Did you know that you can eat dandelions? It’s true, they’re completely safe to eat – from the root to the tip. If you are looking for some cooking inspiration, here are over 15 delicious dandelion recipes to enjoy.
Although dandelions are often dismissed as stubborn weeds and garden pests, they’re actually pretty beneficial weeds.
Although I have to say really dislike using the term ‘weed’ to describe a dandelion. This is because dandelions provide a useful source of nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies and other pollinators, particularly in early spring when few other flowers are in bloom. But it’s a little-known fact that dandelions are completely safe to eat by humans too.
Yes, every single part of the dandelion plant is, in fact, edible – both raw and cooked. This includes the roots and stems, all the way through to the leaves and bright yellow flowers. You probably won’t want to eat the seeds though, when they go to seed – no one wants a mouthful of fluff!
Incorporate Dandelions Into Your Diet
It’s surprising that dandelions are overlooked when it comes to cooking and baking, once you look into just how good they are for you.
Dandelions are a nutritional powerhouse, providing a rich source of vitamins A, B, C, and D. They also contain beneficial minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium and zinc.
According to Healthline, dandelions are also a rich source of beta-carotene and polyphenol compounds. Both of these may protect against chronic disease.
Healthline does note though that dandelion may cause allergic reactions in people with allergies to related plants such as ragweed.
Healthline also points out an older review, which suggests that dandelion may interact with some medications, including certain types of antibiotics, anticoagulants, and blood sugar drugs. I haven’t been able to find any other information on this, but if you are in any doubt, do speak to your GP before popping any dandelions in your dinner.
How To Recognise & Safely Pick Dandelions
Dandelions are one of the most easily recognisable plants in the UK. Most of us learn to recognise dandelions in early childhood, due to the sheer delight of blowing on the seedhead and making a wish.
And with its bright yellow flower heads that turn into fluffy orbs later on in the season, and its rosette-like jagged leaves, most of us know a dandelion when we see one.
In fact, it’s the shape of the leaves that gives the dandelion its name. The name is derived from the French word for dandelion – dent de lion – which translated literally means lion’s tooth.
However, several similar plants are within the same family as the dandelion. These are sometimes known as false dandelions.
True dandelions have one flower per stalk, no coarse hair on the leaves, and a hollow, tubular stem. I believe that all of the false dandelions are edible, but do consult a foraging expert, a foraging book, or a plant ID app if you are in any doubt.
When picking dandelions, pick from an area that you’re sure hasn’t been sprayed with any pesticides. Avoid any areas popular with dog walkers, or on the side of roads. And whilst dandelions are regarded as weeds, they are an important source of food for pollinators. Do make sure you leave plenty for wildlife, particularly if you are picking any dandelion flowers in very early spring.
15+ Delicious Dandelion Recipes
If you’re looking to incorporate dandelions into your diet then here are over 15 tasty dandelion recipes to try out.
Use the quick links to navigate to each recipe, or keep scrolling for the full post:
1. Vegan Dandelion Honey
Dandelion honey makes for a delicious vegan alternative to honey. It’s made by boiling dandelion heads in water and sugar and the finished product has a distinctive floral scent and a lovely golden brown colour. The taste closely resembles honey but has a slightly thinner consistency – it’s a great plant-based alternative that’s perfect for slathering on your toast or drizzling in your porridge.
To make dandelion honey, try this easy recipe from Cook Like Czechs. You just need dandelion flowers, lemons and sugar to whip up a batch.
2. Dandelion Root Latte
In autumn, dandelion roots are at their fattest. At this time of year, they can be scrubbed, dried, roasted in the oven, and then ground to create a powder that can be used for making coffee.
However, I feel the term dandelion coffee is quite misleading. Dandelion coffee doesn’t taste like actual coffee made from coffee beans, although it can be quite bitter like black coffee. Whilst I wouldn’t drink it as it is, most people use spices, flavourings and/or sweeteners to make it more palatable.
Rachel Dickens makes a dandelion root latte with turmeric and ginger. Rachel adds adding turmeric and ginger roots, cinnamon and honey or maple syrup to make a delicious-tasting coffee that’s packed full of goodness.
3. Dandelion Flower Tea
As well as coffee, did you know that you can make tea from dandelion flowers? Dandelion tea has a delicate flavour without the bitterness or caffeine found in black tea. Naturally refreshing, it’s sure to put a caffeine-free zing in your step.
This recipe for dandelion flower tea, by Yum Eating, is incredibly easy to make. All you need are some dandelion flower heads, some freshly boiled water, and a little sugar or sweetener to taste. Some people also like to add a slice of lemon for an additional citrus kick.
If you don’t want to make your own dandelion tea, you can buy pre-prepared dandelion teabags. Try this tasty one from Heath & Heather – available at Holland & Barrett.
4. Dandelion Pesto
You might already know that you can make nettle pesto, but dandelion leaves also make for a tasty pesto that’s packed full of nutrients.
Dandelion leaves are a little more bitter than basil – similar to the taste of spinach or rocket. This means it does add a punchier kick to your favourite pasta dishes, risotto, and more. If you’re more accustomed to basil pesto, you could make it with half basil leaves and half dandelion leaves, so you still get all the dandelion goodness, with less of a kick.
