Why does honey crystallize?

Almost all unheated, unfiltered honey crystallizes; some just crystallize sooner than others.  I say that a lot at farmer’s markets, after all some of our honey is crystallized some of it is runny honey.

Crystallized honey is preferred over runny honey by my family and many other people. You can cook with crystallized honey (my husband, the woodworker at Brookfield Farm, bakes with crystallized honey all the time).  It works in tea; in stir-fry; and as an easily

Jars of crystallized honey and runny honey - same type of honey

Same honey: one crystallized, one runny

spread glaze on fish, meat and fowl. It doesn’t drip off the bread or off your spoon (or fork).  And, to others, and me crystallized honey simply tastes better.

What follows is what I’ve learned about crystallization in unheated, unfiltered honey, which is what we sell.  I’m always happy to learn more.

There are a few honeys that are incredibly slow to crystallize (never say “never”).  Acacia, sage, tupelo, and black locust (aka false acacia) honeys are some of them.  But the majority of honeys will start working their way to crystallization as soon as they leave the nice warm confines of a 95F hive.

Crystallization is the natural state of most honeys after it leaves the hives.  It can even

Crystallized and runny Alfalfa Honey

Same honey: runny and crystallized

crystallize inside a hive if the bee cluster is not on top of the honey when temperatures stay below 50F for a while.

HOW FAST HONEY CRISTALLIZES involves a number of factors:

1) How much glucose versus fructose was in the nectar (these are only of the sugars that are in honey).

2) If the honey is unfiltered: little bits of things on which those crystals can get started.

3) The temperature where the honey is stored.

4) How the honey is stored (plastic is more porous than glass, thus the air exchange is greater).

1) Glucose the Crystallizer:

Crystallized Alfalfa Honey On a Fork

Crystallized Alfalfa Honey

There are a variety of sugars in honey including: glucose, fructose, sucrose, and maltose.  But the main ones are glucose and fructose, which together can make up nearly 70% of the honey content.  Water makes up 18% or less.

The glucose and fructose are the sugars that give honey its “sweetness”.  Glucose is the one that influences crystallization.  The more glucose in the honey, the sooner your honey will crystallize.

What happens:  There is water in all honey (less than 18%).  The water binds to the sugars. But water can separate from glucose.  When glucose loses water it becomes a crystal. Once a crystal forms it will continue to build more crystals until the entire container is crystallized. Anything like pollen, propolis or wax will get trapped in the crystals.

2) Unfiltered Honey and Crystallization.

The crystals that form from the glucose can build on each other, but they can also build

on any small particle.  Unfiltered honey has lots of these in pollen, propolis and wax.  Each has handy, jagged bits where a crystal can start to form.

If you and any other particles to the honey, they too will give the crystals a platform on which they can build.  Thus our Brookfield Farm Infused Honeys will all crystalize over time, but some sooner than others.  Our Rose Infused Honey has tiny bits of rose petals and rose hips.  It crystallizes faster than our Ginger Infused Honey.  It’s easier to remove ginger bits than rose petal and rose hip bits.

3) Container: How Honey Is Stored and Crystallization

Air has particles in it, and those particles can pass through containers.  Plastic is far more porous than glass.  Because of this honey stored in a capped, glass jar will take longer to crystallize than if you store it in plastic.

4) Temperature and Crystallization

Crystallization happens much faster at certain temperatures.  When honey drops into the fifties (towards 50F), it will start to crystallize much faster.   Honey stored between 70 and 95F will stay runny much longer.


Not all crystallized honeys have the same texture.  The honeys that are quick to crystallize with have a smoother texture than the honeys that are slow to crystallize.

Quick crystallizers (smooth) include: alfalfa, clover, lavender, dandelion, and star thistle.

Slow crystallizers (less smooth to chunky) include maple, linden, fireweed, blackberry, and black locust.

Why is my honey crystallizing at the bottom?

This is normal.  I don’t have a science-backed answer to this,

Crystallizing Infused Honeys from Brookfield Farm, Washington

Crystallizing Infused Honeys

but my guesses are that either 1) it’s just colder on the counter (or market table) than the air around the jar or 2) the crystals are heavier than the surrounding runny honey and drift to the bottom.

How to make honey crystallize:

Store it at lower temperatures (55F or less) but don’t freeze it.  I’ve heard frozen honey will not crystallize.  This makes sense, as the water cannot precipitate out of the glucose if it’s frozen.

Add a little bit of crystallized honey to your runny honey. If you give the runny honey some crystals, they will start reacting with the glucose in your runny honey and soon it will be crystallized.

How to make crystallized honey runny:

You can gently warm honey by placing its container in a steamer, a water bath (like a water-filled crock pot), a warm sunny window, or a microwave. I would not do this any plastic container.  The important thing is that you do not want to heat that honey over 100F if you want the benefits of honey to remain.   After 120F you’ve got nice yummy honey, but the pollen, propolis, enzymes, and antioxidants have been rendered useless.  Some folks say this happens at 104F.  So, stay safe and don’t go over 100F. If you can’t be exact, aim at 95F for some “wiggle room”.

The problem is that once the honey cools, it will start its march back to crystallization.  After a few sessions of heating and cooling, the honey will start to lose its consistency and its aroma.  Because of this it’s best if you only heat the amount of honey you want runny.  Leave the rest in the container.


If you have any more facts, musings, or thoughts on crystallized honey, I would love to hear them.

That’s the news from Brookfield Farm Bees & Honey, in Maple Falls, Washington.


About brookfieldfarmhoney

Brookfield Farm, a small off-grid apiary in Maple Falls, WA focuses on the beauty and bounties of Washington’s wilderness. I sell honey from our bees, whose naturally-treated, antibiotic-free hives are home to bees who fly Washington’s mountains and farmlands. Herbal salves and lip balms from Brookfield beeswax. Delicately infused honeys and vinegars. Varietal honeys from independent Washington beekeepers. Karen Edmundson Bean: beekeeper, photographer. Her love of the wilderness inspires her to discover new ways of bringing the wonders of nature to others. Brookfield Farm : the tastes, textures, sounds, and images of nature.
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116 Responses to Why does honey crystallize?

