Edible Flowers: Cooking with Lavender Leaves

Lavender leaves in a pile
There are many options for cooking or baking with lavender leaves. Try them fresh or dried in beverages like lavender tea and lemonade, folded into foccacia bread, inside shortbread cookies and as part of seasoning blends like Herbes de Provence.

Can You Use Lavender Leaves in Cooking?

Lavender leaves and flowers are edible and can be used in cooking, baking, and garnishing. You can use them fresh or dried. The key is to proceed with moderation—dried lavender is at least three times as potent as fresh lavender.

Here are just a few of the culinary uses of lavender:

  1. Hot and cold beverages such as lavender lemonade, sparkling wine, martinis, lattes, or lavender tea and tea blends.
  2. Infusions such as infused vinegar for vinaigrettes, infused honey, lavender sugar, lavender water, infused oil, and infused cooking salt.
  3. Lavender simple syrup for lemonade, iced tea, and cocktails.
  4. Savory dishes like turkey, chicken, and lamb.
  5. Fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon.
  6. Marinades, dry rubs, and sauces.
  7. Baked goods made with lavender-infused sugar and honey. Try lavender with baked items like shortbread cookies, cakes, and homemade pizza dough.
  8. As a garnish for ice cream, salads, cakes, roast chicken, sparkling wine, and desserts.
  9. In herb blends such as herbes de Provence. To create your own, add some dried lavender buds with dried rosemary, marjoram, dry thyme, oregano, and fennel.
Lavender cupcake with purple frosting and sugar flowers
Lavender cupcake

Are All Lavender Leaves Edible?

The leaves and flowers of all types of lavender are edible. What you want to remove are the dried calyxes that cover the petals to protect the lavender flowers. These can be bitter and tough.

Some lavender plants are more edible than others because they have less camphor content. English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is the most palatable lavender. It has fewer essential oils.

Other types, such as French lavender, Portuguese lavender, and Lavandin, are edible but have more camphor content. French lavender is usually used in aromatherapy to provide the health benefits of inhaling lavender.

The trick with all types of lavender is to proceed with moderation. Fresh or dried flowers and leaves obtained from Lavandin and French lavender may make your food feel perfumy and soapy when used in excess.

Do Lavender Leaves Need to be Cooked?

Lavender leaves and flowers are edible, both raw and cooked. You don’t have to cook them unless the recipe calls for that.

When used as a garnish, fresh lavender leaves and flowers are used raw. The flowers add a purple dash of color to the food, while the leaves provide a green or pale gray color pop.

Bowl of lavender leaves and flowers
Lavender leaves and flowers

What are Some Good Lavender Leaves Recipes?

Can’t wait to enjoy the brightness of culinary lavender in sweet and savory dishes? Here are some tempting lavender recipes you can try:

Plate of golden brown cookies surrounded by lavender
Lavender cookies

Why Would You Want to Use Lavender Leaves in Cooking?

Lavender leaves add warmth to your meals with their herbaceous floral flavor and hints of mint with earthy undertones. The flavor may differ between types. For example, English lavender has a mild, peppery flavor, while some varieties may have hints of fruit, smoke, and woodiness.

Lavender leaves and flowers also add a pop of color to your dishes and are a healthy addition to meals because they are low-calorie and free of fat and cholesterol.

What is the Nutritional Value of Lavender Leaves?

Lavender leaves have many nutritional benefits, including:

  • Improved mental health. Consuming beverages like lavender tea may help relieve depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia.
  • Reduction of painful menstruation. Inhaling the scent of lavender in infused beverages may help soothe the cramping associated with menstruation.
  • Pain relief. Lavender may relieve the pain caused by sores, headaches, toothaches, and bruises.
  • The herb may help with digestive problems such as abdominal swelling, nausea, gas, vomiting, and stomach upset.
Glass of lavender lemonade surrounded by split lemons and lavender
Lavender lemonade

Do You Have to Dehydrate Lavender Leaves Before Cooking with Them?

Dehydrating lavender leaves before using them in cooking is not necessary. You can use fresh lavender if the recipe calls for fresh. It also makes a good substitute for dried lavender. The two main reasons for dehydrating lavender are to preserve it longer and concentrate its flavor.

Alex Maina

Preserving food has become a meeting point for Alex's passions—gardening, cooking, and writing. Having grown up on a farm with cows, goats, chickens, and fresh fruits and vegetables, Alex knows the importance of preserving food for leaner times. He spends his time drying and canning foods, trying new recipes, and writing for Dehydrated Cookbook.

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