Behind the Seasoning: Honey Powder
If you look in your kitchen cabinet right now, I’m willing to bet that you’ve got a bottle of honey. If you’re like me, you might even have three or four—a bear from the grocery store and those irresistible farmers market varieties. But we also have a not-so-secret gem that brings that sweetness to your spice cabinet: Honey Powder.
What is Honey Powder
Honey Powder is just what it sounds like, powdered honey. Sort of. Honey is naturally hygroscopic, which simply means that it absorbs moisture from the air around it. Because of this, you can't just take out the natural moisture and create powdered honey. If you did, it would reabsorb any water in the air and would re-liquify.
The magic of Honey Powder relies on a unique process called co-crystallization. Honey is mixed with a simple sugar, in this case cane syrup, to actually change the molecular structure. This new honey solution is then spray-dried to create a powder. This process prevents the resulting Honey Powder from absorbing moisture and re-liquifying.
What does Honey Powder taste like?
Honey Powder tastes like a mild honey. Much like most commercial honey, it isn't produced from a single flower so doesn't have any distinct flavor characteristics. The flavor is sweet and clean, which means that it has a variety of uses and applications.
What other flavors pair well with Honey Powder?
As a sweet ingredient, Honey Powder is almost a blank canvas. It can be used with sweet ingredients, like edible flowers or baking spices. We use it in our Frosted Cinnamon Bun Popcorn Seasoning alongside Vanilla Bean Sugar for a richer and more nuanced sweetness.
Honey Powder also pairs well with more savory flavors, like herbs. In our Tarragon Shallot Citrus Seasoning, it pulls double duty. Honey Powder brings out the sweetness of the shallots but also provides a balance to the slightly bitter, licoricey flavor of tarragon.
Another use for Honey Powder is to provide sweetness (much like liquid honey does) and balance savory or spicy ingredients in everything from curry blends to barbecue rubs. We also use it in some of our tomato-based Spice ‘n Easy mixes, like Rustic Red Sauce, Tikka Masala, and Toasty Tomato Bisque.
How to use Honey Powder
People, including James Beard award winning chef Stephanie Izard, love the versatility of honey powder. Honey Powder can be used as a seasoning or as a sweetener. Are you a fan of kettle corn? Honey Powder is an awesome sweet popcorn sprinkle, perfect for a movie night treat. Honey Powder can also be used as the sweetener (in place of sugar) in baked goods, like cinnamon rolls.
In the Test Kitchen, some of our favorite uses for Honey Powder are savory. Make your own dry BBQ rub with Honey Powder, paprika, chile powders, salt & pepper, garlic and onion powders, and other fun seasoning additions. Honey Powder is a great way to add balance so try it in homemade vinaigrettes, marinades, and more. If you’ve read our Tomato Powder blog, you’re privy to a favorite trick: add a sprinkle of Honey Powder to off-season veggies (like tomatoes!) for just a hint of sweetness that will add a ripe summertime flavor to soups, sauces, salsas, etc.
Honey Powder also has a few non-culinary uses, specifically in homemade beauty products. If you DIY things like face masks or scrubs, you might run into recipes, like this one for a lip scrub, that call for honey powder.
What to substitute for Honey?
Honey Powder is a great substitute for honey (and vice-versa). Like many honey substitutes, Honey Powder can essentially be used interchangeably. However, one of the benefits of using Honey Powder in place of liquid honey is that it's easier to mix in. Have you ever tried mixing honey into iced tea? The cold causes honey to seize up, preventing it from incorporating smoothly. Honey Powder to the rescue! This powder will easily mix into everything from cold drinks (and hot drinks too) to smoothies.
Recipes using Honey Powder
Here are just a few of our favorite recipes with Honey Powder.
- Spiced Honey Mustard Dressing - Think of this as honey mustard 2.0. This elevated version has a maple and spice twist and can be used as a dressing or sandwich spread.
- Piri-Piri Pomegranate Molasses BBQ Sauce - If you ever thought making homemade barbecue sauce was too hard, think again. This four-ingredient recipe is a balance of sweet, spicy, tangy, and
- Savory Honey Butter - Honey butter is a classic for biscuits but for a more savory version, mix butter, Honey Powder, and a flavorful seasoning salt.
- Hibiscus Berry Smoothie - This fruity smoothie is great for breakfast or a mid-day snack. Feel free to customize with your own add-ins.
- Pomegranate Smack - Honey Powder is a great sweetener for iced or cold drinks, including this sweet and tart cocktail.
- Baklava Bars - A simplified preparation of baklava with the same familiar flavors, Honey Powder is used to create a sticky sweet glaze on top.
What’s your favorite way to use honey? Is Honey Powder already one of your go-to sweeteners? Let us know in the comments below!