20 Brilliant Ways to Use Lavender in Your Recipes

Photo: Jonathan Lovekin

If you appreciate the medicinal and cosmetic properties of lavender—with its intense herbal scent—as an ingredient in soaps, essential oils, or sachets, you'll be happy to learn that there are even more exciting ways to use it. The leaves and flowers of this woody herb are edible, and more and more home cooks are using it creatively in their favorite recipes.

Native to the Mediterranean, lavender comes from the Lamiaceae family along with oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, and thyme—more familiar herbs used in everyday cooking. Whether you're using it as a garnish or a main ingredient, lavender lends a subtle floral flavor to sweet or savory dishes. Infuse honey with lavender to add unique flavor to salad dressings, desserts, and cocktails. Combine it with garam masala for spice-rubbed turkey, or blend it with sugar to sweeten strawberry-rhubarb galettes—lavender can be incorporated into just about any kind of dish.

Here, you'll find a wide range of recipes that use lavender unexpectedly. Just remember that a little goes a long way: No one wants to eat soap for dinner!

01 of 20

Mini Blueberry-Lavender Cornmeal Cream Tarts

Jonathan Lovekin

Buttery cornmeal crusts, rich lavender-vanilla whipped cream, and juicy summer blueberries—is your mouth watering, too? These elegant tarts are a surefire showstopper.

02 of 20

Wyebrook Farm Fried Chicken

Mikkel Vang

A sprinkling of fresh lavender is a beautiful and surprisingly final flourish for buttermilk fried chicken.

03 of 20

Concord Grape and Lavender Sorbet

Naho Kubota

This four-ingredient icy treat is stunning in both color and flavor, thanks to sweet Concord grapes and fresh lavender leaves.

04 of 20

Beet Salad With Honey-Lavender Dressing

Mikkel Vang

Take vinaigrette to new heights by adding fresh lavender. It makes a delectable dressing for this colorful salad of beets, Swiss chard, pecans, and goat cheese.

05 of 20

Spring Cupcakes with Sugared Flowers

Spring Cupcakes with Sugared Flowers
Sang An

This is one of our all-time prettiest (and tastiest!) desserts. Moist chocolate cupcakes are topped with lavender-spiked icing and sugared pansies and violas.

06 of 20

Pepita and Lavender Brittle


Brittle can be a showcase for so much more than peanuts! This version pairs crunchy pepitas (green hulled pumpkin seeds) with delicate lavender.

07 of 20

Lavender-Infused Lemonade

Anna Williams

Sunny lemonade gets a double dose of lavender—dried lavender flavors the simple syrup, and fresh sprigs are used as a garnish. Bonus: It can be made up to a week in advance. Avoiding sugar? Try our raw honey variation!

08 of 20

Lavender-Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce


Take homemade caramel from good to great by amping it up with dried lavender and fleur de sel (fancy salt!). It's delicious over ice cream or cake and makes a lovely hostess gift.

09 of 20

Mini Strawberry-Rhubarb Galettes

Jennifer Causey

Take the classic combination of strawberries and rhubarb to the next level by flavoring them with homemade lavender sugar. Divide among puff pastry squares for the perfect individual desserts.

10 of 20

Lavender Spritzer


You only need three ingredients to make this elegant thirst-quencher: sugar, dried lavender blossoms, and sparkling water.

11 of 20

Lavender-Grape Tart


Team buttery, golden pastry with juicy grapes and aromatic lavender for a spectacular fall dessert.

12 of 20

Three-Cheese Cake


Orange segments tossed with lavender honey and dried lavender cut the richness of this luxurious cheesecake beautifully. Decorate with fresh lavender blossoms to really wow the crowd.

13 of 20

Lavender Galaktoboureko (Custard-Filled Phyllo)

Sang An

Our take on this classic Greek dessert calls for infusing the traditional semolina custard filling with lavender and honey before encasing it in delicate phyllo pastry.

14 of 20

Honey Lavender Ice Cream


Lavender is the perfect partner for rich, eggy ice cream. Serve with your favorite shortbread cookies.

15 of 20

Wild Turkey with Lavender Masala


Rub turkey with bacon fat and a mixture of dried lavender and garam masala for a bird unlike any you've had before. It's great for a fall dinner party—or a nontraditional Thanksgiving.

16 of 20

Peach and Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake


Don't let pineapples have all the upside-down fun! Ripe peaches and fresh lavender give this topsy-turvy cornmeal cake tons of flavor.

17 of 20

Chocolate Pecan Pie with Chocolate Crust


Everyone will love this chocolaty riff on pecan pie. Make it extra special by garnishing with lavender before your guests dig in.

18 of 20

Lavender Champagne

Laurie Frankel

Champagne gets a floral finish by adding lavender simple syrup and garnishing with a fresh lavender sprig. This would make a elegant seasonal cocktail at a summery garden soirée.

19 of 20

Lavender Honey

Figs and Raspberries With Lavender-Honey Cream

Stir fresh or dried lavender blooms into warm honey and let the mixture infuse overnight. Then, heat the honey and pour it through a fine sieve. Now it's ready to be added to whip cream to spoon over figs and raspberries, blended into creative cocktails, or served on a cheese board.

20 of 20

Lavender Salt


Turn your lavender crop's bounty into a lovely garden gift with this salt blend, which can be used as a rub for chicken, fish, or lamb. Combine just-about-to-bloom, chopped lavender flowers with either fluer de sel or coarse salt and package in an air-tight container.

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