The 21 Absolute Best Ways To Use Hot Honey

Chile peppers floating in honey
Chile peppers floating in honey - Fudio/Getty Images

Stroll down the condiments aisle of any supermarket, and a virtual cornucopia of sauces, marinades, and dressings will dizzy you. The human propensity for condiments is nothing new, but we're constantly unearthing new uses for our favorite sauces and relishes — and every few years, a new phenomenon seems to emerge. In the 2010s, it was a humble, home-grown business called Mike's Hot Honey that earned cult favorite status.

Combining sweet, floral honey with hot peppers might have been unconventional, but hot honey's fan base has snowballed in the last few years. It's earned considerable recognition from pizza acolytes, who praise the complex way hot honey's sweet and spicy elements jive with everyone's favorite Friday night dinner, but there are myriad applications beyond 'za. Whether you buy it at the store or make hot honey at home, here are some of the absolute best ways to use hot honey.

Read more: Vinegar Cooking Hacks You'll Wish You Knew Sooner

Drizzle It On Pizza

Honey jar near veggie pizza
Honey jar near veggie pizza - Thecrimsonmonkey/Getty Images

The legacy of Mike Kurtz, creator of Mike's Hot Honey, began when he was apprenticing at Paulie Gee's pizza and persuaded owner Paulie Giannone to test out a slice of pie with hot honey (and the rest is history). Nowadays, quite a few popular restaurants offer the option to drizzle the sweet and spicy condiment on pizza, and people are HERE for it.

Hot honey complements many styles of pizza well, but it's a particularly perfect match for red sauce-based pies. The sweet zing of the honey plays amazingly well off rich, acidic marinara. Not a fan of red sauce? Try stippling hot honey on a slice of BBQ 'za (you could even add it right in the sauce itself), or give a vegetarian pesto pie a nice kick.

Upgrade A Classic Hot Toddy

Lemon and anise hot toddy
Lemon and anise hot toddy - Mashed

Is there anything cozier than a hot toddy on a cold winter day? Made with a simple mix of honey, lemon juice, and whiskey and garnished with inviting baking spices like star anise and cinnamon, this piping-hot cocktail is great for warming your bones or soothing a sore throat. A classic hot toddy recipe uses plain honey, but you can kick things up a notch by swapping in hot honey.

Hot honey still provides the sweetness of the simple cocktail, but the hot chile peppers in the nectar give the drink a real zest, modernizing the timeless drink in a tasty and surprising way. Use the same amount of hot honey as you would plain honey to make this cocktail, and thank us later.

Give Baklava A Subtle Spice

Flaky baklava on white plate
Flaky baklava on white plate - Tasting Table

Sweet, sticky baklava has its roots in the Middle East around the eighth century BC, but it's evolved quite a bit from its original form. Today, the phyllo, nuts, and honey-laced dessert is a favorite at Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants around the world. Honey is a critical ingredient in baklava, and while that honey is traditionally unflavored, it's easy to substitute hot honey if you're making it at home.

Using hot honey to upgrade baklava adds even more nuance to the plate — its subtle spice harmonizes with the additional spices like cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and chopped pecans and walnuts. It's a brilliant way to maintain the original recipe's integrity while bringing something new to the table.

Caramelize Bacon

Crispy, glazed bacon strips
Crispy, glazed bacon strips - Oksana Chaun/Getty Images

It's tough to think of a food or dish that is not enhanced by the presence of bacon — but is it possible to improve on bacon itself? We think the answer is yes, by way of caramelizing bacon with hot honey. Bacon carries flavors of salt, fat, and smoke, all of which are delicious qualities. When combined with the zippy heat of hot honey, however, bacon transforms into something even better.

It's not just bacon's taste that hot honey upgrades. When the spicy nectar is spread on bacon before cooking in the oven, the honey crystallizes and creates a candy-like coating outside the bacon, leading to a delightfully crispy, crunchy, and slightly sticky texture. Use hot honey bacon to ramp up BLTs, bacon-wrapped dates, salads, and more.

Make Hot Honey Butter

Honey butter sprinkled with cinnamon
Honey butter sprinkled with cinnamon - Siims/Getty Images

Like bacon, velvety soft butter is another great way to ramp up a dish. Myriad cooking and baking recipes rely on butter's rich flavor, and adding plain honey to the mix can provide a luxurious sweetness — but marrying hot honey and butter in your favorite recipes is a surefire way to earn some oohs and aahs the next time you're asked to contribute to a potluck.

