Can You Eat Basil Flowers? What to Do With Basil Flowers (EXPLAINED)

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Can You Eat Basil Flowers

If you need to know whether basil flowers are eatable, you have come to the right spot. This blog discusses basil flowers, what to do with them, and whether you can eat them. 

Can You Eat Basil Flowers?

Can you eat basil flowers? Absolutely, you can. Expect them to be a little less intense than basil leaves, and their milder flavor is a hit in many dishes. 

If you have let your basil plants bolt and flower, and you do not want to waste all of those blooms, eat them. Make sure to wash basil flowers well as tiny insects also love them. Once you wash them, you can blot them with a paper towel to get them dry or give them a few whirls in a salad spinner. Once washed, they go perfect on their own or in recipes that call for basil. 

What to do with Basil Flowers

If you wonder what to do with all those basil flowers, you are in the right spot. There is a long list of ways to use basil flowers. However, if your focus is on growing basil for harvest, it is best never to see a basil plant bloom. Blooming stops the production of those flavorful leaves, and the plant goes into seed production. 

As a gardener, we’ve all forgotten to prune the basil plants and found flowers. Not to worry, though; just pinch off the flowers. The following list adds a few ways to use basil flowers in the foods you love. 

Spice up Tomato Sauce 

You can add basil flowers to tomato sauce, even tomato sauce out of a jar, to create a wonderfully rich and aromatic sauce. Use basil flowers as you would use fresh basil leaves. However, Basil flowers are a touch milder in flavor than are basil leaves. 

You can chop basil flowers by hand or use a food processor. Add a tablespoon of oil to the mix to help with consistency. 

Make Basil Oil 

If you want a milder basil flavor in dishes:

  1. Make basil oil by submerging the basil flowers in cooking oil.
  2. Place the bottle in a sunny window so that the basil flowers infuse the oil.
  3. When the process is complete, strain the oil to remove the flowers and use it as cooking oil. 

Check out the video below to see how to do ti easily…

Dry Basil Flower Herbal Tea

You can dry basil flowers to make your dry-leaf herbal tea. Dry the flowers in bunches by tying them together with twine and hanging them upside down in an area out of direct sunlight but still breezy. You can put a paper bag over the bunches to keep them clean. 

A good mix is one tablespoon of black tea leaves with one tablespoon of dried basil flowers. Steep to your desired level of taste. 

You can also put the flowers in a food dehydrator which will speed up the drying process. 

The video below is super helpful to learn more:

Basil Herbal Vinegar 

Basil flower-infused vinegar is easy to make and adds a lovely touch of basil to salad dressings as a splash for cooked veggies and stir-fries. All you need is a clean, sterile jar with a tight-fitting lid, a few basil flowers, and some white distilled vinegar. A canning jar works just fine for this project. 

YouTube Video on Infused Basil Vinegar. 

Basil Flower Pesto 

pesto ingredients

You can substitute or mix basil flowers with basil leaves to make delicious basil pesto. Because the flowers are lighter, the pesto will also be lighter. A good mixture is 25-50 percent basil flowers to leaves. 

Add basil Flowers to Salads 

You can eat raw basil flowers, and they make an excellent addition to green salads. The flowers add a lovely visual while providing a little of the heat and spicy flavor of basil. Start with about 1/4 of a cup of basil flowers in a green salad that would serve four people. 

As a Garnish 

Another beautiful way to use basil flowers is as a garnish for pasta dishes, salads, and any other meal with fresh herbs. 

Can you use the basil flowers in pesto?

Absolutely you can use basil flowers in pesto. You can make pesto with just the flowers, or you can mix basil leaves and flowers. A good ratio is 25-50 flowers to leaves. Adjust the ratio to your tastes. 

Should you take the flowers off basil when pruning?

basil flowers in bloom

Yes, it would be best to take the basil flowers off when you prune your basil plants. Anytime the basil plants begin to flower, they stop producing leaves. If the flowering becomes too advanced in the cycle, the plant will go into seed production and stop growing. 

What happens if my basil flowers?

A few tiny buds will not harm the plant. However, if the plant begins to produce many flowers, it will stop producing leaves. All the energy within the plant will shift to flower production and then seed production. As soon as you see a flower forming, pinch it off. Doing so helps keep your basil plant in a foliage state, and it will continue to produce leaves. Generally, we want basil leaves over flowers. 

How do you pinch off basil flowers?

Pinch the stem below the flower and above the next set of leaves. This removes the flowering portion of the plant and stimulates more leaf production. 

Check out the video below for a demo:


While it is not great to allow basil plants to flower, it is not a total loss. You can prune the plant and utilize the flowers as you would basil leaves. Keep in mind that basil blossoms are slightly less pungent than basil leaves.