Dandelion and Lemon Paleo Cupcakes

Have you been wondering what to do with all of those bright and cheerful dandelions growing in your yard this spring? Why not turn them into these delicious gluten-free, dandelion and lemon paleo cupcakes!! These light and delicious cupcakes remind me a bit of a moist banana bread, but with more of a wild side!

Dandelion and Lemon Paleo Cupcakes - foraging wild dandelions for food - low carb, gluten-free cupcakes recipe http://www.forestandfauna.com/

First let’s talk about how to correctly identify dandelions, as believe it or not, there are some dandelion imposters out there.

How To Properly Identify Dandelions:

  • Here in the NW dandelion flowers bloom the most in the spring, generally from late March to June.
  • Dandelions flowers are bright yellow, except for a few outer lying petals with green highlights that can be found when turning the flower upside down.
  • Dandelions grow with only 1 flower per stem. False dandelions like “Cats Ear” often grow with multiple flowers per stem.
  • The best time to pick dandelion flowers is mid morning when they are fully open. Dandelion flowers close up in the late afternoon, go to sleep for the night, and then reopen again in the morning. They are also likely to close up on a raining day. They flower like this for a few days before going to seed and becoming great “wish” makers. For baking we pick the petals when they are still yellow, before they have gone to seed.
  • Dandelion stems are totally hollow and can be used as little drinking straws! You will also notice a little milky white substance when breaking the buds off of the stems.
  • The green dandelion leaves grow in a round rosette around the flowers and the green leaves have jagged edges that resemble a lion’s teeth, hence inspiring the name for these wild flowers.
  • Dandelion leaves are dark green, smooth, and do not have coarse or prickly hairs as you will find on lookalikes.

How to Eat and Enjoy Dandelions Flowers, Greens & Roots:

  • Dandelion leaves are highly nutritious and can be juiced, added to stir fry or salad. They are bitter, but a little bitterness is said to have great overall health benefits in our diet.
  • You can turn the dandelion greens into a wild pesto, just use 2 cups of dandelion greens in place of the nettles in my recipe, and increase the lemon juice to help cut the bitterness.
  • In the fall you can dig up and harvest dandelion roots to turn them into a flavorful caffeine-free herbal coffee that I drink daily and love so much! Here’s a link to my dandelion coffee recipe.
  • You can also use the new un-opened dandelion buds in this recipe for wild capers.
  • You can find recipes online for making dandelion wine with the flowers too.
  • You can pick the dandelion petals and bake them into my delicious cupcake recipe below, or you can experiment on your own by adding dandelion petals to your favorite pancake and banana bread recipes!

Next Let’s go over How to Process Dandelion Petals. First gently pick the flowers by lifting up on each bud as you pull the flower away from the stem. I use 2 fingers and gently lift up to release each flower.

Dandelion and Lemon Paleo Cupcakes - foraging wild dandelions for food - low carb, gluten-free cupcakes recipe http://www.forestandfauna.com/

Bees and other insects rely on dandelions for early spring pollen, nectar and food. I think it is important to pick lightly in a wide area, leaving some golden yellow flowers for everyone to enjoy. I also gently blow on each flower to make sure I don’t pack any little hitchhikers back into the kitchen with me.

Look at this hard working bee and those giant pollen filled pollen sacs on his back legs. It’s so magical to be able to enjoy the wild flowers of spring with our friends the bees.

Dandelion and Lemon Paleo Cupcakes - foraging wild dandelions for food - low carb, gluten-free cupcakes recipe http://www.forestandfauna.com/

I pick roughly 3 to 4 cups of dandelion flowers to make a batch of cupcakes. 3 to 4 cups of dandelion flowers will yield about 2 cups of loosely packed petals. This recipe works great with 1 to 2 cups of petals, I personally like it best with 2 cups, but if you aren’t able to pick that many and want a cupcake that is more moist you can just use 1 cup. It takes me about 20 minutes to pick the dandelions for this recipe.

After picking, find a comfy place on the porch. It’s now time to separate the petals. I pinch the base of each green bud and gently pull the yellow petals free. I also open gently tear the green base open to expose any stuck petals. You will notice the base of the petals are actually white, as show below. You will be able to process the petals pretty fast once you get the hang of it.

