Learn how to make this easy and delicious jelly using common dandelions growing in your backyard!
This recipe uses low sugar needed pectin, to reduce the overall amount of sugar needed, compared to traditional recipes.
To make dandelion jelly, you’ll first need to pick yourself some dandelions!
For a full recipe, you’ll want to pick around 4 cups of whole flowers. If you can’t find that many, don’t worry! This recipe is easily able to be halved.
Dandelion flowers thrive in patchy areas of poor soil, and around edges of places such as houses and sidewalks. Make sure to only pick dandelions from clean areas! This means they haven’t been sprayed with chemicals or pesticides, aren’t next to a roadway, and are far away from your pet’s bathroom spot. (Also avoid picking flowers that are growing next to or near animal dung.)
To pick, simply use your fingers to snap the dandelion blossoms off their stems right behind the head of the flower. It’s helpful to sometimes gently poke or ruffle the flower before picking to make sure there’s no tiny ants or bugs within, which often hide in the petals. Avoid picking any flowers that have a noticeably heavy insect presence or are covered in sand and/or dirt. We don’t want that in our jelly! Just move on until you find a clean flower.
Unless an area is about to be mowed, it’s wise not to pick it clean. There’s a good number of early pollinators that enjoy dandelions just as much as we do, and they deserve to get their fair share of these sunshine flowers too! When we pick dandelions, we leave at least 1-2 flowers for every flower we pick.
When you finish picking, spread your dandelions out on a clean towel or drying rack outdoors, and let them sit for 5-10 minutes so that any hitchhiking bugs have a chance to escape.
Making an Infusion
Now that we have our flowers, it’s time to infuse them to make a batch of dandelion tea! This means you’ll need to go out foraging for fresh flowers, so grab a container, and keep your eyes out for those bright, sunshine-yellow spots among the greenery!
Preparing the flowers
We want only the yellow petals of the dandelion flowers for this recipe; not the green parts. Leaving them in may possibly change the flavor and color of your finished jelly. Some small fragments of green are okay to leave, though!
Separating them is easy, though a little time consuming – just use your fingers to pinch the green part in one hand, and hold the petals together in your other hand. Pull the petals free with a gentle, yet firm, tug and twist. Discard the green segment, save the petals. You can place the petals directly into a measuring cup, if you so desire.
(Check out our story above to get a visual guide on how to prepare your dandelion petals!)
After working through your dandelion petals, measure them to see how much you have. For a full recipe, you’ll want 2 cups of flower petals.
Making Dandelion Tea for Jelly
Just about all floral jelly recipes are the same when you really look at them- the flowers are combined with water to be made into a tea, which is then combined with lemon juice, sugar, and pectin to make them go from a liquid to a delicious spread.
To make dandelion tea, you will need:
- 2 cups dandelion petals
- 4 1/2 cups of water
- a large saucepan
- a large heat-safe bowl, pitcher, or container
- a strainer
How to Make the Dandelion Tea:
- Heat 4 1/2 cups of water in a large saucepan, bringing it to a boil. In a large, heat-safe container, place your dandelion petals. Pour the boiling water over top the petals, and give them a stir.
- Cover the container loosely, and set aside to steep for around 1 hour. If you have small children or pets prone to climbing things and knocking them over, make sure you place it somewhere safe that they can’t reach. If this isn’t a concern, then just your kitchen counter will be perfectly fine.
- Once the infusion is finished, strain. Toss the petals (you can compost them if you’d like!) and keep the tea, which should be yellow in shade. Continuing to steep longer will change the strength of the tea and you may end up with a darker color than shown. You should end up with about 4 cups of liquid, after straining.
- It will smell very much like herbal tea at this stage- but don’t worry! It’ll turn golden and sweet soon enough!
If you can’t make your jelly right away, then cover your tea and place it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. If you can’t make your jelly within 24 hours, freeze the tea to use later.
Can I Freeze Dandelion Flowers &/or Tea for Later?
Yes! You can both freeze dandelion flowers and tea. To freeze the flowers, spread them out in a single layer in a freezer bag and press as much air out as possible. Label and store in your freezer for 2 to 3 months. They’ll be mushy once thawed, so use them in the frozen state to make an infusion for jelly. To freeze dandelion tea, you may want to freeze it in one cup or half-cup portions, or use ice trays for smaller amounts. Measuring it out in this way makes it easier for later use.
How to Make Dandelion Jelly
- 4 cups of dandelion tea
- 3 cups white sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 pack Sure-Jell low or no-sugar fruit pectin (1.75 oz pink box)
- Optional: 1/2 tsp butter (to reduce foaming; add at any point in the cooking process to reduce foam.)
- Heavy-duty 6-8 quart pot or stockpot
- Water bath canner & rack
- Canning jars (use 5-6 half pint jars or abt 10-11 4oz jelly jars), with lids and rings
Can I Reduce the Sugar in this Recipe?
We’ve already reduced the amount of sugar in this recipe from traditional recipes by a noticeable amount by using low or no sugar fruit pectin. (We use Sure-Jell no sugar pectin, in the pink box.) You may try to reduce the sugar lower, just be aware that you may encounter problems in getting the jelly to set.
