This easy vegan honey recipe is both bee and refined sugar-free. With 5 simple ingredients, it is an easy way to welcome a healthy and guilt-free sweetener into your kitchen! Although it isn't the real thing, this tasty recipe will remind you of actual honey without the sting.
Vegans and honey
Honey is often overlooked as non-vegan food. People who follow a plant-based or vegan diet may just not have considered honey and how it is produced. For this reason, a vegan alternative may not be top of mind when they ponder vegan foods.
But let's look at honey through the lens of other animal products. How about cow's milk? Both bee's honey and milk are made by animals. Although neither involves eating the animal itself.
Similar rationales apply. Bee's honey production is not for their fun - it's their food, and because humans have developed a taste for it, we 'farm' it.
Honey is the sole food of bees. It supports hives when flowers and plants are not in bloom, and they can't make it. That's when honey bees dive into their food supply that they've diligently stored in their hives.
Honey is made from the nectar that bees create after visiting flowering plants. As they land on various plants and flower heads, bees pollinate them. This helps plants and trees grow, breed, and produce food. If you love fruit, coffee, or wearing cotton, thank a bee.
You may have heard warnings about the decline of the honey bee populations throughout the world in recent years. Bee health and the environmental impact of losing wild bees is an important thing. It deserves our attention because we might not miss honey, but I'd certainly miss coffee!
The topic of honey or other bee products might seem like a controversial topic when you mention it. There's a good chance that you may hear about the health benefits of honey. Like all discussions, it worth listening to both sides and then making your own decision.
And hey, a honey substitute, like all sweet endeavors, is a good thing.
The good news is that the unbreakable habit of reaching for a little bit of honey, strategically placed beside the tea bags, can be easily transformed. We have dozens of vegan honey alternatives, including this recipe.
All you need to make amazing honey are 5-ingredients (as promised):
- Agave syrup
- Maple syrup
- Date Paste
- 1 fresh orange
- 1 fresh lemon
Let's cover a few, plus a few other sweeteners you might be interested in exploring.
Date paste (date syrup) – Ultra sweet date paste is an easy alternative that you can ahead and even freeze in small quantities. You can also do a quick-sweeten by pureeing a few dates and adding them to soups, curries, and stews.
Agave nectar (agave syrup) – A popular honey alternative (and an ingredient in our vegan honey), agave syrup is reliably sweet. It comes in a variety of flavors if you are so inclined.
Maple syrup – Yes, It’s plant-based; however, maple syrup is processed using heat. For this reason, raw vegans (and other folks) may choose to avoid it. No problem – you have plenty of substitutes available.
Be sure you use pure maple syrup (the bottle and price tag will tell you if it is). Maple syrup ‘blends’ compromise the flavor and texture of the honey. This is a recipe for the good stuff.
Brown rice syrup – If you can find it, brown rice syrup is a tasty, natural sweetener made by breaking down the starch of brown rice. This is an optional substitute for agave syrup for making the honey recipe or in Hoisin sauce.
Molasses – Molasses is refined sugarcane or sugar beets. This thick syrup is rich in iron can calcium. Molasses is naturally plant-based; however, like some other natural sweeteners is it highly processed. Ultimately, it's your choice to decide if you want to incorporate it into your diet.
Blackstrap molasses is a variety of molasses that has been reduced so that the final product is thick, 'inky,' and slightly bitter.
- Before you add the fruit, mix the agave syrup, maple syrup, and date paste and bring that to a boil.
- When using citrus zest, always try to use fruit that is unsprayed and free from pesticides.
- Use a saucepan with high sides if possible. This helps reduce splatter and reduces the possibility that you’ll be cleaning sticky honey off your stovetop (and anywhere else).
- The honey will reduce quicker if you leave the pan uncovered during the slow boiling.
- Once you boil the liquid and the fruit slices for 15 minutes, check the consistency by removing 2 tablespoons and placing them in a small dish. Allow the dish to cool to room temperature for 10 minutes. If it drips off the spoon and you are happy with the consistency, then move forward to strain the fruit. If you want a thicker consistency, continue cooking the honey for an additional 5-10 minutes.