You can store the picked dandelion petals in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days with no issues. But I do not recommend storing the whole flower buds for any length of time, you really want to free the petals within the first couple hours of picking them.

Dandelion and Lemon Paleo Cupcakes - foraging wild dandelions for food - low carb, gluten-free cupcakes recipe http://www.forestandfauna.com/

Do I wash the petals? No, I don’t as I am content that they are being heated up and baked into this recipe. If you want to rinse the flowers first before processing you can, but I do advise gently drying them as much as possible with a kitchen towel, as it’s more challenging to process wet flowers.

Next prepare the batter as directed in the recipe below. The last step is to fold in the dandelion petals. Make sure you batter is well mixed before adding them in.

Dandelion and Lemon Paleo Cupcakes - foraging wild dandelions for food - low carb, gluten-free cupcakes recipe http://www.forestandfauna.com/

And them bake into these glorious dandelion and lemon paleo cupcakes!!

Dandelion and Lemon Paleo Cupcakes - foraging wild dandelions for food - low carb, gluten-free cupcakes recipe http://www.forestandfauna.com/

Dandelion and Lemon Paleo Cupcakes

Servings 10 to 12 cupcakes
Author Andrea Wyckoff


Dandelion Cupcakes:

  • 2 cups dandelion petals 1 cup will work
  • 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 3 pastured eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey or see notes for low carb + granulated sweeteners
  • 2 Tablespoons goat milk butter melted (or oil of your choice)
  • zest from 1 lemon I use meyer lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1/3 cup goat milk butter softened
  • 1/3 cup palm shortening pro-forest certified
  • 1/4 cup raw honey or powdered sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • zest from 1 lemon I used meyer lemon


Processing Dandelion Flowers

  1. First step is to separate out the yellow dandelion petals from the green bitter stems. See photos above. I pinch the green base of each flower and gently pull the yellow petals free. You will get the hang of it pretty quick. I discard the green base and use the yellow petals (with white highlights) in the cupcakes. You want to process picked dandelion flowers as soon as you can after picking, but once you separate out the yellow petals they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days before using.
  2. Preheat oven to 325*F.
  3. Set dandelion petals aside to add in last, and then mix ingredients together in order that they are listed, starting with almond flour. Then fold in dandelion petals for the last step.
  4. Spoon batter into 10 to 12 muffin cups lined with muffin liners. (If you only used 1 cup of petals you may have enough batter for 10 cupcakes.) Note: I also like to bake this in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper, like you would a banana bread, and extend the bake time to 40 to 45 minutes, It doesn't rise a whole lot in the loaf pan while baking, but I still find it incredibly delicious.
  5. Bake for 18 to 22 min at 325*F. (I recommend peaking in on them at 15 min, and 18 min depending as cooking time will vary by oven.)
  6. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick poked inside of one comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool while you prepare the icing.
  7. Mix buttercream frosting ingredients together in a mixing bowl using a hand blender or immersion blender. Frost cupcakes after they have fully cooled. I then garnish the cupcakes with dandelion flowers and petals.

Recipe Notes

Sweetener options: if using 1/3 cup granulated low carb sweetener like lakanto or eyrithrol, or a dry granulated sweetener like maple sugar or coconut sugar increase butter/oil to a total of 1/4 cup for moist cupcakes.

Estimated Nutrition per cupcake, based on making 12 cupcakes with icing, using a low carb sweetener (lakanto) and increasing butter to 4 Tablespoons in recipe. (If using honey to sweeten cupcakes & icing add 16 carbs and deduct 2.3 grams of fat. I personally use honey because I thrive on a low starch diet with good fats + natural carbs).


Dandelion and Lemon Paleo Cupcakes - foraging wild dandelions for food - low carb, gluten-free cupcakes recipe http://www.forestandfauna.com/

Connecting with wild foods and nurturing our bodies is one of my most favorite things to do in this life! What are your favorite wild flowers and foods to enjoy? What arts & crafts, teas, or foods have you enjoyed that were made with dandelions?

Shared at: Savoring Saturdays + Simply Natural Saturdays + Sunday Fitness and Food + Allergy Free Wednesday + Real Food Fridays

Dandelion and Lemon Paleo Cupcakes - foraging wild dandelions for food - low carb, gluten-free cupcakes recipe http://www.forestandfauna.com/

46 thoughts on “Dandelion and Lemon Paleo Cupcakes

    1. Thank you Shirley!! A good friend of mine makes dandelion wine too! I am pretty crazy about the dandelion root coffee too. Happy Spring!

