The How-to Guide on Softening Hard Honey

The How-to Guide on Softening Hard Honey

Executive Summary:

  • Raw Manuka honey can harden or crystallize over time, indicating that it's unprocessed and retains its natural properties.
  • Honey hardens because it is rich in enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. Commercial honey is often heat-treated to prevent this natural process and maintain uniformity.
  • Manukora, a producer of Manuka honey, believes in ethical beekeeping and avoids pasteurization, resulting in honey that may need de-crystallization.
  • The best way to store honey is at room temperature (around 68°F). Avoiding direct sunlight and refrigeration helps maintain its nutrients.
  • To soften hardened honey, you can give it a hot water bath. Heat water (around 130 to 140°F), place the honey jar in it, let it sit for a few minutes, and stir.
  • Don't use boiling water to soften honey, as the high temperature can lead to the loss of beneficial nutrients.
  • If your honey is too runny, it can be thickened by placing it in the fridge overnight.
  • After the honey is softened, it can be enjoyed in various ways, such as stirring it into tea, drizzling it on top of a dessert, or straight from the spoon.


How To Soften Honey That Has Hardened

If you’re used to honey that maintains its original molten, sticky consistency despite it sitting untouched on your shelf for months, chances are your honey isn’t raw. Unlike most store-bought honey, raw Manuka honey isn’t processed; with no additives, preservatives, or pasteurization process, raw Manuka honey may harden (or crystalize).

Hardened or crystalized honey isn’t a bad thing; in fact, it’s the contrary. Your Manuka honey crystalizing is a surefire sign from Mother Nature that you’ve purchased authentically raw, unprocessed honey. 

Hardened honey is nothing to worry about, but it can make getting your morning spoonful just a bit more challenging. Since we’re sure you’re buzzing to get into your Manuka honey jar, let’s dig into the best way to soften your hard honey (along with some delicious ways to enjoy it once its back to its creamy, rich texture).


Why Does Honey Harden? 

Never experienced hardened honey before? Don’t be alarmed; hardened raw honey is completely normal (and natural). Before overly processed honey became the norm at the grocery store, all liquid honey would eventually crystallize. 

While it may seem odd for your bottle of honey to harden, it’s your honey's way of showing you it's still rich with those precious enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that make it the natural product you know and love. 

Most commercially produced honey goes through a rapid heating and cooling process to prevent the crystallization process (hardening) and accomplish a uniform color and consistency. 

Everyone has a different approach to beekeeping and honey harvesting, but at Manukora, we believe in The Art of Ethical Beekeeping, which eliminates the need for pasteurization.

In practicing ethical beekeeping, our bees make their honey on their own time, meaning we don’t prematurely remove the honey from the hives before it’s been wax-capped and fully dehydrated. 

With this, the honey is in its final form by harvest, and heating honey isn’t necessary. Without the heating process, you may have to de-crystallize honey after it’s sat for a while, but we promise the benefits of raw Manuka honey are so, so worth it.


How Do I Soften Hardened Honey? 

The first thing you can do is get ahead of the game and know how to store honey in its optimal condition. There is no need to refrigerate your honey after opening — it’ll be perfectly safe in your pantry. 

The optimal temperature to store your Manuka honey is 68 degrees Fahrenheit (right at the lower end of room temperature).

Keeping your honey in the pantry will ensure it doesn’t get too cold and also that it doesn’t heat up from being exposed to direct sunlight. Similar to how filtered honey can lose its nutrient potency from the heating process, prolonged direct sunlight can similarly affect your Manuka honey. As a result, we lose important nutrients in honey that support optimal wellness.

Luckily, softening (or de-crystallizing) your honey is simple, easy, and just a few steps away. Here are a few different approaches.

Do: Give your honey a hot water bath.

The quickest and easiest method is to heat a medium bowl of water in the microwave. Heat the water to a temperature that is warm to the touch but not hot enough that you’d pull your fingers away (about 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit). Next, place the entire jar of honey into the warm water bath. Allow the honey to sit in the warm water for a minute or two and stir. 

Your Manuka should return to its thick, creamy consistency in just a few moments — give it a taste; chances are you won’t be disappointed. 

Don’t: Put your honey in boiling water.

Some sites may recommend putting your jar of honey into a pot of boiling water. The main reason we don’t recommend this is because water boils at 212°F — honey pasteurizes at 160°F. A jar isn’t enough to protect your raw honey from losing some of its beneficial nutrients due to heat. 

If you’re not keen on giving the honey a bath or if you don’t have a microwave readily available, you can opt to run the container of honey under hot sink water instead.


What If the Honey Is Too Runny?

Similar to how your honey can harden, the consistency can also change, making it too runny. When enjoying this healthy indulgence, you want its texture to match its delicious flavor. 

When it comes to raw honey, runniness is seldom an issue unless it’s stored in an overly warm environment. Usually, runny honey is only an issue with honey that has been heat-treated and removed from the hives too early, which Manukora honey is not. 

However, that’s not to say something is wrong if your Manuka honey is a little runny. You can expect raw honey to harden in the cooler months and become more watery in the warm ones. 

Ultimately, you can expect Manukora Manuka honey to be dark, thick, and creamy — like no other honey you’ve ever experienced. 

If your Manuka honey is still too runny, place it in the fridge overnight. The average commercial honey will embody a more liquid-like consistency, whereas Manuka will be much thicker after this nightly getaway.  


Time to Indulge: Enjoying Your Perfectly Softened Honey

Now that your Manuka honey is the perfect velvety thickness, all that’s left to do is indulge. You can enjoy your Manuka honey stirred into some tea (but not too hot!), drizzled on top of your favorite dessert, or straight from a spoon on an empty stomach; your body will thank you for the tons of beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and minerals either way!

To fully appreciate the delightful experience of Manuka honey, you might want to consider the convenient MGO 850 10-Pack Stick Packets, ideal for those on-the-go moments.

Diverse in its uses, from sweetening your morning tea to enhancing your favorite desserts, Manuka honey, available in various selections at Manukora's Manuka Honey collection, is a versatile ingredient in any kitchen. For those who have already fallen in love with its unique flavor, the Manuka Honey MGO 200 offers a delightful taste.

To ensure you're getting the best from your honey, learn about proper storage techniques at How to Store Honey. For insights into the world of Manukora, explore the conversations with its founder in September Sweet Talks and June Sweet Talks. Lastly, don't miss out on understanding the Benefits of Honey and Lemon, which can add a refreshing twist to your honey enjoyment.

Looking to learn more about all things Manuka honey? Click here to explore the Manukora blog.

Ready to experience the rich creamy indulgence of Manuka honey for yourself? Explore Manukora’s raw Manuka honey here



How can I soften honey that has crystallized?

The most effective way to soften crystallized honey is to give it a warm water bath. Heat water in a medium bowl to around 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit, then place the entire jar of honey into the warm water bath. Stir occasionally, and your honey should return to its creamy consistency in just a few minutes.

Is it possible to soften honey in a bottle?

Yes, the same method of a warm water bath can be used to soften honey in a bottle. However, it's important to be careful not to use boiling water as it may affect the beneficial nutrients in the honey.

Can I microwave honey to soften it? 

While it's technically possible to use a microwave to soften honey, it's not recommended. High heat can destroy some of the honey's nutrients.  Instead, a gentle, warm water bath is a safer option to avoid overheating.



The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life | SmithsonianMag

Effect of honey in the gut microbial balance | Food Quality and Safety | Oxford Academic

Why does honey crystallize? | Scienceline

Pasteurization | Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

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