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A Sweet, Sweet Summer: How to Bake with Honey (& Other Recipes)

How To Bake With Honey

If you need a honey recipe to use up what you have OR wish to know how to substitute honey for sugar in baking recipes, you’ll find what you need here! I’ll teach you how to bake with honey instead of other sweeteners.Honey never, ever spoils. It’s been found in Egyptian pyramids, still edible!

Now THAT’s the kind of product I want in my pantry that I know will never go to waste. A lot of standard diet eaters have honey on hand for those rare occasions that they need it for tea or a random Tablespoon in a recipe. The honey crystalizes in the bottle and gets thrown out. (photo source)

Of course, if you’re going to buy honey by the gallon, you need to know how to use it liberally, in new recipes and old baking favorites. I can help.

A Sweet Sweet Summer: Exploring Natural Sweeteners Week by Week

Baking with Honey

You can substitute honey for sugar in most baking recipes, but be sure to take the following steps:

  1. Use 1/2 – 3/4 cup of honey for each one cup of sugar in the recipe.
  2. Reduce the liquid by 1/4 cup for each cup of sugar replaced.
  3. Reduce cooking temp by 25 degrees (honey will make your baked goods brown more easily).
  4. If the recipe doesn’t already include baking soda, add 1/4 tsp for each cup of sugar replaced.

Does the flavor of the finished product change? Yes, a bit, but typically people won’t say “Wow, that’s a strong honey flavor!” It’s just an undertone. Remember that truly raw honey (use the code Katie15 for 15% off at that site!) will end up with dead enzymes and less  nutrition in honey (as far as health benefits go) when baking with honey, so if your source is very expensive, you might want to purchase pasteurized honey for baking.

Pumpkin Muffins

This post is part of the Sweet, Sweet Summer series on healthier natural sweeteners.

My Favorite Honey Recipes

Newly Discovered Tea

I am a totally boring drinks person. People ask me if I’d like a drink when I visit, and whether hot or cold, my answer is almost always “Water, please.” I’ve never really enjoyed coffee or tea. Now I’m afraid I might become a tea snob!

I’ve been sampling flavors from The Tea Spot, and oh, mercy – they’re amazing. Organic, looseleaf tea in my cool little tea steeper has been a new pastime. Maria, the founder, who got into tea as she healed from cancer, sent pregnancy-safe blends that are caffeine free and all that jazz. My favorite so far is Red Rocks…of course with a spoonful of honey! Visit HERE and tell them KS sent you!

Do you put honey in your tea? Remember that if the tea is over 116F you’re probably killing the enzymes in your raw honey, so consider warm tea if that’s important to you.

Peanut Butter Kisses

peanut butter kisses 2 small

Shhhhh, don’t tell! I’m going to share a recipe that thus far has been exclusive to the eBook Healthy Snacks to Go. It’s super easy and a fun way to have some totally raw honey and a snack prepared in only 5 minutes. It’s this simple:

Mix equal parts of

  • peanut butter
  • raw honey
  • shredded coconut (up to double if necessary to decrease stickiness)

Mix with hands and roll into balls. Done! If you have kids, these will have 100% success rate on the likability scale, guaranteed. If you don’t have kids, make sure you don’t get addicted and eat more than a dozen kisses in a sitting! Winking smile

You can also add nuts or mini chocolate chips to make some varieties.

How To Bake With Honey

Want more help and inspiration to reduce sugar? Check these out:

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

54 thoughts on “A Sweet, Sweet Summer: How to Bake with Honey (& Other Recipes)”

  1. Honey becomes toxic when heated above 40° celcsus….correct?
    Heat dramatically changes the chemical composition of honey.
    Will you elaborate on this please and thank you?

