Food and Recipes Sweeteners Honey Does Honey Expire? The Answer Might Surprise You Is the use-by date on your honey actually useful? By Tamara Gane Tamara Gane Tamara Gane is a travel, food, and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in more than 30 prominent publications, including Travel and Leisure, TripSavvy, The Washington Post, The Independent, NPR, Taste of Home, Wine Enthusiast, and more. Southern Living's editorial guidelines Updated on December 7, 2022 Fact checked by Khara Scheppmann Fact checked by Khara Scheppmann Khara Scheppmann has 12 years of marketing and advertising experience, including proofreading and fact-checking. She previously worked at one of the largest advertising agencies in the southwest. brand's fact checking process Share Tweet Pin Email If you look at the back of a jar of honey, chances are you'll see an expiration date. You might be tempted to toss the jar in the garbage and buy yourself a replacement if the date came and went months ago...but not so fast. You can still enjoy the health benefits of honey long after the expiration date. If you've ever wondered if honey expires, here's what you need to know. What do expiration dates actually mean? According to the USDA, product dating is not required by the federal government except in the case of baby formula. However, manufacturers usually place expiration dates or best-used-by dates to assist stores with inventory and help customers enjoy consumables while they are at their optimum flavor and freshness. This means that many products like honey are still perfectly healthy to eat long after their expiration dates. Does honey go bad? Honey isn't a perishable product. As long as it's stored in an air-tight container and isn't exposed to excess moisture, it will be safe to consume for decades or more. This is because honey naturally resists absorbing water molecules, which makes it an unsuitable host for bacteria. This doesn't mean it will look and taste exactly the same, though. Over time, honey will turn darker, cloudier, and crystallize. If this happens, there's no cause for alarm. The honey is still perfectly safe to consume. Can you return crystallized honey to its original state? Fortunately, it's easy to convert crystallized honey back to its liquid state–all it takes is a little bit of heat. If your honey is in a glass jar, simply place it in a shallow pot of water and let it warm over low heat. If it's in a plastic jar, heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. The crystals should dissolve, though it might be necessary to repeat this process again to return the entire jar back to liquid. Getty Images What are some uses for honey? You probably know that honey is delicious in tea or drizzled on top of buttermilk biscuits, but there are many more delicious recipes to put that honey in your cupboard to good use. Some beauty trends are even making the most of honey's benefits for your skin these days. Some of our favorite recipes, like our Honey-Glazed Spiced Carrots, Honey BBQ Chicken Wings, One-Pan Hot Honey Chicken and Rice, or Bee's Knees Honey Cocktail, are fabulous recipes to get you started. We asked Jennifer Earnest and Jamey Evnoiuk, the husband and wife team behind Jen and Jamey's Virtual Cooking Classes out of Jacksonville, Florida, for a few more ideas on how to use honey. They'd had some great ideas for how to make the most of honey in condiments and cocktails. Jamey's Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette Jamey says he uses honey to create his easy, delicious, signature lemon-thyme vinaigrette. For a five-cup batch, combine: 2 cups orange juice concentrate1/6 cup sherry vinegar1/2 tablespoon lemon juice1/6 cup honey1/6 cup dijon mustard1 tablespoon picked thyme2 cups extra virgin olive oilSalt and pepper to taste Jen's "Bless Your Heart" Cocktail Not to be outdone, Jen shared her recipe for her "Bless your heart" cocktail. 4 ounces blood orange juice2 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice2 ounces wildflower honey simple syrup (to make, just add warm water to the honey until you get the desired consistency, usually a 1:1 ratio)2 ounces of gin, vodka, or club soda Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Southern Living is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Food Product Dating.