12 Beautiful Edible Flowers for Decorating Your Dinner Plates

These gorgeous petals are a feast for the eyes, as well as the mouth!

rocket salad with edible flowers
StockFoodGetty Images

If you're the kind of host who feels like the dinner table doesn't look right without a centerpiece of fresh-cut flowers, we're with you. People eat with their eyes as much as they do with other senses, and a little beauty can make a simple meal extraordinary.

Well, you can enjoy the beauty of flowers not just on your table, but actually on the dinner plate! Edible flowers are an easy and pretty way to add color and flavor to a dish, either as a garnish, or even incorporated into the dish itself. And fresh flowers make a simple dish like salad, or an otherwise undecorated cakes into a guest-worthy serving.

Many edible flowers actually are easy to grow, too! You can tuck a few of these plants into window boxes or flower beds so you’ll always have a steady supply. When choosing flowers from your garden, pick them first thing in the morning and when they’ve just opened so they look and taste their freshest. Gently rinse them off, let dry on a paper towel, and add to your dishes right before serving. Fresh flowers topping cakes and baked goods usually look fine for up to two days.

One very important note: If you're buying edible flowers, make sure they have not been treated with insecticides or fungicides. It’s best to source them from your own garden or online companies that specialize in edible flowers. If you're buying flowers at a farmer's market, talk to the farmer to make sure they've not been sprayed. We would recommend avoiding flower shops, unless the shop specifically advertises that their flowers have not been treated.

Here are our very favorite edible flowers that are both beautiful and delicious:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Pansies and Violas
Westend61Getty Images

These charming annuals are so easy to grow! Snip off the flower heads and top cakes and cupcakes, salads, or freeze in ice cubes to dress up summer beverages.

Try them on: Buttermilk Cupcakes.

Marigold Petals
Westend61Getty Images

Signet marigolds have tiny flowers and beautiful feathery foliage. Add the flowers of this hardy annual to salads for a citrusy kick. Other marigolds are edible, too, but they have a stronger tang which more closely resembles tarragon. Best of all, they're very easy to grow!

Borage Flowers
Cultura RM Exclusive/BRETT STEVENSGetty Images

This lesser-known annual herb is easy to grow from seed and will self-seed readily for years in your garden — and they're great for pollinators. The charming blue flowers have a cucumber-y flavor and are amazing floated in lemonade and cocktails such as a gin and tonic. The leaves are edible, too, but not particularly appealing because of their fuzzy texture.

Squash Blossoms
Alexandra GrablewskiGetty Images

Squash blossoms are considered a delicacy in some cuisines. They’re great as flatbread toppings, and are also often stuffed with cheese and deep-fried!

Try it on: Squash Blossom Focaccia.

Rose Petals
Aleksandra Saliszewska / EyeEmGetty Images

The petals of the rose add a sweet or spicy kick, depending on the rose variety, to dinners, desserts or cocktails. Make sure they’ve not been sprayed before using.

Try it in: Pistachio and rose petal chicken pilaf.

Lavender Buds
Westend61Getty Images

The flowers of this delightful perennial add a hint of floral sweetness to dishes. Use them fresh or dried in lemonade, scones, and cocktails.

Try it in: Lavender-Rosemary Lemonade.

Rejmer, EwaGetty Images

Nasturtiums are easy to grow from seed. Plant these annuals throughout the garden, then use the fresh leaves and flowers to add a peppery kick to salads. Even the seeds can be pickled and used as a substitute for capers!

Arugula Flowers
Gregoria Gregoriou Crowe fine art and creative photography.Getty Images

Once your arugula (also called rocket) has gone to seed, harvest the little flowers to add to salads for a peppery accent. They have a mildly spicy flavor.

Try it on: Pear, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Pizza with Arugula.

Chive Blossoms
Westend61Getty Images

In addition to the leaves, the round purple globe-shaped flowers of chives are edible. Toss them onto salads for a an onion flavor that's stronger than the leaves.

Try it on: Green Salad with Turnips, Strawberries, and Pepitas.

Chamomile Flowers
MaicaGetty Images

Grow English chamomile, the perennial type, in your garden, then use the tiny daisy-like flowers to steep fresh or dried for tea. They also make a beautiful cake garnish! But if you’re allergic to ragweed, avoid this plant, which is related.

Try it on: Orange-Chamomile Cake.

Thyme Flowers
Rua CastilhoGetty Images

Of course, you know the tiny leaves of this perennial herb are edible, but so are the delicate flowers, which come in shades of purple, pink and white, and have a slightly milder flavor. Use them in salads, soups, or cheese spreads.

Use it as a garnish in: Orange-Thyme Old-Fashioned.

Cilantro Flowers
©Tasty food and photographyGetty Images

Once your cilantro has bolted (or gone to flower), use the flowers to dress up salads and soups. If it's gone to seed, that's coriander; save for cooking or to plant again next year.

Try it in: Watermelon-Cilantro Lemonade.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Food Trends