Easy family recipes - Elderflower Cordial with Maple Syrup

This week's family friendly recipe dates all the way back to Roman times!


Driving back from holiday recently, I couldn’t help noticing all the elderflower blooming by the roadside. It seems to be a bumper year!

This got me digging out my trustworthy recipe for homemade Elderflower Cordial with Maple Syrup. It’s a really simple activity to do with the kids and is a great way to teach them about sourcing food from nature. This is a lovely, light and refreshing drink with just a hint of caramel.

Traditional elderflower cordial recipes call for a massive amount of sugar. I’ve seen recipes which require 600g of sugar to product just 500ml of cordial. I might as well go ask the kids to gargle with cola!

So with this recipe I experimented with using maple syrup instead of processed sugar. Although maple syrup is still high in calories, nutritionists say it doesn't create that same blood-sugar spike that messes with our insulin levels that processed sugar does.

It also is said to benefit from having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. When I read that this is also true of elderflower, it felt right that they should go together. It took three attempts to get the balance of flavours right but the result is just about perfect.

Do experiment with the ingredients to find the taste that’s right for you. You can dilute this with tap water; my kids loved this in fizzy water. As a lucky accident, I found this is also really very comforting for a sore throat when drunk warm straight from the pan.

20 elderflower heads
zest and juice of 1 - 2 unwaxed lemons (½ lemon per 500ml liquid)
maple syrup (6 Tbsp per 500ml liquid)


  • Boil a kettle of water and let cool for one minute
  • While the water is cooling, give your flower heads a gentle shake to remove any bugs
  • Remove the zest from the lemons (do not extract the lemon juice yet)
  • Put the flower heads in a bowl along with all the lemon zest and pour the water over them until just covered
  • Allow to steep for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight if you can
  • Line a colander with a tea-towel or muslin and strain the seeped liquid through into a large measuring jug
  • Make a note how much liquid you have. For every 500ml I used 6Tbsp maple syrup and the juice from ½ a lemon
  • Pour into a saucepan with the maple syrup and freshly-squeezed lemon juice, bring quickly to a boil, turn down the heat to its lowest setting and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • When the 5 minutes is up, allow to cool.
  • When cool, pour into sterilised bottles (glass look nice but plastic are fine).
  • Keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Find out more

More recipes like this from Dawn Quest at Meals Our Kids Love here 

Related Advice