Elderflower cordial on tray

How to use elderflowers

Make the most of elderflowers in sensational seasonal recipes. These fragrant and delicate summer blooms are a wonderful addition to desserts and drinks.

Come summer, hedgerows are bursting with delicate elderflowers. Get collecting in June – and if you’re lucky, a few days either side in May and July, then try our favourite seasonal elderflower recipes.


It’s said that summer officially starts when elder trees (or shrubs) burst into flower and ends in late August when the berries are ripe. Their heady, sweet scent is synonymous with this time of year. The best time to pick elderflowers is on a dry, warm day when the blooms are newly open, and well away from traffic fumes. Give them a gentle shake to dislodge any insects and rinse briefly in cold water before using. Read our beginner’s guide to foraging for the golden rules.

Elderflower desserts

Elderflower is delicious mixed into cakes, tarts, trifles and jams. It pairs particularly well with tart fruits such as rhubarb and gooseberries. From casual nibbles to celebratory showstoppers, we have a whole host of fantastic floral recipes. Bake a rhubarb & elderflower sponge cake or our lemon & elderflower celebration cake for the ultimate decadent dessert, or layer up a strawberry & elderflower trifle, with an irresistible lemon drizzle base. For something lighter on a warm day, cool off with a scoop of gooseberry & elderflower yogurt ice. You can whip up this easy treat with just five ingredients.It may sound strange, but the blooms are also moreish dipped into a light batter and fried until crisp. Try our elderflower fritters with honey for a dessert with a difference. 

Elderflower drinks

The subtle floral notes of elderflower cordial make a wonderfully refreshing and sophisticated alternative to alcohol – perfect for summer entertaining. Or, if you’re looking for a party starter, try infusing spirits with elderflower, as in our recipe for elderflower & gooseberry vodka and elderflower gin. Catering for a crowd? Mix up a batch of apple, elderflower & mint punch. It’s easily doubled if a few extra guests turn up unannounced.

Elderflower cordial is easy to make with freshly gathered elderflowers infused with lemons, sugar, water and tartaric or citric acid. If you don’t have any elderflowers growing close by, a good choice of cordials is now available in supermarkets.

If you’re looking for a new foodie project, try your hand at making elderflower wine or elderflower champagne. We have plenty of home brewing tips, including a guide to home brewing safety and expert advice on how to clean home brewing equipment.

Have we made you thirsty? Check out our top 5 elderflower drinks.

More elderflower recipes

Prosecco & elderflower cocktail
Gooseberry, elderflower & sauvignon sorbet
Chicken garden salad with elderflower dressing
Gooseberry & elderflower yogurt ice
Homemade elderflower cordial
Elderflower & raspberry jelly
Elderflower crunch cake
All our favourite elderflower recipes


How do you use elderflowers? Leave a comment below…