The 10 Best Store-Bought Honey Brands, Ranked

Honey is one of the most popular sweeteners used across the globe. It is well-known for its abundant health benefits, which Healthline states include anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. As chefs and food enthusiasts, we love its diverse flavors, which can complement everything from hot beverages to a myriad of recipes, sweet and savory.

While every grocery store carries at least one brand of honey, finding more unique honey varieties — like mañuka or orange blossom — may pose a challenge, depending on where you live. We scoured chain grocery stores like Walmart, Sullivan's, and Kroger's for more mainstream brands. We then hit smaller independent grocers, including a local ethnic market and health food store, to round out our samples. The cost was also a factor, as honey can get quite pricy, which is why many consumers prefer sourcing honey from a local farmer or farmer's market when possible.

Once we found a cross-section of different types of honey, we tasted them side by side, clearing our palates with bread and water between tastes. We ranked each honey brand based on color, texture, smell, flavor, mouthfeel, aftertaste, and utility. After we sampled all ten options, we grouped them from our bottom choice to our winner. Even though one type of honey may have had a more distinct flavor, if it was too niche, we ranked it lower than another with a less specific audience. Without further ado, here is our list of the ten best store-bought honey brands ranked.

10. Mike's Hot Honey Infused with Chilies

Mike's Hot Honey Infused with Chilies is a novelty born in 2010 at a pizzeria in Brooklyn, where inventor Mike Kurtz began garnishing his pies with this sweet and spicy condiment. The quality of the honey and the product are indisputable. What is debatable is how wide a cross-section of the population this honey might appeal to. If you are a chilihead who loves spicy foods, you will love it. If you are sensitive to heat, as we are, you may want to skip this one.

At first glance, this honey has a burnt crimson hue and a glossy syrupy texture. Its scent is redolent of cayenne pepper with delicate sweet notes underneath. While the sweetness of honey is present at first taste, the spiciness overwhelms you quickly, so much so that we coughed when tasting it and had to eat a piece of bread to calm our tongues down. The aftertaste is strongly chile-forward, and the heat lasts for quite a while after you eat it.

Still, there is a time and place for this honey. We imagine it would be spectacular in a pot of chili con carne, a homemade barbecue sauce, or a unique sweetener for cocktails with a kick. You could also use it as a garnish for anything sweet or savory. As everyday honey for tea, this wouldn't fit the bill. Although, it will clear your sinuses if you have allergies or a cold.

9. Breitsamer Honig Rapsflower Blossom Raw Honey

Since the 1930s, the Breitsamer family has produced delectable honey in Germany. The company's broad catalog of honey flavors is impressive, with its Rapsflower Blossom Raw Honey being a part of its classic collection. Of all the honey we tasted, this was the one that was most noticeably rich with terroir. Distinctive savory aromas reminiscent of garlic and grass immediately hit you when you smell this honey. It has a tan color with a buttery texture suited for spreading. The flavor of this honey has an almost cheese-like quality with a slightly bitter aftertaste that lingers, coating your tongue.

While this honey may not be for everyone due to its penetrating umami-rich flavor, it would be an ideal honey to add to a charcuterie and cheese board. Because it begins sweet and finishes strong, it would stand up to more aggressive cheeses, like an Emmental, Bavaria blu, or even a Limburger. We'd pair it with fruit, nuts, and a sweeter jam, like a fig or cherry preserve. We'd also serve this with a chilled German dry Riesling or perhaps an Apfelwein to help balance out the complexity of flavors. This honey would not be well suited to adding to a cup of hot tea, as it would potentially overwhelm the delicacy of the tea.

8. Heavenly Organics White Honey 100% Organic Raw & Unfiltered

We wanted to like this honey more than we did because the mission of Heavenly Organics speaks to our hearts. The company sources its honey sustainably from natural hives in India. It strives to uplift 650 families with stable employment in conflict zones that have seen political unrest and have endured tremendous hardship. However, the white honey left a lot to the imagination.