  1. Natalie says:

    I’ve got lots and lots of questions! 🙂

  2. amanda cullen says:

    Thank you for your wonderful information. If I wanted to make solid honey super dooper firm, how would I do this? Ideally without adding any impurities to it.

    • Hi Amanda – sorry for the delay in getting back to you – it’s been crazy here with the bees (a good kind of crazy). I don’t really know – you could try drying it. If it’s still in the frames you can prop them up on something in a warm room with a fan blowing. I’ve not done it. If it’s in the jar – have you tried a fruit/veg drier? It works for yogurt. I really am clueless here. If you discover a way – please share.

    • Aleks says:

      Keep the honey in the refrigirator — not the freezer. After getting the honey out of the fridge, the honey has the ability to bend spoons.

      Try this out and see if you’ll like the firmness.

  3. Kellie says:

    This information is very helpful. My husband and I are in our second year with our bees and we have honey left from last year that is still clear and runny which really puzzled us this year when most of our honey crystalized. We did have it stored in plastic 5 gallon buckets and I believe the tempperature is below 50 degrees at times so both of those tidbits of info are very helpful to know.

    I did want to suggest something that o did with some of our honey that has been very tasteful. I added cinnamon to some of out crystalized honey this year and it has been very popular with our regular customers that purchase it from us. Not to mention when adding cinnamon to honey there are a lot medicinal benefits other than just the benefits of eating honey on a regular basis. We put our cinnamon honey on every thong from toast, plain cheerios (that’s REAL honey cheerios) and even saltiness crackers.

    Thanks for all the great info.

    • Hi Kelly, Glad this can be of some use to you. Was the honey you had that is taking longer to crystalize from the same hives as the crystalized honey? If so, did you process your honey at two different times? A possible cause is that you have honey from 2 different nectar sources. Along with our own honey, we sell honey from other independent WA beekeepers, one of those, the Kraus Honey Company, has honey that takes almost a year to crystalize. It is from a really dry area, and has black locust as a major nectar source. Great idea about adding cinnamon – we do a cinnamon infused honey too! Ours is usually in the runny state – but will crystalize if it is around long enough. Thanks for commenting, always good to hear from others.

    • Erik says:

      I am guessing that you sell your honey as “organic” or at least as a healthy food. You may want to check into the differences in the various kinds of cinnamon. I would throw out any cinnamon that is cassia cinnamon (as we have done), which is likely what you have in your kitchen cabinet, or any cinnamon of unknown origins. In larger doses it can cause liver damage, especially in children amongst other problems. Buy Ceylon cinnamon which is not known to cause any problems. Do a quick check on the internet and you will better understand what I am trying to educate people about.

      • Thank you – that’s good to know. I don’t do cinnamon infused honey any more, but I’m going to check out the honey in my kitchen this evening. If I’ve got the wrong kind, I’ll put it in the cabinet for “natural things that fight ants…” Thanks again.

    • pattie says:

      that sounds yummy .goimg to try that.i peeld and grated lemon .thats nice to.allso i add honey to bread and butted pudding. year 13. our honey stayed runny.year 14 it crystalized.weard .

      • My husband bakes with crystallized honey all the time (no me, cook? me? stir fry, that’s all I do, thus he must cook). He uses the chamisa for baking because he says it adds a wonderful flavor. I certainly like it. But re the one-year-runny, next-year-crystal : it all depends on what your bees find. Something either changed in the area (around here it’s usually a clear cut), or the bees discovered an area where there was a different floral source. The 2 main sugars in honey are fructose and glucose. The more glucose the faster the honey will crystallized (think berry honey), the more fructose the longer it will take (think tree honeys or plants that hold their berries or flowers in the snow)…

    • KSbeek says:

      I had a similar experience in my first year. I believe I figured out my issue a bit late, but I wonder… did you feed sugar syrup that first year? Possibly fed for too late into the season? Honey made from sugar water is fairly clear, very sweet and crystallizes very slowly compared to honey produced from nectar sources. My concern is this… My customers prefer the taste and consistency of the honey derived from sugar water (thick kool-aid). I am now stuck trying to educate them that my first year honey was a bit of a fake, and that yes, raw honey that is not heated or over-filtered will in fact crystallize.

      • I don’t feed sugar syrup unless they’re starving – syrup creates a problem here with nosema (but the chance of nosema is better than death by starvation in a dearth or weeks of rain) If you do feed when supers are on, you can’t sell that as honey, because it’s not honey, but you knew that. Your customer problem is not uncommon – people are used to what passes for honey in supermarkets, many times it’s not honey (proven by tests, sad, eh?). I find about 2/3 of my customers want runny honey, the others want crystallized. So you have 2 options: 1) the hard one: move the hives to where they nectar they are collecting is heavily weighted to the fructose side (tree honeys, fireweed, snowberry around here), 2) Set up a warming situation that allows you to keep the honey at hive temperature 92-98F ish – then they honey will crystallize slower; bottle it in glass (water molecules pass though plastic easily, and the additional water will make it crystalize faster)…. And yes, the education will never stop, I was next to a bakery in one market, by the end of the year I would start with “all honey crystallizes, but…” and she would finish “some crystallizes faster than others, it’s because of….” and she knew it all, ’cause I say it over and over and over again…but that’s how people learn….so it’s all good

  4. Sharad maheshwari says:

    Glad to have so much information on crystallization of honey .. really appreciate your effort for putting up so much information.

  5. nancy says:

    Hi im new to beekeeping and have harvested my second lot of honey 🙂 in regards to crystalization the mothers theory from my husband is that its full of wax and has not been strained properly and that is why it crystalizes can you please advice?

