The Top 11 Best Raw Honey Brands (2021)
The truth is, fake honey is everywhere. And unless you know what to look for in the best raw honey, you’re bound to get scammed into buying “real honey,” a.k.a colored sugar water.
We’ll help you save your hard-earned money for the honest, raw honey. We’re talking about the kind with certifications and world-renowned quality testing. It’s so legit that you can trace your honey back to its source!
So, without further adieu, here are the 12 best raw honey brands that will make you say, “Now this is the bee’s knees!”
- 11 Best Raw Honey Brands You Should Have In Your Pantry
- 1. Desert Creek Raw & Unfiltered Raw Honey – Budget Pick
- 2. Kiva Raw Manuka Honey – Premium Pick
- 3. Nature Nate’s 100% Pure Raw & Unfiltered Honey – Top Pick
- 4. Wedderspoon Raw Monofloral Manuka Honey
- 5. Steens Raw Manuka Honey
- 6. Meluka Raw Honey
- 7. YS Eco Bee Farms Raw Honey
- 8. Beekeeper’s Naturals Wildflower Raw Honey
- 9. 365 by Whole Foods Market Mountain Forest Raw Honey
- 10. Crockett’s Honey Raw Desert Wildflower Honey
- 11. TJO Bees Raw and Unfiltered Honey
- Your Guide To Buying The Best Raw Honey
11 Best Raw Honey Brands You Should Have In Your Pantry
Let’s take a trip across America and the Land Down Under to check out the top honey brands in the business.
Still unsure which raw honey to get? Continue reading our unbiased review for each one.
Let’s bee-gin with a good-quality Texas raw honey that fits the budget for your everyday use. Desert Creek Farm trusts in their bees’ instincts to make the best honey.
That’s right, no filtering process or pasteurizing here—just a bit of skimming, so you don’t find a bee leg in your honey. The result is a deep flavor profile of wildflower packed with all the natural goodies of bee pollen and enzymes. It’s lighter on the sweetness, heavier on the earthy flavor, and mild on the floral undertones.
The only tradeoff is that the cap breaks easily. Other than that, it’s the best store bought honey for the budget-conscious.
You’ll be paying almost a premium price per oz for one 250g pack for this raw manuka honey. But it’s worth it because this honey has a UMF rating of 20+, meaning every jar contains the most antibacterial properties of the Manuka flower.
Taste-wise, it’s not your average raw honey flavor. It’s less sweet and has an earthy herbal hint to it. Think creamy and slightly minty honey that’s super thick – don’t be surprised that it comes in a jar! Use it anywhere from a daily superfood fix or a luxurious face mask.
Back in North America, there’s a big buzz around Nature Nate’s 100% pure, raw, and unfiltered honey. On Amazon alone, it has over 22,000 reviews and an almost perfect 5-star rating!
If that doesn’t convince you that it deserves the best raw honey brand or the best honey brand in USA, here is what you’ll be getting:
- Honey per ounce is surprisingly cheap!
- Raw, unfiltered honey
- Stringent testing and monitoring
- Pesticide and antibiotic-free raw honey (1)
- Partners with local apiarists across the country
- Mild sweet clover honey taste with warm and floral notes – perfect for tea, yogurt, and more.
Plus, the squeeze bottle is super convenient. It’s like the one of Heinz ketchup, where it’s pressurized and has a silicon flap that prevents extra drippage. I mean, we love honey but don’t like to deal with a sticky bottle, right?
Despite the huge price gap from our premium honey brand, Wedderspoon offers value for money raw manuka honey. And, it starts with their bees; their busy bees collect the nectar from wild Manuka flowers in New Zealand’s South Island Hills (2).
What you’ll get is a jar full of liquid gold (aka honey) in a creamy yet slightly grainy texture. You also get 75% of Manuka pollen, hence the KFactor 16 rating. Plus, the pretty packaging makes an impressive gift to your friends!
If you want Wedderspoon raw honey that you can drizzle in your morning tea, the Wedderspoon Raw Premium Manuka honey variant should be your perfect choice.
Unlike other Manuka honey products, this has extra raw components – bee bread!
Bee what-now? Bee bread is fermented pollen mixed with honey and bee saliva (3). This bee superfood also accounts for this Manuka honey’s grainy texture composition. And it sits on top of the MGO scale for antibacterial properties.
It’s one of the most textured honey brands. But it has that signature earthy manuka richness without too much medicinal aftertaste. The downside? It has a slightly steeper price.
Imagine the combination of wildflowers, eucalyptus, and Australian jelly bush. But add the extract of 35,000-year-old Tea trees (4). That’s what you’ll get with this organic raw honey – “Oooh, honey, that’s something!”
