How To Find The Best Organic Raw Honey (That Actually Is)

Are you using honey in your home? Honey, especially raw organic honey is a wonderful natural alternative to high fructose corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners. Raw honey is a natural sweetener with incredible health benefits! When you are buying honey, you should always look for organic raw honey. But here’s the problem… did you know that most of the “raw honey” at the grocery store is actually fake? Learn how to avoid fake honey, and also where to find the best raw organic honey in this post. 

Hand dipping into a jar of raw honey in front a honeycomb and bees

What Is Raw Honey?

Raw honey is honey in its most natural state, straight from the bee hive into a jar. Raw honey hasn’t been processed, and nothing has been added to it. Honey in a raw state has many health benefits, from improving immune system function to helping wounds heal, and soothing sore throats. Unlike regular honey, which may undergo high heat treatment and filtration, organic raw honey maintains its live enzymes, beneficial bacteria, and amino acids. Learn more about raw honey and the natural health benefits here

hand scraping fresh raw organic honey off of a honey comb

Raw Honey, Unfiltered Honey, Pure Honey. What’s the Difference?

The terms “raw honey,” “pure honey,” and “unfiltered honey” are often used interchangeably, but they do have distinct meanings. Here’s a breakdown of the differences:

Raw Honey

  • Raw honey is honey that undergoes no processing or heating at high temperatures. Beekeepers typically extract it from the honeycomb and strain it to remove large particles like beeswax and bee parts, but they do not pasteurize or filter it.
  • Raw honey retains its natural enzymes, pollen, and other beneficial components, which may be destroyed or altered during heating and filtration processes.
  • Because raw honey is minimally processed, it may crystallize over time, which is a natural occurrence and does not affect its quality or nutritional value.

Pure Honey

  • Pure honey generally refers to honey that has not been diluted or mixed with other substances. It should consist solely of honey produced by honey bees from the nectar of flowers.
  • The term “pure honey” does not necessarily guarantee that the honey is raw or unfiltered. Some commercially labeled “pure honey” may undergo filtration or heating processes to improve clarity and shelf life.

Unfiltered Honey

  • Unfiltered honey is honey that has not been filtered to remove particles, bee pollen, or other natural impurities. It may contain small particles of beeswax, pollen grains, or other fine particles from the hive.
  • Unfiltered honey retains more of its natural characteristics and may have a cloudy appearance compared to filtered honey, which is clear and transparent.
  • Like raw honey, unfiltered honey may crystallize more quickly due to the presence of pollen and other particulates. 

Beware of Fakes: Your Organic Raw Honey Might Not Actually Be Raw (Or Pure)

Unfortunately, one of the problems with honey today is that labeling is not regulated. Which means that any honey producer can put the word “raw” or “pure” on their label, without having to follow any requirements to do so. Producers will also often dilute honey with water, and sometime sugar is even added to make the production cheaper. None of this is regulated, so if you are buying from a large company at the grocery store there’s no way to know if it’s pure honey. This is incredibly frustrating, if you ask me! If you are buying organic honey, (as long as it is stamped with the official USDA organic seal), you know that the honey came from flowers and plants not treated with pesticides. However it could still be diluted, and might not be actually raw. For honey to be truly raw (and pure), it needs to be unheated, unprocessed, unfiltered, and un diluted. 

lineup of honey in an automated factory

How Do I Find Real Organic Raw Honey?

The best way to know that you are buying real raw honey, is to buy from smaller producers who produce their honey with integrity. If possible, try and find local honey from a beekeeper in your region. You may have to dig a little and do research to see specific beekeeper practices, and understand how their honey is produced. I have a few brands that I trust at the bottom of this post.

raw organic honey in a glass jar next to honeycombs

Types of Organic Raw Honey

Once you find a reputable honey dealer, you might find a variety of different types of honey and flavors. Each type comes with its own distinct flavor profile and health benefits. Here are a few: 

several glass jars in a line of different types of raw organic honey

Clover Honey

Clover honey comes from the nectar of clover blossoms. This variety is one of the most popular and widely available varieties of honey, because clover plants grow in many regions. Clover honey has a mild and pleasant with flavor with light floral notes. The color may vary from light amber to medium amber, depending on the specific clover species and the region where bees produced the honey. Clover honey doesn’t have quite as many antioxidants as Manuka or Buckwheat honey, but it’s still a great all-purpose honey to keep in your cupboard. 