    • Hi Nancy, far be it from me to dispute a mom, but she’s wrong but she’s kind of right too. Almost all honey crystalizes (there are only 3 or 4 exceptions that I’ve heard of in N. America). Raw honey is unheated honey, you could actually strain raw honey, as long as you don’t heat it – ours by the way is unheated, unfiltered. So if you have unheated, unfiltered honey, that honey will contain Pollen, Propolis, and some bits of Bees Wax. “Full of beeswax”, no. However, if you filter it to get the wax out, you’ll also remove pollen and propolis, which are really good for you. The wax doesn’t hurt you nor have I heard anything about it being good for you. As I mentioned in the blog honey crystalization depends on a number of factors: 1) glucose vs fructose amounts: more gloucose the faster crystalization 2) how cold it is, cold honey will crystalize 3) raw unfiltered nature : crystalization is the normal state that the majority of honeys want to reach after leaving the happy 92F degree confines of the hive, crystals are forming, and if there is anything to hang to crystals on, the faster it will crystalize (pollen, propolis, wax, water – all honey contains some water). The only way to stop crystalization is to take the honey to high temperatures, which then leaves you with a sweet nothing – all the goodness is gone. Nothing wrong with crystalized honey, I, and many people, like it better than runny honey: the flavors come out more. If you do want to make it runny, you can slowly heat it (preferably just the amount you’ll use) – try not to go over 100F, if you hit over 120F, you have sweet nothing again. You can strain and heat your honey to make it so it won’t crystalize, but then why bother to have honey if you’re going to get rid of all the goodness? In the end, like everything in beekeeping, it’s a personal choice. Hope that helps….

  6. Aileen says:

    Hi, I read your info about what makes honey crystalize and it was really helpful. One point concerns me when you write the way to make honey runny again is to gently heat it and include that it can be done in a microwave.

    A microwave heats to temperatures between 200-400F. It also destroys enzymes and other cell structures in food. It creates harmful compounds as a result of the action on the food of the waves of energy it uses. It makes structural changes in the molecules in the food that’s being microwaved. It’s probably not a good idea to microwave honey, even briefly, for these reasons.

    It would be great if you could make that clear when you write ways to make honey runny. Not everyone knows that using a microwave does much more than just warming things up faster and more conveniently. And sorry to say there’s quite a bit of economics that goes into encouraging people to think like that so they keep on using them

    • there is just so much time and words for one blog posting. I don’t use microwaves, but some people do, to each their own. I have customers who can make their microwave take the honey only to 100F – I couldn’t tell you how because I don’t use them. In any case, be it a water bath, a steamer, a warm window, or a shelf with a light under it (one customer does this), turning crystalized honey to runny honey is a slow process. I’ve never understood why people do it. You can do anything with crystalized that you can do with runny honey (it might take longer and more effort – as in baking with it, takes more stirring), and I think crystalized honey tastes better — again, to each their own. Good info in your posting – I think we can all learn from it.

      • R. Atkins says:

        It could indeed be true that microwaves are not the best way to heat honey, but that doesn’t have much to do with “harmful compounds” or “structural changes.” Microwaves heat fast and unevenly, and it’s hard to control that, but there is otherwise no difference between using a microwave and using a flame. Heat = excited atomic movement, no matter which way it is accomplished. There is a lot of FUD out there about microwaves.

        • I’ve got no issues with using microwaves to turn crystalized honey runny – except for the difficulty in keeping the honey at 100F or lower in the microwave while one heats it (if you go over 120F – it’s not raw honey anymore, and better to stay at 100F). If you can keep the temperature low in the microwave, then go for it. (although I personally think crystalized honey tastes better)

  7. ROSE says:


    • Thanks Rose. I think crystalized honey tastes much better than runny honey – the flavors come out more. Ironically you’re going to run into tons of folks who think the honey’s “gone bad!” Seems beekeepers will always be educators as well… Glad that you got a honey harvest in your first year, well done.

  8. Laurie says:

    My daughter is doing a science experiment for her 5th grade project and she wanted to see “What type of honey crystallizes the fastest?” Do you have any pointers on what we could do to try to get the honey to crystalize quicker than if it was just naturally sitting in its container? We found an experiment online but it had us adding water and using the freezer. From some research we have done, freezing it will not allow it to crystallize. Also, if you do have some ideas, can you tell me how long it may take? We have 6 different honey’s we were going to use. Tupelo, Alfalfa, Clover, Acacia, Organic and Raw. We also wanted to see what the % of glucose vs. fructose and water each of these types of honey’s contained. I know this is a lot of questions, but your professional advice on this would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Laurie – what a cool experiment. Keeping honey open and in a cool place will certainly start your honey crystallizing (not the freezer, there’s no water in a freezer – or shouldn’t be). Honey attracts water, and those water molecules will add another place for the crystals to start building. Adding things to the honey would rather negate your experiment, because (as I read your note), your daughter wants to compare the honeys’ rate of crystallization. I would leave them uncovered or loosely covered in an unheated area. My bet will be that Tupelo and acacia will take forever to crystalize (false acacia can take almost a year, I’ve heard tupelo takes even longer) Alfalfa should crystalize pretty quickly. The “organic” honey, if unfiltered and unheated (which it probably is) should be crystalized almost off the shelf – it’s how it’s usually sold. Raw honey should take longer than processed (which may never crystalize), but then you’re back to the type of Raw honey: Raw Tupelo may take forever, where as raw alfalfa will go fast. I don’t know how you could test for glucose versus fructose, but if you write the folks at the National Honey Board, they could probably get you some information on the relative amounts for each of your honeys. I wrote them once about another issue, and they put me onto a research scientist – so they are quite helpful. Hope that wasn’t too long-winded. Do let us know how the experiment works out.

  9. tori says:

    cool awsome for my project

  10. Percy says:

    Thank you very much for such a service i have benefited a lot .All what i am experiencing has been explained.

  11. Linda Jones says:

    Do you think the process of feeding bees sugar water or using candy boards contributes to quick crystallization? Our honey seems to crystallize within a month the past 2 years. Most of the people we share our honey with prefer the runny variety.

