Can you eat expired honey?

In this article we are going to answer: can you eat expired honey, what is the expiration date, what is the best by date, what happens if you eat honey after the use-by date, why honey crystallizes, is honey healthy to eat, and how to store honey so it can last for longer. 

Can you eat expired honey?

Honey does not have an expiration date, instead, it is marked with a best-by date. Honey never goes bad, it can crystallize and change its texture but it can last forever at room temperature about 60 F to 80 F. So, you can eat honey even if it has been sitting in your pantry for more than one year. 

What happens if you eat honey after the use-by date?

Nothing will happen to you if you eat honey after the use-by date. Honey can last forever, it might crystallize but it won’t be spoiled. If honey is exposed to moisture and contaminants it can ferment but you will realize when you open the container and won’t want to eat it. 

So as long as honey has been stored correctly, it is safe to eat after the use-by date even if it crystallizes. 

What is the expiration date?

The expiration date in the product tells the consumer the last day a product is safe to consume. The expiration date is not in all products. It is required on certain products with a specific nutritional composition that could change after the expiration date. 

The expiration date is required in some products such as

  • Liquid diets
  • Foods sold by a pharmacist
  • Meal replacements
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Infant formula 

If a product has passed the expiration date, it should not be consumed.

What is the best date?

Best by date or use-by date tells the consumer that food is no longer fresh or in the same shape, texture, and taste as when you bought it. It might lose some freshness, taste, aroma, or nutrients but it doesn’t mean that the product has gone bad and is no longer safe to eat. 

The product’s safety, freshness, and taste depend on how it has been stored. So, if the product has not been handled correctly, it can lose all its qualities long before the best-by date. 

Why does honey crystallize?

Honey crystallizes because sugar is separated from the water. There is nothing you can do to prevent it. Certain types of honey crystallize more than others. Alfalfa Clover honey crystallizes very fast while maple, tupelo, and blackberry honey take longer to crystallize. 

Honey that is higher in glucose tends to crystallize faster. Also, unfiltered honey tends to crystallize fast because it has more particles of pollen or wax. 

Crystallized honey can be used as you use liquid honey. To de-crystallize it, just warm some water and put the jar of honey until it returns to its liquid state. Do not heat honey in the microwave, it can exacerbate the crystallization process over time. 

Honey that doesn’t crystallize means it has added sugars or chemicals. Some brands of honey add corn syrup.

Is honey healthy to eat?

Yes, honey is considered a superfood. Honey is a super nutritious food that almost everybody loves because of its sweet flavor. The main nutritional content of honey is carbohydrates, mainly simple sugars: fructose and glucose. 

It has very few proteins, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. It has some polyphenols that have a lot of benefits for health.

How to store honey so it can last for longer?

Honey should be stored in glass jars with lids. Just be careful that the lids fit perfectly so they won’t be exposed to air or contaminants. You can put it in your pantry, try not to refrigerate it because it can fasten the crystallization process. 

It should be stored between 50 F to 80 F (10 C to 20 C). Honey can last up to 12 months in your pantry without crystallizing. If it goes bad, it can become cloudy, white in color, and have a hard texture, this means it was exposed to moisture and oxygen and has fermented for too long. 

Follow this link for 4 tips on how to extend the shelf life of honey. 


This article answered: Can you eat expired honey, what is the expiration date, what is the best by date, what happens if you eat honey after the use-by date, why does honey crystallize, is honey healthy to eat, and how to store honey so it can last for longer. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.