We’re Sprinkling Rose Petals on Everything

The dried flowers add color, aroma, and flavor to cocktails, savory dishes, desserts, and more

dried rose petals in a glass bowl
No, it's not potpourri; it's edible dried rose petals for all your garnishing needs.Matt Taylor-Gross

While testing recipes for this story on Iran's crispy rice dishes, we here at SAVEUR were inspired by the creative use of roses—petals and waters flavored with them—in Persian cuisine. Iranian cookbook author Naz Deravian, for instance, likes to scatter the dried blooms atop maast o khiar, a tart, cooling yogurt sauce she serves not only with tahdig, but also stews and meats of all stripes.

Having a stash of dried rose petals on hand opened up a wide world of possibilities in the kitchen. Yes, the flowers make a beautiful garnish, but they’re not just for show—a pinch can take a dish in a whole other direction.

There is a massive difference in flavor between great and so-so petals. Fortunately, excellent dried petals are now available online. Like dried herbs, the petals lose some of their perfume within a few months of harvest, so buy only what you need and use them up quickly. Here are four more ideas to get you started, plus our favorite recipes accented with dried rose petals.

Tea

Add a pinch of dried petals to loose black or green tea to enhance the color and fragrance of a ho-hum cup.

Desserts

Rub dried petals through a medium-fine-mesh strainer, then stir the resulting powder into granulated sugar for coating donuts, cookies, or pâte de fruits.

Hot Sauce

Add whole dried petals and a few drops of rose water to chile-garlic paste for an elegant harissa.

Syrup

Steep dried petals in simple syrup overnight, strain, then use the pink nectar to sweeten cocktails or soak biscuits for shortcake.

Recipes

Rose & Rye

Rose & Rye
Rose's Luxury in Washington, D.C. makes this sprightly, pretty cocktail, a mix of rye, rose-tinged simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and bitters. Get the recipe for Rose & Rye »Matt Taylor-Gross

Braised Lamb Shoulder with Rose, Turnips, and Pistachios

Braised Lamb Shoulder with Rose, Turnips, and Pistachios
This recipe comes from Sam Smith, Of Tusk in Portland, Oregon. Smith notes: "I like to eat it with a steak knife, keep some texture." Serve this with lots of bread for soaking up the juices; a simple mixed green salad with champagne vinegar, black pepper, and edible flowers if available; and a super cold rose or white wine. Get the recipe for Braised Lamb Shoulder with Rose, Turnips, and Pistachios »Matt Taylor-Gross

Persian Kuku Sabzi

Persian kuku sabzi
A classic Persian herb-loaded egg dish with the fragrant lift of rose petals. Get the recipe for Persian Kuku Sabzi »Matt Taylor-Gross

Yogurt Cucumber Sauce with Rose Petals (Maast-o Khiar)

Yogurt Cucumber Sauce with Rose Petals (*Maast-o Khiar*)
Dried rose petals do double duty in this recipe from Iranian food writer Naz Deravian: they're ground and stirred into the cucumber-yogurt mixture, as well as left whole for the garnish. The tangy, fragrant sauce is the perfect accompaniment for crispy rice tahdig. Get the recipe for Yogurt Cucumber Sauce with Rose Petals (Maast-o Khiar) »Matt Taylor-Gross

Cardamom-Rose Cake Donuts

Cardamom-Rose Cake Donuts
The flavoring in these donuts is inspired by Persian desserts, which often combine flower waters and herbaceous cardamom. Get the recipe for Cardamom-Rose Cake Donuts »Grant Cornett

Flourless Pistachio Cakes with Rose water

Flourless Pistachio Cakes with Rose Water
These easy-to-make, miniature cakes are a tradition at chef Gabe Stulman's family celebration of Mimouna, which marks the end of Passover. Get the recipe for Flourless Pistachio Cakes with Rose water »Thomas Payne

Matcha Mochi with Sweet Bean Filling

Matcha Mochi with Sweet Bean Filling
Matcha powder tints these mochi filled with sweet bean paste the loveliest shade of pale green. Get the recipe for Matcha Mochi with Sweet Bean Filling »Kat Craddock

Cauliflower Shawarma with Pomegranate, Tahini, and Pine Nuts

Cauliflower Shawarma Berber
This dish will make you dust off the grill in preparation for spring, and the taste of pomegranate will remind you of warm days on the way. Get the recipe for Cauliflower Shawarma with Pomegranate, Tahini, and Pine Nuts »Matt Taylor-Gross

Murgh Korma (Creamy Chicken Curry)

Murgh Korma (Creamy Chicken Curry)
The creaminess and complex flavor of this beloved Indian curry comes from puréed almonds and cashew nuts. Get the recipe for Murgh Korma (Creamy Chicken Curry) »Penny De Los Santos