7 Creative Uses for Lavender Leaves: Cooking & Aromatherapy

Lavender oils in lavender field
From DIY soaps and lotions to culinary uses, there are many uses for lavender leaves. Use lavender leaves to make simple syrup, lavender tea, or baked goods such as lavender cheesecake. Lavender can also be used to make bug repellents, potpourri, sachets, and infused oil for your skin.

1. Infused Lavender Oil for Your Skin

You can use lavender leaves to make infused oil just as you would make infused oil with lavender flowers.

  1. Pack dried lavender leaves into a canning jar about 3/4 full.
  2. Cover the leaves by adding your favorite carrier oil: argan oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, hemp seed oil, sunflower oil, rice bran, olive oil, or sweet almond oil.
  3. Stir the mixture well to remove any air bubbles, ensuring the leaves are fully immersed.
  4. Place a lid on the canning jar and set it in a warm, sunny place for up to three weeks. The warmth will help the leaves release their essential oils.
  5. Shake the jar daily to evenly distribute the essential oils, especially during the first week.
  6. After three weeks, strain the leaves and keep the oil. You can do this by pouring the mixture through a fine mesh strainer over a medium-sized bowl.
Bottle of lavender infused oil surrounded by lavender leaves and stems and flowers
Lavender infused oil

2. Culinary Uses

Lavender leaves are versatile herbs that give food a floral flavor and pair well with sweet and savory dishes. Try it in the following ways:

  • Beverages like tea, lemonade, and cocktails
  • Desserts like cakes, cookies, and ice cream
  • Herb and seasoning blends such as Herbes de Provence
  • Salads such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts
  • Sauces for sweetness and complexity
  • Soups and stews such as chicken, lamb, or fish

How to Make Simple Syrup from Lavender Leaves

Simple syrup is one part sugar to one part water. It is easy to give your simple syrup a flavor boost with fresh herbs, and dried or fresh lavender leaves make an excellent choice.

  1. When making simple syrup with lavender leaves, mix equal parts sugar and water in a pot.
  2. Bring the pot to a boil to dissolve the sugar, remove from the heat, and add a few pounds of fresh lavender leaves.
  3. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, strain it through a fine mesh sieve, and use your simple syrup in baking or beverages!
Lavender simple syrup in jars outside on table
Lavender simple syrup

3. Bug Repellent

Lavender is used to make bug repellents because of a compound known as linalool. Linalool repels insects naturally and is known to be an effective killer of mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects. This compound makes the insects lose their sense of smell, which disrupts their ability to locate their prey.

How to Make Lavender Bug Repellant

To make DIY insect repellent from lavender leaves, gather lemon eucalyptus, citronella, and lavender essential oils, along with a bottle of witch hazel. You’ll also need a large amount of carrier oil, such as almond or jojoba oil, along with a spray bottle.

  1. Combine the essential oils with the carrier oil of your choice in a bowl in a ratio of 10–20 drops of essential oil per ounce (30 ml) of carrier oil.
  2. Add the oil blend to the spray bottle and shake it to mix well.
  3. Next, add 10-20 drops of witch hazel per 30 ml. Shake the bottle well to combine and allow the mixture to sit for at least 24 hours.
  4. Ensure you shake the bug repellent before applying it to your clothes or property.
  5. Use your DIY bug repellent to help prevent bug bites.
Spray bottle of lavender bug repellant with fresh lavender
Lavender bug repellant

4. Potpourri and Sachets

Potpourri is a mixture of plant materials and other ingredients that provides a pleasant aroma in the air. To make lavender potpourri, take a large bowl and fill it with dried lavender leaves and other dried flowers and herbs. You may wish to include dried rose petals, dried citrus peels, or dried herbs like rosemary or mint. Mix the ingredients to create a scent of your choosing, then place the bowl in a central position in your home and enjoy.

How to Make Sachets from Lavender Leaves

You can make lavender sachets using dried lavender leaves and place them in closets to prevent moth infestation and add a lovely scent. To make the sachets, you’ll need dried lavender leaves, a piece of fabric, a pair of scissors, and a needle and thread.

