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How To Tell the Difference Between Raw Honey and Fake Honey

Almost everyone has experienced the amazing flavor of honey, but not everyone knows how to distinguish authentic honey out of the hive from manufactured syrup. By consuming raw honey from a local beekeeper, you can reap many health benefits and get your sweet fill at the same time. However, the grocery store shelves house various jars and bottles of fake honey advertised as real or pure. While it can be challenging to know the difference, learning how to tell the difference between raw honey and fake honey can spare you the doubt.

What Is Real and Fake Honey?

Real honey comes straight from the beehive, and raw honey doesn’t undergo any type of processing after harvesting. As a result, raw honey is the purest form of honey you can get. On the other hand, fake honey undergoes property-altering processes or comes from factory-created syrups altogether.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to distinguish between raw and fake honey; however, you can test it in multiple ways. Check out these nine ways to tell the difference between raw and fake honey.

Consider the Texture

The texture is one of the easiest ways to tell the difference between raw and fake honey, as raw honey is incredibly thick. On the contrary, fake honey is usually very runny. That said, you can test the texture by tilting the jar to see how long it takes for the contents to shift from one side to the other—raw honey will move very slowly, and fake honey will move almost as quickly as water.

Test the Stickiness

Despite popular belief, real honey isn’t very sticky. However, fake honey is incredibly sticky as a result of the syrups and other substances added during processing. You can conduct a quick test to determine the honey’s stickiness—rub it between your fingers and try to pull them apart. Raw honey shouldn’t stick too much, but fake honey might feel more like glue.

Smell It Deeply

Authentically pure honey usually has a delicate floral aroma, but fake honey might not smell like anything. That said, you should take a few deep breaths to test the smell of your honey. Chances are, it’s real if it smells sweet and floral, but it’s fake if it smells odorless or sour.

Look for Impurities

Beekeepers might remove large chunks of wax or debris when they harvest honey from the hive; however, they don’t filter the nectar to strip it of its beneficial properties. With that in mind, you can expect to see small impurities in raw honey. These extra specks, whether they’re bits of pollen or beeswax, add to the health benefits of honey. On the other hand, fake honey will be completely clear of specks with a consistent color. While the clear appearance might be more appealing to the eye, your honey should have small bits of nature in it.

Does It Crystallize?

Because of the high sugar content and low water content, raw honey tends to crystallize after some time. This crystalization is a completely natural phenomenon, and it proves your honey is real. Fake honey doesn’t crystallize because it contains more water. Even though it might take a while to see if your honey crystallizes, it’s an excellent test for raw vs. fake honey.

Do the Water Test

The water test is yet another way to tell if your honey is what you think it is. All honey will dissolve in water eventually, but raw honey takes more force. Add a bit of honey to a clear glass of water and watch how long it takes to dissolve. Fake honey will most likely dissolve completely within a minute. On the other hand, raw honey takes much longer to dissolve—in fact, you might have to stir vigorously for a few minutes.

Microwave It

Raw and fake honey react completely differently when heated. Put a few tablespoons of it in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it for a minute. Real honey will caramelize during this time; however, fake honey will bubble and foam. This heat test is one of the best to determine the purity and quality of your honey.


Do not put the entire jar or bottle in the microwave—excessive heat damages honey’s properties, so you could ruin your supply.

Drizzle It on Bread

Spread on toast is one of the most common ways to eat honey, but it can also work as one of the best ways to determine whether your honey is real or not. Real honey will sit on top of bread and harden within a few minutes. On the contrary, fake honey will soak into the bread due to its high water content.

Do the Matchstick Test

The last test you need to know about to tell if your honey is real or not is the matchstick test. Dip a matchstick in honey and try to light it. If it lights without issue, the honey is most likely authentic and pure. However, fake honey won’t light as readily because the additional water extinguishes and resists the flame. Be careful with this test, as fire can be dangerous for children or indoor experiments.

Now that you know how to tell the difference between raw honey and fake honey, you might be on the hunt for natural honey for sale. Although it might be a bummer to discover your favorite honey is fake, it’s better to know than to continue consuming sugary syrups with no nutritional value. Furthermore, conducting small experiments in your kitchen can be a lot of fun. If you’ve never tried real honey, it will be a delicious experience when you do—the flavor profile is unbelievable!

Honey is one of the sweetest and most delicious substances on the planet, and you can eat it daily. Honey is an incredibly versatile addition to your kitchen, whether you drizzle it on toast, sweeten your coffee, marinate your chicken, or top vanilla ice cream. Visit Crystal’s Honey online for a wide variety of honey jars, beautiful flavors, and other bee products straight from the hive.

How To Tell the Difference Between Raw Honey and Fake Honey
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