Rose & Lavender Water: Luxurious Elixirs!

Rose water can be used in cooking as well as a rich beauty aid. Try some as a facial toner or astringent, in the bath or as a facial splash (refresher).

ExampleNotes on Preparation:

  • Flowers must be freshly picked and have no pesticides or chemicals on them.
  • Pick them just after the morning dew has evaporated, about 2 to 3 hours after sunrise.
  • Do not use the stems or leaves.
  • Wash quickly to remove any bugs or specks of dirt and immediately process with one of the methods below.
  • If not growing your own, ask at the local florist or Farmers Market for organic ones.

(Rose Hydrosol)

Items Needed:

Fresh petals (3 to 4 quarts)
Ice cubes
Enamel canning or stock pot with lid
Deep, heavy heat proof bowl

  • Fill the bottom of the cooking vessel with the petals and pour distilled water over them until they are just covered. Place the bowl in the middle of the pot. The rim should be at least a couple inches higher than the liquid. If you have a canning rack, set the bowl on top of that so it doesn’t sit directly over the heat. A pyrex loaf dish underneath would do the trick too. Set these in place first before adding the ingredients.
  • Cover with lid, but position it upside down so that there’s a dipped “container” to hold the ice on top (to be added later). Now turn on the heat and bring to a boil.
  • Once it starts boiling, fill the top of the inverted pot lid with ice cubes. Turn the temperature down and keep at a bare simmer for about two hours.
  • Top up the ice as needed and quickly peek occasionally to see that things don’t boil dry.

This process will enable condensation to form on the top inside of the lid. The condensation will drip down into the bowl inside the pot, the liquid inside the dish is the rosewater.

Old Fashioned Version:

Items Needed:

Rose Petals
Enamel Pot (any size)

  • Fill the bottom of the cookware with the petals a few inches deep. Pour distilled water over them until they are just covered.
  • Turn on heat for the mixture to be steaming hot, but do not boil. Let steam until the floral pieces have lost their color and the liquid has taken on their color and oil is seen skimming the surface. This will take approximately 60 minutes.
  • Strain and squeeze out moisture from the petals, this is rosewater.

Quick & Easy:

  • For every 1 firmly packed cup of petals, pour 2 cups boiling water over top. Cover and steep until the mixture is cool. Strain, squeeze out the floral pieces, and refrigerate the liquid in a sterilized jar.

Oven Method:

  • Preheat oven to 450°. Line an enamelware roaster a few inches deep with petals. Fill with distilled water until the flowers are just covered. Place the roaster uncovered into the oven and bring to a boil.
  • As soon as it starts boiling, turn off the heat and cover the roaster. Leave in the oven until cool (several hours). Once cool, strain and squeeze out all the floral pieces. Store the liquid in the refrigerator.


  • After preparing the recipe of choice, refrigerate in a sealed, sterilized glass jar.
  • This is suitable for cooking and baking, but only use fresh batches. Although it’s kept refrigerated, my notes have vast discrepancies in shelf life. Some state several days, some say a year.

Beauty Aid Additive:

  • Add 1 part rubbing alcohol or vodka or witch hazel to 10 parts rosewater (facial astringent or toner).


BudsThis can be used in a variety of ways around the house. Some ideas:

  • When washing bedding and linens, add some to the rinse cycle. The bedding will have a light scent and helps those with sleep problems.
  • When ironing, spritz a bit on the items being pressed. Will add a nice scent to the garment.
  • Beauty aid: Try it as a skin freshener on hot summer days, a hair rinse, splash in the bath or dab around temples for headache relief.
  • Insect repellent, try it as a mosquito repellent as well as a mosquito bite itch helper. Can deter flies and other insects too.

First Method:

Mason Jar
Lavender Buds

  • Fill the glass jar with lavender and cover completely with vodka. Seal closed.
  • Place it in a sunny location for about 18 days, rotate and shake it each day–morning and night.
  • After 18 days, strain out the buds and seal the liquid in a clean glass jar.
  • Use as needed.


3 TBS vodka
15 drops Lavender essential oil

  • Mix together then add 2 cups distilled water. Seal in a jar or bottle, keep in a dark place for 2 weeks before using.

