Dandelions (Taraxacum officinalis) bloom on lawns all around the world. Herbalists use the roots and leaves of the plant for supporting the elimination systems of the body. Dandelion leaf is commonly used as a diuretic and the root is used to support liver and gallbladder function (Chevallier, 2000). However, one of my favorite ways to use dandelion is to use the flower heads to make fritters. These dandelion fritters are delicious as a starter, snack, or side, and while dandelions are most prolific in the spring, you can find the flowers and make these all summer long or anytime the flowers are present.
Those with high regard for perfectly manicured yards may think of this fuzzy flowered Asteraceae family member as a nuisance, and they might be surprised to learn that this sunny little “weed” has an incredible capacity to nourish and support the body.
Dandelions can be used as a food and a supplement. For extracts or teas containing dandelion, your local apothecary or health food store should have at least one option available. Dandelion greens can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores in the spring and summer months. You can also learn to identify this plant and find a place to forage it near where you live.
The first step for this recipe is getting your hands on some dandelion flowers. You may be able to find someone selling these, but it’s not something I’ve ever seen. The best option is to find a place where you can forage your dandelions. I live in an apartment and choose not to harvest from the apartment lawns due to pet waste and the use of chemicals by the landscaping company. I do, however, have several friends with chemical-free lawns, and they will let me come over to pick dandelions whenever I want.
Dandelion is easy to learn how to identify because it has very distinct features. The deeply serrated, toothed leaves, the bright yellow fluffy composite flowers, and the hollow single flower stems will all be confirmation that you have your hands on a dandelion. For this recipe, we just need the flower tops. Pinch or pop the flower heads from the top of the stem until you have about two cups of dandelion flowers.
When you get home you’ll want to wash the dandelions before you begin to prepare them for the fritters. To wash the dandelion heads, fill a large mixing bowl with water, and then dunk and swish the dandelion flowers in the bowl of water one handful at a time. Do this several times to remove any dirt or bugs from the tightly packed, many-petaled flowers.
When you remove the dandelions from the bath, place them face down on a clean kitchen towel to drain. Give them 30 minutes to 1 hour to dry out a bit before you move to the next step. After all the flowers have been through the bath and are drying, I typically clean out the bowl and set it to dry, so I can use it again when it is time to mix my batter.
Once the flowers have had time to dry off a bit from the bath, I break them down for the batter. To do this, you can either pinch the petals out of the green bracts because the bracts can be fibrous and tough (which is not always agreeable in the mouth or the stomach), or you can use the whole flower head. Place the petals or flower heads in a bowl to prepare your batter.
Dandelion Fritters Recipe
One of my favorite things about dandelion fritters, beyond their deliciousness, is how ridiculously easy they are to throw together. While I appreciate a good from-scratch recipe, I always cheat by starting with a box of cornbread mix for fritters. I love Bob’s Red Mill cornbread mix, but you can use your favorite variety. The consistency of cornbread batter is excellent for making fritters, and the sweet-meets-savory flavor is the perfect base upon which to build. With this in mind, here’s my recipe for dandelion fritters.
1 package cornbread mix Tips For the Perfect Dandelion Fritter
Eggs (for cornbread mix)
Water (for cornbread mix)
Avocado oil (for cornbread mix)
2 cups dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) petals
Oil for frying
1 package cornbread mix
Tips For the Perfect Dandelion Fritter
The perfect complement to a warm crispy dandelion fritter is a delicious dip to enhance the flavor and provide a little lubrication for the palate. My recommendation is a cool and creamy herbed sour cream dip. It’s so simple to make and comes together in minutes, although the longer you can let it sit before serving, the better the flavor will be. Here is the recipe.
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped fine
1 tablespoon dried onion
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
Here you have it, a delicious and easy recipe for dandelion fritters with a fresh herb dip. When dandelions are readily available, you can enjoy these as a snack or side dish. Share them with your friends and family, or keep them all for yourself!
Chevallier, A. (2000). Encyclopedia of herbal medicine. Dorling Kindersley Limited.