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How to Tell If Honey Has Gone Bad

Have you ever wondered if the honey sitting in your pantry is still good? Honey is known for its long shelf life, but it’s not indestructible.

In this post, we’ll show you how to tell if honey is bad and what signs to look for to ensure that the honey you consume is safe and healthy.

From color and texture to taste and aroma, we’ll cover everything you need to know to determine if your honey is still good to use.

How to tell if honey is bad


If your honey is crystallized, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, this is a good sign that your honey hasn’t been processed or heated too much, which can damage its delicate flavor. To return it to its liquid state, simply place the jar in a pot of warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve.

Jar of honey with a honey drizzle stick

When it comes to honey, it’s important to make sure that it’s still good. Knowing how to tell if honey is bad can help you avoid food poisoning or bad taste.

With these tips, you can identify if your honey is bad and avoid any potential trouble.


The color of honey can be an indicator of its freshness and quality. Fresh honey typically has a light color, ranging from pale yellow to amber, while honey that is old or has been exposed to high temperatures may have a darker color, such as brown or even black.

If your honey is dark in color, it could indicate that it has been heated or pasteurized, which can reduce its nutritional value and potentially affect its taste.

Additionally, if your honey has a greenish tint, it could be a sign of fermentation or contamination, and you should avoid consuming it.

In general, it’s best to choose honey that is light in color and avoid any honey that looks unusual or has a color that is significantly different from what you’d expect.


If you want to know how to tell if honey is bad by its smell, you should start by giving the jar a sniff. If it smells off or fermented, then it’s probably bad.

Sour, fermented, or just plain nasty smells are all signs that the honey has gone bad. If the smell is natural, like from bees or wildflowers, then the honey is probably still good.

Be sure to leave your honey in a dark place like the back of your fridge so that the natural scents don’t seep into it.


Sometimes honey can go bad and when it does, its texture can change. If you notice that your honey is getting thicker and grainier, it might be going bad.

Eventually, it can become really hard and form little crystals. This happens because there’s too much water in the honey.

If it gets too hard, you can try heating it up a little bit, but don’t do it too much or it might not taste as good. When you heat it up, it might become a little runnier, but it will still be kind of chunky


When honey goes bad, it can have a sour, unpleasant taste or smell. This is often caused by fermentation or bacterial contamination.

If you notice that your honey has a strange taste or odor, it’s best to avoid consuming it and dispose of it properly.

Honey is a great way to flavor plain yogurt, find out how long can yogurt sit out.

What are the health benefits of eating honey?

Eating honey provides a wide range of health benefits. It is full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties, which can help boost your immune system, soothe a sore throat, and speed up healing.

It can also help to reduce eczema, improve skin health, have anti-cancer effects, reduce blood fats, suppress a cough, manage diabetes, and provide neuroprotective properties.

Additionally, honey may reduce the risk of heart disease, ease asthma and bronchitis symptoms, and help with gastrointestinal tract issues and periodontal disease.

However, it is important to consume honey in moderation, as it is full of sugar and can increase one’s risk of obesity and diabetes if consumed in excessive amounts.

Do you use honey to flavor your yogurt? Make sure you know how to tell if yogurt is bad before you flavor it with honey!

What causes honey to crystallize and how to prevent it?

Honey crystallization is a natural process that takes place when the sugars in honey absorb moisture from the air, causing the solution to become saturated and crystals to start forming.

To prevent crystallization from occurring earlier than it naturally would, it is important to keep the honey at room temperature and store it in glass, as it is less porous than plastic.

Additionally, it is best to avoid storing honey in the refrigerator, as this will speed up the crystallization process.

Raw, unfiltered, and unheated honey are more likely to crystallize than pasteurized honey, which has been heated to slow down the crystallization process, but this also removes some of the beneficial nutrients and vitamins.

What is the difference between raw and processed honey?

Raw honey is made from pure, unadulterated honey that has not been processed or heated at high temperatures.

It contains vitamins, enzymes, and pollen that retain its natural health benefits. On the other hand, processed honey is heated at high temperatures, which kills the vitamins and enzymes, and lacks pollen, so it does not have the same health benefits as raw honey.

In order to ensure the honey is 100% real, raw, and unfiltered, it must undergo multiple tests for common antibiotics, pesticides, and herbicides.

Raw honey is also traceable back to its original source, meaning it has come from real, living flowers and not from overseas.

Honey is a great addition and flavor to homemade granola, try my sweet maple syrup granola and swap the maple syrup with honey!

How to store honey

To store honey correctly and ensure its long-lasting properties, it’s best to keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dry area, such as a pantry or cupboard.

I have a post that goes in-depth on how to store honey that you should also check out, but while you are here, here are a few of the highlights.

You don’t need to store it in the refrigerator, although you can if you prefer. Also, be sure to close the lid properly after every use to prevent contamination from bacteria and to prevent the honey from absorbing moisture.

If the honey starts to crystallize, you can return it to liquid form by gently warming and stirring it, but make sure to not overheat or boil it.

Lastly, avoid contaminating honey with dirty utensils, such as knives and spoons, as this can allow bacteria, yeasts, and molds to grow. If you’re unsure about the quality of the honey, it’s best to throw it out.

Does honey have a shelf life?

The answer is no, honey does not go bad and is the only food that doesn’t spoil. However, honey is susceptible to physical and chemical changes during storage, which can affect its taste over time.

The experts at the National Honey Board suggest that honey has a shelf life of one to two years, although it may last much longer if stored in sealed containers.

What happens if you eat honey that has gone bad?

If you eat honey that has gone bad, you may experience gastrointestinal distress. It may also increase your risk of infection, although this risk is usually low unless you eat large amounts.

Contamination, incorrect storage, and degradation over time can cause honey to go off or cause sickness.

Mold on the surface of honey can also indicate that it has gone bad, so make sure to use clean utensils when scooping honey out of the jar.

Frequently asked questions for how to tell if honey is bad

Yes, crystallized honey is safe to eat and is actually a natural process that occurs over time. However, if the honey has gone bad, it may have a sour taste or smell, so always check for signs of spoilage before consuming.

Honey has a very long shelf life and does not have a strict expiration date. However, over time, it may lose some of its flavor and nutritional value.

Yes, honey can go bad even if it has never been opened. Exposure to heat, moisture, and air can all contribute to spoilage over time. It’s important to always check the appearance, smell, and taste of honey before consuming it.


Now that you know how to tell if honey is bad, you can make sure that the honey you’re consuming is safe and healthy.

Remember to always look for signs of spoilage, such as crystallization, fermentation, or unusual smells.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the many benefits of honey while avoiding any potential health risks.

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