How to Liquefy Crystallized Honey and Best Way to Store It

It’s discouraging when you reach for the honey, only to discover it is no longer a smooth liquid, but all grainy—like sugar! You may have even tossed it into the trash assuming that it’s gone bad, no longer edible. Truth be told, it is still perfectly delicious and nutritious. It’s easy to turn crystallized honey back into its liquid self.

How to Liquefy Crystallized Honey

First, if your crystallized honey is in a plastic container, transfer all or as much as you want to liquefy to a glass container with a lid. Apply the lid.

There are three ways to de-crystallize honey:

  • stovetop
  • slow cooker
  • sous vide

1. Stovetop Method

Set a pan of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Turn off the burner and allow the water to cool for about 5 minutes, or until it is below 160°F. Set the honey in the water. Cover the pan. Check after an hour or so, stirring the honey as needed.

2. Slow Cooker Method

Set the covered honey into the slow cooker. Add enough water to cover the honey container half way. Cover the slow cooker and set to Low. After 30 mins or so, check the water temperature to make sure it is not above 160°F. If it is, add a little cold water. If not, allow to continue until the honey is liquid.

3. Sous Vide

If you have a sous vide cooker, set it up placing the closed honey container in the water, which is not deep enough to completely cover the closed honey container and setting sous vide to 140°F. Allow to cook for several hours, as needed to achieve liquid honey.

Crystallized honey liquefied using the sous vide method

Crystallized honey liquefied using the sous vide method. Find that cute honey dispenser HERE.


What is the best way to store honey?

The best advice is to store honey in the original container the honey came in, though any glass jar or food-safe plastic container will work. Avoid storing honey in metal because it can oxidize.

It is not necessary to refrigerate honey. In fact, it’s much easier to handle if you don’t because the cooler temperature will cause the honey to solidify. This makes it difficult to use when you need it and you will have to warm it up to get it back to a liquid state.

Normal room temperature is ideal where it will not be subject to getting moisture inside. If your house tends to get warm, find the coolest spot in the pantry for your honey. Keep it away from the stove and other heat-producing appliances as well as sunlight.

Why does honey crystallize or become “sugared?”

The answer is temperature. When the temperature where the honey is stored drops below 50°F (10°C), crystals develops. That process starts at 57°F but becomes visible below 50°F. The longer it remains below 50°F, the more crystals will form until it is mostly solid. Cloudy or crystallized honey is nothing to be seriously worried about. Is crystallized honey edible?

Absolutely, yes! In fact, some people prefer their honey in a more solid, spreadable state. The flavor is the same whether liquid or crystallized.

At what temperature does heat destroy the health benefits of honey for humans?

According to apiculturist  John Skinner, Univ. of Tennesee, honey should not be heated rapidly, over direct heat. Basically, the hotter you heat it, the more potential for reducing nutritional value. Excessive heat can have detrimental effects on the nutritional value of honey. Heating up to 37°C (98.6° F) causes loss of nearly 200 components, part of which are antibacterial. Heating up to 40°C (104° F) destroys invertase, an important enzyme. Heating up to 50°C (122 F) for more than 48 hrs. turns the honey into caramel (the most valuable honey sugars become analogous to sugar). Heating honey higher than 140° F for more than 2 hours or higher than 160°Fwill cause rapid degradation.

Can I freeze honey?

Yes, but why would you? There is really no need.

Can I de-crystallize honey in the microwave?

No. That’s because it is too difficult to monitor and measure the temperature of the de-crystallizing process using a microwave oven. It is not a reliable method because it gets too hot too quickly. Your results will be, at best, sketchy. At most? You will have destroyed the honey’s benefits and changed its flavor. Been there, done that, will not repeat.


Fascinating Facts About Honey

Honey is life-sustaining

Honey is the only food source that contains everything to sustain human life. It contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that we need, even water.

Honey is medicinal

Honey is good to treat diaper rashes, stomach ulcers, burns, seasonal allergies (although the honey you are taking must be from the same area that you live to be useful in this way). Honey has long been known to help relieve sore throats when mixed with lemon juice.

Honey comes in different flavors and colors

The flowers the bees have gathered pollen will decide the flavor of your honey. Honey made from pollen gathered from clover will taste different from honey made with the pollen of wildflowers. It will also affect its color.

Honey never spoils

You never have to throw honey out—even it has become crystallized. Honey was found in King Tut’s tomb that was still good to eat.

Honey is effective against acne

Organic honey can be effective against acne—and a lot cheaper than those high-priced drugstore cleansers and creams. Spoon some honey into your hands, hold a few seconds to get it nice and warm, and coat the problem area. Wait at least five minutes, and rinse with a soft, warm washcloth. In no time, you are likely to see the difference.

Honey is good for your skin

Plagued by dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles? Apply honey to your dry wrinkled skin, leave on for 30 minutes and gently wash away with warm water. Honey may soon become your best friend

Honey is soothing

If you suffer from anxiety, nervousness, or the inability to get a good night’s sleep, try honey. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey to a mug of hot water. Stir, enjoy!

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13 replies
  1. Teri says:

    Hi Mary! So glad to see an article about the health benefits of honey. We purchase ours from our neighbor who is a beekeeper, so the bees are local which adds to the health benefit. We should always try to enjoy local honey 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      I just stick that plastic honey bear right on the top rack. Make sure it’s tightly closed. I’ve never had a problem with the plastic melting (I have in the microwave though, I don’t do that anymore).

      • Mary Hunt says:

        Do you know at what temperature your dishwasher is heating that bear? High temp will melt the honey, but also degrade and destroy its nutrients. Just something to think about.

  2. Liz Phillips says:

    Upon opening a new jar of honey, I pour it into a glass, smooth-sided jar with its lid. If it crystalizes, I open the jar and place it in the microwave on low, for just a few seconds, watching it so I can take it out just as soon as the crystals dissolve. I save these glass jars just for this purpose. So much honey comes packaged in plastic jars shaped as bears, etc., and it’s almost impossible to get all the honey out after opening, so pouring it into a jar with smooth sides solves that problem,

    • Mary Hunt says:

      I would caution you on this method, Liz. It may appear to be “melting” but at what temperature? You may be inadvertently destroying and degrading the health benefits (vitamins minerals antioxidants). If you don’ care about that, and are paying attention only to taste, that’s fine. Just know that the microwave option is not at all recommended.

  3. Anne Widmann says:

    I set the container of honey in a small saucepan of water and put it on the heating plate of my coffee maker and leave it on until melted, works every time.

  4. Laura says:

    Thanks for all the helpful hints! Just curious about the “honey is soothing” hint…right before that it was stated that heating honey ruins any healthful benefits, so what good, other than taste, does adding it to hot water do? What about generations of tea lovers who add honey to their tea thinking it had health benefits? How does that work if you can’t heat it?

    • Mary Hunt says:

      “Hot” has a big range of temperatures. Hot tap water is generally 120 F., which is below the temperature that honey’s healthful properties would degrade.

  5. Anne says:

    You have missed a perfect, no mess way to liquify crystalized honey. Place the sealed container in the top rack of your dishwasher when running a load of dirty dishes. You don’t even have to use the heated dry cycle. When the cycle is complete, your jar of honey will no longer be crystallized. I’ve used this method many times, without fail.

  6. LouAnne Lynn says:

    Thanks for the info about honey! My brother just started to raise bees and said he should get about 68 lbs of honey, he will give it all away. I was wondering what I could do with all that honey, now I know. Thanks again.


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