When I put honey in a spoon or measuring cup, the residue stays and it’s hard to get all of it out. How do I make it all come out? Is there a way to measure honey without leaving honey on a spoon?

  • 2
    Are you measuring the honey? Would you consider another way to measure?
    – Jolenealaska
    Dec 9, 2018 at 15:23
  • 6
    You can always accept an answer whenever you choose, but there is a good reason to not rush. People who might know a great answer that no one else has thought of might not even notice a question that already has an accepted answer. Accepting an answer tells us that you have all the information you need. We'll usually wait a day or two unless it is a very specific question with only one correct answer.
    – Jolenealaska
    Dec 9, 2018 at 16:16
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    Very related: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/10473/…
    – Jolenealaska
    Dec 9, 2018 at 16:24
  • 22
    I measure by weight and then… lick the excess off the spoon! (The perks of being the chef:-)
    – ian
    Dec 10, 2018 at 1:28
  • 1
    @iain I thought that was why we have children around? After that, it's clear you need to sterilize the spoon; if you lick it yourself there's doubt... Dec 13, 2018 at 11:47

15 Answers 15


As, since this answer other suggestions have abounded, let me clarify.
These methods assume you want no wastage & also no cross-contamination of your source jar of the sticky component. They also require almost nothing in the way of 'extra equipment'.

Depending on what the next steps to your recipe are, I can think of three alternatives. None are perfect and each would suit a different scenario.

  1. Tip it and leave it a long time.

  2. Heat it slightly. Microwave or sit the container in hot water.

or my favourite,

  1. Rinse it out with the next liquid ingredient you will use in the same recipe; or for a spoon, stir your existing ingredients with it.
  • 105
    I'm probably violating the Be Nice policy, but I have to say that I think you're lying. Everyone's favourite method of cleaning sugar syrups from spoons is to lick the spoon. Dec 9, 2018 at 22:37
  • 10
    @PeterTaylor the problem is that you still need the content of the spoon in the recipe. Dec 9, 2018 at 22:44
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    @PaŭloEbermann Add another spoonful, then "clean" that one as well Dec 11, 2018 at 13:24
  • 2
    Unless you have spare measuring spoons, number 3 may need you to adjust the order in which ingredients are added, so that the free-flowing ones go in first, then the sticky ones. Use common sense in this, as sometimes there are reasons not to (e.g. breadmakers often need the yeast last).
    – Chris H
    Dec 12, 2018 at 6:48
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    As a complement to (3), if you need an oil ingredient, measure the oil in the same vessel before the sticky substance. Dec 12, 2018 at 15:27

It's possible to get specialized equipment for this: a plunger measuring cup. The base is adjusted to the level you need to measure, the sticky honey or syrup is poured in, and then the cup is upended and as the base is pushed in, it scrapes the sides as it travels.

I'd only invest in this if you very frequently measure sticky ingredients -- it's not strictly necessary, but it can be a timesaver for some recipes. It's available from many different brands.

example image from a product on Amazon

  • 1
    This is ideal. Do they do one small enough for tablespoons?
    – RedSonja
    Dec 10, 2018 at 9:20
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    @RedSonja: yes, all kinds of sizes are made by the millions: syringes. (Works with liquid honey or syrup, not with solid honey - but measuring solid honey by volume anyways doesn't work well) Dec 10, 2018 at 10:31
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    Yep, this is basically a wide mouth syringe :)
    – Erica
    Dec 10, 2018 at 14:38
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    Came in here to recommend this. Alton Brown uses one fairly often on his Good Eats show. He pushes the contents into his bowl, then makes a quick pass across the top of the plunger with a silicone spatula. Looks very clean and accurate when he does it.
    – BoredBsee
    Dec 10, 2018 at 14:44
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    I have two of these. They're great for things like shortening and peanut butter.
    – Tristan
    Dec 10, 2018 at 15:24

Your concern is NOT getting the measuring item clean. Your concern is ensuring the right amount of ingredient goes where it is desired.

If you have decent accuracy digital kitchen scales (relatively cheap usually but may depend on your location), you can measure by weight.

If you need to determine the weight by measure of your sticky substance, start with these steps:

  1. Place the measuring item (spoon, cup whatever) on the scales. Tare the scales to zero.
  2. Scoop quantity of sticky substance. Measure on scales, and note the number.

Once you know how much the desired measurement should weigh (you can also look up these numbers online or in many cookbooks):