Wildflower Honey

Wildflower Honey comes from (you guessed it), wildflowers. Unlike many types of honey, wildflower honey is a blend of nectars from numerous different sources instead of one variety. Depending on the region, climate, and time of year when bees produce it, wildflower honey can vary greatly in flavor. The color often ranges from light amber to dark amber. Wildflower honey not only has a really delicious flavor, but consuming raw wildflower honey sourced from local bees may also help alleviate seasonal allergies.

bees in a field of wildflowers collecting nectar for raw honey

Buckwheat Honey

Buckwheat honey is a dark and bold honey, primarily from the nectar of buckwheat flowers. This type of honey has a robust, full-bodied flavor with earthy and malty undertones, a has a more “intense” flavor than some varieties. Honey enthusiasts and chefs like buckwheat honey because it can really add depth and complexity to dishes and recipes. People commonly use buckwheat honey as a natural sweetener in baking, cooking, and beverages. It is also believed to contain higher antioxidant levels than some other honeys, making it a great natural remedy for sore throats and coughs.

Alfalfa Honey

Alfalfa honey is produced from the nectar of alfalfa flowers and is typically light to medium amber in color, with a mild, delicate flavor and a pleasant aroma. This honey variety is a great sweetener to use in baking, cooking, and beverages since it has a mild flavor. 

Orange Blossom Honey

Orange blossom honey is a type of honey produced by honey bees primarily from the nectar of orange blossom flowers. It has a light color, citrus aroma, and sweet, floral flavor with subtle hints of orange blossom. I actually have a jar of this in my cupboard right now, and it’s delicious! I have heard that orange blossom honey butter is amazing, so I’m going to have to try that. 

Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is sourced from the Manuka tree in New Zealand. What sets Manuka honey apart from other types of honey is its distinctive medicinal properties. It is known for its potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is a favorite for wound healing and immune support. Manuka honey has a subtly sweet flavor with a slightly bitter after taste. 

Acacia Honey

Acacia Honey comes from the nectar of black locust trees and has light floral notes. This type of honey has a high concentration of fructose so it takes longer to crystalize. This makes it a good option if you tend to take a long time to finish a jar of honey (not me). 

Organic Raw Honey Brands You Can Trust

With all the fakes out there, how do you know if you can trust a brand of organic raw honey? Like I mentioned earlier, you need to be willing to do some research. The company should be open and transparent about their honey and their practices. Some honey brands still commit to keeping their honey actually pure, raw, and unfiltered. Start with your local farmer’s market, to find some local honey near you. After that, here are some of the best honey brands that you can order from online.

azure standard organic wildflower raw honey

Azure Standard

If you have never ordered from Azure Standard before, I highly recommend you check them out. Azure is a great family company with wonderful values and good prices. You can order lots of great organic food in bulk, including raw honey. They have several varieties of organic raw honey, including wildflower, clover, and orange blossom. They share production techniques on each honey product, explaining how the honey is never heated over the temperature of a beehive. This ensures that it remains raw when you receive it.

3 jars of big island bees raw honey

Big Island Bees

Big Island Bees is a family operation native to Hawaii, and pride themselves in only packaging and selling honey that their bees produce. They produce honey “without the use of artificial feeds, chemical miticides, heat, or filtration and only use organic compounds to care for their bees”. They even have a popular honey flavor that comes from the lehua blossoms, native only to the remote Hawaiian forests of Mauna Loa. 

large glass jar of killer bees raw honey

Killer Bees Honey

Another company with complete transparency in their methods, is Killer Bees Honey. They are located in North Carolina, and they are committed to producing high quality, organic raw honey. According to their about page, Killer Bees is “the only bee keepers in the United States who sends their honey to be analyzed for purity of content by labs in Germany, California and Missouri, and then publishes the reports online. Our honey tested 100% pure from all pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, antibiotics and herbicides including glyphosate”. 

jar of really raw honey

Really Raw Honey

Really Raw Honey is a small producer who’s tagline is “straight from the hive for 40 years”. They are also completely transparent about their honey being completely raw & unfiltered, and even containing “cappings” or crunchy pieces of honeycomb. Their website has several raw honey recipes, and you can buy raw unfiltered honey in really large quantities if you want. 

Fun fact, you can also buy really raw honey from Azure Standard.


In conclusion, not all raw organic honey is created equal. Fake honey is everywhere; honey that has been diluted, heated,  and processed. Until regulations are increased surrounding raw honey, make sure you do your research and buy honey from small, reputable honey dealers who harvest and sell their products with integrity. 

real or fake? how to find the best real organic honey

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