WebstaurantStore / Food Service Resources / Consumables / Types of Honey
fork and pencil
Types of Honey

Different Types of Honey

While all honey comes from bees, not all honey is the same. Where bees source their nectar from affects the taste, sweetness level, and color. Differentiate between different types of honey, such as manuka, organic, and raw honey, and learn some helpful tips on how to keep your honey looking and tasting its best!

Use the following links to navigate this guide and learn more about honey:
  1. Common Types of Honey
  2. Honey Color Chart
  3. What is Honeycomb?
  4. What is Raw Honey?
  5. What is Organic Honey?
  6. How Long Does Honey Last?

Common Types of Honey

According to the National Honey Board, there are over 300 different varietals of honey produced worldwide. All honey has a sweet taste, but there are several key factors that make each type of honey unique, such as color and flavor profile. Below, we'll break down 10 of the most popular types of honey and their distinct flavors.
Clover honey on a honey dipper

1. Clover Honey

Saturated with the aromatic, mild flavor of clover blossoms, clover honey is the best-known honey variety with the largest annual production. Grown in Canada, the United States, Sweden, and New Zealand, this popular honey has a sweet, mild taste with a hint of cinnamon and a light golden color.  

Although clover honey doesn't contain as many antioxidants as darker varieties (such as buckwheat and manuka), it's the perfect all-purpose honey to keep on hand in your establishment for all your tableside needs.

  • Recommended for table use, cooking, and baking
  • Commonly used in desserts, sauces, meats, sweet breads, yogurt, and cereal

Wildflower honey on a honey dipper

2. Wildflower Honey

Wildflower honey features a select blend of wild blossoms and flowers. Because wildflower honey is collected from any variety of wildflowers depending on the season and region that they're in bloom, it may originate from any country that grows honey.

Its taste varies depending on the flowers it is created from. However, it's typically slightly darker than other honey varieties, adding a robust flavor to baking recipes.

  • Recommended for cooking and baking
  • Commonly used in muffins, meats, and breads

Acacia honey on a honey dipper

3. Acacia Honey

Acacia honey is created with the nectar from black locust trees, also known as false acacia tress. For this reason, it is sometimes sold as "locust honey" in the United States. The honey features a sweet, delicate flavor with a hint of vanilla and a light, almost transparent color.

Likely due to its higher fructose content, acacia honey takes longer to crystallize. As a result, acacia honey is a great choice for smaller establishments that may take a long time to finish a jar of honey. 

  • Recommended for table use, cooking, and baking
  • Commonly used in yogurt, cereal, teas, drinks, and desserts

Restaurant Equipment

4. Alfalfa Honey

Largely produced in the United States and Canada, the alfalfa honey variety is created with nectar from bright purple alfalfa blossoms. The final product is a light, herbal flavored honey with delicate, mildly sweet undertones.

Alfalfa's smooth texture and mild taste are akin to clover honey. Because Alfalfa is slightly less sweet, however, it is more ideally used for cooking applications. Add it to pastries and breads as a healthy alternative to sugar. 

  • Recommended for table use, cooking, and baking 
  • Commonly used in teas, dressings, and sauces 

Monarch's Choice brand buckwheat honey in a large plastic bottle

5. Buckwheat Honey

Dark and bold, buckwheat honey is collected fresh from the small white blossoms of the buckwheat grain. It's grown in the United States, France, Canada, Japan, and the Netherlands.

Typically compared to blackstrap molasses, this honey variety is characterized by an earthy aroma and a rich amber color. It has a stronger and heartier taste than lighter honey varieties, and it's also higher in antioxidants. 

Because of its bold flavors, buckwheat honey is best used for baking and cooking. Products baked with this golden honey will dry out less quickly and be less likely to crack than those baked with traditional sugar. 

  • Recommended for cooking and baking
  • Commonly used in honey cake, breads, and sauces

Creamed clover honey on a silver tablespoon

6. Creamed Honey

While it's not technically a type of honey, creamed honey denotes a special way of preparing honey. Also known as spun honey, it is made by storing honey at a temperature of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit and letting it crystallize. Creamed honey has a richer, creamier texture than traditional honey. It also typically has a much lighter color than liquid honey from the same flower. 

The crystals in creamed honey create a smooth and easily spreadable product. It's a great addition to breakfast spread offerings and adds interest to any menu. 

  • Recommended for table use, cooking, and baking 
  • Commonly used as a spread on bagels, toast, and biscuits

Manuka honey on a honey drizzler

7. Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is produced in Australia and New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native Manuka bush. This honey offers a mildly sweet taste with a subtle nutty flavor. A slight bitter aftertaste offsets the initial sweetness.  

While most honey has natural antibacterial qualities, manuka honey has greater amounts of antibacterial ingredients than most other types of honey. This Australian honey protects against damage from bacteria, boosts the production of special cells that repair damaged tissue, and eases pain and inflammation. 

  • Recommended for table use, cooking, and baking
  • Commonly used as a spread on toast, bagels, and biscuits, as well as in yogurt and cereal

Person drizzling eucalyptus honey into a cup of tea

8. Eucalyptus Honey

Gathered from the flowering eucalyptus trees of Australia, this distinctive honey has a sweet flavor offset by cool undertones of fresh eucalyptus.

Eucalyptus honey has a slightly medicinal scent. Because of its menthol-like properties, this honey is great for soothing coughs, colds, and upper-respiratory infections. Eucalyptus honey features a mild flavor, making it easily palatable. 