Print Print    Email Email

What Readers Are Saying: 67 Comments
  1. Sylvia says:

    Recipe 2 instructions:
    Mix the essential oil and vodka together then add vodka? Do you mix the oil with the vodka or water first?

  2. TipNut says:

    Oops! Thanks Sylvia, I fixed it. It should be: mix oil & vodka first, then add water.

  3. Elaine says:

    I use lavender water in the kitchen for a first aid for burns,and also for bites its wonderfull

  4. Patricia Tiede says:

    I’ve been looking for this recipe for Lavender water using fresh lavender for some time! Thank you so much for this…I have so much Lavender and want to make both the water and the wands. It would be a shame to waste this precious flower!

  5. brit says:

    i was wondering is there a way to make the lavender water witout the vodka ? in fact without alcohale ?

    • Joseph E, Davis, Jr. says:

      No! The vodka has ethanol(EtOH) which acts as a ADJUVANT to solubilize the lavender oil. My guess is that you could also use plain old “rubbing alcohol(isopropynol), as it is also an “alcohol/water azeotrope”. This mixture might smell a bit more strong of alcohol. Kind Regards, JED

    • Carrie says:

      Vinegar works as a fine substitute for alcohol.

  6. TipNut says:

    There could be brit but I just have recipes that use vodka, sorry I couldn’t help more.

  7. squamisher says:

    I have made the lavender water but it is brown in color.

    I cannot use it while ironing as it stains my whites. I have bought lavender water for ironing before. How do they get it colorless?????

    • TipNut says:

      The commercial lavender water is likely made with essential oils rather than a true lavender bud infusion. If your lavender water is too dark and causes staining, you can dilute it with water.

    • Joseph E, Davis, Jr. says:

      Hello! My guess id this essential oil does not endure a good “heat history”. You should press your clothing, and then apply an ever so light mist of the lavender water for freshness. Remember, lavender oil is an essential oil, and is very, very unstable to heat, and UV light(sunlight). Kind Regards, JED

  8. Rachel says:

    Could you possibly make rosewater by simply diluting rose oil {organic, no chemicals} with fresh water?

    • Lynda says:

      Oil and water don’t mix…ever, so the oil would always float on top of the water

      • Jessica says:

        yes oil and water can be mixed, but you need an emulsifing agent. 25 drop rose eo, w/ 2oz isopropyl alcohol or vodka- shake well, sit 2 days, shake well, add 4- 5 oz distilled water at room temp.

  9. Janice says:

    Does it matter if you use dried lavender or fresh? Would the dried make the water less dark?

  10. edlmohughespharmd says:

    You can also ask your local old time pharmacist to order you a bottle of Soluble Rose Oil and use a few drops in water to obtain Rose Water.

  11. Laurpud says:

    Does anyone know if you can make LILAC water? Obviously not to eat but, just curious.

  12. Sandi says:

    I can’t wait to try and make lavender water! I had no idea it was made with vodka. I transplanted a lavender bush, (more like a tree) from my parents home almost 25 years ago, and it’s huge! Now I have something I can do with the buds! So glad I ran into this! Thanks!

    • patricia Hall says:

      I think you are talking about a Lilac bush lavender is a flower low growing to a lilac bush. I got my oil froma bulk food store . aptricia

      • Lexi says:

        Lavender can become quite tree-like if you don’t chop it back every year. My lavender ‘tree’ came about from being neglected for about three years, then trimmed around the sides. I rather like it! I have planted smaller flowers around the ‘trunks’ and it looks great.

  13. patricia says:

    does it mater how old the lavender is.i have some in my garden but it is almost at the end of the season , can i still use it ?

  14. Jen says:

    Great recipes…do you know if this could be used in making lotion?

    • littlemama says:

      yes. i infuse dried lavender buds with boiling water. Then I use it in my recipe for healing lotion along with aloe vera gel, lavender E.O. & Vitamins A & E. for the water part of the recipe. It has a light scent.

  15. Sarah says:

    Can leaves or flowers be included, or just strictly the buds? It seems a shame to discard the rest of the plant parts…

    • TipNut says:

      I only have the recipe that requires buds Sarah, nothing for flowers and leaves sorry (I believe buds are more concentrated in the natural oils and that’s why buds are used).

  16. Pamela says:

    What’s the advantage of the distilled version? i am hoping to make this for use as a facial toner and wondering which recipe to choose… thoughts?

