Elderflower Syrup

Elderflowers up close

Martina Schindler / Getty Images

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
189 Calories
0g Fat
49g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 189
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 3mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 46g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 27mg 134%
Calcium 13mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 100mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Elderflowers infuse this versatile simple syrup with a unique aroma and taste. You may have seen this product if you shop at Ikea, but you can make it at home easily. Use it to make beverages or as a delightful topping on fresh fruit, yogurt, and desserts. It offers a delicately floral taste with subtle tropical and pear nuances.

You can use fresh or dried flowers for this elderflower syrup recipe, but the flavor is best if you use freshly picked ones. Harvest the whole flower heads when the creamy white florets have just recently opened. Be sure to leave some flowers on the shrubs so that you (and the birds) can enjoy elderberries in late summer. If you would rather use dried flowers, you can easily find them online.

If you are foraging your elderflowers from wild plants, be 100 percent certain of your identification. You want to use Sambucus canadensis or Sambucus nigra to make elderflower syrup.


  • 20 to 25 elderflower umbels

  • 4 lemons, juiced and zested

  • 1 quart (1 liter) water

  • 2 1/4 pounds (1 kilogram) granulated sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Rinse flower umbels and give them a good shake to remove any insects or debris.

  3. Remove small florets from stems using scissors or clean fingers, dropping them into a large bowl or nonreactive container. Compost or discard stems. The only edible parts of Sambucus are the flowers and berries—all other parts are toxic. A few stray stem bits in with the flowers in this recipe won't hurt you, but you want to get rid of most of them.

  4. Add lemon juice and zest to flowers.

  5. In a separate pot, bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.

  6. Once sugar has completely dissolved, pour hot syrup over elderflowers and lemon. Stir well.

  7. Cover bowl or container and leave mixture at room temperature for three to five days. During this time, the flavor of the elderflowers will infuse the syrup.

  8. Strain elderflower syrup through a sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth or butter muslin.

  9. Transfer syrup to clean canning jars or bottles.


You'll get about 2 to 3 teaspoons of zest from one lemon and 1/4 to 1/3 cup of juice. 

How to Store Elderflower Syrup

Elderflower syrup will keep in the refrigerator for one month in a tightly covered glass container. For longer storage at room temperature, bring the strained syrup to a boil. Pour it into clean glass jars or bottles leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Once sealed, the syrup will keep at room temperature for at least a year (store opened jars in the refrigerator).


  • A tablespoon or two of elderflower syrup in seltzer or club soda makes a refreshing beverage.
  • Add elderflower syrup to white wine or vodka for an aromatic aperitif.
  • Drizzle elderflower syrup over fresh fruit (it's especially good with strawberries), yogurt, or ice cream.
  • Add a small spoonful of elderflower syrup to heavy cream before whipping it for a delicately flavored dessert topping.

What's the difference between elderflower and elderberry?

These two things come from the same plant. The flower is often used as a flavoring agent, whereas elderberry needs to be cooked to be consumed. Traditionally, elderberry has been taken as a syrup for medicinal use.