An important life skill is to be able to use the things around you to thrive. Use those fragrant blooms to make these lilac recipes for summer baking.Jump to Recipe
Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you use the links. To learn more click here.
Like many of us, I am a 20 something on a tight budget. I like affordable ingredients that are still delicious. And you know what’s better than affordable ingredients?
That’s right, free ingredients.
There’s so much edible goodness around us. And lots of it doesn’t cost a penny.
Where I live there are huge lilac bushes on almost every corner. Why let those beautiful bloom go to waste when I have 3 lilac recipes to preserve summer just a little bit longer?!
If we get creative, we quickly realize how much free shit is all around us especially in the summer.
And speaking of free shit, have you gotten your free copy of The Small Batch Frenzy? It’s our mini e-cookbook of everyone’s favorite comfort desserts in small batch sizes.
Get it sent straight to your inbox below and feel good about being such a bargain finder today!
Many flowers are not only edible, they also provide health benefits and unique flavors to desserts and summer drinks.
A Few Fun Facts about Lilacs
Lilacs are part of the olive family. (I know, whaaaa?)
Typically lilacs bloom every other year, but you can force them to bloom annually.
Lilacs was used medicinally in the 19th century to help treat malaria and rid the body of parasitic worms. (The OG de-wormer).
Like lavender, lilacs can help reduce anxiety and depression and is used in aromatherapy as a calming scent.
Amazing recipes that are even better with Lilac:
Summer Pound Cake
Where to Find Your Edible Flowers
As I said, I really love the free flowers. The lilacs I got for all of these recipes were picked from my grandma’s house. Her backyard is just full of bushes so free lilacs are abundant!
I have also bought flowers from Lowes or other garden centers so that I can have lots of edible flowers like pansies and carnations all summer long.
Normally I don’t suggest using cut flowers, because there’s a lot of pesticides + preservatives on commercial bouquets. And those pesticides and preservatives are hard to get completely off the flower so that it’s safe to eat.
HOWEVER! I have been informed by a fellow baker in my area that Costco’s flowers are actually quite low in pesticides if cut flowers are the way you want to go. (These are the flowers many bakers use for topping cakes and such).
But still. Cleaning your flowers is a super important step. There are a couple ways to clean them to rid them of bugs, dirt, and/or mild pesticides.
Cleaning Edible Flowers
- For both methods, fill a bowl halfway with warm water. Add your lilacs to the bowl.
- For method one add 3 tablespoons of white vinegar
- For the other method, add 3 tablespoons of vodka or another high proof alcohol.
- Swirl the flowers around and let them sit for about 5 minutes. Then, using a fine mesh strainer like this one, drain the flowers and rinse them well under more warm water.
- Pat dry with a clean dish towel and you’re ready to start making your lilac recipes!
Lilac extract is a stupid simple way to be able to use lilac flavoring. It also makes a great edible gift for the people in your life who like to get creative in the kitchen.
Lilac Extract FAQs
Why is my extract yellow?
When you soak the lilacs in vodka, you’ll notice that the solution turns yellow-ish. This is quite normal.
Feel free to add a drop of purple gel food coloring after your lilacs and vodka have been sitting for the full 2 months for a more aesthetic appeal.
How do I use Lilac Extract?
Using 3 teaspoons of the extract in many of our favorite summer cakes and cupcakes just takes them to a whole other level.
Lilac is described to have a floral taste (duh) with citrus undertones making it a fantastic addition to a lemon pound cake or an orange loaf.
I’ve also heard that it’s amazing with grapefruit but I have yet to try this combination.
How do know when it is ready to use?
After you wait 2 months, yes TWO months, don’t rush the magic, you’ll know it’s ready when you sniff it. You shouldn’t get much alcohol smell coming through. Mainly the smell of lilacs.
Why do I have to take off the green parts?
The greenery makes the extract super bitter almost deeming it unuseable. It’s gross.
- 1 cup lilac flowers cleaned and free of stems
- 1 cup vodka (good quality)
- Clean your lilacs really well and take off as much of the green on the flowers as possible. The more green the more bitter.
- Put your petals in a mason jar that seals well. Cover the petals with vodka and fill to the top of the jar. Tighten the lid, shake it up and put it in a dry dark space (like a kitchen cabinet) for 2 months. Shake the jar every couple weeks/when you remember.
- Use in your favorite summer recipes for some amazing flavors or gift to those who you know love lilacs. (optionally, you can put a teeny tiny amount of purple gel food coloring in the jar AFTER it's ready for aesthetic appeal).