    • Sorry to get back to you so late Linda – I’ve been in internet hades for a while (you don’t want to know). But, no, I don’t think feeding contributes to quick crystallization (I don’t “know”, but I don’t think so). More likely your bees have found a nectar source that’s higher in glucose than fructose (to 2 main sugars in honey – there are lots more but those are the two big ones). Honeys with more glucose will crystalize faster (all the berry honeys, alfalfa, buckwheat…). Honeys with more fructose take longer (fireweed, false acacia, acaica…). I point out to my friends/customers that I like crystalized honey better, the flavors come out more, plus you can do anything with crystalized honey you can do with runny honey, but it doesn’t drip on the floor (my husband bakes with crystalized honey, I put it in teas and cook with it). But I do bet it’s the floral source that your bees have gotten into – not the feeding.

  12. Glen Garrick says:

    Thanks for the helpful information.

    One question I have is to clarify on filtering.

    We decap the honey and then spin it to remove the honey. The honey runs down the drum and out the spout into a filter (common paint filter) to remove most wax, any bees, and anything else that found itself into the honey.

    We fill our jars of honey straight from that bucket.

    Can we actually say it’s unfiltered? Are we removing all the pollen in the filter?

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen any honey with pieces of pollen, bees, or other items in it as if you scraped it straight from the frame to the jar.

    Thanks again. I’ve bookmarked your webpage. My wife and I (2nd yr bee keepers) will likely spend a lot more time on the site.


    • Hi Glen – if you’re talking about one of those paint filters with largish holes then I’d say it’s unfiltered. The pollen, propolis and tiny wax bits are so small they’re getting though — while the bee bits stay behind. Actually though, a company called Really Raw Honey (east coast) fills bottles straight from extractor, bee bits and all, and sells very very well. So you could skip the paint filter. I go from extractor to bucket to jar, so the big bits that you’re filtering float to the top and I scoop them off and process the wax. Filtered honey is done with very high end microfilters, you, nor I, nor anyone I know, has access to those (and who would want to?) – So you’re fine. Glad you like the site.

  13. Percy says:

    It is a profound pleasure to have such an arena where we share and learn about apiculture experiences.
    May my dear friends help on how i can solve the following problem on
    my honey so that can be accepted on the market. I took the sample for certification and the results were as follows.

    Total plat count,cfu/10g 8.1 x10 Absent
    Ecoli,cfu/10g 5.2 x10 Absent
    Yeast and mould cfu/10g >300 Absent
    Can you advise on how i can do away with Coliform Bacteria,Yeast and moulds and E.coli.
    NB: All tens are to the power 1 on the given figures.


  14. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for your great info! My boyfriend thought our honey has gone bad since it was all murky & crystallized!! I have never seen crystallized honey before but I told him I think it just crystallized since there’s sugar bits all over the cap area, & that it should still be good. It just reminded me of elementary school when our 5th grade class made rock candy. Now, after reading your info, I don’t think I will recook the honey! Seems as if it is easier to use since it doesn’t drip everywhere. I think I will transfer it to a glass jar though. The honey we purchased was from a Costco or a Sam’s club so it’s in bulk & in a very large plastic squeeze bottle. Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Jennifer – I’m glad you found the info useful. I think crystalized honey tastes better than runny honey…all the flavors come out so much more. You’re right, though, a wide mouth glass jar can make getting the crystalized honey out so much easier. Happy honey

  15. Rich says:

    I have some raw unfiltered honey on my shelf that I obtained in 2007. To date it does not have a single crystal. Unusual? Glass jar with plastic screw on lid. Room temp averages around 72.

    • Unusual, yes. The glass would help (glass doesn’t allow water to pass – plastic does – and that contributes to crystalization). The warm temperature helps to. There are a few that take forever to crystalize — I’ve heard Tupalo is one of them, but I’ve yet to be able to try Tupalo (spelling wrong probably) honey. What kind of honey is it? You have a rare find.

  16. Jeff says:

    I’ve also used the crystallized honey on pork ribs in my smoker for its’ viscosity factor.
    Clings nicely to the ribs and doesn’t drip to the bottom of the pit…..
    Like your site, thanks. Really good information.

  17. Thanks for such great info. I had a question about honey crystalizing on my fb page today – after I posted my son’s wild honey harvest. I linked up your page for part of the answer. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  18. Aurora Moore says:

    can you make honey solid to hold shapes?

  19. Anjali Zaveri says:

    I have read your blog on how honey crystallizes – very interesting information. My 11 year old daughter is doing an experiment for her school’s science fair which consists of finding out which type of honey will crystallize the fastest. Reading through your posts – looks like someone else back in 2012 was also doing the same experiment. My daughter’s experiment is a little different in that she has selected three types of honey; a raw, unfiltered Clover honey, a processed, filtered honey (which by the way – tastes awful) and finally a really raw, creamy honey containing particles of pollen, propolis and honeycomb. She took a tablespoon of each honey in separate containers and heated the samples in a 100 deg F full convection oven for five hours to remove any moisture. Afterwards the samples were cooled and I had her add a tiny pinch of sugar to try and initiate the crystallizing process. She placed the samples (covered) in a 38 deg F refrigerator and has been making observations for the past three days. So far none of the samples have shown any signs of crystallization. Each honey sample looks runny, but since it has been in the refrigerator it is firm. You can see the particles of pollen and propolis in the really raw honey, but no sign of crystals. Was wondering if you could provide any insight or another means of trying to crystallize the three types of honey. The science project is due in about two weeks – so any information you can provide would be very helpful. Thank you.

    • Normally I’d say drying the honey will make it take longer to crystalize. But 100F wouldn’t have much of an effect (bees try to keep hives at 92F). The next aspect is type of honey: we don’t have a lot of clover here so I can’t speak to that, but honeys from nectars that are high in fructose (versus glucose) will take longer to crystalize. I would think clover is more glucose, but I don’t know – usually tree honeys (and a plant we have here called snowberry) are higher in fructose than glucose. I would take it out of the fridge and keep it at room temperature, or some place that might be even cooler, say 50F. What kind of containers are you all using? Plastic, through which moisture can pass, will make raw honey crystalize faster than glass (which doesn’t let moisture through). This all may take longer than 2 weeks – so I’d suggest you take a page from making creamed honey: If you can find some crystalized raw honey, you might try the following: For each honey you’re going to mix in some creamed honey. For the sake of clarity (and my on-the-fly math skills) I’ll say that each of your jars is 10oz of honey into each of these, place 1oz of creamed honey (10% of the volume of your honey you want to crystalize). Gently stir for one-minute. The goal is to get the creamed honey to spread evenly in the runny honey, but not to put air in the mix. Cap these and set in a 50F (ish) room, you should have crystalized honey in 7-14 days. Your raw honeys should definitely do it, but I don’t know about the processed honey. The addition of creamed honey (which is just finely crystalized honey) may prejudice the experiment…but it should make the honey crystalize. Maybe try putting 10% of the honey’s volume in sugar in…. I’m just guessing here. good luck

  20. Jim says:

    I consider that crystallization and hardening of honey is a defect. I don’t think anyone would like a hard honey. Don’t feed them sugar please.