  • Recommended for table use, cooking, and baking
  • Commonly used on toast and in teas and pastries

Monarch's Choice orange blossom honey in a plastic container

9. Orange Blossom Honey

Fresh from the spring blossoms of Florida's orange groves, orange blossom honey features light citrus undertones. It has a golden color and a wholesome, sweet taste and aroma.

The citrusy elements of orange blossom honey add an exciting element to baking endeavors. Try blending it with softened butter, orange rind, and lemon rind to create orange blossom honey butter, which is sure to become a popular menu item.

  • Recommended for table use, cooking, and baking
  • Commonly used in drinks and on biscuits, pancakes, and pastries

Baker's special honey being drizzled onto a pastry

10. Baker's Special Honey

Baker's special honey is a blend of classic honey varieties. Featuring a deep amber color and rich flavor, this honey has a more robust taste than lighter, tableside honey.

Like its name implies, baker's special honey is the perfect alternative to standard sugar in baking recipes. This honey variety is also used for brewing batches of mead, a trendy fermented beverage made from yeast and honey.

  • Recommended for cooking and baking
  • Commonly used in whole wheat bread, pastries, and BBQ sauces

Honey Color Chart

There's a lot that color can tell you about the flavor of your honey. Generally speaking, the lighter the honey color, the more delicate and mild its taste. And vice versa, dark-colored honey has a stronger flavor. Reference the color diagram below for a quick color comparison!

Honey color chart

What is Honeycomb?

Bees create honeycomb to house their larvae, honey, and pollen. The hexagonal cells that make up honeycomb are made of beeswax and contain honey in its purest, rawest form.
Honeycomb on a toothpick over a cocktail

Can You Eat Honeycomb?

Yes! In fact, people have been eating honeycomb for thousands of years. Not only is honeycomb a tasty, all-natural snack, but it also rich in vitamins and minerals.

How to Eat Honeycomb

The raw honey and waxy cells of honeycomb are both edible. Much like honey, honeycomb varies in taste depending on the types of nectar the bees gathered. 

Honeycomb is delicious eaten on its own. Or, try eating honeycomb in a variety of other unique ways, including: 

  • Thinly slicing it on toast
  • Using it to top salads
  • Using it to garnish cocktails
  • Adding it to a charcuterie board

Expert Tip
Honey is a charcuterie board essential. Consider pairing your honey or honeycomb with aged cheeses featuring nutty undertones such as parmigiano-reggiano and sharp cheddar. Honey also pairs well with tangy, acidic cheeses like feta and goat cheese, as it subdues these bold flavors.
Woman holding a dripping spoonful of honey over a jar of raw honey

What is Raw Honey?

Raw honey comes straight from the beehive and has not been heated to the point of pasteurization. Once it's extracted from the hive, it's strained to remove any beeswax and bee body parts and then bottled. Raw honey is available in both unfiltered and filtered options.

Since raw honey hasn't been heat treated, it has a thicker, more opaque consistency as compared to processed honey. Raw honey contains no pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, or pollutants. Because of this, it's purer than processed alternatives.

Processed honey undergoes commercial processing methods such as pasteurization (heat treatment) and filtration. These processing methods filter out antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, as well as all pollen. As a result, processed honey may contain unwanted additives and sweeteners.

Monarch's choice organic honey in a plastic container

What is Organic Honey?

Organic honey is collected from organic certified beehives and blossoms that have not been exposed to herbicides or pesticides. As a result, organic honey is free from additives, preservatives, and chemicals. It is important to note that if a honey is organic, that does not automatically indicate that it is also raw.

How Long Does Honey Last?

Honey can last forever if properly stored in a sealed container and kept away from moisture. Moisture will contaminate the honey and cause it to spoil, giving it a sour taste. As long as it's kept at room temperature, however, it will be safe from harm. As a result, you may use your honey long after its "best by" date has passed.

Honey Crystallization

As time goes by, you may notice that your honey has lost its liquid consistency and formed small crystals. This is perfectly normal! In fact, it's common for honey to crystallize over time.

Wooden honey dipper in a glass jar of crystallized honey

Why Does Honey Crystallize?

Because honey is made of water and a mix of sugars (mainly glucose and fructose), the sugar can precipitate out of the honey over time. As this happens, the water separates from the sugar, creating the appearance of small crystals.

To prevent honey from crystallizing, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry location. It's also best to avoid refrigerating honey, as this speeds up the process of crystallization.

Is Crystallized Honey Safe to Eat?

Honey can still be consumed in its crystallized form. Some people even find that crystallized honey has a richer flavor and is easier to spread.

Jar of honey in crystallized form with a honey dipper

How to Decrystallize Honey

Learn how to soften honey with these two easy methods.

  1. Boil water in a tea kettle.
  2. Place your closed container of honey in a large glass container and pour the hot water over the container.
  3. Let the container of honey soak for several minutes, or until it has softened and liquified. 
  4. Use more hot water if the honey has not softened after several minutes. 

Another method is to soften honey in the microwave. 

  1. Place honey in a microwave-safe container. 
  2. Microwave over medium power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time. 
  3. Repeat until honey is fully softened. 

Join Our Mailing List

Receive coupon codes and more right to your inbox.

Make money with our recipes
Recipe converter
WebstaurantStore blog
Videos of demonstrations, how-tos and more