Instructions to Make the Jelly
Before you begin:
If you plan to can your jelly for long-term storage, begin heating your water bath canner before beginning to make your jelly.
Wash out your jars to make sure they’re completely clean, and put them in the water bath canner as it warms to sterilize. When the water comes to a boil, make sure to boil them for at least 10 minutes before using. Alternatively, you can simply run your jars through your dishwasher’s sanitize cycle, timing so it ends and the jars are still hot when you’re ready to ladle out your jelly.
Cooking the jelly:
- Put the 4 cups of tea into 6-8 quart stockpot. It doesn’t matter if the tea is still warm or chilled from the fridge – you can use it freshly infused, or straight from the refrigerator. If using frozen tea, either thaw it out in your refrigerator for a day or two until it’s wholly liquid again, or to speed it up, just drop the frozen tea in a pot over a low burner, heating it up until it’s completely liquified once more.
- To the tea, add the 2 tbsp of lemon juice. Stir, and as the juice mixes in, it will lighten and brighten the color of the tea slightly. Set aside.
- Measure 3 cups of sugar into a bowl. From this bowl, scoop out 1/4 of a cup of sugar, and set the bowl (which now has 2 3/4 cups of sugar in it) aside. Place that 1/4 cup of sugar in a new bowl.
- Add the packet of pectin powder to the 1/4 cup of sugar, and mix to combine. Add this to the dandelion & lemon juice mixture in your pot, and stir to combine. Place this on a burner set to high heat.
- Stirring constantly, bring the jelly to rolling boil. Once it’s there, stir in the remaining sugar all at once. This will stop the jelly boiling for a moment. Return it to a full, rolling boil again, and boil for exactly one minute, still stirring constantly. Jelly will boil up significantly- make sure your pot’s big enough to handle it!
- After one minute, remove from the heat. Jelly will swiftly begin to set up, so moving quickly but carefully, ladle or pour the hot jelly into your jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace at the top. Some air bubbles might form up top- you can skim those off, if you’d like.
After all the jelly’s been distributed between your jars, wipe the rim and threads of each jar with a damp cloth to remove any sticky bits of jelly that could interfere with the seal. Cover the cleaned jars with their lids, and screw the bands on firmly.
If you chose not to can your jelly, then let the jars sit and cool overnight, then transfer them to the refrigerator, where you should use them within 3 weeks.
If you’re canning your jelly, then read on!
How to Water Bath Can Dandelion Jelly
Water bath canning looks a bit intimidating at first, but it’s much easier than you would think!
Before you begin making your jelly, you should have begun heating your water canner, having poured enough water inside the large pot that it will completely cover all your canning jars by at least an inch.
Keep the Jars Hot!
So that the jars will be hot and sterile by the time your jelly is ready, carefully lower all of your jars into the canner, allowing them to fill with water. Make sure the water is filled so that the water level is an inch above your jars. Set the water canner to heating, and place the lid on top. The water inside should come to a boil- make sure the jars inside are boiled for at least 10 minutes, so that you know they’re sterile.
When the jelly is ready to be ladled into jars, remove your canning jars from the water bath canner, dumping out the water inside back into the canner, and place the hot jars onto a towel. Leave the water bath canner as it is- don’t turn off the heat.
Filling & Canning
Ladle the jelly into the hot jars quickly but carefully, clean the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel or clean cloth, and cover with lids. Leave a 1/4 inch of headspace and wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth or paper towel. Screw the bands on firmly.
Carefully lower the jars into the still-hot canner, and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil; process jars for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove the jars from the canner with a jar lifter, or by lifting out the rack. Do so carefully! Remember, you’re dealing with boiling water- don’t burn yourself, and watch out for splashes!
Cool Down Phase
Place your jars of jelly on a towel to cool, undisturbed at room temperature, for 12-24 hours. You should be able to hear the lids sealing with a ‘pop!’ as they rest.
Shelf Life of Dandelion Jelly
Store any jars that failed to seal in the refrigerator and use within 3 weeks. Successfully sealed jars are shelf-stable and can be stored for 1 year in your pantry or storeroom, just so long as they have an unbroken seal. Once the seal is broken, dandelion jelly must be refrigerated, and must be used within 3 weeks of unsealing.
What to do with your Dandelion Jelly
Now that you have a delicious jar of dandelion jelly, what should you do with it?
Dandelion jelly is delicious on toast, English muffins, sandwiches… anything you enjoy eating jelly on!
Many people are fascinated by the thought of being able to make something edible from flowers, especially when it’s something as sweet as a jelly, so if you managed to put up any extra jars, they make great gifts. That is, of course, assuming you don’t eat it all!
What does it taste like?
Dandelion jelly tastes sweet with a noticeable hint of lemon, and has a bright, light, delicate flavor.
Why is my jelly brown?