    • Ah, you are missing one of the best “styles” of honey: crystalized honey. The flavors come out so much more once the honey crystalizes. I and many of my customers prefer their honey crystalized. This is the natural state honey wants to achieve after leaving the happy 92F confines of the hive. But to each their own taste…to you it’s a defect, to many of us it’s an improvement.

  21. themazz says:

    On crystal vs runny- I think we’re missing something pretty simple here… I don’t doubt that crystallized honey tastes great, but I wouldn’t know because I can’t get it out of the jar!!! What am I missing here? I’ve spent so much effort trying to dig away at it but it’s just solid and unmovable. For me, this is why I want my honey to be runny- just pure practicality. I’m pretty sure the others who want their honey runny are thinking the same thing… any advice?

    • Oh, I know that feeling: “Here’s the honey. Where’s the chisle??” You can keep the honey some place warm (never more than 120F if you want it raw, best around 100F). Places I’ve used for my own personal honey: A warm south facing window; a high shelf in the kitchen; the shelf above the stove. A friend keeps hers in the oven with the oven off (remembering to take the honey out when cooking) – the pilot light keeps her stove at 100F. Someone else keeps his on a shelf that has a light under it: each time the light goes on the honey warms a bit. Another warms hers in a food dehydrator when she needs it runny. Hope that helps

      • julie says:

        My husband was just saying what about one of those electric candle warmers. Great info. Thanks

        • I had to go look those up. I’d never heard of them. The look like little hot plates to me, so I think they would work – You’d have to test one to see how hot it gets. Never take Raw honey over 120F : after that it’s not raw. I like to keep it at 100F or less (takes longer, but worth it). If you used a candle warmer, it would take a while because it’s just warming from the bottom. Versus a water bath or a dehydrator or a 100F oven – where the air around the honey is warm. Actually, I like crystalized honey better than runny honey….

    • pattie says:

      hi i put my hard honey in the micwave for about 3 min then you get your runny honey

      • If you want it to stay raw, just make sure your honey is not going over 120F – and best kept down at 100F. Over 120F you lose all the “goodness” in the raw honey, you are left with the taste of the honey. So if you’re good with a microwave, go for it.

  22. Jared says:

    Hello, My wife and I just got some honey from my inlaws which was stored in those old USDA metal cans with the pop lids. We just broke one open and it was solid black like molasses. But it taste like some strong honey, not like alcohol, but more like very concentrated honey. Half of it was thick as molasses, and the other half was crystallized. I submerged the container in some hot water and it has started breaking loose and liquifying again. This honey dates back to 1968. It is very good, very dark. It was stored for years in an environment where the temperature fluctuates from 50 to 90 degrees F.

    • Sounds like buckwheat honey to me. Black as night (but crystalizes kind of chocolate color), smells something like dead leaves – or worse to some folks. Taste kind of malty, very robust… I love the stuff, but it does take getting used to. Makes sense: top still runny but bottom crystallized – pretty standard. That’s neat that you tried it: honey never goes bad…unless air gets to it, then it ferments because it absorbs water

      • Jared says:

        It is very good. It is extremely good on a hot biscuit with butter. The older the honey, the better. It’s kind of like wine, improves with age. Yes, it does smell like an old leaf pile. Honey never goes bad. They have even found some in the Great Pyramids in Egypt!

  23. Google.Ca says:

    Hiya! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring
    a blog article or vice-versa? My website goes over a lot of the same
    topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the

    • Thank you – I’d be interested but I’m way behind in my own blog — I’ll resurface in September or October when honey’s harvested and bees are in for the winter. You sound like you’re way more on top of this internet stuff than I am… But let’s “talk”

  24. J Peters says:

    Thanks for the information. It was helpful to clear any misconception about added sugar in honey.

  25. Pingback: Vineyard Garden Center | Benefits of Raw Honey

  26. Cameron says:

    Thanks so much for posting this! A jar of local honey crystallized and I learned that I prefer it so much more to runny honey… for one thing, it’s so much less messy! It’s so easy to take a spoonful of crystallized honey and add it to my cup of tea rather than dealing with messy drips. I was wondering if I could add a tiny bit of salt to honey to start the crystallization process… I guess I can try.

    • Skip the salt (unless it’s a taste you like), but take a bit of the crystallized honey and put it in the runny jar — in fact, the way one makes “creamed honey” – which is really just honey that has crystallized in a fine crystal structure – is to :
      take the volume of the runny honey you want to cream/crystallize (ie 12 fluid oz) then add to it a crystallized honey that is 10% of the amount of the first (ie 1.2 fluid oz) mix together, without adding too much air, and set in a place that’s 50F or less for a few weeks. The runny honey will crystallize/cream to the size of crystals in the honey you added (so if you like it smooth – find a smooth creamed or crystallized honey…

  27. Anthony says:

    This page seems 3 years old… Anyways….. I’m doing a science project, and i”d like to know if its possible to crystallize raw honey in hours. Please tell me the range of temperature, and what to do. Please respond fast, its due in 3 days!

    • Hi Anthony – I’m going to first take advantage of my age to say : never leave your homework to the last few days. But the answer to your question is No – you cannot get raw honey to crsytallize in a few hours. If you add crystallized honey to runny honey (at about 1:10) and put it in a place that’s 50F or less it can take anywhere from two to five weeks for that runny honey to become crystallized (depends on the source of the nectar that the bees used to make the honey – in general tree honeys take longer to crystallize than berry honeys) …. Hope it wasn’t a science experiment that’s due soon. Good luck.

