Throughout history, we have risked life and limb to climb trees, surrounded by thousands of winged needles with nothing but a smoldering stick, to taste golden honey: that sugary nectar of hardworking bees that
takes on the flavor of the flowers and plants that interact with it. While many applications of honey can be satisfied with basic clover honey, it can be fun and worthwhile to hunt down fancy, single-origin honey to use on toast or in tea.
Whether lending floral sweetness to ice cream and cakes, or brightening rich savory dishes like Moroccan braised lamb or herb-glazed salmon, honey is brilliantly versatile. But let’s not forget: we’re not the only ones who benefit from honey and honeybees. The honeybee, who pollinates a whopping
$15 billion worth of American crops, is on a rapid decline and scientists are searching for other pollinators, such as the non-honey–producing mason bee, to help an endangered agro-industry.
From Korean rice cakes to roasted apples, here are our 39 best sweet and savory honey recipes to make today.
Normans use apples and cider in many savory preparations—with game, poultry, even fish. In this classic pork dish from Jean-François Guillouet-Huard, of Domaine Michel Huard, it’s important to use a slightly tart variety so the end result isn’t too sweet.
Get the recipe for Honey Glazed Roast Pork with Apples »
Created by New York bartender Sam Ross in 2005, this heady concoction of scotch, honey-ginger syrup, and fresh lemon juice is something of a cure-all—hence the name. Like a deliciously smoky, chilled version of a toddy, the drink first delivers an assertive whiff of peat and brine—thanks to a floater of Islay scotch—that gradually gives way to something altogether more subtle and sweet.
Get the recipe for Penicillin Cocktail »
Korean rice cakes, known as
songpyeon, are half moon-shaped dumplings that are stuffed with fillings like sweet potatoes, chestnuts, red beans, or nuts, and then steamed and served with honey. Get the recipe for Korean Rice Cake »
A thick honey vinaigrette pairs with pleasingly bitter endives that are steamed, grilled, and marinated in this recipe from Castle Hill Inn in Newport, Rhode Island.
Get the recipe for Endive Salad with Bee Pollen Vinaigrette »
This over-the-top architectural dessert (also known as brick toast) is popular in tea shops and casual restaurants in Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore. The dish is meant to be shared with a friend (or three) and the more color, texture, and height the better, so don’t skimp on the garnishes. Cookies, seasonal fruit, and candy are typical ingredients, but sprinkles, nuts, and flavored syrups are not unheard of.
Get the recipe for Shibuya Honey Toast »
miel de lavande, the honey from Provence produced by bees that feed primarily on lavender blossoms, imparts a creamy texture and distinctive flavor and scent to a simple ice cream. Get the recipe for Lavender Honey Ice Cream »
Chef Chris Fischer fell in love with the simple, robust marinades common to many Japanese dishes after traveling to Japan for work. Here he marinates fluke steaks—have your butcher cut them for you, or substitute flounder or sea bass steaks—in a sticky mixture of soy sauce, mirin, and honey.
Get the recipe for Soy-and-Honey-Glazed Fluke Steaks »
Cinnamon and Honey Scotch Sour
Ice cream so easy you don’t even need to cook it.
Get the recipe for Mascarpone Ice Cream with Apricots, Raspberries, and Honey Granola »
Deep-fried and then drenched in a honey syrup,
yak kwa are a traditional Korean sweet flavored with sesame oil and fresh ginger juice. Get the recipe for Ginger Cookies Dipped in Honey (Yak Kwa) »
Sweet apples are roasted until caramelized in honey and butter, then marinated in their cooking juices along with Calvados and sesame for a simple but surprisingly complex quick weeknight dessert.
Get the recipe for Honey-Roasted Apples with Sesame and Calvados »
These are dream cookies…literally. They came to me in a dream in Paris, the city of sweets. The base is a French shortbread, or sablé, flavored with honey and loose tea. If you have 2-inch baking rings, you can make the cookies in the rings on lined baking sheets instead of using muffin tins. Build the cookies inside the rings, bake, then leave the rings in place for at least 20 minutes before lifting them off, rinsing and reusing.