Making hot honey butter is as easy as combining butter and spicy honey, either at room temperature with a handheld electric mixer or using melted butter, hot honey, and a whisk. Hot honey butter adds a kick to corn on the cob, gives copycat Chik-fil-A honey butter chicken biscuits a sweet heat, and can even be used in baking recipes (try it in cornbread — you'll never go back).

Give Quesadillas A Sweet Heat

Stack of cheesy grilled quesadillas
Stack of cheesy grilled quesadillas - Artit_wongpradu/Getty Images

When it comes to quick, easy, filling lunches, quesadillas are 10/10. A tortilla and fillings of choice are all needed for a quick 'dilla, and assembly is as easy as throwing your fillings in the tortilla, folding it in half, and tossing it into a hot pan on the stove. Like many Mexican dishes, quesadillas are often stuffed with spicy ingredients. Why stop there?

The next time you have a hankering for a cheesy fried tortilla, give your quesadillas a kick with hot honey. Honey's nectarous flavor melds well with meat, veggies, and cheese, and the spice from piquant honey won't overpower any other spicy filling you're working with. Drizzle the zippy honey on top, serve it as a dipping sauce on the side, or put it right inside the tortilla with your filling.

Elevate Ice Cream

Honey drizzling on ice cream
Honey drizzling on ice cream - Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

Those who like forging new paths and braving new territories in the dessert realm have discovered plenty of unique toppings to spruce up ice cream. TikTokers are out here with their ice cream, looking like Frankenstein's monster, topped with everything from caviar to wasabi peas, and that's just the tip of the ice(cream)berg.

If you're looking to broaden your ice cream horizons but aren't quite ready to top your dessert with gorgonzola cheese, a drizzle of hot honey gives ice cream a kick without tasting too bizarre. Try adding hot honey to double chocolate ice cream to add heat and a different kind of sweetness, lavender for a punch, or pistachio for a spicy, floral nuttiness you won't soon forget.

Pair It With Eggs

Egg frying in iron skillet
Egg frying in iron skillet - Fcafotodigital/Getty Images

Honey and eggs might sound like an odd couple, but the peculiar food combination actually works. In fact, honey and eggs have been combined throughout history: The oldest known omelet recipe was published in the Roman Apicius and contained honey, and rumor has it honey and eggs were Albert Einstein's favorite breakfast.

We can't promise eating honey and eggs will boost your brainpower to Einstein levels, but we can confirm it's delicious. Sub in hot honey, and we're cookin' with gas (perhaps literally). Fry your eggs in a hot honey and butter combo and baste the liquid over your eggs while they cook, or drizzle your over-easies with spicy honey once they've already been cooked, perhaps over toast. Give it a shot — at the very least, you'll be in historic company.

Spice Up Popcorn

Hand reaching into popcorn bowl
Hand reaching into popcorn bowl - Freshsplash/Getty Images

Is there anything that ameliorates the movie night munchies better than a buttery bowl of popcorn? No snack better represents that feeling of being in a dark theater, watching Nicole Kidman wax poetic about movie magic and anxiously awaiting the opening credits of a highly anticipated flick.

While plain popcorn is perfect in and of itself, there are ways to improve it even more. If you're making popcorn at home, the kitchen is your lab — let hot honey be your chemical compound. You can take microwave popcorn to the next level with hot honey simply by drizzling your spicy nectar over the cooked corn. An even better bet? Cook popcorn on the stove and add hot honey to the butter you're using to cook the kernels, drizzling extra honey on top of the finished product as desired.

Make Dipping Sauce

Honey, lemon, and mustard sauce
Honey, lemon, and mustard sauce - Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

Hot honey's high viscosity makes it ideal for drizzling over your favorite foods, but it's just as delicious when incorporated into a dipping sauce. Honey is an excellent natural sweetener and can honestly act as a stand-in for most cooking recipes that require sugar, maple syrup, or other types of sweetener (baking recipes are a different story).

Substitute hot honey for regular honey in a honey mustard sauce for a sweet and piquant dip for chicken tenders. Add a few teaspoons of spicy honey to a homemade aioli to flesh out the sauce with both fiery heat and saccharinity. Alternatively, use hot honey by itself as a dip, the way we do in this roasted corn and squash quesadillas with hot honey dipping sauce recipe.