Plus, it provides you with tried-and-tested-healing properties that the Bundjalung Aboriginal people relied on for thousands of years. The honey doesn’t go through filtration or heating. You get all the traditional medicinal benefits from tea tree extract with the already fantastic health benefits of raw honey.
Let’s dive into some more versatile options like the YS Eco Bee Farms Raw Honey. This brand tastes like “normal” honey. Think of the flavor you get from sucking a honeycomb. It’s simply sweet and kid-approved. You can spread (yes, not pour) it on your peanut butter sandwich. Or use it as a mild sweetener for hot beverages.
Canadians pride themselves on their pure maple syrup. But don’t count them out on their raw honey either. The Beekeeper’s Naturals company makes delicious raw, unfiltered honey.
Their wildflower honey is a little less sweet than the YS brand. But it’s still pretty simple. If you like raw honey but don’t like the intense flavor some brands have, this one’s for you. It’s milder and more pleasant. Plus, you get that wildflower bouquet with a hint of herbal undertones.
This jar of raw honey is perfect for adding sweetness and floral notes to your morning tea. It’s also not as thick – it melts quickly after a few stirs! But it does crystalize fast.
Color: Golden and creamy
- Quality: Organic
- Flavor: Rich, earthy, slightly floral
Brazil is just a wonderland of different plant species. With all that diversity, you can only imagine how awesome the honey from there would “bee.” Oh, wait, you don’t have to imagine. Taste it for yourself by grabbing a jar of Whole Foods 365 honey.
The Mountain Forest honey is beautifully golden, creamy, and super thick. But it’s still smooth considering the crystals. You get that deep wild honey taste without being too in-your-face about it- the middle-ground of intense raw honey and plain raw honey.
For less than a fruit smoothie, it could be the best store-bought honey, especially considering it’s certified, Brazilian organic honey.
So, desert honey, what’s so great about it? Well, for starters, you get a different variety compared to mountain or forest honey. You have some cactus and mesquite flowers that give off a combination of floral and earthy flavor. Other wildflowers add a different level of sweetness too.
Intense honey lovers, beware. Don’t let that deep, rich color fool you. This honey is on the mild side as far as raw honey goes. So you don’t have to go easy on the drizzle. You can even afford to go a little overboard, considering you can get 3-pound jugs.
One of the mildest honey options, clover gives off a sweet and floral taste. But wait, it gets more pleasant with the addition of alfalfa. It becomes more delicate, even bringing a hint of vanilla flavor. Plus, it smells like being in a clear meadow on a spring day.
It’s really affordable for a 5-pound jar. Don’t worry; we won’t judge if you decide to unleash your inner Winnie the Pooh and indulge in this honey.
Your Guide To Buying The Best Raw Honey
Now you’re familiar with the best raw honeys. It’s time to dive deep into the beehive and learn more about buying and choosing raw honey.
Color and Flavor
People in the honey world assume that the darker the honey, the more intense the flavor is. But it’s NOT ALWAYS the case (5).
“Each varietal of honey generally falls within a color range, with slight variations…but the color does not always correspond to what we expect to taste.”
Simply put, the color and taste of honey depend on the pollen and nectar source (varietal). Some flowers make darker honey with a mild taste. Crockett’s Honey Raw Desert Wildflower Honey is an excellent example of this.
On the other hand, the famous Tupelo honey has a light color with a very bold taste. If you prefer almost clear, pure raw honey, get acacia honey from Bee Harmony.
You also get different undertones or subtle flavors from other varieties (6). And some brands, add extra flavor like chili peppers!
Processing and Packaging
Raw honey has pollen, enzymes, and other natural stuff that makes honey a superfood (7). It should not have any artificial additives. So in the ingredients section, it should just say pure honey, nothing else.
All honey you find in a container has been processed. But the degree of processing determines if the honey is raw or not.
The only processing that raw honey needs are capping, extraction, and straining (unless you don’t mind some wax in your teeth). Of course, it also depends on the type of beehive the apiary uses.
There are many great honey extractors out there to help you get the most out of your honeycombs. Steens Raw Manuka Honey uses their trademarked extractor to remove the wax layer from the comb and not waste honey.
On the other hand, splitting a hive gives apiaries double the honey output from one colony.
Here’s the most basic way to process raw honey.
Some processing plants cream the raw honey that crystallizes after extraction. Crystallization is a normal process and is one of the properties of natural honey (8).
Heating is a sensitive topic. You don’t want to take away those raw honey properties, but you also can’t package honey well when it’s a block of crystal. As long as you don’t heat honey to 160℉, your honey remains raw (9).
