Every spring, your yard fills up with dandelions. Try as you may, you just can't seem to rid yourself of those pesky weeds. But perhaps you shouldn't get rid of them. Not only are they important for bees and other pollinators, but dandelions are delicious, nutritious, and have many health benefits.
Dandelion flowers, dandelion leaves, and dandelion roots are all edible and can each be used in several different ways. Just take a look at the list below to find out just how useful they are.
You'll never look at dandelion season the same way again.
What Can I Make Out of Dandelions?
You can use dandelions to make food, herbal remedies, and toiletries. You'll find some terrific recipes below, but among them are delicious salads, soups, syrups, jellies, salves, soaps, oils, and balms.
Can Dandelions Be Used for Cooking?
Yes, you can cook dandelions. Add them to salads, saute them like spinach, use them to make lemonade or tea, make a dandelion flower syrup or honey from the flowers, and so much more.
What Part of the Dandelion Is Safe to Eat?
According to Michigan State University, the only inedible part of a dandelion is the stem, which contains a bitter, milky substance. That means all the other parts—flowers, green leaves, and roots—are edible.
The flowers contain antioxidants as well as vitamins A and B12. The leafy greens are great for getting some extra potassium as well as vitamins A and C. And the root (bitter flavor, though edible) is rich in fiber and promotes gut health.
In most cases you'll want small, young dandelion plants because older and larger ones tend to have bitter greens.
What Is the Best Way to Eat Dandelions?
If you want to eat them raw, young dandelions are best. They're tender and more flavorful. Older dandelions taste bitter but are still edible, especially if you blanche or boil them first to get rid of some of the bitterness.
Best Dandelion Recipes
Gather dandelions with your children as a fun and educational outdoor family activity.
We use foraging to teach our children their nature lessons, and natural remedies, and as part of our off grid homeschool. In addition to dandelions, we also forage for rosehips, chamomile, wild sage, wild peppermint, and many other northern greens for medicine and food.
However, dandelions are one of the easiest wild greens to find when foraging with kids. Spend an afternoon gathering them. Then use these recipes to take advantage of all their nutritious and healthful benefits.
Dandelion Detox Tea Recipe
Promote liver cleansing with this dandelion root tea detox by Yummy Mummy Kitchen. This soothing and comforting tea has a unique flavor and is the perfect way to end your day with a warm, cozy drink.
It's made with simple, pure ingredients like ginger root, dandelion root, lemon, cloves, and water. You can also add a cinnamon stick or a pinch of ground cinnamon for flavor.
Dandelion honey quick bread is a delicious side to any meal and makes a great snack, too. The honey brings out the honey-like flavor of the dandelion flowers, and you can serve this alongside savory items for dinner or drizzle it with honey, pure maple syrup, or homemade jam as a sweet snack.
Perfect for your DIY beauty recipes, homemade soaps, or as a massage oil, dandelion oil is super easy to make. Follow the instructions by Confessions of an Overworked Mom to whip up a batch in just a couple of weeks.
It has to sit in a sunny spot for 1-2 weeks to allow the almond oil to draw out the oil from the flowers. Need it faster? Use the double boiler method instead.
Dandelion Salve Recipe
Soothe dry, cracked skin, joint pain, and muscle soreness with this homemade dandelion salve by Carolina Honey Bees. You'll need a batch of dandelion oil (see the recipe above or the one in this post) as well as beeswax, coconut oil, essential oils, and vitamin E oil. There's even a cute printable label you can use to label your jars or canisters.
Dandelion Syrup Recipe
Here's a fruity twist on the usual recipe. This traditional Scandinavian dandelion syrup by The Nerdy Farm Wife pairs green apples and dandelions with lemon and sugar for a sweet syrup that's delicious over pancakes or mixed into yogurt. The recipe makes three pint jars of the stuff.
Dandelion Salad Recipes
Feel like a salad? Try these dandelion salads for a tasty change of pace from the usual spinach and lettuce.
Wilted Dandelion Greens Salad
Instead of a wilted spinach salad, try this wilted dandelion greens salad by Cup of Zest while you still have a yard full of dandelions. The greens are tossed with fried pancetta (and the grease from it) along with a squeeze of lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a soft-boiled egg.
Dandelion and Bacon Salad
This dandelion and bacon salad by Boulder Locavore has all the good stuff—smashed potato, bacon, and tender sautéed dandelion greens from young plants. You have your starch, protein/fat, and greens all in one savory meal.
Dandelion Root Coffee
Trying to give up caffeine? You have to try this dandelion root coffee by Learning and Yearning; it's the perfect coffee substitute. Fun fact: dandelion root coffee isn't made with coffee at all, but if you roast the roots properly, it tastes very similar. Roasting them until they just start to smoke is what gives them the coffee flavor, and a lighter roast will taste more like dandelion tea.
Dandelion Jelly Recipe
If your own yard is filled with plentiful flowers, this dandelion jelly by Confessions of an Overworked Mom needs to be on your springtime canning list. The sweet jelly has a honey-like herbal flavor that pairs perfectly with flaky biscuits, warm toast, or on crackers with cream cheese.
You'll need to add pectin to the jelly since dandelions do not contain any of their own. This recipe (made from four cups of flower heads) makes enough for 8 half-pint jars.