    1. Hi Suzanne,
      I looked into this a bit and it seems like there’s no scientific evidence that honey becomes toxic but Ayurveda principles say it does so that’s why people think that. Raw honey would not be raw anymore once heated above 116F so maybe that’s also a similar bit, but it’s definitely not dangerous to eat.
      Thanks for asking,

  2. Hi. I just found your blog and have a crazy substitution question. Has anyone ever tried substituting manuka honey for molasses in something like ginger snaps? Someone gifted me a bottle of Manuka. The flavor reminds me of one part molasses and one part honey. I am just trying to find a way to use it.

    1. Hi Leata,
      I’ve never tried that, no, but I’m sure the cookies would work – they would just have a different taste. Unless you’re really hankering for gingersnaps in particular, I’d recommend this recipe:

      It uses honey but could totally handle a stronger flavor like molasses. Keep some of the manuka for your next cut – I hear it’s supposed to be great for keeping infections at bay or something! (Google it) 🙂 Katie

  3. It is so important for each of us to do our due diligence regarding the food we eat. I use honey all the time but only from a reputable source. The following is link is a few years old but it made me realize I need to be ever vigilant:

    By-the-way, I like the peanut butter goodies!

  4. No one has mentioned this, so I will:

    “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that raw honey not be given to infants under one year of age because of the rare possibility of being infected with the bacteria that causes botulism (Clostridium botulinum). Once a toddler reaches one year old, their digestive system is mature enough to kill any botulism germs.”

  5. I’ve been using honey for baking and making jams for several years. I’m trying to figure out if there is a way to may syrups (like marionberry syrup) or “sugar” syrup like you use to can peaches, etc. with honey instead of sugar. Sugar causes a lot of problems for me, so I try to avoid it as much as possible. Does anyone know a good source for canning with honey?

    1. Kiara,
      Phew – sorry I’m so very late in replying; I got way behind on comments when I released the new Healthy Lunch Box book!

      I’ve never canned much at all, so I’m no help there, but I know Simple Bites has a number of homemade syrups. Could you use maple syrup for some or just Google “simple syrup honey?” Hope that helps! 🙂 Katie

    2. Hi! It’s been quite a number of years ago but I used to can all my peaches and pears with honey. They were delicious!

  6. Pingback: Weekend Reading :: June 9, 2012 « raising vintage kids in a modern world

  7. You can just set the honey jar in a another container with hot water and the crystals will dissolve.

  8. Christina via Facebook

    Perfect timing!!! I bought some amazing fresh local wildflower honey at the farmers market & it is amazing!!!

  9. I just made the Peanut Butter Kisses with my kids tonight and they LOVED them! We used natural, crunchy (with nuts) peanut butter. I poured the oil off of our PB before mixing it with the other ingredients, and it made perfect non-oily little Kisses! They will be perfect for my kid’s lunch boxes. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  10. “Honey never, ever spoils”? The ancient Egyptians were good at preserving things, yes, and admittedly this is an extreme example, but . . . my mother is a Hoarder, big time. Recently, Little Sister and I have begun checking her cupboards for cans with expiry dates more than 2 years old, and discretely chucking them out. I found a 5-pound can of honey which she had purchased, per the date marked on it in wax pencil, in 1980. The ends were bulged out so far that it wouldn’t quite balance on the shelf, and I was afraid the seal would burst. I do not believe that we had some kind of well-aged mead going on in there; mead-making requires that the honey be diluted (too much sugar will retard/kill fermentation) and yeast (natural or prepared) be added, and the canning process would/should have killed any natural yeast originally present. I wrapped the entire can in 3 layers of plastic bags and buried it in the garbage can. Mom’s 86; botulism would kill her.
    BTW, re the cooked-honey-becomes-toxic discussion: Ayurveda has indeed been “recognized” for several thousand years – but it’s based on a Yogic view of medicine and the human body, and very, very little of it has actually undergone any controlled testing. “Recognized” does not necessarily mean “proven,” and I do use honey in baked goods.

    1. Sandy,
      I was just going on the fact that there has been honey found in pyramids. I’m guessing that only applies to raw honey, which your mom’s must not have been if it was canned. ???

