Strong, sweet, and aromatic, lavender makes for delightful desserts, complex craft cocktails, and even plays well with savory dishes. The perennial plant is known for painting French and English countrysides a beautiful violet hue. In the kitchen, lavender is just as vibrant. Below you will discover our favorite recipes and inspiration surrounding this fragrant herb. If you have a favorite way to use lavender, leave us a comment below.
What Is Lavender?
Lavender is an aromatic herb belonging to the greater mint family. The most commonly cultivated variety is Lavandula angustifolia, also referred to as English Lavender. The Spice House carries a hybrid variety of lavender called Phenomenal French Lavender, known scientifically as Lavandula intermedia. This special lavender is sourced exclusively from a small farm in Montana, where purple blossoms compliment a backdrop of rolling mountains and towering pines.
Our farm partner, Jayne Visser, grows this hybrid because, “it produces the best of the best lavender qualities—including its namesake beautiful purple flowers, bright color, fragrant scent, pure oil, and medicinal properties.”
Lavender is well suited for the American West’s terroir, as it prefers dry climates with rocky, sandy soil. Visser further explains, “The lavender field is a mile high in elevation and naturally spring watered. Our lavender is 100% organic, hand cut, and fresh air dried. We don't use any chemicals or pesticides.”
Lavender is traditionally grown in rows and harvested during the summer. Flower stalks are cut, bundled, and hung to dry before the buds are removed by hand. Both the leaves and flower buds can be used in the kitchen. The flower buds have the strongest, sweetest flavor and aroma, which is why we exclusively carry those.
How to Cook with Lavender
To really take in lavender’s calming flavor, try starting with an herbal tea. Steep one or two teaspoons of lavender buds in a cup of hot water, adding honey if desired. Lavender is an excellent flavoring for all sorts of beverages. Lavender-infused simple syrup is an instant upgrade for iced tea recipes, coffee drinks, freshly squeezed lemonade, or gin cocktails. You can also reach for our premium Lavender Vanilla Sugar when you want to stir in something special.
Lavender is most commonly used for sweet applications. Its sweet and bright flavor is a welcomed accent for pastries, cookies, cakes, ice creams, homemade fruit jams, and custards. It works especially well for flavoring icing or frosting. You can even use the flower buds as a sophisticated sprinkle for decoration.
Savory foods are excellent with a little lavender. Use this herb as you would rosemary, marjoram, or oregano in your cooking. Try adding a little to your favorite recipes for grilled lamb, poached salmon, or roasted chicken. It also makes for delicious cream sauces, soups, and salad dressings.
Lavender is also a dominant flavor for the popular Herbes de Provence blend. This herb mix is outstanding for all types of poultry, homemade bread, and vegetable recipes.
Lavender pairs well with any of its mint family cousins, such as basil, mint, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, savory, thyme, and sage. It also compliments spices like cardamom, Saigon cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, ginger, fennel seed, parsley, chervil, black pepper, and juniper.
Featured Lavender Recipes
Lemony Lavender Ranch Dressing
Yes. Ranch dressing. We weren't convinced at first either. That is until Chala Tyson Tshitundu at Bon Appétit Magazine inspired us to open our minds. Lavender's aromatic edge is the perfect accent for a rich and creamy ranch dressing.
Lavender Sugar Shortbread Cookies
From herbal teas to sweet tea cookies, lavender’s flavor is a treat for afternoon tea.
Honey Lavender Ice Cream
Honey and lavender are a natural pairing. This rich and complex recipe is perfect for impressing guests at a dinner party.
Lavender Rack of Lamb
Lavender is well suited for Mediterranean climates and cuisine. Cardamom compliments lavender’s aromatic flavor in this savory lamb dish.
Simple, savory, and deliciously light. This vinaigrette is perfect for a nicoise salad or some simple salad greens.
Lavender Blossom Lemonade
Refined and refreshing, this lemonade recipe will be your go-to all summer long. Add some vanilla to double your fun.