Get the recipe for Honey-and-Tea Jammers »
Grilling adds smokiness to summer squash, a flavor that chef Steven Satterfield of Atlanta’s
Miller Union balances with bright ingredients like vinegar, chile, and honey. Get the recipe for Grilled Squash and Scallions with Chile-Honey Vinaigrette »
In this salad, a chile-infused honey compliments the spicy radishes and gives the green beans some sweet heat.
Get the recipe for Green Bean and Radish Salad »
Adding baking soda to molten sugar creates bubbles that get trapped once the mixture cools. The hardened result has an airy, honeycomb-like structure. Morgenstern’s of New York City adds honey and instant coffee to its version of this candy, which, when crushed up, becomes a bittersweet, crunchy topping that offsets the sweetness of ice cream.
Get the recipe for Coffee Honeycomb Crunch »
Although spiral-cut ham comes fully cooked, a low, slow roast will heat it through and caramelize its sticky, spiced glaze. At Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro, a ham is glazed with pan drippings, local honey, and fragrant cinnamon and clove for their annual Thanksgiving feast, which they serve to veterans and their families.
Get the recipe for Spiced Honey-Glazed Spiral Ham »
Honey makes a great substitute for brown sugar. A deep, spicy honey like sourwood works best, though you can experiment with different single varietal honeys for extra flavor.
Get the recipe for Honey Chocolate-Chip Cookies »
These succulent grilled peaches are topped with almond flour streusel and drizzled with acacia honey, a sweet, unexpected treat for dessert or brunch.
Get the recipe for Grilled Peaches with Honey-Almond Streusel »
Perfumed with honey and citrus, this spiced cake is a classic at Jewish holiday tables. To make this recipe
pareve for meat meals, replace the butter for greasing the pan with canola oil. This recipe first appeared in our October 2011 issue along with Katie Robbins’s story Season of Rejoicing. Get the Recipe Honey-Spice Cake (Lekach) »
These simple, crunchy cookies are delicious drenched in warm honey.
Get the recipe for Poppy Seed-Honey Cookies (Pirishkes) »
A flavorful batter infused with honey, paprika, and lager beer is the secret to these crunchy onion rings.
Get the recipe for Beer-Battered Onion Rings »
Instead of plain dinner rolls, we like to serve these fluffy biscuits, fragrant with rosemary and thyme.
Get the recipe for Honey and Herb Biscuits »
A dollop of ricotta on earthy-sweet oat bread is delicious; add a drizzle of sourwood honey and it’s elevated to the exquisite. (For a bit of sophisticated heat, top with a sprinkle of freshly-crushed red pepper flakes.)
Lamb shanks are braised for hours in a sumptuous sauce of honey, almonds, and raisins in this centuries-old Moroccan dish served at the restaurant Mansouria.
Get the recipe for Honey-Braised Lamb Shanks »
Sticky-sweet almond pastries drenched in a syrup of honey and orange flower water are typical of the rustic desserts of Tunisia.
Get the recipe for Fried Almond Pastries (Samsa Feuille de Brick) »
An aromatic combination of spices elevate the humble sweet potato oven fry to something truly special.
Get the recipe for Sweet Potato Honey Fries with Curry-Honey Sauce »
Honey adds unique depth as a sweetener for hot cocoa, balanced by a pinch of salt.
Get the recipe for Honeyed Hot Cocoa »
The famous biscuits from the Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston are sweet, buttery, flaky, and pillowy soft.
Get the recipe for Honey Buttermilk Biscuits »
Gruyère, Rosemary, and Honey Monkey Bread
Drizzle this bright, lemony honey over just about anything—we especially love it on yogurt and pancakes.
Get the recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Honey »