How To Make Rose Water: Three Methods To Make Rose Water

Pink Roses Next To Rose Water
(Image credit: Zulfiska)

Rose water benefits have been espoused for thousands of years. Likely originating in ancient Persia, rose water has been used in foods and beverages, cosmetically, and for religious purposes. Intrigued and wondering how to make rose water at home? You can make rose water from dried petals or from fresh roses, provided they are organically grown, by using one of the three rose water recipes below. 

Rose Water Benefits

Obviously roses have a pleasant scent which has been used for millennia to soothe anxiety, counter depression and to lull insomniacs, but roses have other beneficial qualities as well. 

Rose water can be used to flavor foods and drinks but, surprisingly, it also has antibacterial properties and can be used to treat infections. It has been used to soothe irritated throats, aid in digestion and digestive related ailments, relieve inflammation and reduce fluid retention. 

As a beauty aid, rose water benefits are legendary. It is said that Cleopatra bathed in rose water to keep her skin youthful and vibrant. Ingesting rose water is also purported to reduce fine lines and signs of aging. 

Other rose water beauty benefits include use on skin irritations such as acne or eczema, to control excess oil, cleanse and tone skin, treat scalp inflammation and control dandruff. 

How to Make Rose Water at Home

The following contains three rose water recipes; simmering, distilling and crushing. You can make rose water from dried petals or fresh roses; just be sure to use organically grown blooms. 

Simmering the roses is the simplest method to making rose water at home. Remove the petals from the stems. You will need ½ to 1 cup (125-250 ml.) of fresh petals or ¼ cup (60 ml.) dried. A cup of fresh petals is equal to 2-3 roses. Clean the petals with water to remove any pests or dirt. 

In a cooking pot, place the petals and just enough water to cover them. Any more and you will dilute the rose water. You may use either distilled or filtered water. Bring the pot of roses and water to a simmer then reduce heat to low and cover. Allow to steep for 15-30 minutes. After this time has elapsed, turn the heat off, leave the lid on and allow it to cool. 

Once the rose water has cooled, strain it, saving the water and discarding the petals. Store the rose water in either a spray bottle or jar in the refrigerator for up to a month or at room temp for a week. 

Additional Ways to Make Rose Water from Fresh Roses or Dried Petals

Distilling is the traditional method for making rose water. Again, remove the petals (or use dried petals) from the stems and clean them. Use as many petals as you desire in this method. 

Put a glass bowl into the center of a large cooking pot. Surround the bowl with petals; not inside the bowl. Then add distilled water to cover the petals; again, not inside the bowl. Place an inverted lid (put it upside down, opposite of how you would normally place it) to trap steam inside the pot. 

Turn the stove top on and top the lid with ice. The ice creates condensation inside the pot which will then drip down into the empty glass bowl. This will give you a purer, more concentrated rose water. When the water boils, reduce to a simmer and add more ice to the top of the lid; remove the melted ice with a turkey baster. Simmer 20-25 minutes. 

Cool and then remove the lid. Remove the bowl of concentrated rose water and store in the fridge for up to six months or at room temp for a week. 

Lastly, you can make rose water from fresh roses or dried petals by crushing the prepped, washed petals, the same amount as the first rose water recipe. Crush half the prepped petals in a mortar and pestle and leave the other half intact. 

Transfer the crushed petals and juice into a bowl and allow to sit for 2-3 hours. Mix in the intact petals and let sit an additional 24 hours at room temp. 

Heat the mixture in a ceramic (not metal) saucepan. Metal will remove the essential oils and affect the color. Bring the mixture to a simmer then remove from stove and strain the liquid from the solids. 

Seal up the rose water and leave in a sunny window sill for 2-3 hours to draw out the essential oils. Use within a week or store in the refrigerator for up to six months. 

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.