There’s nothing quite like the combination of sweet and spicy. No matter what the meal, a hot, syrupy drizzle makes everything better.
And with this hot honey sauce recipe, only a few simple ingredients and a little bit of time stand between you and this explosion of flavor!
Read on for easy, step-by-step instructions and a few tips and tricks to turn your hot honey into the perfect dinner-time staple.
Making Two Hot Honey Sauce Recipes
We’ve got two great hot honey sauces to share. One is made using dried chili pepper flakes, and the other is made with fresh chili peppers. Why not make both and compare to see which one is your favorite?
Start by gathering your ingredients, measuring devices, and a medium-sized pot. Note: You’ll also need a knife and cutting board if you’re using real chilies.
Version 1: Dried Chili Flakes
Add 1 cup of honey and 2 tbsp of red pepper flakes to the pot and stir them together. The cold honey will be thick, making it a little hard to blend everything. So it doesn’t have to be perfect; just a few passes with a spoon is good.
Now cook the mixture on medium heat, stirring every once in a while. You want the honey to come to a light simmer before taking it off the stove.
Be sure you’re watching the pot — honey can quickly boil up over the side of the pot! When it starts to rise, quickly lift the pot from the heat and bring it over to your sink. Stirring can sometimes cause it to rise even more, as the air will only feed the bubbles. So stir it very slowly and watch your hands to stay safe.
Once it’s ready, place the pot somewhere it can rest and give it another quick stir to really blend the flavors. Your sauce should sit for around 10 to 15 minutes before your first taste test.
Then you can use a spoon to make sure the spice level is to your liking. If you think it needs more heat, let it sit for longer. You can even add some more red pepper flakes!
The final ingredient of this hot honey sauce recipe is 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar!
When you’re ready, pour the mixture into a clean jar.
As an option, you can use a small strainer here to get a nicer-looking sauce. It will take a little bit longer to strain the red pepper flakes than the jalapeños, but the sauce will also be a lot grittier if you used red pepper flakes.
Version 2: Fresh Chiles
Instead of using dried chili flakes, wash and slice two fresh chili peppers (you may need to add more, so it’s good to have an extra on hand!).
Add them to 1 cup of honey in the cook pot.
Bring to a simmer, making sure not to allow the honey to boil over.
Remove the pot from the stove, stir in the apple cider vinegar, and allow to rest while cooling.
Pour into a glass jar (straining the pepper slices and seeds, if desired).
How to Store
If you don’t plan to use your hot honey right away, it’s important that you let it cool completely before sealing the jar. Otherwise, the condensation created can lead to bacteria building up faster inside the container.
When it’s fully cooled, a hot honey sauce made with this recipe can be stored at room temperature in a cupboard or on your counter. And it can last for up to 3 months!
Using Fresh Chillies
The best part about making your own sauce is getting to customize the spice and flavors to your taste buds!
How Many Chillies Do I Need?
For this hot honey sauce recipe, 2 fresh chillies are recommended. But the spice from fresh chillies is a little less reliable than red pepper flakes, so it may take more or even less to get the level you want.
When you grow chillies in your own garden the spice level tends to be a lot higher. So keep that in mind when choosing how much you need. Even the smallest chillies from a home garden can pack a punch.
What Type of Chili is Best?
Red chili peppers and jalapeños are the most common fresh spices to use for hot honey.
Between the two, jalapeños tend to have a milder taste with sweeter undertones. Whereas red chillies are spicier and have a much wider range of flavors.
Serranos are the most common red chili that you’ll find in a supermarket. That’s because they tend to be the mildest.
In terms of flavor, they are usually quite crisp and fresh. The perfect contrast to a gooey sauce!
Cayenne peppers are the next step up on the spice scale for red chillies. The slightly fruity undertones in this variety make it a great addition to your hot honey sauce recipe.
As long as you can handle the heat it comes with.
Using the Bird’s Eye red chili in your hot honey sauce recipe is not for the faint of heart. This pepper is filled with flavors, from the fruity and earthy body to the peppery aftertaste. But it will also leave your mouth burning.
