Make Hot Honey At Home For More Control Over The Spice

Made from honey that's typically infused with the spice of red chili peppers, hot honey is a flavorful condiment for everything from charcuterie boards and chicken tenders to ice cream and cocktails. Since most bottles of hot honey employ the use of chili peppers, the honey tends to have a not-quite-mild heat that isn't fiery enough to keep people away from eating it.

Whether eaten with a slice of cheese pizza or drizzled over chicken and waffles, hot honey brings a sweet and spicy flair to whatever food you pair it with. As the thick honey coats your tongue, the heat envelops the senses, elevating the meal. As delicious as it is, the heat can either be too much or completely underwhelming. Avoid this by making your own hot honey to attain your desired spice level.

To control the spice in her hot honey and pomegranate-glazed salmon, Tasting Table recipe developer Michelle McGlinn recommends turning to other peppers like paprika, cayenne, or chipotle powder. To make hot honey, simmer the honey and peppers on low heat and add a splash of apple cider vinegar after a few minutes.

Hot honey's heat depends on what peppers you use

As red pepper flakes steep in honey over time, the honey becomes hotter, so it may not be what you're after. Aside from the spice, the taste of the honey is dependent on the nuances found within the pepper you choose. For example, jalapeños make the hot honey both mild and a little earthy. This combination is ideal for eating with chicken wings that need a tad of sweetness without the extreme heat.

However, if you want to offset the chill of an ice cream sundae while still playing around in the same flavor arena, Scotch bonnet peppers are the one for you. The Caribbean peppers are known for their impactful heat — yet, they contain an undercurrent of fruitiness that will keep you coming back for more.

For versatile hot honey, use cayenne pepper. With a medium heat and a somewhat straightforward taste, the pepper doesn't pull any punches. Without the extreme heat or any hidden after-tastes, cayenne pepper is the ideal spice for simple hot honey.