      1. I had this happen with raw honey that I purchased from a local farm it was within a month from the purchase, so I was able to exchange it. I looked it up, and it can happen when the honey begins to turn to mead which is caused by extreme heat or exposure to bacteria. My guess is bacteria was introduced in my case when the honey was bottled. I was surprised when it happened as I had never seen that happen before.

  11. I like to eat just peanut butter and honey mixed together in a saucer and eaten off the knife. 🙂

    Have you heard that eating honey from your local area can help to reduce pollen allergies? I know many people who swear by it, and it seems to help my son and me, but apparently there’s been no good research on it yet.

    I also use honey to wash my face. It’s a natural antibacterial. In winter, it gets me clean and glowing-looking without drying my skin. In summer, I’m more oily, so I wash with soap at least once a day but still do one washing with honey. Honey that has crystallized provides some exfoliation!

  12. Kori Ireland

    Hey! If you can order from Azure Standard, they now carry the Redmond Clay products for like half price! I have a few on for my next delivery! Thanks for introducing us to them.
    I used to make some similar peanut butter snacks but these are easier! I think we will make them tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Kat,
      I hear great things about its healing properties, but I’ve never personally looked into it. I think there’s a comment or two sharing some info at the Food for Thought post:
      🙂 Katie

  13. Don’t want to spoil the fun but according to Ayurveda heating honey above body temp, some say 40 degrees C which is 104, some say 108 degrees, that it
    ” becomes transformed into a glue-like substance that is extremely difficult to digest. This substance in considered a toxin ( ama), since it adheres to the tissues of the body & is very difficult to remove. … Unfortunately, many natural & organic whole grain breads & other prepared products for children, such as granola bars, crackers, & cereals, contain honey which has boon cooked or baked; it is best to avoid feeding these products to growing children”

    Could try Stevia? I enjoy it in drinks such as lassie, no calories, OK no nutrition either but saves eating sugar & it brings bliss. 🙂
    Amazon has a nice low carb Stevia Dessert recipe book.

    1. Rosie,
      A quick Google search debunks that one pretty well. My favorite source was this:

      I do use some stevia and will be reviewing brands coming up in the series! 🙂 Katie

      1. Thanks for your link Katie.
        I completely agree with Ross that,
        “Raw and unfiltered honey has incredible antibacterial and antifungal properties. It’s very, very healing in many ways.”
        Lou also quotes Ross as saying,
        “He said the suggestion that honey becomes toxic in hot water is really not accurate.” though he doesn’t put this in quotes for some reason.

        Then Lou says, “That said, there’s no evidence that heat-treated honey is actually toxic.” however
        neither of the gents give any evidence that heat treated honey isn’t actually toxic so I wouldn’t say this is a conclusive point of view.

        Ayurvedic texts were cognized thousands of years ago. I’m not sure which text the kind advise about heating honey comes but the main Ayurvedic text was written down by a chap called Charak. His text has lasted thousands of years & has been used & benefited from by thousands of people.
        Much as I honor Lou & Ross I think I prefer to put my trust in Charak.
        It’s not as though there aren’t alternatives. Why take any chances with our kids or our own health.
        Best wishes.

  14. Interesting fact since you mentioned the Egyptians using honey. They actually preserved bodies in the stuff. My college Civ teacher was an expert in Egyptology.

  15. I just tried the peanut butter kisses. How could I have an epic fail with only 3 ingredients and no cooking. All I got was a gloppy sticky mess that I could not roll into balls. I put in 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup peanut butter, and 1/2 cup shredded coconut, . . . . then another 1/2 cup coconut. . . . then another .. . . then another . . . then another, until I ended up with 2 cups of shredded coconut to the 1/2 cup each of PB and honey. It never stopped being too sticky gooey to roll up. What should I do with this bowl of honey peanut butter coconut goo?