From an aesthetic perspective, the pale color looks more like butter than honey, and its texture is extremely thick, almost paste-like. Despite this texture, it is smooth and melts in your mouth readily, coating your tongue nicely. Its aroma is virtually undetectable compared to all the other honey flavors we tasted. Its flavor is similarly mellow, with slight hints of a floral undertone yielding slowly to a gentle aftertaste. Its sweetness is subtle without being cloying, making this a good honey if you want to add a kiss of flavor to a cup of tea without it being too much.

Heavenly Organics also produces Acacia Honey and a dark Neem Honey that likely has much bolder flavors if you prefer a more aggressive statement. That said, white honey is a suitable option, and one that certainly fits the bill, for those not fond of overly floral types of honey.

7. Carmichael's Organic 100% Pure Raw & Unfiltered Organic Honey

Carmichael's Honey Company was established in 2013 by the grandson of an amateur beekeeper. The company grew out of a passion for producing organic raw local honey. Unfortunately, the container we purchased had crystallized, something that can occur with raw honey. Because it was so solid, we could not sample it until we decrystallized the bottle, which is an extra step that takes time, making it a touch inconvenient. The best way to do this with plastic containers is to place the container into a pot of hot water. Be careful not to boil the water, or it will melt the plastic.

Once the honey was smooth enough to sample, its color was light amber, and it had a slightly smoky smell. Its flavor was earthy and more redolent of the waxy honeycomb than sweet or flowery. This flavor profile was a nice change of pace. The aftertaste of this honey was not very long-lived, lasting but a few seconds. It is a great all-purpose honey that would be effective in a beverage or added to a recipe for a hint of sweetness with a terrestrial undertone. We often use honey to balance the acidity in marinara sauce or tomato soup. Carmichael's would be a good honey for that purpose.

6. Kroger Clover Honey

There is a reason that every retailer in America has a bottle of clover honey in a honey bear container. It has become the gold standard since the invention of the bear container in 1957 by Ralph and Luella Gamber, owners of the honey brand Dutch Gold. Clover honey is good. It is an all-purpose, decent, simple honey that will appeal to a broad spectrum of people.

Nothing is overly exciting or unique about clover honey that makes it fringe in any capacity. Its color is medium amber, and its aroma is very mild. The texture is somewhat thin and liquidy but smooth, making it easy to incorporate into a hot cup of tea or a recipe to melt quickly. And its flavor is just average. Unremarkable, yet pleasant. It isn't overly rich or sweet and doesn't leave a lingering bite in your mouth or coating over your tongue, which is why it ended up in the middle of our ranking.

It did not elicit any strong opinions either way, but it does have a distinct element of nostalgia, evoking images of Winnie the Pooh and Yogi Bear. And of the honey we purchased at the store, this was the least expensive by a significant margin, making it a good buy for those who want consistent flavor at a moderate price point.

5. Madhava Clean & Simple Organic Creamed Honey Unfiltered

Madhava has been making award-winning honey since 1973. It is a member of the Clean Label Project, a quality control system designed to ensure purity and prevent contamination of products. Its Creamed Honey is our "everyday honey," meaning the honey we generally keep on hand for use in beverages and recipes. We like the creamed honey for a couple of reasons. This honey has a texture reminiscent of thin creamy peanut butter, so it coats your tongue well. It also will never crystallize thanks to the creaming process, which involves whipping honey seed crystals with liquid honey until larger granules are reduced to fine granules and cooled, making it shelf-stable.

This honey is one of the sweeter from the store-bought honey collection we sampled, with a strong caramel undertone. The dark-hued sweetener starts slightly grainy on your tongue but dissolves thoroughly, coating your tongue for a satisfying aftertaste that is very mellow and doesn't linger. Some may be thrown off by its creamy texture and aggressive sweetness, but we like it quite well. That said, it may not be everyone's first choice, which is why we placed it in the middle of our ranking.

4. Wholesome 100% Pure Fair Trade Organic Honey

At the highest price point of the honey we purchased, we were skeptical as to the value of Wholesome 100% Pure Fair Trade Organic Honey. Knowing it is "fair trade" and "organic" made us question if we were paying for labels versus quality flavor. We were pleasantly surprised at how complex this honey was. It is darker in color than most of the others we sampled, and while it was viscous, it was smooth, with a pouring texture similar to that of high-grade maple syrup. The nose on this honey was aggressively floral, perhaps the most indicative of the source of the nectar the bees fed off to produce this honey.

