I'm all about the hot honey phenomenon. The first time I tried this spicy glaze was at a local restaurant in Breckenridge, CO where it was drizzled all of my pulled pork tacos. Let me just tell you, that delicious sweet/heat combo was life changing! I started to think of all the things hot honey could be used for and got online to see if I could order some. That's when I realized, I could quickly and easily make my own, homemade hot honey with just 2 simple ingredients (and I already had both in my pantry)!
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What luck. Now I wouldn't even have to wait for the Amazon box to arrive or make a trek out to the grocery story. I could have my treat immediately without spending an extra money.
And in even better news: hot honey is gluten free, dairy free, paleo, refined sugar free and vegetarian - but honey is not considered to be vegan. However, you can substitute agave for honey in this recipe to make a vegan version of this fantastic condiment.
What else can I infuse honey with?!
So many things! You could try dried lavender, chamomile, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, basil, thyme, rose and so much more. I am especially partial to lavender infused honey. I recommend using dry ingredients to infuse honey as adding fresh ingredients can cause spoilage (more on that below)!
Hot honey ingredients:
- Honey: any honey will do the trick! I often have local, organic honey on hand in hopes that it might help with my allergies, but you don't have to use anything expensive or fancy.
- Crushed red pepper flakes: you can also crush up whole, dried chili peppers but I like to stick with my handy jar of red pepper flakes. I typically have them on hand anyway since they're so useful in the kitchen when it comes to adding a touch of spice to just about anything. Whole, dried chili peppers can also be crazy spicy. If that's your style, go for it. I'm personally just looking for a little extra heat, here!
What is hot honey? What's it made of?
Essentially, it's just honey infused with flavor and spicy heat from chili peppers! Red pepper flakes contain oils that seep into honey when the ingredients are heated together creating a spicy and sweet combination that is so fantastic.
How to make hot honey:
Step 1: measure & mix
Measure honey and red pepper flakes into a sauce pan and mix well.
Step 2: heat & transfer
Place sauce pan on medium low heat. Stir often until honey has just begun to simmer and then immediately remove from heat. Transfer honey to a dry glass jar, honey pot or honey holder. Use a fine, mesh strainer to remove red pepper flakes if desired. I personally like to leave them be (*note: the longer the flakes stay in the honey the more flavor and heat you'll get).
Method 2: Slow infusion!
Warming ingredients together is the fastest way to infuse your honey. However, heating honey can damage the enzymes in it, lessening it's health benefits (source: beekeepclub). The good news is, you can also use a slow infusion method to make your hot honey! This simply mean to combine your ingredients in a jar and allow them to sit together for at least a week (you'll want to stir occasionally or flip the jar over to keep things moving). If you're feeling impatient you could make one batch of hot honey in a sauce pan and then start a slow infusion to use later!
Expert tips for spicy, infused honey:
- Don't overheat: honey will change in structure and become very thick, almost like a caramel or candy, if overheated. You won't even want to let the mixture boil, just as it starts to simmer you can remove it from the heat.
- Vinegar: some hot honey recipes call for vinegar, and even the famous Mike's Hot Honey contains vinegar. I personally do not care for this, and prefer to go without. If you want to add a touch of white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar for a little tang, you definitely can!
- Food scale: honey is sticky, so weighing it with a food scale is a lot easier than using a measuring cup. ½ cup honey weighs 170 grams (or 6 ounces)!
- Gift it: this homemade hot honey makes an excellent gift for just about anyone! Wrap it in a cellophane bag with a pretty bow. You can even include a pretty, olive wood honey dripper and a few bags of cinnamon tea to take your gift to the next level (this is my favorite cinnamon tea in the whole wide world)! I like to use these 4 ounce mason jars when gifting infused honey.
Uses for hot honey:
Hot honey pairs well with SO many things!
Drizzle it on: tacos, pizza, salmon, a poke bowl, chicken wings, baked feta pasta, roasted brussels sprouts, roasted asparagus or carrots, air fryer sweet potato cubes, cornbread, whipped feta cheese, baked brie or goat cheese, avocado toast, peanut butter toast, regular buttered toast, cheesecake or ice cream (chocolate, vanilla and coffee flavor are all great pairings)!
Use it as a dip for: potato wedges, French fries, chicken nuggets, cheese and fruit on a charcuterie board, spring rolls or crispy egg rolls!
Use it to flavor: a café latte or tea (hot or iced), hot chocolate, lemonade, spicy margaritas, a hot toddy and other cocktails!
Can I use fresh peppers to make hot honey?
I would not recommend using fresh chili peppers to infuse hot honey. You should really use dried ingredients as fresh ones will add water content which can cause honey to spoil when stored at room temperature. You can opt to infuse with fresh ingredients and then store your honey in the refrigerator, but keeping honey in cold temps will cause it to eventually crystalize, harden and lose it's drizzly texture. (source: honeybeesuite).
How should I store infused honey?
As long as you make your spicy hot honey with dried chili peppers, you should be fine storing it in a lidded jar at room temperature. It's best kept out of direct sunlight and away from extreme temperatures. Be sure the jar is nice and dry before pouring your honey in (we don't want any extra moisture hanging around as it can cause spoilage).
How long will hot honey last?
Hot honey made with dried red pepper flakes should stay good for about a year. Be sure to use your senses as they will alert you to spoilage. If you notice fermentation, any musty smells or mold growing, throw your hot honey away immediately. (source: honeybeesuite).
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Easy Hot Honey Recipe (Only 2 Ingredients)!
- ½ cup honey *see note below
- ¾ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes *see note below
Ingredient notes:Honey: I typically have high quality, unfiltered, organic honey on hand in hopes that it will help with my seasonal allergies! However, you can use any honey you prefer. It doesn't need to be anything fancy or expensive! Dried red pepper flakes: Use dried pepper flakes and not fresh peppers. Fresh will add moisture to the honey which can cause it to spoil.
- Combine honey and dried red pepper flakes in a small sauce pan.
- Place sauce pan on medium low heat and stir often. As soon as the mixture begins to simmer, remove from heat. (*Note: this will not take long so don't walk away from your honey, keep a close eye on it)!
- Transfer honey to a dry glass jar, honey pot or honey dispenser. You can use a fine mesh strainer to separate the pepper flakes form honey, if desired. I like to leave pepper flakes in the honey, this will result in more heat and flavor over time.
Slow infusion method:
- Simply mix your ingredients together in a jar and allow them to sit together for at least a week (you'll want to stir occasionally or flip the jar over to keep things moving).
How to store hot honey:
- If made with dried red pepper flakes, you should be okay to store honey in lidded jar at room temp. Keep away from direct sunlight and extreme temps. If infused with fresh/perishable ingredients, honey must be stored in the refrigerator.Be sure to use your senses as they will alert you to spoilage. If you notice fermentation, any odd smell or mold growing, throw your hot honey away immediately.
Did you make this recipe?!
Wahoo! Thank you so much for trying it out – would you leave a review and rating in the comments section below?!