  17. Asia says:

    After you have added the witch hazel or rubbing alcohol, do you still need to refrigerate it?

    • Diane says:

      I would think once alcohol has been added, the alcohol itself would keep the water from growing stagnant ! I hope you aren’t using it to cook with ?!

      I prefer using an alcohol based product, and even straight rubbing alcohol on a tissue for oily skin. It always cleared up pimples as a teen. Just rinse with cool water after.

  18. Jana says:

    If I have made the old fashioned rose water, can I then go on to distill it? Does the hydrosol version need to be refrigerated?

  19. Janice says:

    If you don’t have access to fresh roses what are the options? Are there retail/catalog outlets to acquire these things? For the oils and dried flower projects.

  20. olivetree says:

    Hey Tipnut! What’s the purpose of putting rubbing alcohol or vodka in the rose water? Is it meant to mix rose oil and rose water, like Jessica suggested? I know that alcohol can preserve and sit for a very long time, so would the rosewater keep nicely in a bottle stored in the pantry or medicine cabinet? It would be real cool if it can… more space in the fridge!

  21. Zachary says:

    Hey, I’m not actually with tipnut, olivetree, but if I am right, the addition of alcohol is so it can be used to remove oils and dirt from your face. Just like dissolving rose oil in water would require an emulsifier, so would dissolving the oils on your skin.

    As for the question regarding the shelf life, I really am unable to answer that. I am a chemist, not a biologist. 😀 Hope that helped!

    • Tipnut says:

      Thanks Zachary, I’m not a chemist or biologist but that’s what I understand the purpose of the alcohol is for (cleaning). Sorry for the late response olivetree, sometimes I’m approving messages but miss replying right away.

      • olivetree says:

        No problem. I guess one could experiment with a few samples to find out about the shelf life.

      • olivetree says:

        Would alcohol dry out your skin like soap?

        • Diane says:

          It worked great for me as a teen ! I used alcohol on a napkin or tissue, when my skin was oily, or when a pimple would pop up ! I rinsed with cool water afterwards and blotted dry. A light moisturizer could be applied after, I suppose. But I figured that would be like clogging the pores up all over again ! lol

          • loida says:

            after cleansing your skin, its a requirement to use toner e.g. rose water, after it so as to close d open pores so there is no fear of using moisturizer after ur toner. it won’t clog the pores.

          • olivetree says:

            A good moisturizer should not clog up pores. How about rose petals infused in an oil, such as jojoba, almond or grapeseed? AKA enfleurage pomade.

  22. Tiffany says:

    Did not have time to read all of the comments…but you do not have to use alcohol. I have been doing it for years as a facial toner. You can use distilled water or aloe vera distillate and several drops (depending on the potency) of the EO. Neroli, Rose and Lavender are good choices. Shake and let sit for 48 hours, then strip, or not, the EO off the top with a tissue (or not) and spray away! ENJOY!

  23. d says:

    As far as cooking goes, whats the best recipe to use? The longer the shelf life the better. Making big batches.

    • olivetree says:

      The possibilities are truly endless! These are only a few suggestions, as you can find many ideas while surfing the internet. Try adding rosewater to rice pudding, oatmeal, applesauce, pies, muffins, lemonade (rose lemonade is popular in Israel & Lebanon), ciders such as apple cider, and in place of water in jam recipes (have you tried rose petal jelly or jam?). Has anyone tried rosewater ice cubes or cocktails? Use it in sauces or in fruit salads. From the research I have done, it would seem that roses and apples are a great combination, though I have never tried anything yet with rosewater and rose petals, as we don’t have any domestic roses. Plenty of wild ones though, but each flower only have five or six petals. I could really do stuff with the many rose hips though.

      • olivetree says:

        Oh, almost forgot. How about rosewater or rose petal jelly or jam on ice cream?

      • Cathy says:

        Rose HIPS!!??

        I’ve got an old fashioned pink rose that develops Hips every year. And I have been trimming them off to keep roses coming. Now, I know the hips are good for tea (haven’t a clue as how to make it!) but I hate just tossing them away. Seems to be something to do with them?? No clues here. Answers from you?? Thanks.