  28. It would be great to warn others by adding to your post…and help them avoid what happened to me this year! A local beekeeper of my acquaintance was retiring and sold me some totes of drawn comb. In a hurry to sell off the equipment, this beekeeper sold them to me wet ie. extracted but with traces of honey still on the frames. Normally you put these back on the hive for the bees to clean all the honey traces off, then store them dry for the winter. We had no idea that the honey on the frames would crystallize over the winter while in storage, and “seed” my next year’s honey. All those frames, once filled again, began to rapidly crystallize. This has ruined my honey harvest! A lot of my honey frames did not extract well, and all the honey has crystallized in the jar. I now have to carefully warm the honey, and re-process as creamed. So…be very careful that the drawn comb you put back on your hives for honey harvest is well cleaned up by the bees, “dry”!!

    • I’m glad you added that — of course, the honey that crystallized in jars is a plus, in my world – I, and many of my clients prefer crystallized honey (and if it crystallized smoothly you even have “naturally creamed honey”)… The only way I can think that you could have gotten around the issue of the honey crystallizing in the hive would have been to drop those frames into the center of the hive, so the bees would warm the crystallized bits with body-heat before storing new honey – could work. More importantly, to me, is that I would say: never use drawn comb from someone else’s hives, heck it’s even chancy moving drawn comb between ones own hives (I do the latter, but never the former). As you know, wax is a sponge that absorbs chemicals and pathogens, bacteria, like AFB, survives in wax and honey, crystallized or runny – so although tempting, I would not ever use drawn comb from another beekeepers hives (and for woodenware I would burn/toast all exposed interior wood – same issue with diseases. I think in the end you got off lucky with just crystallized honey. But again – good tip for putting your own frames back in a hive – let the bees clean it up. Well said.

  29. HELP! Our honey has a waxy taste to it. It even has minute particles of wax floating. Is there any way to float the wax to the top, spoon it off, and still have a good simply HONEY taste?
    Thanks for any suggestions.

    • An easy way to remove the wax bit that are floating is an inexpensive kitchen sieve (the ones with the handles that have a scoop made of 1/8 inch woven wire) – I bet you’ve got one in your kitchen. They really shouldn’t be giving it a special “taste” – mine often has bits at the top – I scoop them out and eat them. There’s a company that specializes in leaving a thick layer of wax and bits at the top, and their honey sells nationwide (called Really Raw Honey – which annoys some folks as many of our honeys are equally as raw, but tidier – but I say they got a good name and ran with it. More power to them.) The taste of you honey is probably the flowers the bees found this year – but sieve off the wax, and see. Oh, the wax bits will float to the top if you put the honey in an area that’s 70F or above (but not above 120F or you’ll ruin your raw honey) Hope that helps.

  30. Jodella says:

    Do you have any recipes for crystallized honey?

    • Do you mean recipes that use crystallized honey? – Because you can use crystallized honey in any recipe that calls for honey in the same proportions. I do have a blog on how to substitute honey for sugar: https://brookfieldfarmhoney.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/how-to-use-honey-to-replace-other-sweeteners/. Or do you mean how to make honey crystallize? Which is a good question as 1) it tastes better crytallized, and 2) finely crystallized honey is called “creamed honey” – to do that: mix: 1 part finely crystalized honey (or a bought creamed honey) into 9 parts runny honey (the runny cannot be crystallized yet). Mix completely, but try not to get much air in there. A spoon works, or for large amounts a paint mixer on a drill works – like 5 gallon buckets of it. Let sit at 55F or less (but not freezing) for a week or two – it should crystallize (aka cream). Hope that helps.

  31. Randy Montgomery says:

    I am starting to do some baking and would rather use crystallized honey instead of sugar in my cookies. How well does crystallized honey do in the oven when blended with apple sauce (instead of eggs) and butter? Has anyone tried this? I am wanting to make my cookies with as much “natural” ingredients as possible.

    Thank you for the instructions on how to crystallize honey! I love this form of honey more than “runny honey.” The crunch of the crystals is a pleasant sensation for me.

    I look forward to any response.

    • My husband bakes with crystallized honey all the time (me, bake? the world as we know it would come to an end). He would say “you just have to stir harder”. “If you’re baking with crystallized honey, once it’s stirred in, it spreads itself about” – works from Ian (the husband). You might check out this post: https://brookfieldfarmhoney.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/how-to-use-honey-to-replace-other-sweeteners/ (or type in “baking” into the search area – probably easier) There’s info there about temperature and liquids in baking that apply to using honey, runny or crystallized). I can say from the consumer side (I always volunteer for the eating part), that it really makes breads, cakes and pie crusts taste great. Have fun

  32. Pallavi Bohra says:

    Good article…I am looking for the information regarding honey crystal making. Could you please suggest how can i make honey crystals at home?.

    • Do you want just crystallized honey or the smoothness of “creamed” honey – the latter is simply crystallized honey that’s been encouraged to crystallize in tiny crystals? Anyway – all honey will crystallize, some sooner than others. The smoothness depends on how much glucose versus fructose were in the nectar. More glucose, faster and smoother crystallization. To Make: start with raw honey (preferably from naturally treated / antibiotic-free, or treatment free hives – that’s just my preference, any Raw Honey will do. If you wait long enough, any honey will crystallize. It will look like it’s coming from the bottom, but that’s the crystals drifting down. If you’ve a honey that’s taking forever: get some already crystallized raw honey, mix one part of that to 9 parts of your runny honey. Mix gently (you really don’t want air in there, but it’s ok if it happens – think “whipped” honey’). Pour into containers, cap. Set in a place that’s about 50F in 3-4 weeks you’ll have crystallized honey…and if your “starter” honey was smooth, it will be smooth – if the “starter” was chunky you’ll have chunky. Like sour dough bread, remember to save some of the crysallized/creamed honey you made to be your next “starter” honey. Hope that makes sense

  33. john anderson says:

    I prefer high frucose honey to eat straight off the spoon; Raw Tupelo and acacia tastes the best and cost the most save rare honey and rare just means less or a variety. Hawaiian rare mesquite

    • I’ve never had Tupelo, but I hear it’s great. I rather prefer the glucose-dominant honeys, probably because I like crystallized honey…. One of the fabulous things about honey is that there’s a taste for nearly every palate.

