Everybody has one of those sticky little plastic honey bear jars in the cupboard. But for cooking, baking, and drinks-making with deep deliciousness, it pays to always have a more serious and flavorful stash of honey in the pantry. Here are 11 honey recipes that are more than enough reasons why.
Honey comes in a near-endless array of varieties besides clover and wildflower, and some of these recipes call for specific kinds (like orange blossom honey). They’ll all still be delicious with any old supermarket honey, but we really do recommend buying not only some more interesting types, but local honey too; not only will it taste more complex, it will benefit local agriculture and businesses (and some studies suggest it could help with allergies).
Genuine Tasmanian Leatherwood Honey, $14.25 on Amazon
This raw Australian honey has an incredibly complex flavor worlds away from the supermarket stuff.
In the age of colony collapse, we can’t help but appreciate the sweet stuff even more. August 17 is National Honey Bee Day, so it’s a perfect time to remember our busy, buzzy little friends that produce the honey (and pollinate so many of our crops).
In addition to local honey, consider buying some specialty honey that benefits bee-related organizations, like this Bee Cause Honey; 100 percent of the proceeds go towards a project that installs classroom observation hives in American schools, to help inspire the next generation to love and protect bees.
For Winnie the Poohs empathizers who can’t get enough of that golden, sticky goo, here are some of our favorite ways to use honey besides drizzling it straight on toast and yogurt and into tea.
1. Honey Butter
Unsalted butter, honey, and a bit of salt—these three ingredients can transform waffles, pancakes, biscuits, and even plain toast into something comforting and special. And depending on what kind of honey you use, the taste will change in delightful ways. Get our Honey Butter recipe. (Be sure to try it on cornbread, and on our Honey Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls.)
Orange blossom honey, orange zest and juice, and shallots, and fresh thyme make a memorable brine for roasted turkey breast, and make a whole chicken extra special. Get our Honey-Brined Turkey Breast recipe.
Dutch Gold Honey, $10.53 on Amazon
Don't expect a wallop of orange, just a subtle citrus flavor and light, sweet taste.
This simple, perfect blend of mustard powder, apple cider vinegar, honey, and a pinch of kosher salt is a natural with soft pretzels, and does wonders as a sandwich spread for ham or corned beef. Conversely, if you’re vegan or otherwise don’t eat honey, you can try an alternative like maple syrup in this recipe. Get our Honey Mustard Sauce recipe.
Bee Free Honee Vegan Honey, $12.48 on Amazon
Or try this vegan version of honey made from organic apples.
We came up with this dressing of honey, white wine vinegar, and neutral-tasting grapeseed oil to toss a salad of bitter greens, but you could apply it to all kinds of salads. Get our Honey Vinaigrette recipe. (And try our Honey Poppyseed Dressing recipe too.)
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Salad
5. Honey Nougat
This crisp, sophisticated confection by David Lebovitz has whole and sliced almonds, pistachios, orange peel, honey, orange flower water, and a bit of heavy cream. Get the Honey Nougat recipe.
Honey, soy sauce, mirin, garlic, and ginger combine with pork and kale for a hearty, easy Crock-Pot dinner that sings with sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy flavors. Serve over simple soba noodles or rice. Get the Slow Cooker Honey Ginger Pork recipe.
This is a creamy gelato, where the deep, sophisticated taste of sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil plays off the rich, creamy flavor of sweet cream and honey. Get our Toasted Sesame and Honey Gelato recipe.
Honey and lemon zest flavor this tart made with ricotta cheese. A crisp crust and crunchy almond topping sandwich the creamy filling. Get our Ricotta and Honey Tart recipe. (And try our sharper, saltier Greek Honey and Cheese Tart recipe too.)
In Scotland, Atholl Brose is a traditional drink of Scotch whisky mixed with the liquid from soaking steel-cut oats, stirred with honey, and topped with lightly whipped cream. Bartender Erik Ellestad tried a bunch of different combinations of these ingredients before coming up with this delicious drink. Get our Atholl Brose Cocktail recipe.
Drying apricots intensifies their sweet-tart flavors, and the addition of a little honey balances out the overall taste of this tasty DIY fruit leather, which is perfect for a back-to-school lunch box treat. Get our Honey and Apricot Fruit Leather recipe.
Honey-drenched baklava is one of the more famous honey desserts, but these mini upside down cakes are easier to make and just as sticky-delicious, with 1/4 cup of orange blossom honey in the caramel. They’re perfect for fall with their sweet apples and warm spices. Get our Apple Honey Upside Down Cake recipe.
Header image courtesy of Vesna Jovanovic / EyeEm / Getty Images