Jazz Up A Charcuterie Board

Cheese selection on wooden board
Cheese selection on wooden board - New Africa/Shutterstock

Charcuterie boards are a welcome addition to any type of gathering. With a few types of cheeses, an assortment of cured meats, and a medley of olives, nuts, crackers, and other accouterments, it's easy to create a stunning grazing board. Honey is frequently found on cheese boards — why not kick things up a notch with hot honey?

If you're planning to add hot honey to a charcuterie selection, keep your fromage variety in mind. There are many types of cheese to pair with hot honey, but varieties with salt-heavy profiles like feta and queso fresco do not — when coupled with these cheeses, hot honey's piquant flavor increases the salty taste of the cheese, throwing off the delicate balance of salt, spice, and sweetness. Instead, pair spicy honey with fresh cheeses like burrata, chevre, or mascarpone.

Slather It On A Burger

Loaded burger, fries, and ramekin
Loaded burger, fries, and ramekin - Zoranm/Getty Images

A burger might be the last place on earth where you'd think to add a sweet ingredient. But in recent years, upscale burger joints (you know, the ones where a small burger costs $16 for some reason) have experimented with adding items like peach preserves, apricot jam, fig spread, and other sweet things to their burgers. And you know what? It's actually pretty freaking fantastic.

Assuming you're not a burger purist, use hot honey to add a blast of sweet heat to your burger. It's intriguing enough on a classic meat, cheese, lettuce, onion, and tomato burger, but add it to a bacon and BBQ, goat cheese and pesto, or jalapeño and pepper jack concoction and see what best suits your taste buds. We recommend drizzling spicy honey on the top bun for the optimal ratio of hot honey per bite.

Spruce Up Chicken Wings

Hand eating grilled chicken wings
Hand eating grilled chicken wings - Tasting Table

As delicious as buffalo sauce may be, there are gazillions of ways to dress chicken wings that are equally drool-worthy. A homemade dry rub hits the spot and cuts down on the mess of wings with sauce on them; garlic parmesan wings bring a totally unique flavor to the table, and BBQ sauce is sticky and delicious; we could go on for days.

When you're craving sugar, spice, and everything nice, hot honey offers a first-class ticket to upgraded chicken wings. Mix it in with your favorite BBQ sauce, and toss the meat with our jalapeño-honey chicken wings marinade (swapping regular honey for the spicy kind); you could even add hot honey to a buffalo sauce for a little extra heat and a whisper of sweetness.

Add It To Dressings

Honey, lemon, and garlic dressing
Honey, lemon, and garlic dressing - New Africa/Shutterstock

If the word "salad" makes your eyes glaze over, you're probably doing them wrong. It's all about selecting the right mix of greens, fruits, veggies, nuts, cheeses, and dressings, which are incredibly easy to make at home. Tons of homemade salad dressings use honey as a natural sweetener, and hot honey can be integrated into almost any dressing recipe that calls for honey.

There's no limit to the ways in which you can incorporate hot honey into your dressings — use it to add spice to honey mustard, lend a peppery sweetness to a vinaigrette, or even enhance a cream-based dressing. Not sure where to start? Take a gander at this hot honey and sweet potato salad recipe to better understand how hot honey can revamp a simple salad dressing.

Spice Up Corn Dog Batter

Piled corn dogs and sauces
Piled corn dogs and sauces - Tasting Table

Hot dogs are taken to a heavenly next level when, instead of a bun, they're shrouded in batter and plunged into a deep fryer, resulting in a dense, crispy, golden brown corn dog. While corn dogs often hail from the frozen section when eaten at home, it's not too hard to whip together your own batter and fry up your own.

A simple batter requires only common ingredients like flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and eggs, but for an out-there take on this favorite carnival treat, add hot honey to the batter for truly spectacular sweet and spicy corn dogs. Let's face it — corndog batter on its own doesn't have much flavor apart from cereal grains. Hot honey gives the batter some sugar and heat, both of which complement a hot dog's salty, fatty constitution.

Amp Up Fried Chicken

Fried chicken and slaw sliders
Fried chicken and slaw sliders - Mashed

There's something about the hot honey's zest that coaxes crispy, salty, fatty foods to sing like a choir of angels, and fried chicken is a quintessential example of this pairing done right. Fried chicken is one of those dishes that requires some kind of sauce — even if the chicken is perfectly cooked and juicy, the crunchy outer coating just can't do the heavy lifting on its own.