  1. Cut the fabric into a square or rectangular shape that is large enough to fit the number of lavender leaves you have.
  2. Fold the fabric in half, right sides together, and sew three sides of the fabric, leaving one side open.
  3. Turn the sachet right side out and fill it with the dried lavender leaves.
  4. Sew the opening to form the sachet.
  5. Tie the sachet with a ribbon or string.
  6. Place the sachet in a drawer, closet, or other area where you would like to add a touch of lavender scent.
Homemade sachets made from lavender leaves sitting on a dried lavender wreath
Lavender leaves sachets

5. Soaps and Lotions

Given its lovely aroma and its calming effects, lavender can be a wonderful addition to soap or lotion for bath and self-care products. Here are some ways of including lavender in your handmade soap or lotion:

  1. Begin by preparing the soap or lotion base of your choice.
  2. Prepare the lavender infusion by combining dried lavender flowers with a carrier oil like olive oil or sweet almond oil in a bowl. Seal the bowl and let this mixture sit in a warm place, such as a windowsill, with direct sunlight for 4-6 weeks.
  3. Add the lavender infusion to your soap or lotion.
  4. Put the soap or lotion that has been infused with lavender into clean bottles, molds, or other airtight containers.
  5. Keep the soap or lotion out of direct sunlight in a cool, dry location.
Blocks of homemade lavender soap and fresh lavender
Lavender soap

6. Aromatherapy 

You can brighten up your home environment with lavender candles made from dried lavender leaves and a few drops of lavender essential oil.

It’s easy to make lavender oil for use in a diffuser or for other aromatherapy purposes:

  1. In a bowl or jar, add the dried lavender leaves and cover them with a carrier oil of your choice, making sure that the leaves are well-soaked.
  2. Place the sealed container in a sunny area for 2-4 weeks.
  3. Use cheesecloth or a coffee filter to strain the oil into a clean container.
  4. The lavender oil is ready to use in candles, wax, or oil diffusers.

7. Lavender Tea

Lavender is a great addition to herbal tea blends due to its calming abilities that help encourage relaxation. Making your own lavender tea is simple and requires just a few ingredients.

How to Make Lavender Tea with Lavender Leaves and Buds

To make lavender tea, you’ll need dried lavender buds and leaves, 2 cups of water, honey, or sugar to taste (optional). Here’s how to use lavender leaves for making herbal tea:

  1. Put the dried lavender leaves in a teapot or cup and pour the hot water over them.
  2. Allow the mixture to sit for 5–10 minutes.
  3. Strain the tea and discard the lavender flowers.
  4. Add honey or sugar to taste, if desired and enjoy!

How to Dry Lavender Leaves

Drying lavender in a food dehydrator is the fastest method that helps preserve essential oils during the drying process. Follow these steps to dry fresh lavender leaves:

  1. Wash fresh lavender leaves thoroughly under cool running water to remove dirt and insects.
  2. Pat the leaves dry with clean kitchen napkins or paper towels.
  3. Place the lavender leaves in a dehydrator tray, leaving space between them for air circulation.
  4. If your dehydrator does not have a specific setting for herbs, set it to the lowest temperature possible.
  5. Dry the leaves for about 2-4 hours, checking them regularly. The leaves should be dry and brittle and crack easily when bent.
  6. Store the leaves in an airtight container in a cool and dry area for up to 10 years.
Lavender leaves on table
Lavender leaves

What are the Benefits of Lavender Leaves? 

Lavender leaves have many health benefits:

  • Can aid in the treatment of various skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne
  • Can help boost the immune system through their antioxidant properties
  • It can improve sleep and also help reduce restless leg syndrome
  • It may lessen muscle pain, headaches, and menstrual cramps
  • Lavender leaves have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties
  • May help reduce stress and anxiety with their calming effect on the body and mind

Are All Lavender Leaves Edible? 

Yes, all lavender leaves can be consumed fresh or dried. Lavender leaves can be eaten raw, dehydrated, or cooked.

Most experts recommend using English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) for cooking because other species may taste bitter in your dishes. Some lavender leaves are more potent than others and should be used in small amounts.

European lavender field with a table that has a croissant and glass of wine resting on it
European lavender field

What Type of Lavender Has the Best Scented Leaves? 

Some of the lavender types with the best-scented leaves include:

  • English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): This species provides a sweet, floral aroma that is indigenous to Europe. It is commonly grown for both culinary and medicinal uses.
  • French lavender (Lavandula dentata): This lavender plant has a stronger, herbaceous aroma and is a native of the Mediterranean region. It is suitable for sachets and potpourri.
  • Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia): This is a cross between English and French lavender used in industrial lavender products because of its potent, pleasant aroma.
  • Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas): This type is native to Spain and has a powerful, lemony aroma that is normally used in cosmetics and aromatherapy.

Patrick Anampiu

Patrick has a farming background and is a full-time food writer and recipe creator. His goal is to help you discover how fantastic it is to dehydrate and preserve food by sharing his knowledge. Outside of the kitchen, Patrick enjoys outdoor activities and exploring nature in all its beauty.

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