Can you freeze honey? It is certainly possible to do so. Freezing honey is a fantastic way to keep it's temperature at a steady level so it will retain it's taste, quality, texture, and nutritional value over long periods of time. It will also help prevent future crystallization.
The easiest way to freeze honey is to put it into a Mason jar, close the lid tightly to keep out the moisture, and stick in a chest freezer where it can stay undisturbed. It can also be frozen as single servings in an ice cube tray.
You can even freeze full honeycombs if you are a beekeeper. Honey is naturally long lasting and can keep, on its own, for thousands of year. Under the right conditions, your frozen honey can last a lifetime or more. When you are ready to defrost it, place the jar in a bowl of warm water so it can reheat gradually to a thickness you can use.
If you are curious to learn multiple ways to freeze honey and the benefits therein, keep on reading!
Can You Freeze Honey?
You can freeze honey using a few different methods. Here are some quick freezing stats to help you decide if and how you want to freeze your honey.
|Time To Freeze||24+ hours|
|Time to Thaw||less than 1 hour depending on amount|
|Uses||anything you would normally use honey for|
|Freezer Life||up to the end of all time in space (theoretically)|
Why should you freeze it?
Honey has a low level of moisture and a low pH level so it retains a high level of quality when frozen for much longer than most foods. It will also retain it's flavor and texture which is the most common complaint about freezing as a food preservation method.
Honey can have it's quality affected over time if it is in an environment that experiences large fluctuations in temperature. Freezing will keep honey at a consistent temperature while also keeping bacteria growth from occurring. Similar to freezing jam, the high sugar content in honey will keep it from freezing into a solid block of ice. Instead it will become almost like an incredibly thick and viscous gel.
Need to get all your food preserved easily? Check out the Ultimate Guide To Freezing Food so that you can fill your freezer without in minimal time.
Why should I not freeze honey?
The thickness of the honey and need to keep moisture out at risk of crystallization are really the only drawbacks to freezing it; mainly the moisture concern. It is best to freeze in a glass jar because it is the best at keeping out moisture. However, honey cannot be refrozen so the thickness becomes an issue when trying to only thaw what you need.
The best way we can figure around this is to pre-freeze in ice cube trays for single use portions and either accept they may crystalize in a plastic freezer bag or have less efficient storage space and pack the cube into a glass Mason Jar.
Another thing to keep in mind concerning storage and crystallization is where it will be kept while frozen. For honey to freeze up to the solid gel phase of freezing it needs to get down to ast least -43.6° F. The standard home freezer will usually get under -50° F. However, a kitchen freezer is often opened a few times a day and can cause the temperature to fluctuate and risk crystallization.
Honey freezes best and maintains it's quality best if it is kept in a deep chest freezer where it is open less often.
You are going to need the following supplies:
- honey or honeycomb
- Mason Jars
- ice cube trays (for ice cubes)
- Measuring cup
- Freezer bags
- Sharpie or marker
How To Freeze Honey
We recommend three ways to freeze honey. As we mentioned above, there are pros and cons each with their own tradeoffs for each method. Pick whichever one works best for you.
Decide how you want to freeze. Full honeycomb freezing really only has one way, which will be listed on it's own below. Here is a table that will give you the pros and cons of freezing full jars or single serving ice cubes.
|Mason Jars||- air tight|
- less likely to crystallize
- can store more honey in a smaller space
|- large amounts of honey are difficult to thaw|
- can't refreeze unused honey
- bulky; takes up more space, in general
|Ice Cubes||- single servings lead to less waste|
- plastic bags take up less space, in general, than Mason Jars
- thaws quickly
|- plastic bags are porous and can let in moisture|
- more likely to crystalize
- messier to handle since honey
- inefficient use of space if stored in glass due to shape
Determine the method you want to use, gather the appropriate supplies, and move on to step two.
If you want to measure out the amount of honey you put in the Mason Jars, you can. We will usually just fill them about ¾ of the way full leaving a space at the top to allow the honey to expand.
Fill the pods of an ice tray with a tablespoon or 2 of honey. You can use an actual measuring spoon, if you like, or just eyeball it. Make sure to leave about ¼ of the pod open, just like with the Mason Jars.
For those freezing a full jar, continue to step three. If you are freezing ice cubes place the trays in the freezer for around 4 hours or until solid to the touch.
Regardless of which method you are using, this step is for labeling the storage unit. Use a Sharpie to write the contents (honey), freezing date (today), and use by date (forever ∞).
Once you label your lids, hand tighten them down on the Mason Jars as much as you can. Then stick them in the freezer for long term storage.
For ice cubes, once they are solid enough to handle, pop them out of the tray and put them in a pre-labeled baggie or Mason Jar and into the freezer.
Pro Tip: For the absolute best quality with minimal crystallization, use glass for either method and use a chest freezer or dedicated freezer that is only opened rarely.
Beekeeper Honeycomb Variation
We are not beekeepers so we are not going to offer too much commentary on those best practices. However, we have learned the methods used by experienced beekeepers so we could include them in this guide, as well.
The short and sweet version is:
- Do not harvest the honey by uncapping the hive.
- Take the entire honeycomb frame and wrap it tightly in plastic. You can use large rubber bands or string to hold the plastic in place.
- Place the frames into a dedicated, deep, chest freezer that will stay closed until it's time to harvest the honeycomb.
Do anything you can to minimize moisture. Moisture can soak into the wooden frames and start to mold.
How do you defrost it?
Honey is easy to defrost. You will want to let it reheat gradually. Simply put the jar in a bowl of warm-ish water and let it sit on the counter until it is thin enough to use.
Can I refreeze honey?
You should not try and refreeze honey. It will freeze again, but it will degrade in flavor, quality, texture, and nutrients. If you are going to use frozen honey regularly, it is better to freeze in smaller, single use portions like you can do when freezing mint leaves.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some more common questions about freezing honey.
Q1. Will freezing destroy the nutrients in honey?
Not at all. Freezing honey is great because it makes it last even longer than normal while maintaining it's nutritional qualities as well as retaining it's quality and flavor.
Q2. Why is my honey crystallizing?
The primary reason that honey crystallizes is due to the combination of cold temperatures and the presence of moisture, typically water. The glucose and water will react to the cold and turn into crystals. It's funny that the sub zero temperature in freezing is a better way to avoid crystallization than simply keeping honey in the fridge.
Crystallized honey is still perfectly safe to eat. It is just thicker and more difficult to use.
Q3. How can I remove the crystals in my honey?
Getting rid of the crystals in your honey is really easy. You will want to heat the honey up very, very slowly. Place the honey in a sauce pan of water and put it on very low heat. As it heats, the crystals will start to dissolve. Once the crystals are all gone, remove the honey from the water, put the cap on tightly to keep out air and moisture, and return it to your pantry.
If you need more help getting your foods frozen, check out the Ultimate Freezing Food Guide for a complete quick start reference so that you can have a well-stocked freezer.