This homemade hot honey recipe is quick and easy to make with 3 ingredients and can be used in countless delicious ways!
Is there anything that isn’t better with a drizzle of hot honey?! 😍
I don’t know about you, but we’ve become thoroughly obsessed with this spicy-sweet condiment over the past few years here in our house. Drizzled on everything from pizza, biscuits, fried chicken, baked salmon, shrimp boil, roasted veggies, cornbread, baked brie, or corn on the cob? Yes, please. Stirred in to sweeten your next cocktail, cup of hot tea (or hot toddy!), or even a batch of salad dressing? Great idea. Served as a dipper for fries, chicken fingers, or a charcuterie board? Definitely. That surprise heat adds the perfect extra kick to countless dishes where you might normally just use a plain sweetener. And if you’ve never tried it before, I’m convinced you’re going to love it!
Nowadays, hot honey is pretty commonly available in local grocery stores or online, but the markup is quite high and it’s usually much cheaper to make a batch yourself. Plus, it’s incredibly quick and easy to make at home. And with homemade hot honey, you get to be the one to decide which type of hot peppers to use and how spicy to make each batch. All you need are about 15 or 20 minutes and 3 ingredients and you’ll be good to go.
One more thing — with the holidays coming up, I also just wanted to mention that hot honey makes for great DIY gifting! Just grab some cute jars (you can rinse and reuse some old jam jars, order my favorite mini tulip jars, or use these adorable honey bear bottles), simmer up a quick batch of hot honey, and I’m certain your friends and family will put it to good use.
Alright, let’s make a quick batch!
Hot Honey Ingredients
Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few notes about the three basic hot honey ingredients that you will need:
Honey: The type of honey that you use is completely up to you. I prefer a basic clover honey that’s not overly floral, but you’re welcome to use any variety you prefer. (If possible, please consider purchasing a local honey to support bees in your area!)
Hot peppers: I most often make hot honey with basic crushed red pepper flakes, since I always keep them on hand in my spice cabinet and using dried peppers (vs fresh) allows the honey to be stored longer. However, this recipe is also fantastic made with fresh chile peppers (such as jalapeños, serranos, habaneros or Thai red bird chiles) or you can also have fun experimenting with other dried chile peppers (such as dried anchos, guajillos, pasillas or chiles de àrbol). The heat level of this recipe is very easy to adjust by adding more/less peppers or letting the peppers simmer awhile longer.
Vinegar: I like adding in a splash of apple cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar) to cut the sweetness a bit, a la Mike’s Hot Honey. You’re welcome to leave the vinegar out entirely if you prefer, or you can experiment with adding more or less to taste.
How To Make Hot Honey
The full detailed recipe for how to make hot honey is included in the recipe at the bottom of this page, but here is the basic overview (with a few optional variations):
Bring the honey and hot peppers to a simmer. I usually just do this on the stove in either a saucepan or sauté pan, but you’re welcome to heat the mixture in a measuring cup in the microwave if you prefer.
Let it all infuse. Once the honey *just* reaches a simmer, remove it from the heat and let the mixture rest for 10-15 minutes so that the hot peppers can infuse the honey.
Give it a taste. Dip a clean spoon in the honey and give it a quick taste to test the heat level. If you want the honey to be spicier, you can either add in more hot peppers and/or let the honey continue to infuse for another 10 minutes. If you want the honey to be less spicy, add in some extra plain honey to dilute the mixture a bit.
Strain. At this point, I prefer to pour the honey through a fine mesh strainer into a clean jar to remove the hot peppers, which essentially halts the infusion so that you can control the level of heat. That said, many people prefer to leave the hot peppers in their jar of hot honey when storing it, which will likely increase the heat quite a bit. It’s up to you.
Use and enjoy. Then your homemade hot honey is ready to go! See below for all sorts of delicious ways that you can put it to use.
