Crystallized Honey: Why It Happens & Reviving It

We don’t consume a lot of honey in our home so it’s not uncommon to find crystals develop in the jar before we get a chance to use it all. Is it still safe to eat? You bet! Here’s a simple trick that will dissolve those pesky granules along with some information about why the crystallization occurs.

Crystals Will Sometimes Develop In Honey But It's Still Ok To Eat
Crystals Will Sometimes Develop In Honey But It's Still Ok To Eat

First The Fix, Just Add Some Heat!

(heat gently to avoid damaging the honey)

  • Place jar in a pot of warm water, set heat to medium-low and stir until crystals dissolve. You can also place the jar in a pot of hot water and leave it alone until it liquefies (not resting on heated element).
  • Quick Fix: You could also heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir well, allow to cool for 20 seconds then heat again for 30 seconds (if there are still granules needing to be dissolved). Stir again and cool as noted before reheating (if required).

After being melted, the granules will disappear for a time but they will return eventually if the honey hasn’t been consumed quickly enough. Simply repeat the heating process each time.

Does crystallized honey mean it’s expired or is it still safe to eat? Honey doesn’t go bad but a shelf life of two years is a good rule of thumb (since storage conditions can affect taste of honey).

Are the granules edible? Yes, they’ll melt slowly in your mouth and in fact, some people prefer their honey crystallized a bit.

Why does honey become cloudy and grainy in the first place? Here’s a three page document from the National Honey Board Food Technology/Product Research Program [Update: removed since it’s no longer online] it’s loaded with information. A quote:

This natural phenomenon happens when glucose, one of three main sugars in honey, spontaneously precipitates out of the supersaturated honey
solution. The glucose loses water (becoming glucose monohydrate) and takes the form of a crystal (a solid body with a precise and orderly structure). The crystals form a lattice which immobilizes other components of honey in a suspension thus creating the semi-solid state.

Did You Know: Honey can be frozen! If honey isn’t a hot ticket item in your pantry and is only used irregularly, try freezing it in small batches and remove as needed (thaw at room temperature). Freezing will help prevent it from crystallizing.

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    • Kathy

    On a nice sunny day I put honey in a jar outside. The warm sun decrystalizes it.

    • Gary B

    How do you do it without heat? What if you want your crystallized honey to be raw?

      • Ray

      Heat it low, like sous vide. The melting point of crystallized honey is between 40 and 50 °C (104 and 122 °F), depending on its composition. You can even use sous vide methods and equipment, or just gently heat it in a pan of water with a thermometer in there to let you know when it’s getting too hot.

      Protein-type foods are cooked when heat (or some chemical reaction like with ceviche) breaks down molecular bonds, making the protein unfurl from it’s normally compact coiled-up shape and then form an aggregate or network. Honey doesn’t have much of that going on, and if you heat it low and slow, it really isn’t doing anything comparable to cooking. You aren’t harming honey by gently heating it enough to liquefy.

    • C Ross

    You should never microwave honey it changes its chemical make up and it loses almost all of its nutritional value

      • Yolaine D Mogavero

      Thank you for the added info…. great to know !!!

    • Kim Cushman

    You can tell if your honey is real or fake by putting some in a bowl and putting cold water on it, if it’s real honey, you will see a honeycomb pattern 🌺🌹🌼🐝

      • Graeme

      The honeycomb pattern that you see is simply because of the viscosity of the honey. Any viscous liquid will do that. Different viscosities will produce different patterns. That video that you saw stating that only ‘real’ honey does that is a load of BS.

    • Daniel

    Good advice thanks.ill try the crockpot .That seems to be the best way to melt it

    • Hank

    Do not put honey in a microwave unless it’s in a microwave safe item ! I had some in a plastic container and did the microwave thing and it melted the plastic container partly as well !

    • lewis

    I put the plastic bottle of honey in a saucepan of almost boiling water and shake it once in a while, keeping the water almost boiling.

      • Bethel

      Wouldn’t heating honey to melt crystals destroy it’s natural healthy components?

    • Gloria

    Once honey is decrystalized how long will it stay like that? Bought home in little jars for anniversary party Dave. Just took them out of box and all are crystallized? Only been 3 month thank you

    • James Thornton

    Just a personal safety preference but I would not use a microwave on anything, leave alone perfectly perfect raw honey! 🙂

    • kara

    Try Tupelo Honey – a little more expensive – but it doesn’t crystallize.

      • Christina

      If it doesn’t eventually crystalize be forewarned that it isn’t pure honey….it’s got added moisture content that prevents it from happening. Have a family of bee keepers that are very meticulous to what GOOD honey is. Also, to keep honey closest to it’s natual state. Decrystalization can be done in a clean glass jar heated to between 95 to 110 degrees, stirring occasssionally until all crystals are dissolved. Crockpot on warm works great.

        • Elly

        I was actually thinking of doing it in the crockpot. Thank you. QQ – we have 5 or 6 jars from the same hives from last season. Can I put all the honey TOGETHER in the crockpot on low and re-liquify, or can I mix it together after it has been reliquified to maybe help it from recrystallizing? Some jars are more crystallized than others. I need to reliquify to use for a shower this weekend.

        • Mary Jane Steinbrecher

        My honey is in a 5 gal bucket. Only about 1.5 gal honey used. It had crystalized since getting it last fall. It had alrady begun when I got it . It was sitting outsude with a lid on it.
        Its hard to dig out. What can I do?
        Thanks for your crockpot idea. MJ

    • Alyce Townsend

    Love your site Have for years
    Just a couple of tips on HONEY Of course ‘raw honey’ is the best As it has all the good properties in it Contrary to heated processed honey you buy in the store Also some of the honey you buy in a store has corn syrup added Have no idea why they would do that
    Honey will keep for ‘eons’ That has already been proven by archiologists[sp]
    They have found honey in containers in Egyptian tombs and it is just fine
    You really have to watch the heating in a microwave It is extremely easy to kill the good vitamins etc I usually do it in hot water and keep it changed Would have to be careful of not getting to hot on the stove, too
    Sorry for misspelled words
    Hope the ‘tips’ are useful
    Thanks again for such a great site

      • Rob

      In regards to the corn syrup, it’s a cost saving measure – corn syrup is significantly cheaper than honey, and to the average joe you have to adulterate your honey with a LOT of corn syrup before they notice.

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