burnt honey
Frostings, Glazes, Etc.,  Gluten-Free,  Sweets

Burnt Honey

“Burnt Honey,” you say, “oh yes, that old standby.” Well brace yourself, it’s going to become a stand-by. And as time goes by I’ll be rolling out a whole bunch of recipes you can make with it. In the meantime, relive your childhood and pour it over toast, add it to your afternoon tea, or substitute it in any recipe that calls for honey when you want an extra punch of flavor. You can also use it to make my Burnt Honey Caramels which — I can’t lie to you — are the best tasting caramels you will ever have.

Alternatively, you can eat it by the spoonful.

Where did you ever learn about burnt honey?

Credit where credit is due, I did not come up with this idea on my own. I learned this technique for burnt honey by reading everything Michele Polzine has ever written, whether that was in book form or on Instagram. Michele runs the 20th Century Cafe in San Francisco and she uses burnt honey in her Russian Honey Cake which — if you haven’t had — is an absolute must. Literally worth the trip to California alone. And while there are many copycat recipes for her honey cake floating around on the internet I encourage you to seek out the real deal (the New York Times Cooking section publishes the authentic recipe).

Other recipes you might be interested in:

If you’re looking for more inspiration you might enjoy one of these other recipes I’ve posted!

Tag me Instagram @jamandbreadofficial (I love seeing when other people make something I’ve made) and please consider leaving me a review below if you make a batch of Burnt Honey. I sincerely hope that you love it.

For even more recipe ideas you can follow me on Pinterest!

So with many thanks to Michelle and her glorious Russian Honey Cake, I give you this little technique for making burnt honey.

Enjoy! 🤤🍯🐝

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burnt honey

Burnt Honey

  • Author: Matthew Smedal (after an idea by Michele Polzine)
  • Prep Time: 0 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup (250 milliliters) 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: Russian


Why would you ever take the time to burn honey? Because it tastes amazing.

Pour it over toast, add it to your afternoon tea, or substitute it in any recipe that calls for honey when you want an extra punch of flavor. Burnt Honey is poised to become a go-to.


  • 1 cup honey (250 milliliters / 335 grams)
  • water


  1. Dump your honey into a saucepan with high sides and turn the fire to high (( like to weigh my honey directly into the pan because that way I don’t have to clean a measuring cup). Measure out 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of water and have them at the ready.
  2. Bring the honey to a simmer, reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, with a heat-proof utensil like a wooden spoon or a silicon spatula. A METAL UTENSIL WOULD BE AN EXTREMELY BAD IDEA HERE as that honey going to get REALLY HOT. While it heats, the honey is going to boil, sputter, and foam like Mount Vesuvius.
  3. Once you see the honey start to smoke (yes, smoke) add 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of water. Cook for about 30 seconds more, stirring like you’re a human Kitchen-Aid. FAIR WARNING: the honey will go mad when you add the water, so please be careful. 
  4. Turn off the heat and set the honey aside to cool bit. Pour the honey into a cup measure and add enough water so that you have a full cup (250 milliliters) of burnt honey. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour it over toast (OMFreakingG is it good), add it to tea (it’s seriously divine), or use it in place of regular honey when you want an extra punch of flavor.
  6. Your Burnt Honey will keep, stored in a jar, for about a year.


If you have a candy thermometer or Thermapan you can temp the honey: it will smoke at 340°F (170°C). 

Keywords: honey, burnt honey


  • Mare

    Thanks so much for posting this, Matthew! I have a Russian cake recipe that calls for burnt honey and it’s not something you can find where I live.

  • Penny

    Hi Matthew,

    How long did it take you until the honey smokes? I’ve made it a long time ago, and I think it didn’t take me long, but today I made it and I let it simmer for 1 hour on medium-low to medium heat and it was still not smoking, the colour became really dark and smelled burnt, so I just took it off the heat and add the water. I tasted it, and it tasted a bit bitter and really rich, like burnt caramel. I tried the one I did last time, and that one tasted more like honey. I’m not sure which one it should be.

    • Matthew

      Hi Penny! Oh, what an interesting question. It has NEVER taken me an hour to burn honey, but I’m pretty aggressive with my heat. I would say it takes about 8 minutes to get it done? And there is definitely a caramel-like flavor that the honey will take on, but I think it should still taste predominantly sweet with just a hint of bitterness to give it complexity. Does that help? Ha! I’m not sure I’ve been any help to you at all!

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