This easy vegan apple honey has floral undertones and a rich flavor that I haven’t been able to get with other honey alternatives. It’s super simple with only 4 easy to find pantry-friendly ingredients (no dandelions needed!). You’ll want to drizzle this vegan honey alternative on baked goods and in a cup of tea.
why we love this vegan apple honey
Finally! A super easy bee-free honey substitute with a honey-like flavor! Bee’s honey can vary in flavor depending on the type you get. It can taste fruity or have floral undertones. It all depends on the type of honey you get and what the worker bees were pollinating.
This liquid sweetener has delicious floral undertones thanks to the chamomile tea it uses.
I love using this recipe to drizzle on baked goods or even as a core ingredient in my other recipes like my Vegan Honey Buns. All in all, this vegan substitute for honey is a great addition to a vegan diet!
wait, honey isn’t vegan?
Ah, the question of the decade…do vegans eat honey, and is honey vegan?
The short answer is no, honey is not considered vegan although it is considered vegetarian.
Vegans don’t consume animal products or support the exploitation of bees. Since honey is a by-product of honey bees, it is not vegan. This is similar to how dairy milk is a by-product of cows.
I won’t get into the nitty-gritty here, but if you’d like to learn more about the production of honey, you can check out this article by Plant Based News.
So what do we need to make this recipe? This beeless honey only uses 4 simple ingredients and I bet you have them in your pantry already!
Some vegan honey recipes use ingredients from dandelions, to corn, to apple juice, but today we’re keeping it super simple. Because if we can get similar results for less work, why not!?
To make this recipe, you’ll need the following:
- Chamomile Tea: I used tea bags by Tazo. This tea provides such a lovely floral flavor. It uses chamomile blossoms mixed with lemon balm leaf. This particular tea also has rose petals too which help enhance the apple-like flavor of the chamomile.
- Agave: Light Blue Agave Nectar has a sweet yet mild flavor that really helps enhance the chamomile and helps give this recipe a super sticky texture.
- White Sugar or Organic Cane Sugar: We’re using normal granulated sugar that when reduced and simmered creates a thick sugar syrup.
- Apple Juice: this adds flavor and sweetness to the bee free honee! You can also use water, pictured above.
Depending on the type of honey you buy, the flavor can vary. If you prefer honey that has both floral and citrus undertones, you can add in a slice or two of lemon as well!
other vegan-friendly substitutes
In the past, I’ve used some of the following as a vegan alternative for honey but none of them had the flavor of honey. But, they were great in a pinch. All of these are liquid sweeteners that I’ve used in the past:
- Agave Syrup or Nectar
- Maple Syrup
- Brown Rice Syrup
- Barley Malt Syrup
- Blackstrap Molasses
- Date Nectar or Date Syrup
- Date Paste
- Coconut Nectar
how to make vegan honey at home
The only equipment you need to make this plant-based honey is a small pot and a container to store the finished product in. A metal sieve is helpful for straining the mixture, but it isn’t required.
simmering the mixture
The first step is to place all ingredients into a small pot. Give it a quick stir and then simmer the mixture on low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure not to let the mixture boil! If you’re using lemon, remove the slices after about 10 minutes to prevent the mixture from becoming too citrusy.
The liquid will turn an amber color as it heats up and simmers but will be relatively liquidy until it cools.
cooling the mixture
After 15 minutes, remove it from the heat and strain it into a container. Let the honey cool completely at room temperature before placing it into the fridge.
If you place it in the fridge or the freezer while it’s still hot, this will make the sugars crystallize too quickly and the honey won’t be smooth.
Once it’s cooled at room temperature, you can cover the airtight container and store it in the fridge.
The honey will thicken significantly after being stored in the fridge for a few hours.
Store the honey in the fridge for up to a month!
This recipe is so great because it can be used in a variety of different ways.
It can be used as a sweetener in tea (both hot and cold). You can also drizzle it in lattes or use it in salad dressings. YUM!
This would be so tasty mixed with some chili flakes to make hot honee to put on fancy toast. Or mix it with mustard to make a vegan honey mustard dressing.
- Sugar: the granulated sugar in this recipe can be substituted for coconut sugar or raw sugar.
- Apple Juice: the apple juice in this recipe can be substituted for water.
storebought vegan honey
The vegan market has come quite far in the past few years and there are so many vegan alternatives now available. This homemade recipe is super simple to make and a go-to of mine, but sometimes it’s fun to support vegan companies and to try out new products.
If you’re interested in trying out some store-bought versions that taste like the real thing, here are a few brands!
- BlenditUp Bee-Free Honey: this version is made from apple nectar and lemon juice. It’s also organic.
- The Vegan Honey Company: this company makes a variety of different flavors from various plants, fruits, and roots, how cool is that!
- Humble Honee: they make honey as well as other products like bee-free lip balm.
- Single Origin Food Co.: they make a version called Vegan Un-Honey. It’s very reasonably priced too.
- Woody Vegan Honee: this is available on Etsy from the shop Hello Greens and is made from spruce tips, cane sugar, and lemon. It’s described as having a strong and spicy aroma. Delicious!
- Sunny Vegan Honee: this is from the same Etsy shop- Hello Greens– but it’s a dandelion variety!
tips & faq
Most vegans do not consume honey since it is a by-product of bees. If you’re plant-based, you may still choose to eat honey. You can read more about why vegans don’t eat honey in this article.
I prefer to store this honey in a sealable glass jar in the fridge. It will remain good for a few weeks to a month if your jar is sterilized prior to filling it.
All you need is a small pot and a container to store the finished honey. A metal sieve is helpful for straining the simmered honey, but it’s not required. You can pull out the tea bag and lemon slice with a fork.
I don’t recommend omitting or substituting the agave since it does help enhance the floral flavor. However, maple syrup is probably your next best option. I haven’t tried subbing maple syrup in this exact recipe, so I can’t guarantee results.
Yes, absolutely! If you have apple juice on hand, you can use it to make this easy recipe. This will make a rich vegan honey made from apples and will only enhance the flavor of the recipe. If you don’t have apple juice, no worries, you can substitute purified water.
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- Place all ingredients into a small pot. Simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Be sure not to let the mixture boil! If you're using lemon, remove the slices after about 10 minutes to prevent the mixture from becoming too citrusy.
- The mixture should reduce by about 1/4 after simmering. The liquid will turn an amber color as it heats up and simmers but will be relatively liquidy until it cools.
- Remove from heat, pour into a metal sieve, and strain into a container. I strained mine into a glass jar with a lid.
- Cover and let the honey cool completely at room temperature. Do not place in the fridge or the freezer to cool as this will make the sugars crystallize too quickly and the honey won’t be smooth.
- Once the vegan honey has cooled completely, it should be thick and sticky. It can be stored in the fridge for 1 month.
- Enjoy on granola bowls, toast, or any application that calls for bee's honey!
- The lemon slice adds some citrus undertones. Only add if you would like some citrus flavor in your honey. This recipe also tastes fabulous with just the chamomile tea, sugar, and agave!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 48 Serving Size: 1 tsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 15Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g
Nutritional info is an estimate.
NOTE: This post was originally published on May 5th, 2021, and was updated on April 14th, 2022.
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