How to Cook With Lavender

From creme brulee to grilled cheese, lavender can have some interesting uses in the kitchen. (Photo: Belushi/Shutterstock)

If you're accustomed to only using lavender in your bath salts or salt scrubs, you might want to consider the culinary uses of this fragrant herb. Lavender can be used fresh or dried in both savory and sweet dishes. It's an ingredient in the classic herbs de Provence mixture, but it's increasingly being used by chefs and home cooks as an ingredient on its own.

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As you can see from these 10 recipes, lavender is a versatile herb.

  1. Lemon-Lavender Blackberry & Ricotta Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: This vegan grilled cheese sandwich combines lavender-seasoned blackberry sauce and macadamia ricotta as the filling for a grown-up grilled cheese.
  2. Iced Chamomile Lavender Tea: A soothing, cooling iced tea, this beverage is simple to make and doesn't cost much money.
  3. Lavender Honey Chicken: A glaze of balsamic vinegar, honey and herbs is slathered onto chicken pieces that are baked in the oven.
  4. Strawberry Lavender Soup: This is a creamy cold soup that's pureed. It wouldn't be inappropriate to serve it for dessert with a side of sugar cookies for "crackers."
  5. Lavender and Rosemary Potatoes: This simple side dish has an herb-infused butter poured over boiled potatoes.
  6. Onion Pie with Lavender, Bacon and Blue Cheese: A savory pie versatile enough that you can switch the blue cheese with the cheese of your choice or the bacon with prosciutto or even fish. The constant is the lavender seasoning.
  7. Lavender Shortbread Cookies: Lavender and shortbread seem to be the new classic cookie pairing. A simple cookie dough gets chilled before being cut into perfect rounds in these treats.
  8. Chocolate Cupcakes with Lavender Goat Cheese Frosting: There are plenty of lavender-inspired baked goods to choose from, but the goat cheese frosting on these cupcakes caught my attention.
  9. Lavender Creme Brulee: This is no more work than a traditional creme brulee (which is much easier than many people think it is). The lavender is thrown in with the cream while it heats up to add a touch of the herb to the dessert.
  10. Lavender Bee's Knees Cocktail: While you're preparing your lavender-inspired dishes, sip on this cocktail that adds lavender to the honey syrup in this traditional gin cocktail.

You can purchase culinary lavender at the store, or you can grow your own lavender and use it fresh or dry it. This video from Garden Time TV demonstrates when the time is right to pick lavender for culinary uses and has several other helpful hints for cooking and baking with lavender.