For a nice, light sauce option, take a ride on the hot honey coaster. It's perfect for drizzling over fried chicken, adding a sugary zip without overpowering the flavor of the chicken or the batter. Hot honey is fantastic when spread over big fried chicken breasts or thighs with a side of mashed potatoes and collards, or try these fried chicken sliders with hot honey and a simple slaw.

Drizzle It On Fruit Kebabs

Fruit skewers on white plate
Fruit skewers on white plate - Carey Jaman/Shutterstock

Fruit salad is overrated — fruit kebabs are the way of the future. These skewers are easy to assemble, fun to eat, and healthy; and as a bonus, skewers beaded with fruit and herbs are totally Insta-worthy. Sure, you can eat fruit right off the stick without any accompaniments, but fruit kebabs served with one sweet and spicy ingredient — you've got it, we're talking hot honey — are the crème de la crème.

Spicy honey carries a different, more candylike type of sweetness than that found in grapes, melons, kiwis, strawberries, and other fruits one might include on a fruit kebab, and the bite of hot pepper in the nectar provides a fun little pop of heat in each bite. Experiment with different fruits to pair with hot honey until you find your ideal mix.

Make A Boozy Slushie

Frozen cocktail on purple background
Frozen cocktail on purple background - Tasting Table

Boozy slushies are a great way to cool down on a hot summer day. You can certainly roll up to that cute new wine bar and shell out $14 for a teensy cup of frosé — or you can skip the long lines and save your money by making a boozy slushie at home. Might we suggest our hot honey-bourbon slushie recipe to kick things off?

This frozen cocktail puts hot honey to work by adding both extra sweetness and a fiery bite to rich vanilla ice cream and the caramel, marzipan, and oak notes commonly found in bourbon for a refreshingly decadent dessert. Not a bourbon fan? No worries — try using hot honey to integrate some sweet heat into your frozen cocktail or slushie of choice.

Level Up Honey-Glazed Ham

Thinly sliced honey-glazed ham
Thinly sliced honey-glazed ham - Mashed

Just like turkey and stuffing, spiral-sliced honey-glazed ham is a timeless American holiday entree — but no one's going to stop you from making a ham in July. Honey-glazed ham draws on a simple mixture of honey, Dijon mustard, and brown sugar to glaze a spiral-cut ham to perfection, resulting in a sticky, shiny shell coating the ham's outer surface.

The classic glaze mixture is marvelous, but if you're part of a family or friend group with lots of spicy food fanatics, try subbing in hot honey for plain honey in the glaze. Hot honey adds a peppery kick that balances out the mustard's sharp, nippy profile while maintaining that crucial sweet quality of the original recipe and harmonizes well with the salty profile of the ham itself.

Give Alexandrian Sweets A Kick

Honey jar and granola bar
Honey jar and granola bar - Fcafotodigital/Getty Images

The history of cooking and the evolution of recipes is a fascinating topic. One of the oldest known "cookbooks" in existence is the Roman Apicius, which includes such delicacies as pear patina, sweet spelt cakes, and the intriguing Alexandrian sweets. Alexandrian sweets are mentioned in early texts, but the only two confirmed ingredients are honey and sesame seeds, meaning the finished sweets likely had a sticky, crunchy, granola-like texture.

Honestly? As simple as this evasive and perhaps incomplete recipe might be, it sounds pretty dang delicious. You can try your hand at making these Roman Empire desserts at home by combining saccharine honey and nutty sesame seeds, rolling them into balls, or pressing them into bars. For an even more complex flavor profile, use hot honey in place of the plain stuff.

Modernize A Bee's Knees Cocktail

Lemon and honey behind cocktail
Lemon and honey behind cocktail - New Africa/Shutterstock

The Bee's Knees is a Prohibition Era honey and gin cocktail that dates back over a century. Its popularity has ebbed and flowed, but the sweet drink has never really gone out of style. A Bee's Knees is a super-simple three-ingredient cocktail composed of just honey syrup, gin, and lemon juice, so it's a good one to keep in mind if you want to earn bonus points with a busy bartender.

These three ingredients balance each other out well — the citric lemon and sweet honey tempers the piney gin. That said, classic cocktails are constantly being modernized, and one of the best ways to catapult the Bee's Knees into the 21st century is to use hot honey syrup in the drink. Spicy honey adds a zing that eludes the original three ingredients, refining the timeless cocktail without compromising the original drink's sophisticated, old-school glam.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.