  34. Pallavi Bohra says:

    Thank you for the reply but could you suggest any information regarding crystallizing honey in shorter time similar like honibie products. I want to make similar kind of pure honey candy at home in much faster…

    • That one is beyond me – I know the fellow who came up the the Honibie candys worked a long time to make them. I don’t know if they’re raw honey either – I’d be surprised. Good luck in your search…

  35. Paul Bruce says:

    A Quick Way Of Crystallising Honey ?
    Thank you for your clear and thorough explanation of how honey sets or crystallises and vice versa. I presume the heating process causes water to fix to glucose molecules and this is more fluid (less crystal). I accidentally turned a whole jar of runny honey crystal in just a day or two by stirring the more crystal honey at the bottom throughout the jar. This stirring will, I guess, also add air as well as spread any formed crystals throughout the jar – acting as building blocks for more crystal forming!? Fascinating. I like that half way point between runny and crystal i.e a bit of both in every mouthful! I am going to gently heat my local sweet chestnut flavoured honey and start again! Fun with honey!

    • You’ve got it perfect: in fact to make “creamed” honey, you put one part of a honey that has a smooth crystallization into 9 parts of a runny honey that has chunky crystals, stir, let sit at about 50F and viola – creamed (aka smoothly crystallized) honey….But thanks for the “water to fix to glucose molecules” part – news to me…

  36. Sue says:

    My son brought me a 13 pound tub of wildfire blackberry. He had it in his truck for a few days when it was cold outside. By the time I got it. It was solid. I loved it. No messes on the counter. So I used it up and went to buy more. They bee guy only had mixed berry. So I bought another 13 pound tub. Since it’s hot now. I put it in the refigetator. It’s been there two weeks now. It’s getting thicker. But still a little too runny. Do you think it will ever get more solid? Hope so.

    • Believe it or not, if you crack open the tub slightly, it should crystallize faster. As it’s mixed berry it should crystallize pretty quickly, but I don’t know where you are…around here (NW WA) the summer got so hot that crystallized honey would start going runny on the market table (85F to 90F at the worst – we’re warm-whimps here, that’s hot for our area). But in the fridge with a bit of air getting to it should work. I bet there’s some other flowers in there too (nothing wrong with that, but some flowers will make it take longer to crystallize)…Hope that helps in some way

  37. Jonathan says:

    Thanks for this information. I’m going to try pouring some new buckwheat honey into an almost empty jar of buckwheat honey that is all crystallized, maybe that will help it crystallize faster. A little buckwheat honey on one slice of bread and peanut butter on the other slice of bread makes a pretty good sandwich.

    • When you pour them together – stir them until they mix, so the crystals can get to the runny honey. Then set in a place that’s about 50F if you’ve got one…if not in a nice cool corner… I’m with you, crystallized honey just tastes better….

  38. Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Razak says:

    Very good article

  39. tealrose1 says:

    Wow THANKS !!! You answered so many of my questions about honey. I had Googled re making honey cristalize and … found your blog! I now live in northern Portugal (I am a Brit) and the local honey I buy, that is very dark, and very flavourful ~ deep and dark and unctious ~ just never seems to cristalize. I have had two 2lb jars in the fridge for a few months inn the hopes it would but no! There are some black locust trees in the area but didn’t think there were enough to stop it, but perhaps that is the answer. We can’t buy the commercial honey that is firm here either so I can’t just put a spoon of that in to help it!

    Why do I want it hard when everyone around here thinks runny is ‘the best’ ?? Simply because I hate it running off my toast and sandwiches !!! I can use both can’t I ?? lol!!!

    • I wonder what flower or tree that honey’s from. It sounds wonderful. Our black honeys here are Buckwheat and Chamisa (aka Rabbitbrush) – the latter is a wildflower from the dry side of the Cascades. I’m with you, I like crystallized honey much better than runny honey – the flavors come out more, and, I agree, less messy.

  40. Hannah Elizabeth Schmidt says:

    This website is good younow a lot about honey, crystallized home and bees I am doing a science fair project andt helps me a lot

  41. Shurinee says:

    Hi, I would like to know how to differentiate between real n fake honey? Ppl always says crystallize honey contain sugar. Does honey effect diabetes patients health? Thanks…

    • Hi Shurinee – it can be challenging to tell the difference. I can say real honey tastes better – but it’s all a matter of taste. First though your immediate question: Real honey crystallizes, it’s the natural state honey wants to get to after leaving the happy (to me) 92-100F degree hive. Some honeys crystallize faster than others (it’s the Fructose/Glucose ratio of which I wrote) – but all will get there. Interestingly many people believe that only crystallized honey is real honey. The best tip on what is real: if you’re in a store and the “honey” is cheap, it’s not honey. If you’re buying from a road side stand, look around, is there a bee truck around? is there “bee debris” – boxes, frames, forklift – we never catch up we beekeepers, something’s always seems to be out of place. If you’re buying at a farmers market, ask questions. what makes it all so difficult is that one can feed a bee a lot of things (sugar, corn syrup…) and they will produce something that looks and tastes like honey, but is not honey because the starting sugars were never flower nectar. Best way to buy honey: find a local beekeeper who you can talk to – buy from them. It supports the local beekeeper and ensures that you have honey. Second best (you know I have to say it) buy from me – we only sell real raw honey from naturally treated, antibiotic-free Washington hives.

  42. Chris says:

    Great information, thanks for sharing.

  43. Shivani says:

    I purchase honey from a local bee keeper the taste is good but a bad smell came out of it. Please guide me how to remove the bad smell

    • It may be the natural smell of the honey. Was it a buckwheat, or chamisa, or rabbit brush or other dark honey? The dark honeys have a really robust taste and very “distinctive” smell. They’re wonderful, but really strong. What kind of honey is it?