This dandelion pesto recipe from tsbp. comes together in just 10 minutes. It’s made with Parmesan cheese, but you can substitute this for a vegetarian or vegan parmesan alternative to suit your dietary preferences.
My top tip is that young dandelion leaves aren’t as bitter as older leaves, so this recipe tastes best when made in the spring.
5. Sautéed Dandelion Greens With Egg
If you’re looking to liven up breakfast then try popping some dandelion leaves into your favourite dishes.
Laura from A Beautiful Plate makes sautéed dandelion greens with eggs, in this tasty dish that would be perfect for a weekend breakfast or midweek meal.
Again, it’s best made with young leaves, although Laura does briefly blanch the dandelion leaves in salted boiling water to help give a sweeter flavour profile.
6. Dandelion Lemon Bars
If you’re hankering after a sweet treat, then the good news is that dandelions have your back. As well as savoury dishes, dandelions also work well in sweet dishes.
Jane from Baker’s Brigade whips up these sweet dandelion lemon bars that are a flavour explosion. Sat atop a shortbread base, these are tart, sweet and rich. Basically, everything you want from an indulgent treat!
7. Dandelion Tart
Martha Rose Shulman at The New York Times uses dandelion leaves to make this tasty dandelion tart. Whilst not a quick recipe – taking 90 minutes to make – it makes a delicious vegetarian-friendly dinner with the dandelion quietly adding a tasty flavour that’s in no way overpowering.
8. Pizza Bianca With Dandelion Greens
Did somebody say pizza? Oh yes! Dandelion leaves are also versatile enough that they can be used to add flavour to your favourite pizza toppings.
Chandra at sunset.com adds their dandelion leaves to this Pizza Bianca recipe. Here Chandra fries the dandelion leaves in a little oil alongside some rocket, salt, and lemon juice. Chandra then cooks this for around one minute, until barely wilted, and then topping the pizza.
Whilst this pizza contains cheese, you could use Chandra’s method of cooking the leaves to top your favourite vegan pizzas.
9. Vegan Dandelion Shortbread
For another sweet dandelion treat, you could try making vegan shortbread that’s made with dandelion flowers.
Susan Cooks Vegan has a great recipe for these buttery-textured biscuits. The dandelion flower petals impart a sweet honey essence, giving you a unique vegan treat that’s sure to delight.
10. Vegan Potato Salad With Dandelion
This gluten-free and vegan-friendly potato salad from Savory Spin has a surprise ingredient that I’m sure you can guess. Yes, dandelion!
This potato salad is packed full of flavour and spice. Make it as a side dish – eaten hot or cold – and it’s sure to complement any meal.
11. Spring Fennel & Dandelion Green Slaw
Looking for more side dish inspiration? This recipe for spring fennel and dandelion slaw from Food52 can be used on the side of veggie burgers or risottos, or spooned into sandwiches, for a bright and zingy burst of flavour.
The fennel gives a mellow taste, while the dandelion leaves and onions add a slight bite – giving you a real taste of spring.
12. Dandelion Herbal Beer
You can make beer from dandelion? It’s true! Serena from the blog Everyday Homestead has developed this clever recipe to make dandelion herbal beer.
Described as a light spring beer that’s a good blend of tart and bitter with an earthy, mineral finish, this beer is perfect for anyone who enjoys a stout brew with a decent amount of bitterness. Provided you bottle it before all the sugar is consumed by the yeast, it gives you refreshing beverage with a lower alcohol content (less than 5% ABV).
13. Dandelion Flower & Rum Cake
Rachel Lambert – author of the foraging baking book Wild & Sweet – has developed a recipe for an aromatic sponge cake flavoured with dandelion flowers. Topped with a cream cheese frosting that’s infused with rum and dandelion flowers, this is one recipe you’ll want to bake again and again.
Rachel’s book also includes recipes for dandelion tiramisu and dandelion meringues, should you need any more dandelion-based inspiration!
14. Dandelion Bundt Cake
Kayley, the food blogger at The Kitchen McCabe, says this absolutely delicious Dandelion Bundt Cake is made with a generous helping of dandelion petals and tastes like a piece of citrusy, floral, buttery sunshine.
The dandelion petals give it a subtle floral scent, whilst the addition of St Germain, an elderflower liquor, really boosts that springtime flavour.
Who knew dandelions could look so good?
15. Dandelion Fritters
Whilst dandelion flowers can be used in teas and sweet treats, you might be surprised to hear that they can be incorporated into savoury snacks.
Sara, at the food blog Life’s Little Sweets uses dandelion flowers in this recipe for dandelion fritters. Here, freshly picked dandelion flowers are dipped in a batter with thyme, paprika, salt, and black pepper, and then deep-fried in a cast-iron skillet for a moreish crispy savoury snack. These can then be served with your favourite dip.
16. Dandelion Flower Ice Cream
Have I saved the best for last? Maybe, with this dandelion ice cream recipe from Helena Garcia. Best made in May and June – with its gentle floral taste, you’ll be hankering for this cooling dessert all year round.
The Bottom Line
It’s quite disparaging to refer to dandelions as weeds when they have so many amazing uses. From keeping our pollinators topped up with nectar and pollen – to providing us with so many useful vitamins and minerals in so many versatile recipes. So let’s blooming well get busy in the kitchen!