Dandelion jelly is usually a golden-yellow color when it’s finished, but since we’re dealing with the variables of nature, there could be color variations from batch to batch. Also keep in mind that photos you see online are going to make sure the sunlight is shining through the dandelion jelly just right, so you can see the light yellow tone better!
Possibility 1: You steeped your tea too long.
If your jelly is not yellow-hued, especially when you hold it up to the light, then a possible culprit could be oversteeping. Leaving your petals in the tea for a long time results in a much stronger infusion (tea), and potentially stronger color.
Possibility 2: You used an alternative sweetener.
Another possible culprit may be alternative sweeteners. White sugar, the sweetener used in this recipe, does not turn this jelly brown. Honey, agave syrup, raw sugar, or brown sugar could contribute different color tones.
Possibility 3: You didn’t remove the petals from the green ends.
Did you leave the green ends on your dandelions? That could affect color too. Don’t worry, your jelly is still good to enjoy no matter which shade of yellow, gold, or brown it turns out!
Can I use honey/a different sweetener?
If you want to try using a different sweetener other than white sugar, you’ll have to experiment. While we used honey often in the past to make other jams and jellies (using this same Ball no or low sugar pectin), we’ve never made dandelion jelly using anything other than white sugar, so don’t have specific advice on amounts to use.
Is dandelion jelly good for you? Any nutrients/health benefits?
While dandelions themselves have many interesting health benefits (check out our sister site The Nerdy Farm Wife to learn about some of them!), after all of the processing and sweetening, one should likely look elsewhere for their dose of dandelion health food. Instead, just enjoy this jelly as the delicious sweet treat it is!
What else can I make from spring flowers?
- a saucepan for boiling 4 1/2 cups of water
- heatproof pitcher or container, for infusing dandelions
- a strainer, for the dandelion tea infusion
- 1 cup measuring cup
- 1 tablespoon measuring spoon
- heavy-duty 6-8 quart pot or stockpot
- a bowl that will hold 3 cups of sugar
- an equal sized or slightly smaller bowl
- 6 half-pint jelly jars with lids and rings
- ladle, for spooning hot jelly into hot jars
- water bath canner with rack, if canning your jelly
For the Dandelion Tea
- 2 cups dandelion petals
- 4 1/2 cups water
For the Dandelion Jelly
- 4 cups dandelion tea
- 3 cups white sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 package Sure-Jell low or no sugar needed pectin (1.75 oz pink box)
- 1/2 tsp butter – optional, to add at any point during cooking to reduce foam in your jelly
To Make the Dandelion Tea
- Bring 4 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan.
- While the water heats, place 2 cups of dandelion petals into a heatproof container or pitcher.
- Pour the boiling water over the dandelion petals, cover the container loosely, and steep for around 1 hour.
- Strain, squeezing the extra water from the dandelion petals.
- You should end up with 4 cups of dandelion tea. (If needed, add a little extra water to reach 4 cups total liquid.)
- If you aren't making your jelly right away, refrigerate the dandelion tea for 24 hours, or freeze for longer storage.
To Make the Dandelion Jelly
- If you're water bath canning, start heating the water in your canner.
- Heat your jars by keeping them in the water bath canner, a pot of boiling water, or your dishwasher set to sanitize cycle. (You want them hot when pouring in hot jelly, or they could crack.)
- Place the 4 cups of dandelion tea infusion in a heavy stockpot.
- Add 2 tbsp lemon juice to the dandelion tea.
- Measure 3 cups of sugar into a bowl.
- Scoop 1/4 cup of that sugar and place it into a new bowl.
- Add the pack of pectin to the smaller bowl of sugar (containing 1/4 cup) and stir well.
- Add the pectin, mixed with the 1/4 cup sugar, to the dandelion tea and lemon juice in the pot.
- Turn the burner to high heat and stir constantly until the mixture reaches a full rolling boil.
- Add the remaining sugar and return it to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
- Boil for one minute, still stirring constantly. The jelly will boil up significantly at this point.
- After one minute, remove the pot from the heat.
- Working quickly but carefully, remove the hot jars onto a towel, and ladle or pour the hot jelly mixture into them.
- If you plan to water bath can your jelly, leave a 1/4 inch headspace at the top of each jar.
- Wipe the rims with a damp paper towel, to remove any sticky residue that might interfere with the seal.
- Cover each jar with a lid and screw the ring on firmly.
- Optionally: For longer storage, water bath can your jelly.
To Water Bath Can Dandelion Jelly
- After filling the jars, and adding the lids/rings, carefully lower them into the hot water of a water bath canner. (Use a canning rack if available, or a canning jar lifter.)
- Cover the canner with its lid.
- Heat the water to a boil over medium high heat.
- Boil the jars, with the lid on the canner, for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove the lid carefully (watch for steam!), and remove the jars.
- Place the jars on a towel and leave them undisturbed for at least 12 to 24 hours.
Shelf Life of Dandelion Jelly
- Store any jars that failed to seal in the refrigerator and use within 3 weeks. Successfully sealed jars are shelf-stable and can be stored for 1 year. Once opened, refrigerate and use within 3 weeks.