Your Step-by-Step Guide: How to Decrystallize Honey

If you keep a bottle of honey for long enough, you will probably notice the honey become cloudy and clumpy over time. This process is called crystallization, and it is especially common among raw honeys that have not been pasteurized or ultra-filtered. In this quick guide, we will explain exactly why honey crystallizes and walk you through a simple process for decrystallizing honey.

spoon full of brightland kauai honey

Why Honey Crystallizes

Honey is made up of two sugar molecules — glucose and fructose. Crystallization occurs when the glucose molecules separate from the rest of the honey and clump together to form little crystals. While this process affects the appearance of the honey, it is completely natural and harmless. Crystallization is more likely with cold temperatures and over time, but easily reversible with heat if needed. (Learn more about how to store raw honey to help prevent crystallization.)

The more pollen that a honey contains, the more it will crystallize. This is because the pollen gives the glucose molecules something to cling to, speeding up the crystallization process. This is part of the reason why so much of the honey on grocery store shelves has been pasteurized and ultra-filtered. These processes remove all the pollen so the honey is less susceptible to crystallizing.

However, pollen is responsible for much of the flavor and health benefits of honey, which is why we chose to carry raw honey that contains a high level of pollen. Furthermore, crystallization is purely a textural change and does not mean that the honey has gone bad. Smooth, syrupy, transparent honey is something we have been trained to expect as consumers, but is not true to what real honey is like. Delicious, nutritious raw honey that has higher levels of pollen will probably crystallize, and that is just a part of the raw honey experience.

Buy a Set of Raw Honey Jars

How to Decrystallize Honey

There is absolutely nothing wrong with crystallized honey. It is completely safe to eat and will still be delicious to boot. However, some people do wish to decrystallize it before they eat it, either because they are not used to the texture, or they need it to be liquid enough to drizzle. Thankfully, decrystallizing honey is very easy and takes just a few minutes.

cheese honey grapes on serving board

The first method is the hot water method. Choose a pot that is deep enough to cover the honey and wide enough to fit the honey jar. Boil some water in the pot directly, or heat it up in a tea kettle first and then pour it into the pot. Place the honey jar in the hot water and keep it submerged until the honey decrystallizes. You may need to stir the honey occasionally or refill the hot water if you have a very large quantity of honey that takes a while to decrystallize.

You can also decrystallize honey in the microwave directly. This works best with honey in glass containers, as the microwave will warp and melt a thin plastic bottle. Transfer the honey to a microwave safe container if it is not already in one. Microwave it in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the honey is completely melted. If you are decrystallizing raw honey, be careful to not let the honey get too hot, as this could damage the pollens. 

Note that honey that has already crystallized will return to its previously crystallized state, even if you temporarily melt it. Thus, you will need to repeat this simple process each time you want to use the honey. You can also use the honey if it is still crystallized. Spreading it on toast and stirring it into hot tea are some fantastic options if you do not want to go to the hassle to decrystallize the honey.

honey drizzle over figs

Ready to try out raw honey? Our raw honey set, The Couplet, comes in sturdy glass jars so that you can warm up the honey to decrystallize the honeys without having to transfer them to new containers. However, our honeys are so delicious that the chances are good you will eat them up long before they have time to crystallize! If you want to learn more about what raw honey is, check out our guide — and do not forget to browse the many other delicious products we offer in the Brightland store!