Thick, sweet, and delicious homemade apple-based vegan honey that requires only 3 ingredients and 30 minutes.
Sweet, thick, simple ingredients and easy to make, this Apple Vegan Honey will be your new favorite sweetener- you won't miss real honey at all! Make up a big batch and use it on everything from drizzling on fruit, toast or even in savory dishes.
It's really simple to make your own homemade apple honey by reducing pure apple juice, organic cane sugar and a lemon slice- no dandelions necessary! This is the perfect honey substitute to satisfy you.
- Apple Juice
- Organic Cane Sugar
- Lemon Slice
If you're looking for a great honey substitute, look no further! This apple-based honey is the perfect plant-based alternative to use in hot drinks, cold drinks, desserts, or even savory dishes.
Apple Juice: Make sure you're getting pure organic apple juice with no added sugar or ingredients. Alternatively, you can juice apples or blend apples and use a nut milk bag to squeeze out the juice from the pulp to make your own apple juice.
Organic Cane Sugar: I used Florida Crystals Cane Sugar. I recommend using vegan-friendly white sugar for this recipe. But coconut sugar and light brown would also work.
Lemon Slice: A little lemon juice will bring out a very slight citrus undertone which I absolutely love but if you don't want any citrus flavor, leave it out.
Is Honey Vegan?
This honey debate is one of the most controversial conversations in the vegan community. I'll put it simply, bees are an animal, so no, no matter where you buy your honey, it is not vegan.
Bees make honey by collecting nectar from flowers and then transport it back to the hive and turn it into honey. Honey is fundamental to the hive’s well-being as it provides bees with carbohydrates and other essential nutrients.
Often times when farmers remove honey from a hive, they replace it with a sugar substitute. This substitute lacks the essential micro-nutrients of honey, making it significantly worse for the bees’ health. Studies have also discovered that millions of honey bees had died due to pesticides, parasites, and poor nutrition.
So, does ethical beekeeping exist? Many will make the argument that their local bee farmer is ethical, maybe that's true, but with so many bee-free honey brands popping up, making your own vegan honey becoming easier and easier, and other vegan alternatives, there is no need to consume honey especially if we can't prove it's being done ethically.
How to Make This Recipe
Whisk together the apple juice, organic cane sugar and lemon slice in a small pot.
Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a simmer over medium heat for 25 minutes. The lemon slice will add a citrus undertone to the honey which I enjoy but if you want the lemon flavor to be very subtle, remove it after about 10 minutes.
Once done, the honey will be reduced by about ¼ and slightly thickened. Keep in mind, it thickens when it's cooled so don't overcook it.
Pour the vegan honey into a glass jar and let it cool completely at room temperature. Once the honey has completely cooled, transfer it to the fridge and store it for a few hours to completely thicken. Once completely cooled and chilled it should be thick and sticky.
Tips & Tricks
Don't overcook it! Overcooking the honey will make it overly thick and you might even be able to taste a slightly burnt or caramelized sugar flavor which is not what we're going for. Avoid high heat. I found simmering the honey for about 25 minutes gave me the right consistency.
When hot, this vegan honey will look thin and runny, but it will get thicker as it cools.
Use a clear, airtight jar to store the honey in. I recommend storing in the fridge. It should remain a thick and gooey consistency when stored cold.
Store homemade apple-based honey in an airtight glass jar for up to a month. I don't recommend freezing this recipe but it keeps for a while in the fridge and honestly, it's delicious and probably won't last that long anyway!
How to Use Vegan Honey
This easy vegan honey recipe is a sweet, gooey, thick syrup perfect for sweetening a cup of tea, drizzling over a stack of pancakes, or for mixing it into salad dressings or sauces.
The list of ways to use this sweet syrup is endless. Truly, you can do anything with it!
I've used this liquid sweetener to sweeten my morning coffee. I love making a shaken oat milk espresso sweetened with honey. It's amazing!
Use in replace of agave or maple syrup in any recipes that call for it like in salad dressings, or sauces, or make a vegan honey mustard dressing or hot honey drizzle by adding cayenne pepper or hot sauce.
Whisk plant-based honey with vegan butter to make honey butter and serve with fresh dinner rolls. Heaven!
Vegan Honey Substitutes
While these below aren't direct substitutes for honey, they are great alternatives and prove that there isn't a need for honey.
I prefer this homemade vegan honey when directly substituting honey but agave syrup and real maple syrup are the best honey substitutes that work wonderfully in a pinch when searching for a quick and easy vegan alternative.
Brown Rice Syrup or Rice Malt Syrup
Barley Malt Syrup
Store-bought Vegan Honey Brands
Vegan honey has come a long way! I remember when there weren't any alternatives on the market but now there are so many.
My favorite is this super easy homemade version but I love to support vegan companies so here are a few honey alternatives that I found that look really amazing.
You can find these online or in certain grocery stores.
Just Like Honey: A rich and thick vegan honey alternative made from Rice Nectar.
Blend it Up: An organic vegan honey substitute made from apples.
The Single Origin Food Co: A popular vegan honey brand that makes honey out of a wide variety of ingredients like date nectar, organic cane nectar, and coconut nectar.
Vegan Honey Company: Organic vegan honey made from fruits and sugar cane.
Bumble Bloom: Made from pure apple juice or pineapple.
Additions & Substitutions
Additions: You can add a Chamomile tea bag while the honey is simmering. This will give the honey floral notes and a honey-like flavor. I personally don't think it's super necessary but if you're missing that, give it a try! Take out the tea bag after about 10 minutes.
Substitutions: Cane sugar can be substituted with coconut sugar or light brown sugar.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vegan honey can be made from apples, pineapple, coconut nectar, agave, cane sugar, and dandelions. The list goes on! So many different ways to make delicious vegan honey.
This honey debate is a controversial topic in the vegan community. I'll put it simply, bees are an animal, so no, no matter where you buy your honey, it is not vegan.
This is a very easy recipe and all you need in a small pot and whisk. A small mesh strainer could come in handy if you want to remove the lemon pulp from the simmered lemon slice.
More Apple Recipes You'll Love
- Vegan Bacon Apple Spinach Salad w/ Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Cinnamon Apple Whiskey Sour
- Vegan Apple Crisp Macchiato (Starbucks Copycat)
Vegan Honey Recipe
- 1 cup Apple Juice no sugar added
- 1 cup Organic Cane Sugar
- 1 Lemon Slice
- Whisk together the apple juice, organic cane sugar and lemon slice in a small pot. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a simmer over medium heat for 25 minutes. The lemon slice will add a citrus undertone to the honey which I enjoy but if you want the lemon flavor to be very subtle, remove after about 10 minutes.
- Once done, the honey will be reduced by about ¼ and slightly thickened. Keep in mind, it thickens when it's cooled so don't over cook it.
- Pour honey in to a glass jar and let cool completely at room temperature. Once the honey has completely cooled, transfer it to the fridge and store for a few hours. Once completely cooled and chilled it should be thick and sticky.