Heating Honey – Pros and Cons

We get a lot of questions about the positives and negatives of heating up honey. There is a lot of info on the internet that can lead you astray here. For instance, does heating honey make it poisonous? Is heated honey devoid of all health benefits? Does heating honey destroy the honey?

These are just some of the questions we’ve received over the years about heating up honey, both in production and in home use.

Is Heated Honey Toxic?

First, let’s assuage the most serious concern – no, heating honey will not turn it toxic and kill you. Heating up raw honey will change the makeup of the honey, and potentially weaken or destroy enzymes, vitamins, minerals, etc (more on this in a second) but it will not give you a horrible disease or poison you. Yes, this is something that we’re asked.

Keeping it close to raw is great for your body, but heating it isn’t going to kill you.

 

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Heating & Nutrition

As for the nutritional benefits of honey – yes, heating the honey can damage them. It does depend on how much the honey is heated and for how long, however.

For instance – can you heat honey to 95 degrees? We certainly hope so, since it can reach that temperature inside the beehive itself. Heating honey to around this temperature is just fine, and will leave the health benefits of the raw honey in tact.

Heating up crystallized honey is a great way to make the honey more liquid and easier to handle, and will leave the healthy stuff in the honey in tact. Just don’t go too far above that 95 degree mark and you’ll be fine. If you find that your honey is turning into crystals and you aren’t a big fan of that, give it a very gentle warming until you’re satisfied again.

Cooking with Honey

Cooking with honey is a bit trickier. The prolonged exposure to very high temperatures in the oven or on the grill will most certainly degrade the beneficial enzymes and even the taste of your honey. Raw honey has many delicate and nuanced flavors that will be lost when exposed to that type of heat. That doesn’t mean it won’t taste good or that you shouldn’t do it! It’s just a different application for the honey.

If you’re looking for the maximum honey taste of the honey varietal you purchased and the maximum health benefits, you want to keep it pretty much raw and eat it that way – if you’re looking to add some sweetness and honey flavor to your dinner, you can cook it all you want!

Our Heating Process

We heat some of our honey – the liquid honey in the bears, for instance – is gently warmed to flow into the container. Our raw honey, on the other hand, is not. You can learn more about that here.

If you’re looking for the rawest honey, you want to stay in our raw honey category.

25 thoughts on “Heating Honey – Pros and Cons

  1. John Haynes says:

    My honey was turning to Sugar so I put it in some boiling water and just let it sit to liquify it again.Will it hurt the honey.

  2. Meena says:

    Was preparing a mixture with garlic apple cider ginger and lemon .the honey was to be added only after heating the mixture for half an hour addenda cooling other down .I added the honey and cooked it on slow fire for half an hour .is there any problem.

  3. Dayton Calaway says:

    Wanting to add honey to chili. Should I add it now, hours before it’s done, so that the flavor permeates the chili? Or, should I add it at the end, and keep its structural integritiy?

  4. Aaron Dexter says:

    I would say it mostly comes down to your personal choice – most recipes call for the honey to be added toward the end (not sure your exact recipe, but it’s common to see honey added right before you simmer the dish for a while and serve), which should give you a good flavor while maintaining the integrity of the honey more than if it’s added at the beginning.

  5. Ginny Brown says:

    Can I microwave my honey? I did until it bubbled a bit at the top. Did this destroy any vitamins, minerals or taste?

  6. Aaron Dexter says:

    If you are looking to keep the honey in as natural a state as possible, yes. If you are using the honey simply for flavoring or the taste and not concerned with keeping it “pure”, you can go as high as you want and it’ll still be delicious 🙂

  7. Terry says:

    I love raw honey for a number of things. However, the main thing I use my honey for on a daily basis is in my hot tea. I probably drink my hot tea at easily 165°. Yeah, I know; that’s hot. Is all nutrient value totally destroyed at that temperature?

  8. Rob Crow says:

    I keep one of my hives up on the roof at my work. Poor little bees spend many, many day over 95 before the Summer is over. They make some delicious honey though!

  9. Aaron Dexter says:

    Hi! It’s possible the high temperature could damage some of the enzymes, but it would also likely depend on how long the honey sits in the heat. The breakdown of helpful enzymes, etc. wouldn’t necessarily occur instantaneously when you put the honey in the tea.

  10. AstroArtyst says:

    How about in making candy for colds in the winter or stir sticks? Is it safe to assume that all the benefits of the honey used is gone even if I use extra honey instead of sugar in my candy making method as the particular recipe calls for? Has anyone made infused candies with heating honey like lemon or ginger or using herbs?

  11. Kim says:

    Looking to make lollipops with elderberry & (raw) honey for my kiddos for flu seasons. What’s the best type of honey to use for that – looking to try to maintain the most honey health benefits possible

  12. Aaron Dexter says:

    Any honey should be good as they have generally the same makeup, but for best results, try to find a varietal that is also present where you live (for instance, here in Northern Michigan, I’d say star thistle) as local honey will potentially help with seasonal allergies 🙂

  13. Jennifer says:

    I have Raw Organic honey,I want to melt it and use it in a facial wash. If I melt the honey will it destroy the healing properties for the skin?

  14. Aaron Dexter says:

    Hi!

    Our posts are mostly about the impact of heating honey on the nutritional elements, though similar concerns would apply for the skin. As long as you don’t heat at a very high temp for a long time, you should be fine.

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  16. Nneka Wilson says:

    When you make honey hard candy you have to boil it till it reaches 300 degrees? What happens then? Why do people think it’s toxic to consume?

  17. Aaron Dexter says:

    Hi! Heating honey to that temperature will break down or destroy many of the nutrients, enzymes, etc. that people look for in raw honey. It certainly won’t make the honey toxic or dangerous.

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