Here are a few more fun ways that you’re welcome to customize your own hot honey recipe if you’d like:
Use different hot peppers: As mentioned above, there are all sorts of different fresh and dried hot peppers that you can use in this recipe! If you’d like to go the fresh pepper route, slice up a jalapeño, serrano, habanero, scotch bonnet or Thai bird chile and add it to the honey. If you’d like to go the dried pepper route, roughly chop up a dried ancho, guajillo, pasilla or chiles de àrbol and add it to the honey. As always when using fresh or dried peppers, the more seeds that you include will increase the heat of the recipe.
Use hot sauce: Many people love making homemade hot honey with hot sauce (such as Cholula or Frank’s) in place of the vinegar and/or chiles. It’s definitely a quicker method, as the hot sauce does not need the extra time to rest and infuse the honey.
Use lime juice: Fresh lime juice is also a delicious substitute for vinegar if you prefer. (Just note that the hot honey will need to be stored in the refrigerator if you use lime juice.)
Add salt: It depends on how you’re planning to use the hot honey. But especially when serving it as a dipping sauce, or if pairing it with already-sweet foods, I often like to add in a pinch of fine sea salt to bring out the flavors.
Add dry seasonings: If you want to get creative, there are all sorts of dried seasonings that you can add to customize your honey. Black pepper, chipotle powder, ground cinnamon, and ground rosemary are a few of my personal favorites.
Ways To Use Hot Honey
Looking for some fun ideas for how to use hot honey? The options are endless, but here are a few of my faves:
Pizza: I’m completely obsessed with adding a drizzle to any type of pizza, although I’m convinced it pairs especially well with pepperoni.
Biscuits and breads: Hot honey tastes absolutely divine drizzled on a warm biscuit, a slice of cornbread, or French toast. But feel free to also drizzle it on any of your favorite breads.
Vegetables: Add a drizzle to your favorite grilled or roasted vegetables or stir-fry. It’s also fabulous with corn on the cob!
Meats, seafood and tofu: Hot honey chicken wings are a classic! Hot honey also tastes delicious drizzled on steak, pork, shrimp, sausage, bacon, fish, scallops, tofu, and any other favorite proteins.
Fried foods: Hot honey fried chicken (or fried fish) is another match made in heaven. It’s also fantastic on french fries and other various fried foods.
Charcuterie boards: Serve hot honey as a dipper with your next cheese board, or drizzle it atop a wheel of baked brie.
Vinaigrettes: Hot honey is a great way to sweeten your favorite salad dressing, while adding in a touch of heat.
Desserts: Drizzle it over ice cream, brownies, cheesecakes and more.
Drinks and cocktails: Use hot honey as a spicy sweetener in your next cocktail (I especially love it in an old fashioned, mojito, or gimlet) or stir it into your next hot cup of tea or hot toddy.
Simmer.Add the honey and crushed red pepper flakes (or jalapeño slices) to a medium sauté pan or saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the honey very lightly begins to simmer. Give the mixture a quick stir to combine, then remove pan from the heat.
Rest.Let the mixture rest for 10 to 15 minutes so that the flavors can infuse.
Taste.Give the honey a quick taste to test the heat level. If you would like a spicier honey, you’re welcome to add more red pepper flakes (or jalapeño slices) and/or let the mixture continue to infuse for longer.
Strain.Once the honey has reached your desired heat level, strain the honey through a fine mesh strainer into a clean storage jar. Stir in the apple cider vinegar until evenly combined.
Serve or store.Use the honey immediately or see instructions below for storage instructions.
Storage instructions: To store hot honey, let it cool to room temperature. Then place a lid on the jar and store at room temperature for up to 3 months. (If using fresh peppers, such as jalapeños, you will need to instead keep the hot honey in the refrigerator, where it can be stored for up to 1 week.)
I wonder if I could make this with the chili’s in Chinese hot chili oil?
We’ve been fans of Mike’s hot honey for years but it is SO pricey, so we just gave your version a try. THERE’S NO GOING BACK. We used basic store brand honey and the batch rang in around $4.50 vs the usual $14 that we used to pay for Mike’s and tasted just as good. Thank you!
I ended up soaking the chili peppers for 30 minutes to get it extra spicy. Very good!
Love the sound of this – just wondered if the jars need to be sterilised?