  24. fred says:

    wow the rose petals turned white ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  25. Serenity "Owl" Dilsworth says:

    I need exactly 1/2 teaspoon of rose water for a baklava recipe. I have about 40 mature rose bushes, so getting roses is not a problem. Every rose water recipe is doable for me – I like the oven one best I think – but with a shelf life described as 1 day to 1 year, I wonder if it’s worth the extra effort. I also wonder if it’s okay to use petals from different colored bushes? Your thoughts??

  26. SylverStarduster says:

    I am interested in making a recipe for a pasta dish that calls for rosewater in it. I had went to the grocery store and bought some, and tasted it, and about yakk’d all over my kitchen floor!! Ewwwuhh!!! This stuff tastes like perfume!! What are the advantages of putting it in my recipe, and not have it tasting like an old ladys bathwater? Did I perhaps not get the right kind to use? Are all rosewaters the same?

    • aka says:

      It could be that you got especially strong rose water, but most likely it just isn’t to your taste. A lot of people just find flowers too perfumey to enjoy. Others(like me :D) love it!

  27. jenny a says:

    can i make a combination of the two recipes? infuse vodka with fresh lavender, strain, and then dilute with water? or, infuse a combination of water and alcohol with fresh lavender?

  28. usha mahadevan says:

    For making rose water, roses should be fresh or we can also use dried petals.

  29. Noel says:

    what if the seller of flower says that the flower is not use an pesticide,but the pesticide.

    what wil Happen???

  30. ebne says:

    i found rose water in a indian store in the beauty section, is it the same you use for food?

  31. tina says:

    I have some rose I mindlessly bought from walmart. I believe they maybe dyed and or pesticide treated. I was planning to make rosewater for my hair. Would this be harmful. Also I thinking if the roses are dyed, the dye must be gentle enough to use on living roses, so how would this effect my hair? Also on the side it says roses are not edible. Dyes may seep into clothing. Help. If I can’t use these where am I going to find organic roses?

  32. tina says:

    Can I least still use the oil produced?

  33. Hana says:

    I thought making rosewater is very very simple no?

    “To make rose water… Pour boiling water over rose petals. Cover the container until the liquid cools, then strain, and if it is not going to be used within a few days, it should be frozen. Start with about a pint of water to a cup of petals and adjust the amount of petals according to the depth of scent you want.” (North Country Soap Making Library)

    Is there any differences of the rose water content from your method and the easy method I found previously?

    I found out squeezing my pimples and use rosewater to compress it greatly reduced the swelling in one night ^^

  34. theresa says:

    can i use witch hazel instead of vodka to make lavender water from fresh buds?? If so…about how long is the shelf life and should it be kept in the ‘frig?

  35. gin says:

    Can you make rosewater using rose absolute essential oil

  36. Jolene says:

    For those of you using this as a facial toner and concerned about alcohol drying out the skin: Add about a teaspoon of glycerine to your mist. Just shake it all up before spraying! Yes you can use witch hazel instead of alcohol.

  37. usha says:

    enamel pot is it essential where is vodka or rubbing -alcohol available

  38. bells562 says:

    Why is it necassary to place your mixture in a dark place for 2 weeks before use?

  39. Michele says:

    Hi! I just tried making Lilac water, and instead of getting the “Essence of Lilac,” I’m getting the “Essence of Artichoke.” Any suggestions?

  40. Cherrilyn says:

    Can you do the same method with roses as you did with the Lavender Buds? Meaning:Fill the glass jar with lavender and cover completely with vodka. Seal closed. If so, how long would I have to leave the petals in the vodka? Would it smell like vodka or roses? Same question for lavender.

  41. HarpersMom says:

    I believe I read this above but want to be clear. Can you combine rose water and lavender water. I like the rose water but it’s a bit to sweet & reminds me of my great grandmother. I loved her but don’t want to smell like an old lady. Even though I’m getting up there in age myself! Or would it be best to make them separately and alternate using the Rose then Lavender water? This is for skin care for me. I’ve also read that Lavender anything, tea, mist, lotion, etc. helps people with Alzheimer’s. Has anyone else read about this? What a wonderful thing this would be if true!

  42. Corissa says:

    I tried infusing lilacs last night and my water turned brown, help? My lilac jelly isn’t going to look very appealing 🙁 the lilacs were fresh but more of a light purple to white in color.

*Comments Are Moderated