Its flavor started somewhat bitter before becoming sweet, strongly reminiscent of molasses. The honey has a mild aftertaste that doesn't linger for long but is noticeable. Because we appreciate the juxtaposition of sweet and savory, where hints of bitterness exist to offset sweetness, this was a brand of honey we enjoyed. Beyond using it in beverages, it would be great honey for adding to recipes. We could see using it with either sweet or savory recipes, particularly glazes or sauces for meat, highlighting its complexity as contrasted with the umami-rich flavor of beef, lamb, or game meat.

3. Nate's 100% Pure Raw & Unfiltered Honey

Nate's owner, affectionately known as "Nature Nate" for his love of the outdoors, purchased the North Dallas Honey company in 1997. In 2010, he turned his honey into his full-time profession, expanding Nate's to become one of the top honey brands in the U.S. The company offers quite an extensive catalog, with this honey being one of its biggest sellers.

This honey has a darker, almost light brown hue. Its texture is thick yet pourable, dissolving well when added to a hot beverage. Its scent is distinctive, with strong notes of lavender coming forward immediately. Its flavor is rich and sweet, with a lingering caramel aftertaste. With a moderate price point, this is an ideal honey for daily use. It won't set you back financially, but it has a more nuanced flavor than clover honey.

Because of its caramel notes, this honey would be great for oatmeal, granola, candied nuts, french toast, desserts, or as a garnish for a crostini with goat cheese or ricotta. It would also make a fabulous compound butter for cornbread or a stellar cream cheese frosting for carrot cake.

2. Bloom Pure Raw Honey Orange Blossom

We admit it. We are suckers for orange blossom honey. Well, orange blossom everything. One of our go-to flavorings is orange blossom water, so it makes sense that Bloom Pure Raw Honey Orange Blossom appeals to us on many levels. First, this is what we'd call premium honey. It is a pure, unfiltered, unpasteurized honey that has won many awards. Its texture is thin compared with most of the other honey we sampled, yet it is glossy and has a gorgeous beige hue. From its aroma to its flavor, citrus rings through. The California orange blossoms are delicate yet assertive, which sounds contradictory, but somehow, it is both. Its aftertaste was long-lasting, something that we love for honey with this level of intricacy.

While you could certainly use this honey in a recipe, particularly a dessert recipe, this is honey you don't want to conceal too much, or you may lose some of what makes it distinctive. We like to blend our yogurt rather than purchasing pre-sweetened fruity yogurt. When we do that, we add honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and orange blossom water for flavor. This honey would work perfectly for that purpose. It would also be a delightful garnish on pancakes instead of maple syrup. And it would be ideal in a cup of orange tea. All in all, we loved this honey and consider it a superior product.

1. Te Aroha Honey Co. New Zealand Raw Multifloral Mañuka Honey

"Te Aroha" means "a feeling of love," which is what we felt about this honey. Mañuka honey is arguably the Cadillac of all honey. It comes from the Mañuka bush (leptospermum scoparium), indigenous to New Zealand and Australia. This type of honey is distinctly high in antibacterial properties thanks to a compound known as methylglyoxal or MGO. The higher the MGO content in the honey, the greater its therapeutic benefit. The MGO on this bottle registers at 40+. WebMD suggests that Mañuka is particularly effective for wound care, calming a sore throat or cough, and improving digestive health.

From the beginning, the first thing you notice about this honey is its dark, almost brown color. It is very thick, almost like butter, but not grainy. The moment you open the jar, an intense floral aroma with notes of a rose bush waft to you. Its flavor continues with this floral palate, balancing out the sweetness of a rich caramel sauce. The taste lingers for quite a while after you swallow it. This honey ranks highest on the scale of penetrating flavors.

Because this is honey with a limited supply and a highly specialized curative nature, it can set you back a pretty penny. That said, it is well worth its cost for something truly unusual. It isn't the type of honey you incorporate into a fancy recipe where its flavor will get hidden, but rather a honey that deserves to shine on its own.