Celebrate spring with a simmering pot of Grandma's dandelion soup by Swirls of Flavor. Carrots, fresh dandelion greens, onions, and cheese tortellini are simmered together for a delicious soup that's ready in just 30 minutes. Sprinkle fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese on top before serving. I often enjoy a squeeze of lemon juice over soups with pasta and greens!
Fried Dandelion Blossoms
You may think these fried dandelion blossoms by Simply Beyond Herbs have a savory flavor, but they don't. They're actually sweet due to the sweet honey taste of the flower, and they're fried in an almond flour, honey, and cinnamon mixture to bring out the sweetness even more. Serve with homemade whipped cream or homemade syrup on the side for dipping.
The kids will absolutely love this dandelion soda by Homestead Honey. First, you need to learn how to make a ginger bug starter to let it ferment before making the soda. This is what gives it that fizzy, carbonated feel naturally.
Dandelion soda is a bit time-consuming to make because you have to separate the yellow dandelion petals from the flower and spend a week or so making your ginger bug beforehand, but it'll be worth it when you take your first sip of sweet, all-natural soda.
Who needs basil pesto when you have a backyard full of dandelions ready and waiting? Try this recipe for dandelion pesto from Learning and Yearning the next time you make pasta. It's a simple combination of young dandelion leaves, parmesan cheese, olive oil, pine nuts, and garlic. You can use the same technique to make pesto from nettle, too.
Dandelion Flower Fritters
These dandelion flower fritters by Learning and Yearning are similar to the fried dandelion blossoms above but on the more savory side than sweet. Of course, the flowers have a natural sweetness, but this time, they're dipped in a batter made from flour, baking powder, and sea salt, and are served with honey or syrup on the side.
A pinch of chili powder or cayenne would be a tasty addition to give a sweet and spicy flavor to the fritters.
Plantain and Dandelion Cough Syrup
Coughing makes the throat sore and irritated, but this herbal cough syrup by Simply Beyond Herbs can help soothe it in no time.
And unlike commercial or prescription cough syrups (which taste terrible), this one actually has a pleasant flavor. In addition to dandelions, which are excellent medicinal plants, you'll need ribwort plantain leaves, sugar, and lemon.
This syrup will last in the fridge for a few weeks, which is terrific because respiratory illnesses often pass from one family member to the next.
Chocolate Beet Dandelion Bars
Use this recipe no-bake chocolate beet dandelion bars by Moon and Spoon and Yum for a healthy springtime treat. There's no guilt here.
The fudge-like bars are made with cacao powder, beet powder, coconut powder, and of course, dandelions. The best part? You don't even have to cook them! Just mix, pour, and pop in the freezer. They're good in the freezer for up to a month (if they last that long).
What if, instead of slathering chemical-laden sunscreen all over when you're outside, you could use an all-natural one instead? Even better if it smells great, right? That's what you get when you make this dandelion sunscreen by Simply Beyond Herbs.
It's made with zinc oxide, coconut oil, dandelion oil, and beeswax to block UVA and UVB rays. Put it in a glass jar or refillable silicone tubes for easy application when you need it.
For those who love making their own salad dressings, this dandelion vinegar by Summer Yule will certainly add some pizzazz to your springtime vinaigrettes.
Use white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar as your base. Don't use strong, overpowering vinegar because then you won't taste the dandelions.
In about two weeks of sitting at room temperature, you'll be ready to strain it with a cheesecloth to remove the flower fragments, leaving behind a lovely infused vinegar.
This recipe for vegan dandelion honey by Vegan On Board is similar to the syrup above. With dandelion flowers, water, sugar, and lemon, you can make a wonderful vegan "honey" that's delicious with so many of your favorite foods.
Stir it into herbal tea, drizzle it over bread or pancakes, use it to make salad dressings, make yummy sauces, and so much more.
Minestra Greens and Beans
Make this delicious, nutritious recipe for greens and beans today! Christina's Cucina serves it with homemade bread and sliced onion, and together, this makes a complete meal. While it beans and greens don't look pretty, they're so good for you.
Violet and Dandelion Lemonade
Drink up! This gorgeous violet and dandelion pink lemonade by Learning and Yearning is the perfect beverage for spring. First, you'll make herbal tea using flower blossoms. Then, you'll add lemon juice, raw honey, and water to complete the lemonade.
Don't worry if your tea is an ugly color at first. Adding the lemon juice brings out the beautiful pink hue. It's a wonderful dandelion recipe to make with the kids to get them excited about foraging.
Lather up with an easy melt and pour dandelion soap by Soap Deli News. You'll make a dandelion-infused hemp seed oil, and pair it with lavender and orange essential oils for extra fragrance.
Dandelion Cleansing Balm
Here's another great way to use dandelion infused oil! Make this dandelion cleansing balm by Soap Deli News. It's a simple facial cleanser that's safe and gentle enough to use every day. It moisturizes, soothes skin inflammation, reduces acne, and diminishes fine lines and wrinkles.
After reading through all these recipes, you'll never see dandelions as a pesky weed again.
Don't forget to pin this list of dandelion recipes to come back to year after year when it's time to harvest those beautiful yellow flowers.