Substitute Honey for Sugar in Canning

I've been teaching home canning for a long time.  I'd love to share what I've learned with you.   Simply Canning School's online video based classes .

For sugarless canning one option is to substitute honey for sugar.

A natural sweetener, honey is healthy and safe.... unlike an artificial sweetener. I'd encourage any of you to try using honey if you are cutting down on your processed sugar intake.

Healthy Sugar Substitutes

Here are some things to remember when you substitute honey for sugar in your canning recipes. 

Remember that as good as honey is for adults, it is NOT good for our younger children. It is not recommended that you give honey to any child under 12 months old. I've even seen the age of 18 months old as t e cut off age for allowing honey.

Honey is a stronger sweetener than sugar. 3/4 cups honey will equal 1 cup sugar. Adjust your measurements accordingly. 

Jam or Jelly

For making jelly or jam, honey will change the gelling nature. If you want to substitute honey for all the sugar in your recipe, use a commercial pectin. This will give a better gel to your product. 

If you don't want to use commercial pectin only substitute 1/2 of the sugar with honey. There are also tested recipes available. If you are adventurous you could experiment with sugar substitutions. The worst that can happen is you'll have syrup instead of jam... still good stuff. 

When you add honey you are adding liquid content. You will want to reduce the other liquid content by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey added. 


Honey can be substituted in pickling recipes as well. Remember honey is much sweeter so adjust your recipe. 3/4 cup honey = 1 cup sugar. 

Canning Fruit

A light mild flavored honey works well for canning fruit. If you are making a sweet pickled product, darker or stronger flavored honey works well. 

Honey may darken your fruit a little more than with sugar. This is normal. Honey will also obviously give a different flavor than processed sugar will. 

Dehydrating Fruit

Substitute honey for sugar when you make syrups to prepare fruit for the dehydrator or canner.

When making honey syrup for dipping or canning fruits, boil your water first. Then remove from the heat and then add your honey. Stir till blended then pour over fruits or use for dipping. 

Honey syrup recipes for dipping or canning fruits, light - 1 1/2 cups honey to 4 cups water medium - 2 cups honey to 4 cups water

Honey Tips

Tip - lightly grease your measuring cup or spoon before measuring out your honey. It will slide off easily. 

Tip - Honey is easier to work with at room temperature or slightly warmed. The colder it is the stickier and thicker it is. 

Raw Honey

Raw Honey is an unprocessed natural honey. It has many beneficial factors. I buy bulk raw honey from a local seller 5 gallons at a time!

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Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You are encouraged to verify all canning and food preservation advice on the USDA food preservation website. 

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