Sweet & Hot

By Francine Spiering | Photo by Raymond Franssen

Hot honey is the swicy marriage between chile peppers (anywhere on the Scoville scale) and honey, and the popular trend of infusing honey with chile heat has been spreading like syrup on a hot pancake. Sweetness doesn’t have to come from honey—agave, date, and maple syrups are also very willing to marry a hot pepper.

How to Make a Hot Honey Infusion

Heat 1 cup honey (or your favorite plant-based sweet syrup)  with 1 tablespoon coarsely ground dry chiles or sliced fresh chiles (any kind) in a saucepan over low heat. Don’t let it boil; just heat until honey is runny and hot to the touch (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and cool. Let chiles infuse into honey for at least 24 hours.

Note: You can leave dried chiles in the hot honey after infusing, but strain out (and enjoy) fresh chiles. (See page 40 to learn about raw honey ferments.)

How to Use Hot Honey

  • Dial up the heat when the recipe calls for honey.
  • Drizzle on popcorn or on an aged cheese like Point Reyes Farmstead’s aged gouda.
  • Use it to spice up your honey-mustard dressing or bee’s knees cocktail.
  • Glaze poultry before roasting.
  • Brush on lamb shoulder and roast the meat on a bed of thyme and rosemary.
  • Mix with miso and use to glaze salmon before baking.
  • Toss root vegetables with extra virgin olive oil and hot honey before roasting.
  • Whip up with Greek yogurt for a kicking-good dessert.


Hot Golden Beet Roll

Rolled or stacked, these beets will find eager takers even among people who don’t particularly like beets.

  • 2–3 medium golden beets, peeled and sliced thin (use a mandoline)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup Hot Honey Infusion (recipe at left)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cover a large baking tray with parchment paper. Lay out the beet slices in a single layer but overlapping, like shingles on a roof. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil, increase temperature to 400°F and bake for 15–20 minutes more. By now, the beet slices should be caramelized on the edges and soft when tested with a sharp knife point. Take out and let cool.

When cool enough to handle, carefully roll up the beet slices, using the parchment paper as a tool to compress and shape. Proceed until you have a roll.

Serve hot or room temperature. (To reheat, place the roll on a baking tray in 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.) When ready to serve, place the roll on a board, drizzle with Hot Honey Infusion, and garnish with edible flowers and microgreens to taste. Or use a sharp knife to cut into slices and plate as on the cover.

TIP: Instead of rolling the beet slices, you can bake them stacked in greased muffin pans. Bake as above and then turn out and serve as stacks.

Francine Spiering is a food writer, editor, and recipe developer, who has worked with several Edible Communities magazines. She has a passion for travel and a kitchen diploma from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Follow her on Instagram @lifeinthefoodlane.

Raymond Franssen is a world-traveling geologist and amateur photographer. His photography passion is nature in its widest and wildest beauty, but being married to food writer and recipe developer Francine Spiering, he regularly finds himself setting up to shoot her creations. Follow him on Instagram @barolo_raymond.

Note: An earlier version of this story appeared in Edible Indy.