Sugar-Free Elderflower Cordial

Every year my parents make a huge batch of elderflower syrup. It's so easy to make and so much bertter than any store-bought elderflower syrup.

For years I've been making their version of elderflower cordial with erythritol and stevia instead of sugar but it just wasn't the same. That bitter aftertaste from stevia and the chilling effect of erythritol was hard to mask.

When allulose became available, I decided to give it another try and it was a success! Absolutely zero unpleasant aftertaste and just as good as the elderflower syrup I used to love.

How To Pick and Store Elderflowers

Elderflowers are in season throughout May and June so you still have a couple of weeks left to pick them before they are gone. Elder trees grow in the countryside in fields and on the edge of forests. They also grow in urban areas in parks. Although they are easy to pick, you should avoid a few common mistakes. Here are my top tips:

  • Elderflowers and elderberries are edible when cooked but other parts of the plant should not be eaten. Make sure you are picking elderflowers and not plants that look similar as they can be poisonous. Forage safely — do not eat anything you are not 100% sure is edible!
  • Don't pick your elderflowers on a rainy or windy day. If it rains, allow at least 24 hours before you pick them. You want fresh pollen that's not been washed away by rain or blown away by wind.
  • Only pick fully opened, white flowers that have not yet turned brown and started falling off.
  • Pick the whole flower heads where the stem joins together and place in a basket where the flowers can breathe and don't sweat.
  • Avoid picking elderflowers that are growing on the roadside and in other polluted areas. Also avoid picking elderflowers that grow too low to the ground where dogs can reach them.
  • Once you pick elderflowers, use them as soon as possible, or store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 24 hours. For longer storage, trim the hard stalks, place in a bag and in the freezer for up to 6 months.

How To Make Low-Carb Elderflower Cordial (Syrup)

  • Elderflower heads. Most recipes I found for comparison are using anywhere from 15 to 30 heads but I prefer using as many as 30 to 40 (depending on the size) just to get more concentrated flavor.
  • Water. Still water is what you'll need to soak & steep the elderflowers.
  • Lemons. Make sure you are using organic and unwaxed lemons. You will need both the peel and the juice. Some recipes advice using whole sliced lemons but I find that using lemon peel and then juicing is better as you get more lemon flavor, more tang and no bitterness from the white parts of the lemon.
  • Citric acid. This is a key ingredient as it will act as a natural preservative and help release the flavor from the elderflowers. It also adds a lot of tang! You can get citric acid from Amazon and in most major grocery stores.
  • Allulose. Unless you absolutely have to, do not substitute allulose. Erythritol-based sweeteners tend to form sugar crystals once chilled, and too much stevia will make your cordial bitter. Stevia should only be used together with other sweeteners and never on its own.

Where to Get Allulose?

There are a few options available on Amazon. The brand I use and like is RxSugar. If you live in the US you can get RxSugar 20% off by using this link (affiliate link) or by using the code KETODIET20 at checkout.

Do you live in the UK? This place seems to stock allulose and delivers to the UK.

Do I Need to Reduce the Syrup?

No, you don't have to reduce the syrup but I prefer to do that by boiling to just about half of its original volume. It's easier to store and the flavor is more concentrated. Instead of light yellow, the color is dark golden.

Remember that if you don't reduce the liquid, you will need to use twice as much to achieve the same flavor and sweetness level which you should always do depending on what you like. I dilute the reduced syrup with still or sparkling water at 1:10 to 1:15 and serve it with ice.

How To Sterilize Storage Bottles

To sterilize the storage jars or bottles, place the bottles and the lids, as well as the funnel that you'll need to pour the liquid into the jars, in a large pot filled with water.

Bring to a boil over a high heat, and then reduce to medium-low. Keep in the water for about 10 minutes, making sure everything is fully submerged. Carefully remove the sterilized jars one at a time (careful, they will be hot!) and place on a clean kitchen towel to dry.

If you plan to use the syrup within 2 weeks and store it in the fridge, you won't need to sterilize it.

More Low-Carb Drinks and Syrups

When the days get hot and you're looking for a guilt-free refreshment with no sugar, we've got you covered:

Whether you just started following the ketogenic diet or need a tasty way to replenish electrolytes after a workout, make sure you prepare some electrolyte drink including:

Is there any other drink you've been missing on keto? Let me know in the comment section and I'll do my best to make a sugar-free version of it!

Preparation time

Hands-on:   20 minutes
Overall:     5 hours

Nutritional values (per serving, 2 tbsp/ 30 ml)

Total Carbs 1.2 grams
Fiber 0.1 grams
Net Carbs 1.1 grams
Protein 0 grams
Fat 0 grams
of which Saturated 0 grams
Energy 5 kcal
Magnesium 1 mg (1% RDA)
Potassium 5 mg (1% EMR)

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (95%), protein (3%), fat (2%)

Ingredients (makes about 1.5 L)

  • 30-40 elderflower heads
  • 2 liters water
  • 2 lemons, organic and unwaxed
  • 1/4 cup citric acid (59 g/ 2 oz)
  • 900 g granulated Allulose (2 lbs.) or other low-carb sweeteners (see tips above)


  1. Remove any dirt or insects from the elderflowers. (Do not wash as you don't want to wash off the pollen which will give it flavor.)
  2. Use scissors to trim the thick stalks off the elderflowers and place into a large pot filled with 2 liters of water.
  3. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer yellow layer of the lemons and add to the pot. Juice the two lemons and add the lemon juice to the pot.
  4. Place on the stove. Heat up until simmering, and then cover with a lid and take off the heat. Let it sit for at least 4 hours of up to 24 hours to allow the flavors to infuse.
  5. Strain the liquid through a colander lined with a muslin cloth or a nut milk bag. Squeeze any remaining liquid from the flower & lemon pulp fpr even more flavor.
  6. Place the pot with the elderflower liquid back on the stove. Add the sweetener, bring to a boil and stir to combine. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until you get about half of the original volume, about 1.5 liters of liquid.
    Note: If you don't want to reduce the liquid, see the tips in the recipe above. My pots have capacity marks inside so it's easy to get exactly the amount I need.
  7. Meanwhile, sterilize as many glass bottles and a funnel (see tips in the recipe above to learn how to do that).
  8. Bottle up the elderflower cordial while it's still hot. Keep the bottles in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months.
  9. Serve 2 to 4 tablespoons combined with a cup of still or sparkling water and some ice.
  10. Once opened store in the fridge and use within 2 weeks. Optionally, serve with a slice of lemon for some extra zing!


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