Lemon Verbena Recipes: 35 Ways to Use Lemon Verbena

Starting in mid-spring, the guy I get most of my produce from brings in long stalks of verveine citronnelle, bushy with feather-shaped leaves, faintly sticky and powerfully fragrant. Rub one with your thumb and it will knock you over with a floral and citrusy scent that does bear resemblance to lemongrass, as the French name points out (citronnelle means lemongrass).

The most natural thing to do with the leaves is to infuse them for herbal tea, to be served hot of chilled, but I was looking for more ideas so I turned to you — via Twitter et Facebook — and the Internet for suggestions. Here’s a compendium below; I hope you find it inspiring if you come across that lovely herb yourself!

Happy pairings for lemon verbena recipes

Lemon verbena + Peach
Lemon verbena + Apricot
Lemon verbena + Raspberry
Lemon verbena + Strawberry
Lemon verbena + Rhubarb
Lemon verbena + Pear
Lemon verbena + Citrus (especially grapefruit)
Lemon verbena + Yogurt
Lemon verbena + Ginger
Lemon verbena + Fish
Lemon verbena + Chicken
Lemon verbena + Pork

Beverages with lemon verbena

~ Make herbal tea, hot or iced, with lemon verbena on its own or mixed with other herbs, such as mint or sage.

~ Prepare a simple syrup for cocktails, non-alcoholic spritzers, iced tea, or lemonade.

~ Make a liqueur.

Lemon verbena recipes for baking and desserts

~ Add it to a rhubarb tart.

~ Make sorbet or ice cream.

~ Infuse it in the cream for panna cotta and other custard-style desserts, such as crème brûlée, and pots de crème.

~ Infuse it in the whipped cream for peaches and cream.

~ Make a simple syrup to moisten a sponge cake or a rum baba, drizzle onto crêpes and yogurt, or dunk in some ladyfingers for a strawberry charlotte or tiramisu.

~ Add to strawberry jam.

~ Add to a strawberry or peach soup.

~ Make lemon verbena sugar (whizz fresh leaves with sugar in a blender) and use to make simple butter cookies.

~ Chop finely and add to a fruit salad.

~ Infuse it in ganache for filled chocolates or macarons (advanced!).

~ Include in the syrup when poaching pears or peaches.

~ Make a lemon verbena jelly with gelatin or agar agar.

Savory lemon verbena recipes

~ Add to white fish fillets cooked en papillote.

~ Make lemon verbena vinegar.

~ Insert a handful in the steamer when steaming chicken breasts.

~ Add it to a marinade for a ceviche.

~ Add it to the brine for pork chops.

~ Make lemon verbena pesto.

~ Blend the leaves into a vinaigrette.

Non-food use for lemon verbena

~ Use it to scent a DIY glass and surface cleaner !

Join the conversation!

Have you ever encountered lemon verbena? How do you like to use it? All additional suggestions are welcome!

  • Beautiful ideas…love the idea of strawberry + lemon verbena jam. That sounds amazing!

  • Pamela O’Connell

    Lemon verbena is wonderful in a cold mayonnaise dressed potato salad

    • Ooh, I wouldn’t have thought of that, thank you! Do you slice the leaves thinly and just add them in?

      • Pamela O’Connell

        I slice thinly along with chives, parsley and tarragon ( or basil) and add at the very end so that the greenness is not smothered by the dressing. Do not put too much lemon verbena because you want this to be the surprise note. Previously i had added lemon zest to my dressing but one day I had some lemon verbena on my kitchen counter ( i think I had thought it would be too sweet so I had never added it before) and I chopped it along with the other herbs. Please try it and tell me what you think…

  • NotJoking

    Take a stem of it and put it in a glass of Pimm’s.

  • Stunning ideas, really like this , thank you!

  • Clinton Davidson

    Take a small cutting, put into a glass until the roots are an inch long, and make into a container plant. In zone 9 (SF, LA), it can be grown outside. http://www.gardeningblog.net/how-to-grow/lemon-verbena/ I know this is not a gardening blog, but verbena is not always easy to find. BTW, the French name has unfortunate overtones in English, as citronella is an insect repellent. Despite being naturally derived from lemongrass, many brands smell like bug candles.

    • Thanks so much for sharing those tips, Clinton! It’s great to have you around here. ^^

  • Susan Diamond Mattson

    Put it under the skin of a chicken breast or thigh, in the cavity of a chicken or Cornish hen with some lemon, thyme and parsley or in the beer or coke can when making a beer can chicken on the grill. It also can be used to infuse olive oil, either by itself or with other herbs. I grow it every year and love the flavor and the fragrance.

  • Jan Ron Raison

    I make a punch. In a large bowl, place some tea bags, a handful of Verbena, a handful of pineapple sage a handful of mint and a few rose geranium leaves. Simmer until color and strength reach the optimun. I add some dried raro orange but fresh is good too. I strain it and keep in the fridge. This is your punch base. Use ginger ale to thin down. I call it Jan’s jungle juice. You can freeze it in ice cubes too. That way you can keep your drink cool without diluting it too much, or throw some in a glass and dilute with ginger ale.
    Its very refreshing, moorish. Enjoy, kind regards, Jan

  • MtBees406

    Great ideas! My one little plant grew huge this summer. No mosquitoes either! I’m wanting to dry some for winter usage.

    • It’s wonderful dried! I keep a bunch that I make into herbal tea.

      • MtBees406

        I followed some hints and my husband & I both enjoy a cup of heat with the lemon verbena, some peppermint and honey in the evening.

Get the newsletter

Receive FREE email updates with all the latest recipes, plus exclusive inspiration and Paris tips. You can also choose to be notified when a new post is published.

View the latest edition of the newsletter.