Homemade Elderflower Syrup (Cordial)

This homemade elderflower syrup (cordial) with a sweet floral base is perfect for creating delicious drinks and desserts. Elderflower syrup is easy to make, requiring just a few ingredients. Making elderflower syrup brings back lots of memories from my childhood.

Recipe by Angie Spuzak

Homemade Elderflower Syrup

Spring in Poland means elderflower cordial (I’m happy I can do the same in the US, where I live). One of the things my family and the neighborhood children used to do was collect elderflower blossoms at the end of May when the elderflower season starts. Elderflower bushes were growing everywhere. Everybody had a bottle of elderflower syrup in their pantry, ready to use. We added a splash of elderflower syrup to seltzer water and lemonade (my favorite drink as a child) and made delicious party drinks.

Elderflower is also available in specialty European stores, but why wouldn’t you want to make it yourself? I love to keep the syrup on hand and use it with my favorite recipes and when I feel under the weather (elderflower syrup has many health benefits).

What is Elderflower?

Elderflower (Sambucus nigra) is a tiny beautiful bloom (edible flower) with a beautiful floral spring scent, renowned for its unique fragrance and flavor profile. 

The elder tree (Sambucus nigra) is a deciduous shrub or small tree native to Northern Europe, North Africa, North  America and Western Asia. It features compound leaves with 5 to 7 lance-shaped leaflets, rough grayish-brown bark, and large clusters of fragrant creamy white flowers in late spring to early summer. The tree produces small dark purple to black berries known as elderberries in late summer to early fall. It thrives in a variety of habitats, including hedgerows, woodlands, and riverbanks, and is prized for its culinary and medicinal uses.

They are a source of phenolic and organic acids, flavonoids, triterpenes, mineral salts, essential oils, sterols, and tannins. All this means that elderberry flowers have many health-promoting properties due to the content of anthocyanins, triterpenes, and antioxidants. Therefore, it fights free radicals and delays the body’s aging process. Elderflower syrup is beneficial in treating colds, flu, and flu-like conditions. It is worth having it in your home pantry, but you should know how to prepare it safely.

How to Harvest Elderflower

To make homemade elderflower syrup, it is best to pick flowers at the turn of May and June (late spring—early summer), when elderberry blooms fully attract with their fragrance. The place where it grows is also important—it should be away from roads and polluted cities.

Elderflower syrup flowers are best picked on beautiful sunny days, not only because of the joy of picking but also because the pollen on the flowers contains a wealth of health properties. For this reason, it is not worth picking elderberry flowers after the rain or washing them just before preparing the syrup.

Elders usually grow on the side of the road, so it is best to gather elderflowers from an area away from the road. Just take a few bunches to ensure plenty of berries will form later. Look for open blooms that are white or creamy white and don’t have browning edges. Use scissors or gardening snips, and cut the branch of the blossom bunch just below where it meets the main stem.

The taste of elderberry syrup is hidden in the fully developed flowers, so no buds or stalks are collected, only the blossoms themselves.

These delicate flowers have been used in traditional medicine for centuries and have high culinary value.

Health Benefits of Elderflowers

Elderflowers are characterized by a high content of various substances with a broad spectrum of activity. They are rich in flavonoids, a group of plant pigments that exhibit strong antioxidant properties. Their main representatives in the raw material are: astragaline, kaempferol, quercetin, isoquertin, rutin, hyperoside and nicotiflorin.

A large group of compounds abundant in elderberry flowers is the triterpenes: alpha-amyrin, beta-amyrin, oleanolic acid, and ursolic acid. These compounds have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Elderberry flowers also contain phytosterols, phenolic acids (caffeic, ferulic, p-coumaric, chlorogenic acids), and essential oil. In trace doses, the elderberry flower includes a variety of tannins, pectin, mucilage, ethylamine, valeric acid, and choline.

Here are Some of the Potential Health Benefits of Elderflower

  1. Boosts Immune System: Elderflowers contain antioxidants and flavonoids, which can help to boost the immune system and protect against disease.
  2. Anti-inflammatory Properties: The anti-inflammatory properties of elderflower make it an excellent natural remedy for reducing inflammation in the body, including inflammation caused by arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
  3. Respiratory Health: Elderflower is known for improving respiratory health by reducing congestion, easing coughs, and soothing sore throats.
  4. Digestive Health: Elderflower may help to improve digestion by stimulating the production of digestive juices and reducing inflammation in the gut.
  5. Skin Health: Elderflower contains antioxidants that can help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals and may reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
  6. Anti-viral Properties: Elderflower has been shown to have anti-viral properties, which may help to protect against certain viruses, including the flu and common cold.
  7. Calming Effect: Elderflower has a calming effect on the nervous system and may help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