- After draining the fruit and cooling the honey, if you decide that you want it thicker, discard the fruit and place it back in the saucepan. Slowly boil it for another 10 minutes or more. The longer you cook it, the more it will reduce. This helps get to the desired consistency quicker.
- I find it less awkward to strain the honey into a medium-sized bowl and then into a smaller jar. You want to let all the juice and honey drain from the fruit, which takes a few minutes. It's easy to set the mesh strainer on the top of the bowl and let it do its thing.
- After you have made your first batch, you can fine-tune the flavors by adjusting the amounts of agave syrup, maple syrup, and date paste. I recommend using all three ingredients; however, you can experiment. The results will always be sweet, so no tossing out a bad batch.
Honey isn't considered vegan. There is such a thing as vegan honey that mimics honey flavors. Honey is unequivocally vegan if it is made with plant-based ingredients and is not the product of bees.
In addition to making vegan honey, there are multiple plant-based sweeteners available that we’ve listed above. All of them work brilliantly in recipes and behave exactly like honey.
Some vegans contend that honey can be included in a vegan diet because bees are not killed for humans to enjoy it. However, because honey is derived from animals (bees), many vegans avoid it. There are also environmental considerations including, the declining global population of bees for avoiding honey.
How to use vegan honey
Vegan honey can be used in foods from tea to sauces and marinades, on toast, to baked goods. You don't even need to limit yourself to vegan recipes. You can use vegan honey wherever you want a liquid sweetener such as date paste, maple syrup, or even balsamic vinegar.
How to substitute honey for sugar
You can also use honey or other liquid sweeteners to replace sugar. For sweetness, use a 1:1 ratio. That means 1 cup of honey for every cup of sugar. Because honey is a liquid, it is recommended that you cut the amount of liquid by ¼ of a cup for every 1 cup of liquid sweetener.
Making your own honey or other healthier ingredients might seem a bit obsessive, but channeling your inner DIY is easier than you think. It’s also a lot healthier, and in most cases, cheaper.
Most importantly, it tastes better! Besides, there is something to be said for doing it yourself. And no, it doesn't make you a control freak. You're just someone cooking in the kitchen.
Here’s a sampling of our favorite – the recipes we make and use frequently.
Easy vegan honey recipe: Bee and refined sugar-free
This easy vegan honey recipe is both bee and refined sugar-free and made with our super-simple 5-ingredient method, so you'll be enjoying guilt-free honey with ease.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 20 min
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: ⅔ cup 1x
- Category: ingredients
- Cuisine: global
- Diet: Vegan
- ½ cup agave syrup (agave nectar)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp. date paste
- 1 medium orange, sliced thin (unpeeled)
- 1 medium lemon, sliced thin (unpeeled)
- In a medium saucepan with high sides, combine the agave syrup, maple syrup, and date paste. Heat the pan to medium and bring the ingredients to a boil.
- Add the sliced fruit and lower the heat to a low boil. Adjust the temperature as necessary to maintain a low boil for 15 minutes, stirring the ingredients periodically.
- Check the consistency and remove it from the heat.
- Use a small mesh strainer to pour the honey from the saucepan into a glass jar or airtight container.
- To check the final consistency, remove a few tablespoons of honey from the saucepan and refrigerate it for 10 minutes. If you want a thicker consistency, continue boiling the honey for another 5-10 minutes.
- Cover the honey and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Use organic, unsprayed, and unwaxed citrus fruit whenever possible.
- Do not compromise on the maple syrup. Use 100% pure, Grade A. Maple syrup. Maple blends will compromise the flavor and texture of this recipe.
- If you strain the fruit from the honey and still want it thicker, transfer the honey back into a saucepan and continue cooking it for another 5-10 minutes. It will get thicker as it cools.
- Tweak the amounts of maple syrup and date paste as desired. One substitution I can recommend for agave syrup is brown rice syrup for this recipe.
Keywords: vegan honey recipe