  1. Place destination bowl on scales and tare to zero.
  2. Add sticky substance up to the desired weight.
  • 6
    This answer makes a fair point, but I think it overlooks the possibility that OP's concern may be avoiding wastage. Where I live I couldn't get golden syrup without importing it myself, and then I would want to ensure that having measured the desired amount into my recipe I returned as much as possible from what was stuck to the spoon back to the tin or jar. Dec 9, 2018 at 22:42
  • 9
    Not sure why you need steps #1 & #2 and not go straight to #3?
    – MrWhite
    Dec 10, 2018 at 11:21
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    @MrWhite if you don't know the weight of a tablespoon of syrup/honey, you have to establish that somehow. Skip 1 and 2 once you know it :)
    – Erica
    Dec 10, 2018 at 14:42
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    Some recipes call for a tablespoon or some ml of honey (e.g.) rather than by weight. Those are one that need additional information.
    – Erica
    Dec 10, 2018 at 15:36
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    There are also online calculators: calculateme.com/recipe/1-tablespoons-of-honey (says 21 grams, but if your recipe is going to be affected by a difference of 1 gram you have bigger problems). I think this answer could be improved by saying that a scale can also be a solution when the problem is just cleaning up--warm your sticky substance so it is easier to pour, calculate the amount you need by weight, pour directly into your mixing container using the scale, and swipe the rim of your sticky substance container with a wet paper towel to keep the lid from sticking forever. Dec 10, 2018 at 18:09

What I do, if the recipe calls for any sort of oil, measure that first, then the honey slides out pretty well.

  • 6
    I've done this even if the recipe doesn't call for oil. I just slightly oil the measuring spoon and then wipe off the oil. There are small oil participles still stuck to the spoon that will assist in getting off the honey. The amount of oil this introduces is probably less than what accidentally gets introduced in my kitchen by using cast iron a lot and/or be being a sloppy dish washer Dec 10, 2018 at 14:09
  • 2
    That's the method I've been using for decades. Unbelievably easy
    – user57361
    Dec 11, 2018 at 0:59

It's not a perfect solution, but using two spoons and scraping one with the other you can get the majority of the syrup off the spoons relatively quickly.


Silicone spatulas are quite good at cleaning hard vessels well. Combine that with a small enough measurement - so don't measure 50 ml of honey in a 1000 ml cup, use as close to 50 ml as this gives you a better ratio of volume-to-wall-surface - then scrape with the silicone spatula, and it will be almost as clean as licked.

For getting the cup clean afterwards, wash with hot water, not merely warm.

  • 1
    I was surprised I had to go this far down to find this answer. This is what I do for all bowls, spoons etc. There is still some to clean but not enough that it is difficult with traditional soap and hot water.
    – Matt
    Dec 11, 2018 at 19:44

Heat the utensil. For a spoon, fill a coffee cup with boiling water, and drop the spoon in there for 30 secs or so, or for a measuring cup, just fill it with boiling water before measuring out the honey/syrup.

The heat will reduce the viscosity making it pour off the spoon/out of the cup better.


I've found that a light spray of cooking spray on the spoon or in a measuring cup will make measuring any sticky substance very easy.

  • 13
    It will also contaminate whatever you dip the spoon in :\
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 9, 2018 at 16:20
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    You pour the honey into the spoon or cup, you don't dip it. Dec 14, 2018 at 14:25

Rub a tiny amount of neutral oil onto the measuring cup prior to measuring.


Water on your spoon will help, I found that when I put peanut butter into my drink in the morning and used a wet spoon from the draining board that it is considerably less sticky.


Why not put the honey pot on the balance instead and take your measures at reverse? That's what I do.

  • 2
    This doesn't help get the honey (or other sticky syrup) off whatever spoon or implement you use to transfer from container to recipe, though. Great for accurate measuring, but can you add details about how you clean the spoon?
    – Erica
    Dec 10, 2018 at 22:13

Convert all measures to CC's and then use syringes. Different syringe for each ingredient. Minimizes waste, and they come sterile.

  • I think this is a great solution until you're measuring larger volumes (1/4 cup +). It's possible to refill there syringe repeatedly, but it can get tedious with especially viscous ingredients.
    – Erica
    Dec 11, 2018 at 14:23

In the case of honey or syrup, buy a squeezy bottle, and measure out the amount by placing the receptical on a balance and squeezing until enough comes out. The bottle can be rinsed out and used again and again. I also buy glass jars of honey (much cheaper than squeezy), and decant that into the squeezy bottle.

squeezy honey bottle squeezy syrup bottle


Weigh everything that is sticky and messy. Measure the old way in a measuring cup than weigh it, write it down for next time. Of course don’t forget to weigh the cup empty first. Kitchen scales are very cheap nowadays.

  • 1
    Isn’t this the same as nah’s answer?
    – Sneftel
    Apr 5, 2021 at 16:56

Line your measuring cup with a bit of Saran Wrap. It's thin enough that it won't mess up the volume/weight by any significant amount. When you're done measuring it you can just pull the Saran Wrap out of the measuring cup and scrape the honey that sticks off with a silicon spatula. Even better, when you're done you just throw the Saran Wrap away and your measuring cup never gets dirty!

  • Ever tried scraping loose Saran Wrap with a spatula? Did you find it to be easier than scraping a measuring cup with a spatula, or did you find it to be an exercise in frustration, futility, and getting honey everywhere?
    – Sneftel
    Apr 5, 2021 at 16:55
  • @Sneftel I think it's much easier than measuring in the cup, because you can lay the Saran Wrap flat on the counter when you're trying to scrape it. Nothing gets caught on the edges, you don't have to worry about the spatula fitting inside the measuring cup, etc. Apr 7, 2021 at 18:59

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