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The Best Edible Flowers for Cakes, Cocktails, and More

Beautify food and drinks with edible blooms that lend vivid color and lively flavors.

Flowers needn't just decorate your dining table: They can play a starring role on your plate as well. Many common varieties of flowers are edible, and it's become relatively easy to find such blossoms at farmers’ markets or even packaged up in containers at chain grocery stores. Here are the flavor profiles of some of my favorite edible flowers and ideas for how to put these beautiful blooms to work. 

And if you’re interested in adding a touch of old fashioned elegance to your cooking, read on to learn how you can easily candy rose petals, preserving their distinctive fragrance and flavor in a shimmery sugar coating. 

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The Best Edible Flowers

PANSY 

  • Profile: Mild and slightly sweet, similar in taste and texture to spinach
  • Uses: Decorate baked goods such as cakes and cookies; add to salads or cold soups

FUCHSIA

  • Profile: Sweet-tart, slightly bitter, peppery
  • Uses: Freeze in ice cubes to garnish drinks

BEGONIA

  • Profile: Lemony, tart, juicy
  • Uses: Mix into salads for a punch of citrusy flavor

SNAPDRAGON

  • Profile: Bitter, woodsy
  • Uses: Garnish salads

CALENDULA

  • Profile: Piney-peppery with notes of spearmint
  • Uses: Use like saffron to infuse foods with a yellow-orange hue; dry and steep for tea

HIBISCUS

Profile: Bright and fruity, similar to cranberries or cherries

Uses: Dry, and then eat out of hand as a snack or steep to make a vibrant tea

ROSE

  • Profile: Aromatic and slightly sweet (Note: the darker the rose, the stronger the flavor)
  • Uses: Candy; incorporate into a simple syrup for desserts and drinks

NASTURTIUM

  • Profile: Peppery, spicy
  • Uses: Substitute in any place you would garnish with arugula or watercress

How to Make Candied Rose Petals

Candying rose petals with egg wash and sugar preserves their delicate floral-sweet flavor and fragrance, and I love using them to top cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. And unlike the fresh petals, the crystallized ones last up to two weeks—just make sure you place them in an airtight container, which you can leave at room temperature. 

DIY Candied Rose Petals

Ingredients

½ cup sugar

1 large egg white

2 teaspoons water

2 cups rose petals, divided

Instructions

1. Place sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Whisk egg white and water together in bowl. Dip 1 petal into mixture and then firmly drag each side against edge of bowl to remove excess—this step is really important so don’t skip it. Petal should be coated in thin, even layer of egg wash.

3. Gently lay petal on top of sugar. Using spoon, sprinkle sugar over petal and shake dish to ensure petal is well coated. Carefully slide fork underneath petal and transfer to prepared sheet.

4. Repeat with remaining petals. Let petals stand, uncovered, until dry and crisp, at least 1½ hours or up to 24 hours.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.