  1. Oh wow Andrea!!! I love foraging and dandelion picking is a great activity I love to do with my kids! Last year we made some dandelion syrup. I’m going to keep these cupcakes in mind to make a vegan version!

    1. Hi Kyra! I hope you get a chance to toss the petals into one of you favorite baked good or pancake recipes for a vegan version! Happy foraging!

  2. Dandelions are my favorite food to forage… what a fun idea! Pinning and I can’t wait to try this!

  3. Wild strawberries are my favorite thing to forage, with asparagus a close second. While my dad always picked a mess of young dandelion greens each spring, and spoke of the dandelion wine his aunt used to make, I didn’t learn to enjoy them until recently. Now, city-locked as I am, I buy organic d-greens from my local green grocer. But I’ve never seen the flowers for sale or heard of baking with them! I’d love to try your cupcakes! I may have missed it, but other than that they make the cupcakes moist like banana bread, can you give us an idea of their taste? Bitter? Sweet? Piquant? Mild?

  4. I love wild strawberries too! The teeny tiny berries grow around our property, so flavorful yet so tiny and cute.

    Good question, this bread is also similar in sweetness to a banana bread. And the flowers lightly add to that sweetness, not bitter at all like the greens are. With the lemon zest it’s pretty much like eating a lemon pound cake with a little extra fiber from the petals, and it really does remind me of banana bread, or rich moist lemon cupcakes, or a country pound cake. It’s seriously sooo good!!

    1. The flower petals are sooo delicious baked into treats! Surprisingly not bitter at all like the leaves are! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  5. I LOVE these!!! You are so creative! What a fabulous cupcake and topping them with dandelions, swoon! Thanks so much for sharing this with us at Savoring Saturdays linky party!

    1. Stopping by again to let you know I’ll be featuring this at Savoring Saturdays later today. I Stumbled and Yummed it too. Thanks!

    2. Thanks so much! I really appreciate it! If you lived nearby I would drop by with a basket of fresh dandelion cupcakes for you! ♥

  6. So. much. fun. Definitely making these with my fairy princesses this summer! Thanks so much for sharing them with us at Savoring Saturdays, Andrea. I’m featuring them at this weekend’s party! 🙂

    1. Thank you Raia!! I hope you and your fairy princesses enjoy these cupcakes as much as I have been! There is something kinda magical about picking and baking with dandelions! ♥

  7. HI Andrea,
    What a wonderful unique & interesting recipe that is filled with health. I did not know there were many types of dandelions. my Mother & Grandmother used to have us as kids go out & pick the dandelion greens and they loved but us kids didn’t. I think my Mom cooked them and had them pretty plain so we did not like the taste. Thanks so much for sharing on Real Fridays. Pinned & tweeted!

    1. I have fun memories of picking dandelions as a kid too! We used to make them into flower headbands. I am hoping kids out there will enjoy this recipe as much as I do too! ♥

  8. HI Andrea,
    Just a note to let you know that I have chosen your post as one of my features for this weeks Real Food Fridays blog hop that goes live every Thursday @ 7pm EST. Thank you for being part of Real Food Friday’s mission.. Happy Spring!

  9. I not only love this recipe but everything I learned on my way to it. I love the tone with which you write and I so wish I had a big field of dandelions nearby. We live in the country, so I should; but I think their season is past. But I will be out looking more now, because I really want to make these. Inspired + pretty photos. Love that pic of the bee’s hind legs!!! SO cool. xo

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comment Megan! Yes, we are on the tail end of dandelion season here at my house too. Our field is now full of the lookalike called cat’s ear. I highly recommend this recipe though for next spring!

  10. Pingback: Dandelion: More than a Weed – slice of sunshine
  11. I love dandelion coffee and actually prefer the taste of spring roots vs fall. If there’s a reason I shouldn’t be digging them in the spring, please let me know!

    1. I’m not aware of any reasons why you shouldn’t dig ’em in the spring. I’ve just been taught to harvest in the fall, but I say definitely do what tastes the best to you!

  12. Hi. I just discovered this recipie and was wondering if you knew if I could substitue the almond flour and goats butter for regular flour and butter (purely because I have these in already)?

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