Violet flowers collected in a bowl

Candied violets are a very special treat; in France they are considered a delicacy. Since violets grow quite easily, you can probably find some in your yard, a neighbor’s yard, or a nearby park or forest. These edible flowers come into bloom in April and May, and are at their peak for a brief while. Gather your violets while they are in full bloom, and then try crystallizing them, preserving them as fine and dainty candies!

We have tried a wide variety of methods for crystalizing violets. The best way, by far, is to use milk in a spray bottle, so that is the method we will explain

Along the way, we’ll also show you how some of the other methods failed….just so you don’t feel compelled to go out and waste some of your precious violets repeating our errors.

On with the success story!


-Violet flowers
-Caster Sugar
-Food coloring (optional)

Other supplies:
-Baking sheet
-Parchment paper (or wax paper in a pinch)

Step One: Gather your violets

Only gather violets (or any edibles!) from soil you know. It should be 100% free of pesticides and any other harmful chemicals, as you will NOT be washing the violets before you candy them.

Put violets into a bowl that is large enough to hold them without crowding, and which has a flat enough bottom that it won’t spill over when you set it down . (Like so many things, we learned this the hard way; if you spill your carefully gathered violets, you will be sad.)

Snip them close to the bottom of the stem, so you have a nice long handle for when you are working with them:

You may want to gather the leaves in the other half of your large, flat bowl. Violet leaves are also edible, and the young ones are very tasty in salads!

Step Two: Coat Your Voilets

There are many different methods suggested for coating violets so that the sugar will properly stick to them. The most popular are:

a) Brushing violets with egg whites – too tedious for words!
….we won’t even trouble you with a photo. Imagine brushing a tiny flower, petal by petal, while being careful to never touch it with your fingers….

b) Dipping violtets into milk or water – ugly results!

….We tried it; look how bad it was:
In process:

Dipping yields clumpy candied violets, where the petals are all stuck together:

Some sources suggest separating the petals with a toothpick after dipping. We find this beyond tedious; far worse, even, than brushing petals individually.

c) Dipping into egg whites – our second-favorite option

This is your best option if you do not have a perfect spray bottle ready to go. Here are in-process and results photos:

So the egg white dipping method is acceptable. We did find that it can sometimes yield syrupy, rather than crystalized, sugar after the violets are heated.

But our favorite method is:
D) Spritzing milk onto flowers with a fine mist spray bottle.

Just hold the flower by the stem, spray twice on the front, and twice (each time from a different angle, to ensure full coverage) on the back.

Step Three: Cover Your Violets with Sugar

Use caster sugar for best results. The finer the grain, the daintier the final candies.

You may want to try using colored sugar. Plain white sugar will give your violets a white coating that hides their violet-ness just a bit. Really bring out the violet by adding 2 drops of Neon Purple and 1 drop of Neon Turqoise food coloring to your sugar, which makes it a decidedly non-neon perfect violet shade:

To coat flowers in sugar :
-using stem, place face down in shallow, wide bowl of sugar.
-use other hand to place more sugar on top of the flower
-press on top of sugar to ensure that sugar sticks to petals well
-remove from sugar and place on baking sheet

Place violet face down on baking sheet (it rests most flatly this way), and then snip the stem away.

Repeat until you have coated all your flowers in sugar:

The dark violets have violet colored sugar on them, while the light ones have plain white sugar.

Step Four : Heat the Violets

Place your baking sheet on the bottom rack of your 200 degree F oven. Drying/crystallization takes about 35 minutes. Too little time, and the sugar will not properly stick together. Too much time, and it will become syrupy.

Step Five : Enjoy the Violets

Here are some ways to enjoy your candied flowers:

-As a beautiful topping for pastries (wedding cakes, petit fours, tea cakes, fancy cupcakes and more)

-On their own, especially right after you finish making them!

-As a light sweetener for your tea or coffee; how cute will it be to have pretty little flowers floating in your beverage? Especially useful when entertaining guests.

-Give them as gifts to people you really, really like! (There’s a *lot* of love and effort that goes into these special treats…)