Texture and Consistency
After the honey processing, you get an idea of the mouthfeel and fluidity of the honey. Some, like the Wedderspoon Raw Monofloral Manuka Honey, have a grainy texture because of creaming. Others like our top pick, Nature Nate’s 100% Pure Raw & Unfiltered Honey, have a silky feel.
The texture goes hand in hand with consistency. Naturally, thick honey crystallizes faster and, of course, has a grainy texture. Thinner honey like the Desert Creek Raw & Unfiltered Raw Honey is more like syrup, making them great for drizzling over food or drinks.
Pro tip: If your certified raw honey crystallizes because of the cold weather, just gently soak the bottle/jar in warm water and mix it up.
Certifications and Grading
So how do you know that you have pure honey? Well, there are certifications and grading organizations for that.
Extra strict testing applies to Manuka Honeys to make sure you’re getting the purest form with all the health and medicinal benefits that come with it.
The most trusted grading systems for the purest honey brand of Manuka are the following (10):
- UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor. The higher the grade, the more potent (and expensive) your honey is. Our premium pick, Kiva Raw Manuka Honey, has a UMF rating of 24+, translating to ultra-premium grade.
- MGO focuses on the methylglyoxal compound that naturally occurs in Manuka honey. Steen’s brand has an MGO of 514, which is a relatively high score.
- KFactor is a unique rating by the Wedderspoon brand. KFactor 16 of the Wedderspoon Raw Manuka Honey means that the honey mostly comes from Manuka (monofloral). A lower KFactor 12 means the honey comes from other flower sources aside from Manuka (multifloral)
Organic is a term many companies throw around willy nilly. It’s good that organizations like Fair Trade exist to certify that the product is organic. 365 by Whole Foods Market Mountain Forest Raw Honey and Wholesome Organic Raw Unfiltered Honey are certified, organic honey.
For other raw honey, the only way you can know it’s “raw” is by learning how manufacturers process it. If it’s pasteurized or filtered several times, you know it’s not raw honey.
Raw honey is good for overall health. The antioxidants, antibacterial, and antifungal properties keep your cells healthy (11). You can use it as a rejuvenating face mask, acne treatment, and for wound healing.
You can also eat as it is. Raw honey improves your digestive health because of enzymes and naturally occurring good bacteria in it. Also, the pollen in raw honey provides added protein to your diet.
No, raw honey doesn’t go bad as long as you keep it pure. Bees seal their raw honey with wax, preserving that liquid gold from getting contaminated by mold or other environmental factors.
Make sure you keep the lid tightly sealed in your home, and please don’t double-dip your spoon into jars. And as tempting as it might be, don’t lick the sticky cap. Non-honey bacteria can cause the raw honey to ferment and then spoil.
Babies under one year of age should not eat honey. One of the good bacteria in honey is toxic to a developing baby’s digestive system. It leads to infant botulism which causes constipation, muscle weakness, and breathing problems (12).
People with bee allergies should avoid eating raw honey. Some venom or bee parts might still be in the honey and can cause an allergic reaction.
- Purity Guarantee. Retrieved from: https://www.naturenates.com/purity-guarantee/
- How Wedderspoon Keeps it Real (Raw). Retrieved from: https://wedderspoon.com/pages/wild-and-raw
- Bee Bread. Retrieved from: https://www.amentsoc.org/insects/glossary/terms/bee-bread
- Meluka Honey. Retrieved from: https://melukaaustralia.com/pages/honey
- Honey Connoisseur. Retrieved from: https://www.google.com.sg/books/edition/Honey_Connoisseur/XxMaCgAAQBAJ
- How to Taste (and Fall In Love) with Raw Honey. Retrieved from: https://www.seriouseats.com/honey-tasting-101
- Honey Buyers Guide. Retrieved from: https://www.honeytraveler.com/types-of-honey/
- How to Keep Raw Honey from Crystallizing. Retrieved from: https://ashevillebeecharmer.com/honey-tips/keep-raw-honey-from-crystallizing/
- How Honey is Processed. Retrieved from: https://www.ift.org/news-and-publications/food-technology-magazine/issues/2017/june/columns/processing-how-honey-is-processed
- What is UMF, MGO, and KFactor? Retrieved from: https://manukahoneyorganic.com/what-is-umf/
- The Top 6 Raw Honey Benefits. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/top-raw-honey-benefits
- How Can I Protect My Baby from Infant Botulism? Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/infant-botulism/faq-20058477
Tana grew up around island farms and pine forests. Her love for nature lead to her degree in Biology and mission to lessen her environmental impact. Now she grows food in her backyard and shares what she learns from Eco Peanut with others.