  44. Debi says:

    Thank you for your artical on crystalized honey. I love my raw organic honey to be crystallized. I have a 1/2 gal jar but it’s not crystalized. So now I can help it thanks to your info. 🙂

  45. 0sarah2 says:

    Thank you for writing! The article is interesting and informative. I wonder if the reason many people prefer the crystallized honey is the higher glucose content. Glucose is the type sugar the body uses for energy and muscle building while fructose is stored as (belly) fat. A quick Google of the differences between sugars is very educational. For those trying to hasten the crystallization process, temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit slows the process. So put the honey in the frig to chill it but take it out when it is cold.

    • Sounds like good advice. I hadn’t heard that crystallized honey is higher in glucose. But I do know that the honey’s that crystallize faster are higher in glucose and the ones that take forever to crystallize are higher in fructose

  46. Judy Tripp says:

    Thank you for your article. I have several jars of honey in the fridge in mason jars (and two plastic bottles of it outside). It has been well over a year and absolutely nothing has crystallized. What is going on? This is cheap honey (mostly Kirkland, CostCo’s contribution). But, also some Vitacost organic raw and unfiltered honey. This has never happened before! Unfortunately I don’t have any crystallized honey to add to any of the containers. But, I do have some Eco Bee Farms raw honey (which I use while waiting for the others). Would it help to add a bit of that? It’s certainly not crystallized, just firm. Thank you for your help! Your website is great.

    • I think that adding some of EcoBee’s honey would help (about 1/10th in comparison to the amount of honey you’re putting EcoBees into (His honey takes a long time to crystallize too). That’s the thing: some honeys do take over a year to crystalize. It depends on the floral source (trees and plants that hold their flowers or seeds into the snow seem to have this tendency, I’ve noticed). So the question is: what’s the floral source. The High Plains Honey we get from John (aka Kraus Honey Co) takes a year. My Farm and Field wants to crystalize relatively quickly (it’s the berries). If floral sources are the same, the glass jars will take longer to crystalize than plastic (plastic is porus, water moves trough, the more molecules of water the faster it will crystalize). That being said, you could replace your jar covers with cheese cloth so air/water will enter…that could make it crystalize faster. Hope that makes sense. Thank you for your kind words.

      • Judy Tripp says:

        Thank you so much; this is very helpful. I had actually just thought to add a tiny amount of the EcoBee honey to one of my jars — my EcoBee honey is never crystallized but it is solid so perfect for spreading on bagels and English muffins which is what I use honey for. So I don’t know if it will help but I will keep trying! The problem with plastic bottles is the narrow top; if it ever does crystallize then you have to melt it again to get at it! So I always move honey into mason jars. Thanks again for your response and help.

  47. Adil Shah says:

    Hi Dear I have started honey business and I am new, I purchase raw honey and then pack in different jars for customers. My procedure is that i first heat honey to make it runny and then pour it in jars, but in our region weather is cold and honey becomes crystallized while our customers does not like crysatallized honey. they are not aware of that crystallization is a natural process. Plz help me in this what technique i use to prevent honey from crystallization? and plz also give me some new ideas about this business.

    • Are you putting it in glass jars? That will help a lot. Plastic is porous, and water molecules will go though the sides, then enter the honey, and that makes it crystalize faster. I do glass jars with Plastisol lids (they seal supposedly air tight), other beekeepers use canning jar lids – same reason. No matter what you do the honey will crystallize over time (some sooner than others)… I’ve some, like Buckwheat that will crystallize the moment you look at it in a warm house. Others take almost a year to crystallize. It’s that glucose-to-fructose ratio thing. If you’ve got some that crystallize quickly (in sealed glass jars), keep them in a warm room or box (hive temperature), that should hold them runny longer between markets/deliveries. If you’re doing farmers markets I think you’ll find that it will soon be known you have crystallized honey and people will come to you looking for it…so keep some on the table…Hope that helps. New ideas: I don’t really know, depends on where you’re selling and who your customer base is (farmers markets? wholesale?) The best I can say is you’ll soon get a fast explaination down about crystalization – mine usually ends with: some people, like me, prefer crystallized honey: I think it tastes better – the flavors come out more, you do anything with crystallized that you can do with runny, and it won’t drip on the floor. All of which are true – I way prefer crystallized over runny honey. Hope some of that helps.

  48. Alma Grace Bayong says:

    Hi. Is it possible for some varieties of raw honey not to actually crystallize like depending on the flowers they are sipping?

    • They will all crystallize in time, but that time can be a year (I’ve never had one stay runny more than a year). You’re right, it depends on the flowers. Honey is usually a combination of glucose and fructose (about 70% of the sugars in the honey, usually), the remaining 30% are an array of other sugars. The more fructose in the nectar the longer it will take for that honey to crystallize, and it will crystallize chunky. The more glucose in the nectar, the faster the honey will crystallize, but it will crystallize smooth. I’ve not done the research, but in my honeys it seems that trees and plants that hold their flowers and/or fruit in the snow seem to take longer to crystallize – my guess is that if those plants nectars froze, the plant would die, so they’ve evolved to have more fructose – but that’s a guess (big leaf maple, tupelo are tree examples, fireweed and snowberry flowers/berries in the snow examples)

      • Alma Grace Bayong says:

        Hey thanks for responding. The floral source from where I am getting my supply are orchids and coffee. How long do you think will it crystallize? 🙂

  49. pone1 says:

    If we heat up the honey and let the water evaporate from it, won’t that immediately crystalize when it cools?

    • I don’t think so, but I’ve never tried it. I think the water helps it crystallize – more places for the honey to hang a crystal on. If you want it to crystallize, treat it like you would make creamed honey…if it crystallizes easily, just stir it up, put it in a container (plastic works faster), and put the container in a place that’s about 50F. If it’s a honey that takes a long time to crystalize, add a bit of fast crystallizing honey when you stir. But give the heat thing a try, and do let me know what happens.

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