you purchase using these links. The price you pay as a consumer does not change.

Rachel Steenland

Rachel Steenland

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