Honey adds color and sweetness to most recipes. But if you’re just beginning to incorporate it into your cooking, use recipes that call for honey instead of trying to substitute it for sugar. These six are a good starting point.

Honey-Vanilla Creams

If you’re in the mood for a rich dessert, look no farther than this recipe.

Makes 6 creams

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup honey

(plus extra for serving)

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a small bowl, mix gelatin and water together with a fork; let sit 1 minute or until firm. Heat firmed gelatin in microwave for 10 to 15 seconds on high to dissolve; set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat cream, milk, 1⁄3 cup honey, and sugar over medium heat until sugar and honey are dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; gently whisk in dissolved gelatin and vanilla. Divide mixture equally between 6 mid-size ramekins or 6 mid-size heat-proof glasses. Chill in refrigerator for about 3 hours or until set. (The creams will wobble when gently shaken.) To serve, drizzle top of each cream with honey to taste.

Broiled Salmon with Honey-Mustard Balsamic Glaze

This sweet andd tangy glaze makes a simple dinner special.

Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 to 6 8-ounce salmon fillets

Combine honey, mustard, vinegar, and thyme in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce comes together and thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Arrange for top oven rack to be about 6 inches from broiler; preheat broiler. Place salmon fillets, skin side down, on a nonstick baking sheet, and season with salt and pepper. Brush prepared glaze generously over each salmon fillet. Broil salmon for about 8 to 10 minutes for medium well or until cooked to your liking. Serve.

Grilled Peaches with Caramel-Honeyed Pecans and Ice Cream

This recipe is a must for anyone who loves a fruit-and-nut dessert.

Serves 4

for pecans

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup pecan halves

for peaches

  • 4 large ripe peaches, halved and pitted
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons honey

to serve

  • your favorite vanilla ice cream

Prepare the pecans. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. Combine sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until lightly golden, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally with a fork. (Be careful not to overcook; the sugar will burn.) Remove from heat, and carefully stir in butter. Stir in pecans. Carefully pour onto prepared baking sheet; let cool, and break apart.

Preheat outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium-high. Spray cut side of peaches with nonstick spray. Grill, cut side down, for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly caramelized and grill marks appear. Drizzle honey over peaches, and serve with prepared pecans and vanilla ice cream.

Spiced Honey-Orange Butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • grated zest on half an orange

Combine all ingredients into a bowl, and mix well with fork. Either serve immediately over grilled chicken, fish, or steamed vegetables. Chill for later use.

Green Bean Salad with Orange, Red Onion, and Honey Dressing

This is a great side dish for grilled chicken or steak. Feel free to try the dressing out on other recipes, too.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 oranges, peeled and cut into segments

For dressing

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook green beans for about 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender; drain. Place beans in a large bowl. Toss with sliced onion and orange segments.

Make the dressing: Whisk together honey, olive oil, mustard, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in dill.

Toss dressing with bean mixture, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or chill.

Shrimp with Honey-Soy Dipping Sauce

Serves 6 as an appetizer

For sauce

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • grated zest and juice of one lime
  • 1 teaspoon flour dissolved with a fork in 1 tablespoon cold water
  • crushed red pepper flakes to taste

For shrimp

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left intact
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large green onions, sliced
  • lime wedges to serve

First, prepare the sauce. Combine honey, vinegar, soy sauce, water, lime zest, and juice in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook 2 minutes. Whisk in flour-water mixture, and cook 30-60 more seconds to thicken. Transfer thickened sauce to a serving bowl, sprinkle red pepper on top; set aside.

Next, prepare the shrimp: Toss shrimp with soy sauce; season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp, and cook about 4 minutes, stirring frequently or until done. Serve immediately with lime wedges and prepared dipping sauce.

Charlotte Fekete lives in Marshall.

This story was published on

Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.