    1. Maybe it’s the weather? Is it a hot day where you are? Have you tried chilling it all in the fridge?

    2. Ack! That does seem like plenty of coconut, now doesn’t it? Some peanut butter can get pretty runny… Hmmm…Personally, I’d just eat it. tee hee! Or spread it on toast. Yum. Did chilling it like Holly recommended do any good?

      Hope you salvaged it! 🙂 Katie

    3. Mine was pretty soft, but hardened after I refrigerated it for a bit. While I waited, I spread some of it on a banana and it was delicious!

    4. That’s the way mine was. I added sliced almonds and was able to roll into balls only if I put coconut oil on my hands first and washed my hands after every few rolls. Then I stuck them in the fridge. I’m eager to try them!

    1. Sandra,
      Oh, goodness, i wouldn’t at all. In fact, my kids like it better that way on toast. But the majority of Americans, I think, often throw away the end of the honey bottle because they can’t get it out easily once it’s crystalized. 🙂 Katie

      1. You can easily remove the crystals from honey by placing the bottle in a pot of hot water for a few minutes. Put enough water in a heavy saucepan to submerge the crystallized honey in its container and heat on med-low heat (to steaming, not boiling). Wipe the bottle dry and return it to the cabinet.

  16. Forgot to comment on tea! I’m a big tea drinker. I’ll usually have just one black tea in the morning as a treat, then herbal tea the rest of the day. I just discovered this amazing tea flavor by Pukka: licorice and cinnamon. It’s addictive! This is a UK brand of herbal teas, but I see on the box that there’s an email for US inquiries, so it must be available there.

  17. This post was so timely for me. I was just about to do some more research on honey, and then I remembered I had been wanting to read your blog again since I haven’t had time in a while, so I was happy to see this post.

    Have you ever heard that it’s not good to bake with honey? I’ve heard this several times now, and I always assumed that it was just some kind of anti-honey communication sent out by the sugar companies. But the other day a friend who is into all kinds of alternative healing assured me that it is definitely NOT safe to cook or bake with honey.

    Having said that, I have a batch of gluten free, dairy free, sugar free brownies in the oven. The sweetener? A blend of honey and agave nectar. So clearly I haven’t stopped cooking with honey. I’m waiting to be really convinced before that happens.

    I’d love to hear your take on this, because we don’t use sugar in my home, and honey is our basic sweetener for everything: baking, coffee, whatever. Thanks!

    1. Holly,
      Fun to be so timely! I hadn’t heard that honey was toxic when heated/not safe to bake with honey until other commenters on this post brought it up. My quick research leaves me VERY unconvinced. My favorite article on it:

      Seems like an Ayurvedic thing, which may be why your friend who is into alternative healing believes it and I don’t. 😉 Katie

      1. Thanks so much for that link, Katie! The whole toxic honey thing never made sense to me (which is why I’ve always continued to bake with it), but I’m happy that at least now I know where the story originates.

  18. I’m going to make those peanut butter kisses right now! I’m sure my son will love them, but he’s in bed already – guess he’ll have to wait until morning 🙂

    Thank you so much for those great substitution tips – I usually end up guessing on the amount I should use, and I had not idea about adding baking soda!

  19. Stacy Makes Cents

    I wish I was a tea drinker but I’m not. I have tried and tried, but I don’t like it. Maybe I’m doing something wrong?
    I LOVE coffee and look forward to my two cups every day. 🙂

    1. Stacy,
      I never truly enjoyed tea until this brand, just tolerated it. Maybe it’s not for everyone! ??? And I don’t really like coffee, soooooo….

      🙂 Katie

  20. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    I love fancy drinks, they are a special treat for me. By ‘fancy’ I usually mean tea or smoothies or lemonade! I have been loving flavored rooibos teas recently with some raw honey. I drink it warm before bed to help me relax. I also told my husband that when we are “rich” lol, that I want lots of fancy loose teas and tea brewing stuff (pretty cups, tea pots, etc.) just because they make me happy. He was surprised that I actually named something impractical that I want (rare) and said that someday, I shall have these things. Totally off topic of course, but that’s my biggest use for honey lately!

