Clover Honey vs Raw Honey – Why the Confusion?

Western Honeybee on White Clover Flower

Here in the United States, there are hundreds of distinct types of honey, and the differences between them are determined by the floral source used by the bees collecting the nectar. So, the taste and color of honey produced by bees will depend on the plants in the area where the hive is located. With that being said, clover honey is one of the most common types of honey produced in the U.S. Within the category of clover honey, there are also varieties in taste and color, depending on which clover plant has been foraged by the bees. Clover honey can be white or shades of amber when it comes to color.

Is There a Difference Between Clover Honey and Raw Honey?

Clover honey is something that you might have heard of, considering it is the most common type of honey in the U.S. The term ‘raw honey’ might also be something that you have heard of, and you may then be wondering what it is and how it differs from clover honey.

What is important to realize here is that raw honey can also be a variety of clover honey. Clover honey refers to the fact that the primary floral source for the production of the honey was the flowers of the clover plant.

Raw honey is a term used to describe honey that is taken directly from the hive and strained by the beekeeper before being consumed or sold locally. Raw honey is not commercially mass produced and does not contain any preservatives or sweeteners. However, raw honey can also be clover honey. The question that you should be asking is if there is a difference between raw honey and regular (store-bought) honey.

How Does Raw Honey Compare to Regular Honey?

There is actually quite a significant difference between raw honey and regular honey. Most people have never tried raw honey; indeed, many do not even realize that the honey they buy from the grocery store is completely different to honey that is harvested straight from the hive.

Regular honey begins its journey as raw honey in that it is produced by bees and is harvested from a beehive. However, before it finds its way to a grocery store shelf, it undergoes quite a bit of processing.

First it is pasteurized, which involves heating it to extremely high temperatures before rapidly cooling it again. This process eliminates most of the natural goodness in the honey while also changing the taste and texture.

Commercial honey is then ultra-filtered through filters with tiny holes to remove any particles such as pollen (which is, incidentally, one of the main nutritional benefits of raw honey). During processing, almost all pollen is removed, and artificial sweeteners are added to the honey, thereby changing the taste and increasing the yield. Regular honey does not contain any of the enzymes, vitamins, or antioxidants that are found in raw honey.

Raw honey, on the other hand, is taken directly from the hive and is strained through a nylon cloth or piece of mesh to remove particles such as beeswax, dead bees, etc. Once this process has been done, the strained liquid is poured into jars and is ready to be sold locally. Raw honey contains powerful antioxidants, pollen, enzymes, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. It is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral and is beneficial to good health. It does not contain any additives.

As mentioned above, raw honey can also be clover honey if the main floral source used by the bees to produce the honey came from the clover plant.

jars of honey

Is Clover Honey 100% Honey?

According to the FDA, authentic honey contains pollen. All raw honey will contain pollen as it has not undergone any processing such as ultra-filtration, which is a process designed to remove particles such as pollen.

Commercially produced regular honey rarely contains any pollen and many beekeepers would not even class it as honey at all.

However, if your clover honey is raw honey, sourced from a local beekeeper, you can be sure that it is 100% honey.

What Kind of Honey is Best?

The best type of honey in terms of taste is a matter of personal preference, but if you want the healthiest honey, it is best to choose raw honey over commercially produced honey.

Raw honey contains a variety of vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants that are all beneficial to one’s health. Bee pollen found in raw honey contains micronutrients, amino acids, vitamins, and essential fatty acids and has been found to help fight inflammation and help protect against heart disease and some forms of cancer.

While all honey, raw and regular, contains high levels of sugar and should therefore be enjoyed in moderation, regular honey also contains additional sweeteners such as sugar and corn syrup.

Is Clover Honey Considered Raw Honey?

Whether honey is raw or not depends not on the flowers foraged by the bees but on whether it has been processed. This is something that many people are confused about. They have heard the terms ‘raw honey’ and ‘clover honey’ and assume they are the same thing.

While raw honey may have been produced by bees that have taken nectar from the clover plant, this is not always the case. So, clover honey can be raw honey, but it is not exclusively so. Some commercially produced raw honey is also classed as clover honey.

Does Clover Honey Taste Different?

The taste of clover honey is perhaps the most well-known taste when it comes to honey. Most people in the U.S. will be familiar with the mild, sweet taste of clover honey as it is by far the most widely produced type of honey here.

Honey varies in taste depending on the flowers foraged by the bees making the honey. There are actually hundreds of different types of honey found in the U.S. and they all originate from different flower sources. The color, taste, and texture of honey is dependent on the flowers that are most prevalent in the local area. As you might imagine then, clover honey will taste different to, say, eucalyptus or orange blossom honey.


When asking about clover honey vs raw honey, it is important to be aware that there may not always be a difference. Clover honey can also be raw honey if it is taken directly from a hive and is not processed.

Because the clover plant is often the main floral source of commercially produced regular honey, many people assume that clover honey and regular honey are one and the same. The truth is that raw honey is different to regular honey in the way that it is made.

Raw honey is never processed and is simply strained before being consumed. Regular honey is highly processed and almost all nutrients are removed during the process.


Anthony is a content creator by profession but beekeeping is one of his great passions.

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