Most surprisingly, these chillies have certain health benefits. Known to alleviate arthritic pain, stomach pain, and toothaches, they could be worth the spice!
Once you’ve picked which chili is right for you, you’ll need to prepare them before throwing them in with the honey.
The first step is to chop off the stem and throw it away. Next, you’ll want to slice up the chili as thinly as possible, widthwise.
The seeds are what hold most of the spice. If you’re looking more for the flavor than the heat, discard some of the seeds before adding your chillies.
Now you can follow the rest of the hot honey sauce recipe above to get your customized flavor!
Honey comes in many different varieties. The supermarket will usually only carry a handful of them, but there are over 300 different types! And different types are better for different things.
There are some that a best for medicinal purposes, others that should only be drizzled over pancakes, and ones that are better for hot honey sauce recipes like this.
If you’re looking for a light honey with a good amount of sweetness, Acacia or Clover are the best options.
Acacia’s mild flavor and Clover’s light, floral undertones will really bring out the rich spiciness of this sauce. Plus they’re unlikely to crystalize quickly, which makes them ideal for withstanding the heat of being cooked.
Buckwheat is one of the darkest honey varieties that you can get. Its molasses-like texture and bold flavor make it a perfect match for this hot honey sauce recipe.
Another great option is Fireweed honey. It may have a light color, but this variety is made from a perennial herb that gives it a complex, buttery flavor. Perfect for a gooey, drizzly sauce!
Sage and Blueberry honeys are amazing all-around varieties. Though they have distinct flavors, they are still quite mild which allows them to mesh well with most dishes.
It also means they are great for this hot honey sauce recipe! These honey varieties won’t clash with the other strong flavors in your sauce. But they also won’t be reduced to simple sweetness.
Using a mild type of honey will create an incredible blend of flavors that will turn every dish you make into a chef’s plate!
If apple cider vinegar isn’t your favorite, don’t worry! There are lots of substitutions that you can use in this hot honey sauce recipe.
For a more classic flavor, distilled white vinegar is an effective substitution. Without any of the sweetness that apple cider vinegar has, it will give your sauce a much tangier taste.
For the mildest taste, try using lemon or lime juice. The natural acidity will do the same job as the vinegar without leaving as big of an impact on the overall taste of the sauce.
The last option is a hot sauce. Ones made with a vinegary base, like Frank’s or Tabasco, are amazing substitutions. And they can also add a whole other layer to your hot honey sauce recipe.
When cooking this hot honey sauce recipe, don’t be afraid to customize the flavor even more by adding extra seasonings.
Sprinkling in some smoked paprika, chipotle powder, garlic, or ginger can really add to this sauce. Making it more savory and giving it a fuller-body taste.
Even butter can be added to make it creamier. But it will also make it expire faster, so be sure to only add butter when you intend to use up the sauce that day.
How to Serve
One of the most common uses of hot honey sauce is for pizza (may we suggest campfire pizza?). No matter what toppings you have on your slice, whether it has a white or red base, a drizzle of hot honey sauce on top makes it better.
But that doesn’t mean that’s all it’s good for. Hot honey is also a great dipping sauce for sandwiches, it’s a great addition to your charcuterie board, and it’s amazing on top of a chocolate brownie.
Almost anything you can think of could be made that much better with this hot honey sauce recipe — especially if you heat the amount you want before using it. That way, it’s nice and gooey in your dish!
Make the Most of Your Hot Honey Sauce Recipe
Turn every dinner party and meal into an experience with this easy-to-make hot honey sauce recipe!
In 20 minutes or less, you can add an explosion of flavor to your table. And have a personalized sauce on demand.
For more information on the art of honey, check out our All About Honey Comb article!
- 1 cup honey
- 2 Tablespoons dried chili pepper flakes OR 2-3 fresh chili peppers
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- If using fresh chilies, wash and slice them.
- Combine honey and chili pepper slices or flakes in medium-sized pot.
- Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally until thehoney begins to simmer.
- Stir one final time and then remove pot from heat.
- Stir in apple cider vinegar.
- Let sauce rest for 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
- Add more spice if needed and let sauce rest.
- Pour into a Mason or other glass jar.