Sweet, Delicious, & Full of Texture: Cooking With Honey


Though honey and sugar are comparable in calories per unit, honey tends to have a deeper sweetness and a greater amount of texture. The floral and mildly aromatic taste notes it bears make it a perfect sweetening agent that brings something extra to the table. Honey also contains antioxidants such as flavonoids, it has been used as an antibacterial agent and also has known wound-healing properties. Cooking with honey can bring about an enjoyable taste, and is capable of blending a variety of tastes when added to the food you cook. 

Using honey instead of table sugar

Using honey instead of table sugar is a different take on cooking due to its sugar profile. Honey contains fructose & glucose in major quantities, and sucrose & maltose in trace amounts. Based on the type of bees that collected the nectar and the type of flower it has been sourced from, honey can be of varied tastes and textures. Cooking with honey isn’t merely using it as a sugar substitute, but involves several recipes and processes that can enhance the taste and body of the dishes you’re cooking. Read on for interesting uses of cooking honey and incorporating honey in baking.

Coated & Crispy Meat Roasts 

Honey added to meat before it’s roasted can give the meat a crispy and caramelized texture. You can coat chicken with a generous amount of honey before you load it up into the oven. Following this, basting the chicken in a honey-based sauce will improve the juiciness of the meat and also bring about a delectably sweet taste. Cooking with honey can also be applied to seafood where a coat of honey placed on the skin followed by a sear that gives rise to a crispy and delicious crust. Meats can also be glazed while being smoked or roasted, and using combinations of honey & lime juice or honey & soy sauce bring about exciting flavors to the palate. 

Bake With Honey

Honey is a great substitute for table sugar due to the deep sweetness it can bring to dishes. You can add honey to bread dough before baking to bring about a naturally sweet taste in the loaves. While adding honey to the dough, you can substitute about 3/4th of a cup of honey for every cup of sugar you use. Honey in baking can also be placed as a glaze on the dough before being baked. The layer then caramelizes and adds more texture and a delightful twist to the bread. To make sure you have the best-honeyed bread on display, equip yourself with the best bakery equipment and enjoy assured customer satisfaction.

Prepare Infused Honey

To make things with honey with a dash of rich aromatic elements, you can create infused honey in your commercial kitchen. The flavors from your favorite spices and herbs can be incorporated into honey using two techniques - fast/hot infusion or slow/cold infusion. While the first technique is faster, it involves heating the honey with spices and herbs, however, this method isn’t as beneficial as the latter method since heating honey makes it lose some of its beneficial properties. The cold-infusion technique involves placing dried herbs and spices in a jar followed by pouring honey. The jar can be placed under sunlight from time to time with regular stirring and requires a minimum rest period of at least two to four weeks. The longer it rests, the more intense the flavors will be. 

Honey-based Salad Dressing 

cooking with honey instead of sugar

Honey pairs perfectly with several varieties of fresh fruit and vegetables. You can prepare a simple salad dressing when cooking with honey. Combining honey with apple cider vinegar and olive oil results in a delicious salad dressing that can be drizzled over just about any salad. The dressing brings about a rich flavor of all its components. Both savory and sweet parts of the salad come together to enrich your experience with each bite. Another delicious honey dressing involves combining the saccharine syrup with lime juice to enhance both sweet and sour taste profiles. 

A Different Take On Fruit

If you’re interested in trying something new, you can serve honey and ricotta cheese, or goat cheese with grilled fruit. You can grill the fruit on the cut side over high heat for a few minutes followed by a healthy drizzle of fresh honey on the grilled fruit, served with a large helping of either ricotta or goat cheese. The cheese’s muted flavors bind perfectly well with honey’s deep sweet notes, and the two ingredients can also be paired together in other dishes such as salad. Other than ricotta and goat cheese, soft cheeses are also known to pair really well with honey and bring about a different, yet delightful experience to the palate. 

Make Delicious Honey Butter

A different take on compound butter - you can prepare delicious honey butter when you’re looking to include honey in baking or when cooking with honey. You require about one-fourth cup of honey for every pound of butter you intend on sweetening. Whisking the butter with honey, a simple spice such as cinnamon powder, and a small amount of vanilla extract can bring about a rich taste in your compound butter. Store this compound butter using quality refrigeration equipment to ensure even and uniform solidification for future use. This butter can be used for a variety of purposes such as an accompaniment to several bread types, as a coating for fresh corn, and in nearly anything you would like to add butter to. 

Coated & Glazed Vegetables

Roasting vegetables and glazing them with a rich coat of honey results in a delicious treat that can make just about any vegetable interesting. Whether it’s carrots, potatoes, or chilies, roasting them in butter followed by a drizzle of honey can leave behind a rich glaze and crust. You can also add some water to give the honey more body when cooking it, and to help the syrupy texture spread more evenly throughout all surfaces of the roasted vegetables. 

Make Ice Cream Interesting

To add a simple yet interesting topping to ice cream, you can boil some balsamic vinegar along with honey until half of the volume has reduced. The result is a rich caramelized sauce that blends a variety of floral, woody, and molasses flavors and delivers a hint of subtle yet noticeable smokiness. When drizzled over vanilla ice cream, the results are truly exciting and can make the rather plain flavors of your scoop far more interesting. 

Cooking with honey isn’t new by any measure, however, this gift of nature is often overlooked and has become a forgotten component in the pantry.  Honey is easily accessible and can bring a great deal of rich yet balanced sweetness to each dish it is incorporated in. It not only serves as a delicious alternative to table sugar and its variants, but also has a unique taste and aroma profile that sets it apart from all other sweeteners. 

Posted by Damon Shrauner on