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.

85 thoughts on “Heating Honey – Pros and Cons

  1. Heather says:

    I take a probiotic in the morning and make sure i dont drink anything hot for a while so i dont kill it. Honey has been used as an antibiotic. I dont want antibiotic. Does putting it in hot tea cancel out the antibiotic? My probiotic combined with a non-synthetic multivitamin helps with my anxiety. Dont want to screw that up.

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  4. Marjorie says:

    Oh what a delight! We received this most beautiful and delicious honey today. We are thrilled! Golden, raw, creamy honey. Thank you Sleeping Bear Farms! And we live in Lower Michigan! We will be ordering again! ?

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  6. SBF says:

    Hi! Yes, the heat would break it down the same way any other heating method would. However the small amount of honey typically added to coffee doesn’t offer a ton of health benefits to begin with – but it is a good alternative to sugar and tastes great!

  7. donna says:

    I thought I was doing good for my body by putting it in my tea every morning but you say that it doesn’t really do anything for you because it breaks it down is that right

  8. SBF says:

    Hi! Really depends on your goals, the type of honey, and how much. Most people only put a dab of honey in the tea. Honey has many different health benefits as well, so it’s hard to make a universal declaration. If you looking for exposure to local allergens through local honey, the answer is different than if you’re using honey as a way to control your sugar intake or another different goal. For good health advice, it’s always best to ask your doctor.

  9. Tammy says:

    This Really helps LOT!
    Hubby and I eat raw honey for local allergies. Just learned we should be consuming more ( makes sense)
    I came across article because I want to stop using artificial sweeteners in my tea but heard of the toxicity and wanted to learn more.
    Good buy artificial sweeteners, hello honey in my tea as well as eating it right off the spoon!

  10. Anna Scyphers says:

    I’m nursing and can’t have herbal teas, would hot water and honey be a good alternative?

  11. Paul says:

    Reading through these comments, I just like to say kudos for directing people to their doctor or medical professional. It’s so refreshing to see honesty and integrity win out over commercial profit.
    It also demonstrates that you know your product and don’t proclaim to have knowledge on other things.

  12. Peggy Browns says:

    I love this site. I, like others , was told that heated honey is toxic. Thank You for clarifying. I’m back to putting honey in my morning MUD\WTR. !!

  13. Francis Hannaway says:

    I assume your 95 degrees are American Fahrenheit degrees (rather than international standard Celsius). Am I right?

  14. SBF says:

    Hi! I don’t see any reason you couldn’t, but if you are wondering about the safety/effectiveness for any specific condition, you should reach out to a doctor. Thanks!

  15. Rita says:

    Hi, I make a mug cake with almond flour, nut butter, egg, turmeric, unsweetened coconut flakes and honey. Microwave for about 1 minute. Will that destroy all the good stuff in the honey? I’ve started using maple syrup instead but the honey tastes much better.

  16. TH says:

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought that honey was a healthier alternative to cane sugar for sweetening tea… hot tea. But do I understand correctly that if the honey is not raw (processed) many of it’s health benefits have already been destroyed, and when added to hot tea, they are further destroyed? Then isn’t it about the same as sugar, nutrition-wise? Just something that tastes sweet and gives you diabetes?

  17. SBF says:

    Hi! yes, honey that isn’t labeled as “raw” has already been heated and experienced enzyme decay and such. I don’t know about diabetes, but any heat degrades honey. The hotter and longer the honey is exposed the more it will break down.

  18. Betsy says:

    Is replacing honey for white sugar healthier in baked goods? I have some really yummy almond flour chocolate chip cookies made with honey that I love.

  19. Robin R. says:

    I have begun making golden milk which is an Indian health drink made with 1 1/4 of some type of milk (I use almond), (1 tsp) turmeric, (pinch) black pepper, and I put in grated ginger (it’s hot but I like it so I put a lot in- very good for you) and (1 tsp) cinnamon. I bring it up to a boil, turn the heat down and cook gently for 10 minutes, then strain (with a very fine strainer) into a cup and let it cool until it is barely warm, then add a honey dip full of raw honey and stir. This way it tastes good and is still good for health. I began by just putting it all in a saucepan until I remembered to check on whether raw honey could be heated. 95F would feel barely warm to humans who are 98.+ This idea could work for anything you might want to drink but still keep the health benes of whatever you are drinking. Just takes a bit longer.

  20. Amber Zitterkopf says:

    I have been making hard candy with honey and corn syrup. To get to hard crack, as im sure you already know, I heat it to 300°. Does this high of temperature make it toxic??

  21. Elizabeth says:

    My husband is having chemotherapy and is not allowed raw honey. Is it possible for me to make your honey safe for him by heating it ?
    If so to what temperature should I heat it up to?

  22. MK says:

    Thanks for this post and the information! I linked to it in my recent Raspberry Tea for Colds recipe which has heated honey. I knew that the healing properties of honey get changed when heated, but didn’t have the exact details. It’s nice to point my readers to this post in case they have questions regarding heating honey.

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