Lilac syrup is perfect for drizzling over some Sunday morning pancakes, crepes, or waffles.
(Honestly it makes a great dipping sauce for these Pancake Bites for when you’re on the go too)!
It can also go in cocktails and iced teas. I will say that this syrup is a bit thicker than normal simple syrups that you’d usually use in drinks. If you want the perfect cocktail simple syrup, decrease the sugar by one cup and keep everything else the same!
My favorite way I’ve used it is in this Lilac Lemon Pound Cake. Holy crap it’s amazing!
Lilac Syrup FAQs
Why do we add the blueberries?
100% Lilac syrup doesn’t have the most appetizing color. Tbh it’s the color of pee. Which, I mean, whatever floats your boat, but I think the blueberries make this much more appealing, don’t you? I mean most of us do eat with our eyes first, especially in the Instagram age.
But do the blueberries affect the taste?
Not really. I can’t tell the difference because we use so few. These really are just more for the coloring of this lilac recipe!
Why do I need to stir continuously?
Stirring the sugar and water continuously while the sugar dissolves is crucial. By stirring you are helping to better break down the sucrose into a smaller molecule.
Thus, when the syrup cools, it will stay smooth rather than crystallizing again and leaving you with a gritty syrup. #science
Why do we take off all the greenery?
Removing all the greenery is super important because the green stuff is bitter AF.
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup lilac flowers clean and off the stem
- 3-7 blueberries (depending on how deep of a purple you want)
- In a medium saucepan combine your water and sugar. On medium heat, continually whisk your sugar and water until the sugar dissolves and the solution is clear.
- Add your lilacs and blueberries. Allow the mixture to come to a boil. Allow it to boil for 3-4 minutes before removing from heat and straining the syrup into a jar.
- As the syrup cools, it will thicken. Leave in the fridge overnight for best results.
- Use in your favorite summer drinks, over pancakes, in baked good, etc. One jar can last up to 3 months in the fridge.
Lilac Infused Honey
This is a super easy lilac recipe to make your honey a little extra fancy.
Lilac Honey FAQs
Can I use another flower instead of lilacs?
Of course! Lavender, fruit blossoms, and other similar edible flowers are great infused in honey.
Will the honey go bad?
Honey by itself has no expiration date…ever. It lasts forever.
However, infused honey is a different story. Because honey is predigested by bees, it’s pretty much immortal now.
Actually, water is what makes it possible for honey to go bad. And since flowers are filled with water, your honey can go bad.
The safe way to go is to use your infused honey within a month and keep it in the fridge.
What if I don’t want to store the honey in the fridge?
If you are using dried lilacs, you can treat it as normal honey and leave it in the cabinet.
It should keep much, much longer and is much better to give as a gift or to use if you are a forgetful person like me.
Lilac Infused Honey
- 1 cup raw, unfiltered honey
- 2 cup lilac flowers, green stems removed cleaned
- Layer honey and lilacs in a small jar (like a jam jar). Put the lid on tightly and leave in the fridge for 2 weeks before using. (Keep in fridge for up to 2 months).
Other Lilac Recipes You Can Try
If you have extra lilacs left over, but aren’t feeling up to making more lilac recipes ,don’t let them go to waste! Besides putting them in a little vase to fill your apartment with fragrant smells, try a couple other ideas!
(If you are feeling up to trying a few more recipes, check out the Lilac Lemon Pound Cake Recipe and our Lilac Lemonade).
Dry the petals
It’s a great way to be able to safely gift your infused honey around the holidays to friends and neighbors.
This is also great for out of season baking. Lilacs are plentiful in the dead of winter but that doesn’t mean you won’t be craving some summer flavors.
You can technically rehydrate the petals or use dried petals for decoration on cakes and other baked goods.
You can also make your own lilac body scrub for a luxurious shower.
Lilac is a unique and tasty flavor that is great to use when you want to shake things up with your baking creativity. Decently versatile and not overpowering, lilac is a subtle and interesting addition to most of our citrus summer treats.
And it should be because once you’ve made some these easy lilac recipes, take a pic, post it on the gram and make sure to tag me (@thefulfillmentpill)! I love seeing you creations and really, if you don’t post it on Instagram, did it even happen?
Did you guys enjoy this article? Would you like me to do more posts on how to use certain ingredients in the kitchen? Let me know in the comments!
Sharing is caring! Do you know someone who would needs to try these unique lilac uses? Share it with them!
Don’t forget to get your free copy of The Small Batch Frenzy! Seriously, the brownies, cookies, and everything else in here will pair great with some delicious honey lavender cupcakes!
See you soon, friends!