How to make Elderflower Cordial

Please note: You will need adult supervision for this activity. 


There are rules which you need to follow when foraging. Wild plants are protected by the law and its important that you seek permission from landowners, be sure of what you are picking, and only collect from plentiful supplies. It’s really important not to pick everything. Only pick what you need and leave lots because this is also important food for wildlife.

The flowers come out from late May and June and Elderflower is best picked when the buds are freshly open on a warm, dry, sunny day. Give them a shake to ensure there are no bugs hiding inside.

This recipe will produce 1-2 bottles of cordial.  

What you will need:

  • 20-25 heads of elderflower
  • 7 lemons
  • 2 limes
  • 800g caster sugar
  • 1.5 litres of water

How to do it:

  1. You might like to gently wash the elderflower to remove bugs but I want maximum flavour so I have shaken and brushed all the bugs off mine and have placed them in a large bowl.
  2. Then peel a thin layer of zest from 5 lemons, slice the lemon and lime fruit and add to the elderflower bowl.
  3. Bring the water to the boil and gradually stir in the sugar. Simmer gently until all of the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Once the liquid has cooled a little, pour this over the elderflowers.
  5. For maximum flavour, cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it to sit in a cool place to infuse for 24 hours.
  6. Then using a fine sieve, a muslin cloth or failing that use a tea towel to strain the mixture into another large bowl.
  7. Squeeze the juice from another 2 lemons and stir before pouring into sterilized bottles or freezer proof containers. Sterilize your clean bottle by running them through a dishwasher OR pop them in a cold oven and turn the temperature to 150 c. Once the oven is up to temperature, time 15 minutes before turning off the oven and allow your bottles to cool before handling.
  8. Keep your cordial in the fridge and it will last a week or put some in the freezer for later use.