Powdered Honey Is The Versatile Ingredient Missing From Your Pantry

Honey is a staple in many households, but its lesser known relative, honey powder, may be just what your spice rack is missing. Powdered honey is exactly what it sounds like: honey in powdered form. It is made by dehydrating liquid honey until no moisture remains and then grinding the crystalized honey into a fine powder.

Honey powder has the same flavor as liquid honey, but is arguably more versatile because of its dry nature. Regular honey, on the other hand, can be sticky, hard to measure, and tricky to incorporate with other ingredients.

While powdered honey is relatively new to the United States, it is a popular ingredient in Korean cooking and often used as a substitute for sugar. Anything honey-flavored tends to be very popular in South Korea—just look at the honey butter chip craze that swept the country a few years ago. "Honey was reserved for royals or the higher class [during the Joseon Dynasty, 1392 to 1910], and the theory of exclusivity and class may have tied it to its importance in Korea," according to chef David Kang in Saveur. If you can't find honey powder at your local grocery store, you may be able to find it at an Asian market or a spice shop. It is also available to order from several online retailers.

The benefits of powdered honey

You can think of powdered honey as honey without the hassle. When cooking with liquid honey, the texture can get in the way of the process. For example, if you are seasoning a salmon filet with honey and a spice rub, the stickiness of the honey can cause the dry spices to clump up unevenly. Or, if you are measuring out a tablespoon of honey, you will likely end up with half of the honey stubbornly clinging to the spoon. 

"Real honey can make ingredients all gooey," chef and television personality Stephanie Izard told Food Republic, adding, "The great part about honey powder is that it dissolves nicely and evenly, and it adds the flavor of honey without the texture."

The dehydrated form of honey powder is easy to measure, handle, and incorporate into a variety of recipes, making it extremely useful. In addition to its adaptability, honey powder is packed with vitamins and minerals and has a lower glycemic index than sugar, making it a slightly healthier sweetening alternative. Compared to other sugar alternatives, honey powder also has a more natural, herbal flavor than many artificial sweeteners.

Using and storing honey powder

With its versatility being one its main benefits, honey powder can be used in a variety of recipes, including entrees, desserts, drinks, and more. Consider mixing it in with dry rubs; adding it to cakes, breads, or pastries in place of sugar; tossing it with seeds and nuts before roasting; sprinkling it on top of cereal or oatmeal; or adding to iced tea or lemonade. In addition, Stephanie Izard recommends mixing it into yogurt. "We use it stirred in our yogurt, so that you get the flavor of honey without changing it into a goopy texture, and if you eat it fast enough you get a little crunch from the granules," she told Serious Eats.

When it comes to storing honey powder, you should treat it like the rest of your spices and keep it somewhere cool, dry, and dark, since sunlight, moisture, and heat can cause powdered spices to get clumpy and go bad faster. Dark pantries and spice drawers are good ideas, especially if they are located away from the heat of an oven or dishwasher.

Powdered honey does have a very long shelf life and can stay good for several years—or even decades—with proper storage. In general, it will last much longer than liquid honey, which can become opaque and grainy over time. Considering the many uses of honey powder, however, you will likely use up a jar years before it nears its expiration date.