This easy vegan honey recipe is made with just five ingredients and 15 minutes. With floral, citrus, vanilla, and caramel notes to mimic the flavor of honey, you may find you like this vegan honey alternative better than the real thing!
YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- It's simple. This vegan honey substitute is super simple to make. The process is essentially making a flavored rich syrup, taking only about 15 minutes. Plus, the simple ingredients are easy to get your hands on.
- It's delicious. For being such an easy recipe, this vegan honey is super yummy. Because it has such lovely floral and citrus notes, I think I prefer this vegan version over the taste of actual honey!
- It's versatile. Use this vegan honey pretty much anywhere you would use honey. Use it to make a vegan honey mustard dressing, or just add it to your cup of hot tea. The possibilities are endless!
INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- White and brown sugar: White and brown sugar create the rich syrup base for this vegan honey. Brown sugar helps to add a light caramel taste, however you can substitute with all white sugar easily.
- Orange zest sections: Orange zest adds a light citrus flavor that gives this sweet syrup an orange blossom honey-like flavor. I love that this recipe can put that otherwise unused orange peel to good use! In the absence of orange peel, you can use lemon for a similar flavor.
- Chamomile tea bag: Made from flower heads, chamomile tea adds a floral flavor often detected in bee honey.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla adds further depth of flavor. Using high-quality vanilla is the best way to add this depth, but any vanilla will do. This recipe will also turn out great without vanilla at all if you're out.
- Red chili flakes: Optionally make hot honey by adding red chili flakes. Yum!
To start, heat all your ingredients over medium to medium-high heat until it gently simmers.
While simmering, gently stir the syrup intermittently to allow for even heating. After it simmers for around five minutes, remove the orange and tea bag. Allow the mixture to continue simmering at medium-low to medium heat for another five minutes. At this point, the sugar syrup should be entirely dissolved.
Carefully transfer your homemade vegan honey to your desired container and place it into the refrigerator to cool into a thick syrup. From here, you can drizzle your honey in oatmeal, hot tea, or anywhere you choose!
vegan hot honey: Add between one and three teaspoons of red pepper flakes to the recipe. One teaspoon of red chili flakes will result in mildly hot honey whereas three teaspoons of chili flakes will be very hot. When done cooking, you can pour your syrup through a fine mesh strainer to remove the flakes, or simply keep them in!
vegan apple honey: While not my favorite, many prefer an apple-based vegan honey recipe. Easily modify this recipe by substituting the water for one cup of pure apple juice and omitting the brown sugar. This will result in vegan honey with a subtle apple flavor.
Store your vegan honey in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last at least two weeks without crystallizing too much. For vegan honey that will last up to six months, use a sterilized glass jar to store it, and follow the tips below to prevent crystallization.
Like the real thing, vegan honey is likely to crystallize over time. This recipe uses time and gentle heating to prevent crystallization, however if you want to be extra certain that your vegan honey does not crystallize, you can try one of these tactics:
- Substitute two tablespoons of sugar for corn syrup or agave nectar.
- Add ¼ teaspoon of lemon juice (this will add more citrus flavor, you can consider also adding a bit less orange zest).
- Add ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar (this will affect the flavor a bit as well).
If your vegan honey has crystallized and you still want to use it, you can place your container in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. Be sure that if your "honey" is in a glass container, the water is not too hot, otherwise your cold glass may shatter!
The short answer is no. As insects are part of the animal kingdom, honey is considered an animal-derived product. Therefore, The Vegan Society states that honey is not vegan.
If you do not identify as vegan, but want to make ethical and/or sustainable dietary choices, the conversation can be a bit more nuanced. Commercial beekeeping can include practices that are harmful both to bees and to the planet, such as supplementing honey bees' diets with simple carbohydrate replacements for honey that are lacking in micronutrients. However, balanced, natural, and biodynamic beekeeping do away with many of these harmful practices. These articles by Healthline and The Beet give some good insight into the ethicality of honey.
Yes! There are plenty of vegan alternatives to honey available to purchase, such as:
Bee Free Honey: This small-business-made honey uses apple juice concentrate as the main ingredient.
Single Origin Food Co. Vegan Unhoney: This plant-based honey alternative is made from organic coconut nectar.
ChocZero Keto Honey Substitute: Sweetened with resistant dextrin and monk fruit extract, this is the perfect honey substitute for those looking for a sugar-free option.
Easy Vegan Honey (Hot Honey Variation)
For Hot Honey
- 1-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- Remove the zest of half an orange by using a vegetable peeler or paring knife to cut long, thin slices of zest while being careful to avoid too much white pith.
- Heat all ingredients in a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat until mixture begins to gently simmer.
- Reduce heat to medium-low to low and allow mixture to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- With a spoon or other utensil, carefully remove the zest and tea bag from the honey mixture. Allow the mixture to continue to simmer for at least another 5 minutes.
- After the mixture has simmered for at least 10 minutes, turn off the heat. Allow to cool for up to two hours or carefully transfer to a container immediately.
- Transfer your vegan honey to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.