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What should I pair with lavender?

What should I pair with lavender?

Lavender is a versatile and popular herb that can complement both sweet and savory foods. Its floral, slightly sweet flavor pairs well with ingredients like lemon, berries, vanilla, and chocolate. Lavender also has an affinity for herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage. When cooking with lavender, use it sparingly as it has a strong aroma and taste. The dried flowers or leaves are often used for culinary purposes. Lavender adds a unique complexity and nuance to dishes. This article will provide tips on the best flavor pairings and recipes to try when cooking with lavender.

What foods and flavors pair well with lavender?

Here are some of the most complementary flavors and ingredients to use with lavender:

Citrus: The bright acidity of lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange help balance out lavender’s floral essence. Citrus juices and zests pair nicely.

Berries: The sweet-tart flavor of berries complements lavender’s slight sweetness. Try lavender with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.

Herbs: Mediterranean herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage integrate well with lavender. The blend of herbal flavors is aromatic and delicious.

Vanilla: The vanilla’s floral notes intertwine seamlessly with lavender. Use vanilla extract or beans in baked goods.

Chocolate: The mild bitterness and richness of chocolate contrasts lavender’s light sweet perfume.

Honey: Honey’s mild sweetness is the perfect partner for lavender’s delicate flavor. Infuse them together.

Tea: Lavender is often blended with black, green or herbal teas. Its aroma complements teas like Earl Grey.

Wine: Lavender infused wine or cocktails pair well with lavender in desserts. It can provide an aromatic floral note.

Poultry: Lavender’s herbaceous quality complements the delicate flavor of chicken, turkey, duck and game birds.

Lamb: Lavender nicely accompanies the gaminess of lamb for a unique herbal pairing.

Pork: Lavender’s slight sweetness pairs well with pork’s richness. It adds an unexpected complexity.

Seafood: Lavender enhances the briny taste of seafood like scallops, shrimp, crab and halibut.

Goat Cheese: The tanginess of goat cheese balances out lavender’s mild floral sweetness.

Rice/Grains: The neutral flavor of rice, quinoa, millet and couscous allow lavender’s taste to really shine through.

Almonds: The nutty flavor of almonds intermingles nicely with floral lavender. They can be used in baked goods.

Potatoes: Lavender’s earthy qualities complement starchy potatoes well. It adds interest to mashed or roasted potatoes.

Recipe ideas featuring lavender

Here are some recipe ideas that incorporate lavender beautifully:

Lavender Lemonade: Steep dried lavender and lemon slices in simple syrup. Mix with lemon juice and water for refreshing lemonade.

Lavender Earl Grey Shortbread: Infuse Earl Grey tea and lavender flowers into a shortbread dough. Bake into floral, aromatic cookies.

Lavender Honey Ice Cream: Make a custard with cream, milk, honey and lavender. Chill and churn in an ice cream maker for a creamy, delicate dessert.

Lavender Crème Brûlée: Infuse heated cream with lavender before mixing with egg yolks and vanilla. Bake in ramekins and top with a hard caramelized layer.

Lavender Blueberry Muffins: Fold fresh or dried lavender into a blueberry muffin batter along with lemon zest. Bake for an amazing breakfast treat.

Lavender Simple Syrup: Steep lavender buds in a simple syrup of sugar and water. Use to sweeten drinks, pancakes, fruit salads and more.

Lavender Lemon Bars: Make a tangy lemon curd with lavender and spread onto a shortbread crust. Dust with powdered sugar before cutting into bars.

Lavender Hot Chocolate: Simmer milk, cream and chopped chocolate with lavender. Whisk until foamy and serve the fragrant chocolate drink.

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes: Bake white or chocolate cupcakes with lavender extract added to the batter. Make lavender vanilla buttercream frosting to top them.

Lavender Wine Cooler: Mix sweet white wine with lavender simple syrup, lemon juice and sparkling water. Garnish with fresh lavender sprigs.

Lavender Roasted Chicken: Coat chicken pieces with olive oil, salt, pepper and lots of dried lavender. Roast until cooked through for aromatic flavor.

Lavender Rice Pudding: Infuse the milk for rice pudding with dried lavender before simmering with rice. Finish with a dash of lavender flower powder.

Lavender Poached Pears: Poach pears in wine flavored with lavender, cinnamon sticks, vanilla and cloves for an elegant dessert.

Lavender Lemon Tart: Make a lemon tart filling with lavender honey and lemon juice. Bake in a buttery tart shell and dust with powdered sugar.

Lavender Panna Cotta: Steep cream with lavender before cooking and thickening with gelatin. Chill in molds for a delicate, creamy floral dessert.

Lavender Gin Fizz: Shake gin, lemon juice, lavender syrup and egg white with ice. Top with soda water for a refreshing cocktail.

Lavender Jasmine Tea: Brew jasmine green tea leaves with dried lavender buds for an aromatic, floral cup of tea.

How to use lavender in recipes

Here are some tips for successfully using edible lavender in your recipes:

– Only use culinary varieties like English lavender or French lavender. Others may taste unpleasant or be unsafe.

– Use dried lavender buds sparingly as a little goes a long way. Start with 1 teaspoon dried lavender for 6-8 servings.

– Infuse lavender into liquids like milk, cream, simple syrups, spirits, wine or juice for the easiest infusion of flavor.

– Add dried or fresh lavender early on during cooking processes to allow its flavor to fully develop.

– Complement lavender with lemon, vanilla, chocolate, berries and herbs like rosemary or thyme.

– Lavender pairs especially well with desserts, beverages, chicken dishes, seafood, rice or goat cheese.

– Foods that are overly sweet, spicy or acidic can easily overwhelm lavender’s delicate taste.

– Bloom lavender buds briefly in hot water first to help intensify their aroma before using.

– Remove lavender buds or pieces before serving a dish to avoid an unpleasant texture.

– Start with small amounts when trying a new lavender recipe until you learn the right balance.

– Consider lavender flower powder to use as a pretty, aromatic finishing touch on desserts.


Lavender is a versatile ingredient whose alluring floral taste and aroma can enhance both savory dishes and sweet treats. It pairs beautifully with citrus, vanilla, berries, chocolate, wine, herbs like rosemary, and ingredients like honey, cheese, seafood or chicken. Lavender adds something special when used judiciously in recipes like lemon bars, breads, simple syrups, infused cocktails, roasted meats, creamy desserts and floral teas or ice creams. Start with modest amounts of dried lavender buds or leaves when experimenting with recipes. Taste as you go until you achieve the perfect floral flavor balance. With the right complementary ingredients and thoughtful recipe development, lavender can lend its unique essence to all kinds of delectable dishes.