10 of the best fragrant elderflower recipes

Elderflowers are a British summer icon. Drive around the countryside in June and you can’t fail to spot these ubiquitous blooms in the hedgerows, their sprays of delicate white flowers bobbing in the breeze.

Fragrant elderflowers are traditionally used to make elderflower cordial. We’ve got an easy recipe for this summertime classic below. There’s also plenty of elderflower recipe ideas that use cordial, syrup or the fresh blooms themselves. With their floral, slightly honeyed flavour, elderflowers go beautifully with other seasonal treasures including strawberries, gooseberries and cherries.

So why not forage for elderflowers this June? Gather your flowers, then have a bash at making some of the gorgeous summer desserts, drinks and bakes below…

10 of the best fragrant elderflower recipes

Where can I find and pick elderflowers?

Elderflowers are easy to identify and pick. They are usually in bloom from late May and at their best until late June. Look for sprays with lots of open, clean, white, star-shaped flowers. Trim at the fork in the stem below and use within a few hours. As with all foraging, pick away from busy roads, where flowers may have been tainted by fumes, and don’t leave any of the elder tree branches too barren as this will prevent them producing berries later in the year.

If you’re concerned about confusing elderflower blossom with other white flowers, give it a sniff – elderflower has a distinctive fresh scent, which you’ll recognise easily if you’ve ever had elderflower cordial. Before using, give the freshly picked elderflower heads a shake, then inspect and remove any insects.

What can I make with elderflowers?

Once you’ve cleaned your hedgerow haul, there are plenty of things you can make with elderflowers. Start with our classic elderflower cordial or elderflower fizz recipes below. Your cordial can be used in dozens of cocktails, mocktails, desserts and bakes, even after the short elderflower season has passed.

The best recipes using fresh elderflowers

Elderflower cordial

The only elderflower cordial recipe you’ll ever need. Once you’ve gathered a decent bunch of elderflower heads (around 50 or so), you can make two litres of this classic summer cordial. Our how-to guide has extra pointers.

Elderflower cordial

Elderflower tempura with elderflower dipping sauce

This elegant dessert puts a British summertime twist on the classic Japanese recipe. Fronds of flowers are dredged through a simple batter and deep-fried for crispy, fragrant results.


Strawberry, lemon and elderflower meringue

Gill Meller’s summery pavlova-style recipe features pillows of cream sweetened with elderflower cordial – and if you can get your hands on some fresh blooms too, it looks oh-so pretty topped with a tumble of them.


Elderflower fizz

This effervescent fermented drink is made by combining just-picked elderflowers with water, sugar, vinegar and lemon juice, before letting the natural yeasts on the flowers work their magic. It’s easier to make than you might think – follow our tips on bottling it safely and you’ll be rewarded with a refreshing, low-alcohol drink that’s perfect for toasting the arrival of summer.


Mango and elderflower mess

Elderflower cordial intensifies the heady, floral notes of ripe mango in this modern mess recipe. Serve in tall glasses for dramatic effect and garnish with elderflower heads.

Mango and elderflower mess


The best recipes using elderflower cordial

Elderflower, cherry and cream flourless cake

Catering for gluten-free guests this summer? They’ll adore this flourless cake. Ground almonds and cherries give the bake a bakewell tart flavour profile. You can use elderflower cordial or liqueur to sweeten the whipped cream cloud on top.

Elderflower jellies with boozy cream

These jellies are perfect when you want a make-ahead dessert for two. Pop them in the fridge in the afternoon, then enjoy after dinner in the garden, while you watch the sun go down.

Strawberry and elderflower sorbet

Stash a tub of this homemade strawberry and elderflower sorbet in the freezer ready for dessert emergencies, especially on those summer nights when it’s too hot to cook. It’s a great way of using up squishy berries or a haul from the pick-your-own farm.

Elderflower and cucumber prosecco cocktail

Stir up an easy summer cocktail using your homemade elderflower cordial and your favourite fizz. This recipe makes enough to serve eight, but can easily be scaled up for a bigger bash.

Pannacotta with gooseberry and elderflower compote

Tart gooseberries and honeyed elderflowers go together beautifully in elegant summer puds, like this creamy pannacotta topped with a tangy gooseberry and elderflower compote.

Looking for more ideas? Browse our complete collection of elderflower recipes

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