How to Make Hot Honey for Sweet & Spicy Goodness

Turn up the heat on golden honey to create the sweet and spicy magic that is hot honey.

Published February 14, 2023
Honey dipper and honeycomb on table

Anytime an ingredient can do double duty, like sweet and hot, a wish comes true. And the answer to that wish is the deliciously spicy hot honey. Sure, you can grab a bottle of this fiery gold at the store, but you can also whip some up at home when you don't want to get out of your pajamas. Let's get cooking!

Homemade Hot Honey Recipe

It couldn't be easier to make hot honey at home, truly. After I tried a few variations to see which tasted best, this version emerged as the perfectly balanced sweet-hot winner.


  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2-4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar


  1. In the small saucepan, add the honey and red pepper flakes.
  2. Bring the honey and red pepper flakes to a simmer, then immediately remove from the heat.
  3. Stir off heat to mix.
  4. Add the apple cider vinegar. Add additional apple cider vinegar for a thinner hot honey.
  5. After the mixture has cooled a fair amount, carefully pour into a glass jar.
  6. Only after the mixture has cooled completely, add the lid and store in the refrigerator for up to six months.
Helpful Hack

When bringing the honey to a simmer, the point of nothing happening to simmering arises very quickly, so don't wander away from the stove. As you're mixing your hot honey with apple cider vinegar, use two teaspoons for a thicker hot honey and four to six teaspoons for a thinner hot honey.

Mixing Up More Hot Honey

Heat level is an incredibly personal thing, possibly more personal than how much milk you add to your cereal and how you like your steak cooked. That means not only is the level of heat important, but how you get that heat. Here are a few other ways.

Woman adding honey on the cake

Mild Hot Honey

For a milder hot honey, use a half to full tablespoon of chili powder. If you opt for red pepper flakes, strain them out as you pour the honey into the jar for a milder hot honey. A few tablespoons of mild Buffalo or mild hot sauce will give the softest burst of heat, too.

Medium Hot Honey

Using and straining three tablespoons of red pepper flakes will yield a medium hot honey. Layer the red pepper flakes with chili powder for a punch that won't leave you chugging milk. Or, better yet, add two to three tablespoons of your favorite medium Buffalo sauce or another medium hot sauce. Keep in mind the honey slightly mellows out the heat, so you'll want to use a little more if you want a medium-hot spicy honey.

Firehouse Hot Honey

So you like to sweat when you eat something spicy! Truthfully, we all have those days. To bring the heat, use a tablespoon to tablespoon and a half of red pepper flakes, and leave those suckers right in the honey. But, if you love heat, you know that if you use a heaping spoonful of hot honey with red pepper flakes, that spoonful will be hotter than one without.

Another way is to add two to three tablespoons of a hot Buffalo or hot sauce, and obviously, crank it up with another tablespoon or two if you want that warmth. With both major players, you can still add half to a full tablespoon of chili powder to layer in the different types of heat. Because if you're a heat fan, you know not all heat is created equal.

Quick Tip

If you're adding Buffalo or hot sauce to your honey, you won't need to use as much vinegar; otherwise, you'll have a very runny hot honey.

Using Your Hot Honey in Recipes

Odds are, you're not going to just eat your hot honey straight out of the jar. But if that's how you roll, no judgment. We all have our straight-from-the-jar foods. Consider some of these options, or not. It's your hot honey world.

  • Toss your chicken wings in hot honey! This works best if your hot honey is a little thinner than thick. If you opted for a thicker honey, then a nice, thorough drizzle gets the job done. You can give the same treatment to your chicken fingers or chicken nuggets.
  • Keep it even simpler. Drizzle honey over a simple baked chicken or even a pork chop or pork loin. Smear a bit over your roast ham.
  • Drizzle that golden goodness on top of a slice of pizza. Nothing makes a slice of pizza pop like something sweet and spicy to mingle with the salty.
  • This means you can drizzle some over your eggs and breakfast sausage too. Now that's a good morning.
  • Explore a healthy recipe with a drizzle over some carrots, baked or mashed sweet potato, or really any style of sweet potato you enjoy. Don't forget baked winter squash, like butternut or acorn.
  • Shake up a hot honey vinaigrette if you want to walk on the fire side of salads.
  • If you're a honey and cheese person, the hot honey combination with brie or a ricotta spread will make your tastebuds sing.
  • Liven up your cornbread with a hearty hot honey drizzle.
  • Give your afternoon cup of a tea a kick and a punch with a spoonful of hot honey.
  • Keep it spicy and extra sweet with a drizzle over vanilla, strawberry, coconut, or cherry ice cream. Fruity or plain yogurt flavors work great too!
  • Pair your lovingly crafted hot honey with a dreamy charcuterie board or even a butter board.
  • Dip your focaccia, homemade or store-bought, in a ramekin of hot honey or drizzle that right on top.
Quick Tip

Don't be afraid to add your favorite herbs or seasonings to your honey. Sage and thyme are great places to start, or keep it simple with a healthy pinch each of salt and pepper.

Add Your Hot Honey to Cocktails

Using hot honey doesn't stop with food. Put your spicy honey to work in cocktails. These aren't your only options, but they're the perfect place to start.

Spicy Bee's Knees

Boozy Bees Knees Gin Cocktail

If you're hesitant, you can start small, by using equal parts traditional honey and hot honey. But this is, truly, the hot honey's bee's knees. You're going to want to mix your hot honey with a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it out and make a syrup for the recipe. Feel free to use vodka if gin isn't your thing.


  • 2 ounces gin
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ ounce hot honey syrup
  • Ice
  • Dehydrated lemon wheel for garnish, optional


  1. Chill a coupe glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, gin, lemon juice, and hot honey syrup.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into the chilled glass.
  5. Float a dehydrated lemon wheel on top of the drink if desired.

Spicy Lemon Margarita

Margarita cocktail drink

Margaritas are made to be spicy. The hot honey makes it that perfect balance of sweet and spicy. You're going to fall in love instantly.


  • Lemon wedge and sugar for rim
  • 2 ounces silver tequila
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce hot honey syrup
  • ½ ounce orange liqueur
  • Ice
  • Lemon wheel for garnish


  1. To prepare rim, rub the rim of the glass with the lemon wedge.
  2. With the sugar on a saucer, dip either half or the entire rim of the glass in the sugar to coat.
  3. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, tequila, lemon juice, hot honey syrup, and orange liqueur.
  4. Shake to chill.
  5. Strain into the prepared glass.
  6. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

The Golden Elixir That Is Hot Honey

There's no mystical process or grand procedure for making hot honey at home. And, thank goodness for that, because there are enough things to keep up with that take a lot of time. From thought to finish, you can have hot honey drizzled on your plate in less than ten minutes. Less time than it would take to run to the store. Now, what're you going to do with your free time?

How to Make Hot Honey for Sweet & Spicy Goodness