How to Make Homemade Elderflower Cordial

  1. Harvesting Elderflowers:
    • Venture outdoors on a sunny day and seek out elderflower-laden trees.
    • Select elderflower heads that are fully open, fragrant, and blemish-free.
    • Shake off any insects and gently inspect each blossom.
  2. Preparation:
    • Back in your kitchen, gently shake the elderflower heads to remove any lingering insects.
    • Avoid washing the flowers, as this can dilute their delicate flavor.
    • Inspect them carefully and remove any unwanted debris.
  3. Infusion:
    • In a large saucepan, bring the water to a gentle boil.
    • Once boiling, remove the saucepan from heat and add the sugar, stirring until fully dissolved.
    • Add the elderflower heads and lemon slices (I like to use Meyer lemon. Also use unwaxed lemons)) to the sugar water, ensuring they are fully submerged.
  4. Steeping:
    • Cover the saucepan with a lid and allow the elderflowers and lemon slices to steep in the sugar water for 24 to 48 hours. This extended steeping period allows the flavors to meld and infuse, resulting in more aromatic syrup.
  5. Straining:
    • After the steeping period, strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean glass bottle or jar.
    • Press gently on the elderflowers and lemon slices to extract as much liquid as possible.
  6. Bottling:
    • If desired, add a splash of citric acid or lemon juice to the syrup to enhance its shelf life.
    • Pour the strained syrup into sterilized bottles or jars, ensuring they are tightly sealed.

The homemade elderflower cordial should be yellowish and transparent. Please keep it in the fridge for up to 2 months. You can also preserve (canning) it for a longer shelf life. This will ensure the syrup stays shelf-stable for up to 1 year.

Precautions When Using Elderberry Flower Syrup

However, adequately prepared elderberry flower syrup is entirely safe and can be consumed by adults, children, pregnant women, or people with allergies to elderberry.

Culinary Uses of Elderflower Syrup

This delicious elderflower syrup can be added to drinks, desserts, and other treats.

  • Add to iced tea
  • Add to sparkling water, fizzy drink, or cordial
  • Add to lemonade
  • Elderflower jelly
  • You can use the blooms for ice cream
  • Make elderflower cocktail 
  • Add it to champagne for a lavish party drink
  • Make elderflower liqueur
  • Elderflower champagne
  • Infuse it in honey, vinegar, whipped cream, or frosting
  • Use in cakes, scones, or muffins
  • Infuse in ice pops for hot summer days

The floral flavor is perfect and refreshing for summer, so keep the syrup on hand and enjoy it!

Homemade Elderflower Syrup (Cordial)


Store elderflower syrup in a clean, airtight container in a dark, cool place. Check the syrup periodically for signs of mold, discoloration, or off-odors, and discard it if it appears spoiled. For longer term storage, keep it in the fridge, and you can also freeze it.

Making this fragrant syrup at home allows you to capture the essence of spring in a bottle. With just a handful of simple ingredients and patience, you can craft a versatile syrup that adds a touch of floral elegance to your culinary creations. So, venture outdoors, gather some elderflowers, and embark on this aromatic journey. Your taste buds will thank you for it, and you will have your own elderflower syrup!

I hope you love this elderflower syrup recipe as much as we do! Let me know in the comments below. What’s your favorite homemade drink for summer? I’d love to know!

More Herbal Remedies

Elderberry Syrup

Traditional Folk Syrups for Cold and Flu

What Herbs to Use for Cold Weather Wellness


Homemade Elderflower Syrup (Cordial)

Homemade Elderflower Syrup Recipe

This elderflower syrup recipe makes a sweet floral base for creating delicious drinks and desserts. Make this recipe for a taste of summer!
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Course: Cocktail, Drinks, Herbs
Cuisine: American, European
Keyword: elderflower, Elderflower syrup, lemon, sugar
Prep Time: 2 days
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 days 10 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 30kcal
Author: Angie


  • 3 cups elderflower blossoms rinsed (leaves and stems removed) 
  • 4 cups sugar or coconut sugar
  • 2 lemons sliced 
  • 5 cups  water
  • 1 tbsp lemon fresh squeezed lemon juice


  • Add the sliced lemon and elderflower blossoms to a large pot.
  • In a separate smaller pot, add the rest of the ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil. Sugar has to have dissolved.
  • Pour the sugar syrup over the blossoms and lemons and stir well to combine.
  • Let the mixture cool down to room temperature. 
  • Cover with lid and let it sit for 48 hours, stirring a few times.
  • When ready, strain the mixture through a mesh sieve. The syrup should be clean-looking with light yellow color (unless you use coconut sugar, it will be darker).
  • Pour in a mason jar or a glass bottle and keep it in the fridge for 2 months.


Calories: 30kcal

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