Reviewed by Leslie Bertsch
Department of Nutrition and Health

One pound of honey is about 1-1/3 cups. A 3-pound container holds about 4 cups honey.

Using honey

Honey can be used in many ways. It makes a good spread for breads, muffins and biscuits and a tasty sandwich filling when mixed with dried fruits, peanut butter or cottage cheese. Honey can be used as a sweetener for fruits and beverages. It also can be used in any food that is sweetened, including frozen desserts, baked products, meat glazes, custards, frostings, pie fillings, cobblers, puddings, candied vegetables and salad dressings.

Some recipes use honey as the main sweetener; others use sugar. Honey can be used to replace some of the sugar called for in many recipes. Use these guidelines for cakes and cookies.

Tips for substituting honey for sugar in baked goods:

  • For every 1 cup of sugar, substitute 1/2 to 2/3 cup honey. Honey is sweeter than granulated or brown sugar. So you may not need as much honey to get the same level of sweetness in the baked good.
  • For every 1 cup of honey you are using in the recipe, reduce the other liquids by 1/4 cup. Honey does contain water so you will need to reduce the amount of other liquid in your recipe accordingly.
  • Add 1/4 tsp baking soda for every 1 cup of honey used. The additional baking soda will help to balance out the acidity in the final product and improve the leavening.
  • Lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees F. Because honey is sweeter than regular sugar it does burn faster. So keep a close eye on baked goods using honey to be sure they don't burn. .

Storing honey

Honey keeps best in a dry place at a cool temperature between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep it in a tightly covered container so it does not absorb moisture or odors from the air.

Honey will start to form crystals as it gets older or if it is refrigerated. To make it liquid again, place the honey in an open container in a pan of warm water until it is clear. Do not have the honey in a plastic container when you set it in the warm water.

Health and honey

Honey provides energy to the body. The amounts of nutrients in honey, however, are small when the number of calories in honey are considered.

Honey cannot be used as a substitute for cane or beet sugar in a sugar-restricted diet. Honey is composed of the same basic parts as regular sugar, and the body uses it in the same way.

Honey and products made with honey must not be fed to infants younger than one year, because honey can cause "infant botulism." Spores of the bacteria that cause botulism are present in honey. When these spores get into the intestinal tract of an infant, they grow and produce a toxin that results in serious illness and death. Remember that these spores in honey are not destroyed by regular cooking or baking methods.

Honey bee ambrosia

  • 4 medium oranges
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut

Pare oranges, cut crosswise into thin slices and place in serving bowl. Peel bananas and cut thin slices into the bowl with the oranges. Toss fruits. Blend orange juice and honey and pour over fruits. Sprinkle with coconut.

German-style red cabbage

  • 1 large red cabbage (about 3-3/4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tart green apple pared, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1/3 cup honey

Cut cabbage in wedges and remove core. Chop cabbage into bite-size pieces. Melt butter in large Dutch oven or saucepan. Add onion and garlic and sauté. Add cabbage and stir-fry about 5 minutes. Add apple slices, vinegar, water, caraway seeds and honey. Stir gently to mix well. Cover and cook over very low heat 1 to 1-1/4 hours.

Makes 8 servings.

Honey raisin bran bars

  • 1/2 cup flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup nutmeats, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole bran cereal
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup honey, slightly warm

Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Combine with raisins, nutmeats and whole bran cereal. Beat eggs until very thick. Then beat in honey, a small amount at a time. Add flour mixture and beat well. Spread batter about 1/2-inch thick in greased 9- by 9- by 2-inch pan. Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees Fahrenheit) about 25 minutes. Cut into bars while warm and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Makes 18 bars.

Oven-fried chicken with honey-butter sauce

  • 1 tender chicken, cut up for frying
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 cup (1/4 pound) butter

Dip chicken pieces into mixture of flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Melt butter in a shallow baking pan in a hot oven (400 degrees Fahrenheit). Remove baking pan from oven. As pieces of floured chicken are placed in pan, turn to coat with butter, then bake skin side down in a single layer. Bake in a hot oven (400 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes. Turn chicken. Pour honey butter sauce over chicken. If chicken cannot be served at once, reduce oven heat and brush chicken again with the sauce.

Honey butter sauce

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add honey and lemon juice. Stir. Glaze chicken after it has baked for 30 minutes. (Recipe above).

Honey butter

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange or lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon grated citrus peel (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Blend softened butter with honey. Refrigerate and use as desired. For variation, add the fresh orange or lemon juice and the grated citrus peel, or add the cinnamon to make cinnamon honey butter.

Rice pudding

  • 2 cups cooked rice (2/3 cup dry = 2 cups cooked)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup chopped raisins (optional)

Mix rice, milk and honey. Add the eggs. Stir in the chopped raisins. Bake in a well-greased baking dish at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1 hour.

Makes 8 servings.

Originial authors: Karla Vollmar Hughes and Barbara J. Willenberg
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Publication No. GH1120