Homemade elderflower cordial

Homemade elderflower cordial

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(49 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 10 mins Plus picking and 24 hours steeping


Makes about 4 litres

Fragrant and refreshing, springtime elderflower cordial is easy to make. Mix with sparkling water to create elderflower pressé, or add to wine, prosecco or champagne to start a party in style

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per 250ml

  • kcal619
  • fat0g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs165g
  • sugars165g
  • fibre0g
  • protein0g
  • salt0.03g
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  • 2½ kg white sugar, either granulated or caster



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 2 unwaxed lemons



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 20 fresh elderflower heads, stalks trimmed
  • 85g citric acid (from chemists)


  1. Put the sugar and 1.5 litres/2¾ pints water into the largest saucepan you have. Gently heat, without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved. Give it a stir every now and again. Pare the zest from the lemons using a potato peeler, then slice the lemons into rounds.

  2. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the pan of syrup to the boil, then turn off the heat. Fill a washing up bowl with cold water. Give the flowers a gentle swish around to loosen any dirt or bugs. Lift flowers out, gently shake and transfer to the syrup along with the lemons, zest and citric acid, then stir well. Cover the pan and leave to infuse for 24 hrs.

  3. Line a colander with a clean tea towel, then sit it over a large bowl or pan. Ladle in the syrup – let it drip slowly through. Discard the bits left in the towel. Use a funnel and a ladle to fill sterilised bottles (run glass bottles through the dishwasher, or wash well with soapy water. Rinse, then leave to dry in a low oven). The cordial is ready to drink straight away and will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Or freeze it in plastic containers or ice cube trays and defrost as needed.

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Comments, questions and tips

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28th Jun, 2020
just sampled the cordial and it both smells and tastes lovely. Used big heads of flowers picked on a sunny day. made it in our big pasta pan for plenty of room.
koolk_2009's picture
26th Jun, 2020
Just made this as per recipe and it is delicious. You maybe need a bit more cordial per drink than I was expecting, but its fab!
Karen Hudson's picture
Karen Hudson
25th Jun, 2020
Just made the elderflower cordial and it is perfect. Made almost 4 litres followed the recipe almost to the letter put in a few extra heads as some were small and the result is delicious. Better than any I’ve tasted before. Not sure why people have had such negative results?
Felix & Annie's picture
Felix & Annie
24th Jun, 2020
Why anyone would rate this as a good recipe is beyond me! As many others have commented, you have to change practically everything to get a decent result. At least double the elderflowers and halve the citric acid. Even the quantity is mistaken - it makes nothing like 4 litres, barely 3. Recipe needs a complete rewrite!
12th Jun, 2020
I made this with less sugar and a lot more flower heads and it's amazing. Because of previous comments I only used 50g of citric acid. What a lovely drink. I'm planning on making ice cubes with some of it to drop into my G&T.
11th Jun, 2020
Not too sure why it's so highly rated when everyone seems to have changed the recipe! I put in less sugar (1.6kg), doubled the number of elderflower heads, and decreased citric acid (50g) and it is overly sweet, mostly lemon with a hint of elderflower. Tasty, but not really what I was looking for.
7th Jun, 2020
Following the comments, I used 50g citric acid and 30+ flower heads. The cordial is delicious but when I tried to freeze some, it won’t freeze!
12th Jun, 2020
I've frozen some into small ice cubes. They took a while to go solid but it did work.
31st May, 2020
We have used this recipe for 5 years now and it has never disappointed.
Josh Coppersmith Heaven's picture
Josh Coppersmit...
24th May, 2020
Oooh, really wish I'd read the comments here first. Just made a big batch. 85g citric acid is definitely too much, would do 40-50g next time. Please edit the recipe, this seems to be the same experience of a lot of people on here


27th Jun, 2016
has anyone tried making cordial from the flowers of Sambuca niger? It is the "first cousin" of elderflower and has pink flowers. I thought it might produce a cordial with a rosy glow. Has anyone tried this yet? Or shall I be the pioneer?!
7th Jun, 2017
Yes. It makes a pink champagne and a pretty pale pink elderflower jam.
15th Jul, 2015
Where do you get citric acid, the pharmacies around me (Kilmarnock) just shake their heads and say "oh we don't stock that anymore"?
27th Jun, 2016
I assume you have tried Boots. They should order it for you. Also try a home brew shop.
8th Jul, 2015
Similar problem to Debbie H 31 May 2014. Is it safe to drink?
8th Jul, 2015
Was there an answer to Debbie.H.'s question on 31 May 2014? I have a similar problem, my bottles, after only two weeks in the fridge, unopened, contain suspended "clouds". If I found that in a commercially produced bottle, I would throw it away. Is this safe to drink?
31st May, 2014
Help needed please! I made this five days ago and it's delicious, today I got a bottle out of the fridge and it was full of suspended floating bits. I looked at another unopened bottle and it too looks the same. I followed the recipe to the letter, what's gone wrong?
7th Jun, 2017
And to add variety add 6 cubes of crystalized ginger. Adds a slight kick to the cordial.
10th Jul, 2016
This cordial keeps well I have some left from last year I need to strain it but it tastes great I think the citric acid helps to proserve it
8th Jul, 2015
I have been making elderflower cordial for many years so thought I would share a few tips. I buy my citric acid in 1kg bags from Amazon, it is quite reasonably priced and has a use-by date of several years. I have found that if you freeze it in small quantities (I use 500ml water bottles) it freezes perfectly, however if it is possible to preserve it using Campden Tablets (used in wine making, also from Amazon) 2 tabs for the recipe above. I also make a lemon and elderflower marmalade from the leftover fruit which is fabulous. For this reason, I double the number of lemons and reduce the citric acid to 50g. After straining, pick out the elderflowers as best as you can, weigh the fruit, put in the food processor and chop quite finely but not so much that is just a mush. Place fruit in a saucepan with the same weight of granulated sugar and bring to the boil, simmer until set-point is reached. Would love to hear how you get on!
21st Jun, 2015
Brilliant! Very sweet, so you don't need much. As it's so sweet, I would suggest adding many more elderflower heads for more elderflower taste. That way, you can use less cordial but still have plenty of flavour. I wasn't able to remove all the little bugs before adding the flowers to the syrup, so there were a few aphids left in the teatowel. Didn't seem to matter! Was only able to make 3 litres of cordial with the amounts in the recipe.
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