  21. Thanks for the recipe! I just used it. I had some crushed up rice cakes sitting around (got crushed while in the diaper bag!) that I added. It gave a nice crunch, and a good use for my crushed up rice cakes!

  22. So I just recently read an article saying that when honey gets heated up it becomes toxic. I tried looking for that article but can’t. You might want to do some research on heated honey before you start using it as a permanent substitute for sugar. I could be wrong but I don’t cook with it anymore.

    1. I’ve heard this several times now, and I always assumed that it was just some kind of anti-honey communication sent out by the sugar companies. But the other day a friend who is into all kinds of alternative healing assured me that it is definitely NOT safe to cook or bake with honey.

      But then I just googled it, and couldn’t find anything, anywhere saying that it was unsafe to cook with honey. The rumor did come up, but nothing actually stating that it is. So I’m still going to continue to bake with honey. If you find that link, please post it. Thanks!

      1. Here is the link to the website I read. They are holistic in their views!

        1. For me, the phrases
          According to Ayurveda,
          considered a toxin
          inspire skepticism. They mention research supporting the idea that some of honey’s nutrients are destroyed by heat, but they don’t indicate that any research exists (much less provide any reliable sources) supporting the idea that heated honey “adheres to the tissues of the body” or is truly toxic i.e. poisonous. So I don’t buy it.

          1. that’s fine that you don’t buy it. But once I stopped eating stuff made with honey ie granola I started to feel better and have more energy. Then I read this article. Like I said it makes sense to me but to each their own! At this point in my life I would rather just eat whole foods my body does better on them. I will not eat heated honey whether or not it turns to toxin it doesn’t make me feel that great. Do a test for yourself and don’t eat heated honey for two weeks and see how you feel.

            1. Tonya,
              How interesting! Makes me wonder if it’s the honey or unsoaked whole grains, or something else… Food is SO tricky to pinpoint! But I’m glad you found something that makes you feel better, and that’s really all that matters at the end of the day. 🙂 Katie

    2. Tonya,
      I have to say, I’ve never ever heard that one, and many recipes call for honey or explain how to use honey as a substitute. It’s such a hearty food…part of me thinks that if it can’t spoil, can it really become toxic under heat?

      A Google search came up with only Ayuvedic (sp?) sources for honey’s toxicity and a lot more people saying there’s no way heating honey could make it toxic than the alternative. I don’t buy it. If heated honey was toxic, everything sold in a grocery store would literally be poison. Sounds like you can go back to cooking with it without worrying! There are plenty of other things to worry about when you eat… 🙂 Katie

  23. Brandis @ Crunchy Thrify Cool

    1) I love that peanut butter kisses recipe, it’s the most often recipe used from your ebook, and everyone in my family gobbles them down. It reminds my husband of something they used to eat during wrestling, although they likely used white sugar.

    2) I am a boring drinks person, too, but I am a “water, coffee (black), tea (unsweetened)” kind of boring. I love tea of all kinds, but I am particularly fond of green tea. I know everyone has different feelings about caffeine, esp during pregnancy, but I had at least a green tea a day with my first pregnancy. And when I was nursing. My fave herbal tea is Honey Ginseng Mint from Gevalia- it’s effervescent, light, yet tastes totally of honey, whether you sweeten it or not. I also keep Stash Lemon Ginger on hand for tummy upsets, and quite a few Traditional Medicinal teas for various maladies. Hot or cold, though, I only put honey in my tea if I’m sick with a sore throat.

    3) So funny that you posted that today, because yesterday I made some grain free peanut butter cookies (recipe from Gluten Free Girl and the Chef), but I subbed honey for the white sugar. I actually love baking with honey because the result always turns out chewier and gooier. Really happy to see your tips, though. I always use less, but I didn’t know to cook at a lower temp or add the baking soda.

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