Does Honey Go Bad?

Does honey go bad? A lot of people state that honey is the only food that can’t go bad. Is that true? It is, partially. Honey can go bad but that’s extremely uncommon and pretty difficult do happen. If you’ll store honey in pretty good conditions it’ll easily last years and even decades.

How To Store Honey

Honey should be stored in a tightly closed jar in a cool, possibly dark place. It shouldn’t be stored in the fridge because that will speed up the process of crystallization. When it crystallizes, it’s difficult to use honey (both natural honey and commercially packaged one) as a sandwich spread. That’s probably all you need to know about storing honey.

Shelf Life Of Honey

As I’ve mentioned earlier, honey (even natural honey) has a practically indefinite shelf life, of course if it’s stored properly. If it isn’t stored well it can go bad in a matter of a few years, or even quicker. Please note that even when the honey is stored well it may change its appearance or lose a little of its taste if stored for a very long time.

Can honey go bad?
(credit: zizzy)

Can Honey Go Bad? How To Tell If Honey Is Bad?

Honey consists mostly of sugar, which is hygroscopic. That means that it absorbs water from the environment. Normally honey contains about 18% of water, so any kind of yeasts cannot survive in that kind of environment. When the percentage of water in honey rises (that happens when the honey is able to absorb enough water from its environment), yeasts (certain kinds of them) become able to live in there. If certain yeasts develop in honey, they produce alcohol and the honey ferments. You can easily tell if there’s something wrong with the honey when you taste it. If the taste doesn’t resemble normal natural honey taste, it has gone bad. I’ll repeat again, this situation is extremely uncommon, but to give you all information you need, you should know that it might happen.

What To Do When Honey Crystallizes?

Some people don’t know what to do when they see a jar of crystalized honey. You should know that honey crystallizes and it’s a quite common situation. The pace of crystallization depends on the kind of honey. Raw natural honey tends to crystallize faster than a commercial one. Honey crystallization doesn’t mean that it has gone bad, crystalized honey is fine. You can easily liquify it. Just place the opened jar in warm water and stir it. Another way to revive it is by using a microwave. In that case microwave it in short (15-30 seconds) intervals and stir it afterch interval. After all the crystals dissolve, your work is done. Of course it can crystallize again. Take note that reviving honey a few times might contribute to loss of taste and change of color.


Does honey go bad? It might go bad, but it’s very unlikely to happen. If honey is stored pretty well it should last years and even decades. Please note that it might lose a little of its flavor an appearance over time.

If you’d like to check out some tips on using honey, check out

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