Homemade Hot Honey
Hot honey has been one of the viral trends to grace pizza pop culture in recent years. There’s little mystery to the hive mind. It’s got an addictive kick, both fiery and sweet, that compliments food featuring fat by cutting right through it. For fans of pepperoni, Detroit squares or already-spicy nduja pizza– a drizzled hot honey finish post-bake is a must-try. It’s also a nice touch on cocktails, in marinades and on dishes that have nothing to do with pizza (what are those?) including Buffalo wings, cornbread, biscuits, breakfast toast, grilled salmon and roast chicken. It’s also something you can make at home to your own preferred spice level.
The most well-known version is probably Mike’s Hot Honey, which is quickly becoming as ubiquitous as shakers filled with crushed red pepper flakes and Parmesan at on-trend pizzerias across America. The “Mike” is Mike Kurtz, who first discovered the delicious combination while studying abroad in Brazil. Mike fell in love with it, developing his own take and gifting little pots of it as presents to friends and family. When he introduced it to Paulie Giannone of Paulie Gee’s, the vaunted Brooklyn pizzeria where Mike apprenticed, an instant love – and best-seller – was born. We’re, of course, talking about the Hellboy, Paulie Gee’s most popular pizza: fresh mozzarella, Italian tomatoes, Berkshire soppressata picante, Parmigiano Reggiano, and a post-bake drizzle of Mike’s Hot Honey. After customers kept asking to take bottles home, Kurtz founded Mike’s Hot Honey in 2010. The rest is pizza history. Today, there’s also Mike’s Extra Hot Honey.
Mike’s Hot Honey is great and definitely worth stocking up on. But making your own hot honey at home allows you to explore a world of chili pepper flavors and heat levels that suit your personal preference. It’s also a deliciously spicy act of pizza love that follows a fairly simple ingredient list and process: honey, chili peppers, and vinegar. After a short process of chopping up your chilis, simmering them in honey and stirring in the vinegar, all that’s left is sampling your homemade hot honey. Just go easy on that first drizzle… it can pack a punch!
Notes: Choose your chili peppers and vinegar based on your own heat and flavor preferences. We’ve chosen a mix of Serrano red and Thai chili peppers, resulting in a mild, family-friendly heat. For fans of fiery-hot heat, sub in spicier peppers like habaneros or (beware!) ghost peppers. For a chunkier “extra hot” kick, chop the chilis finely and leave them in the honey unstrained.Yield
1 pot of hot honey
10 minutes active time, 1 hour chill
17oz glass container
1 cup (340 grams) honey
1 Serrano red chili, thinly sliced
1 Thai chili, thinly sliced
If you prefer to use dried chilis, swap out all the fresh chilis for 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Add the honey and chili pepper to a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, then remove from the heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Leave to cool before transferring to a glass container. Strain or remove the pepper slices if desired (these also make an excellent pizza garnish).