Stevia Favorite Go-To Sweetener

Stevia Favorite Go-To Sweetener

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Sugar free coconut blueberry muffins with orange paper.Stevia is my go-to sweetener. 99% of the sweets I create on MarlaMeridith.com are sugar free. Each time I post a muffin, cookie, cake, parfait, pudding or breakfast with stevia I get many questions about it. Stevia is becoming more and more popular for calorie conscious & low carb diets. I want to help clear up confusions out there and help you get used to baking with it. For more information on why I made this choice and to learn about sugar versus stevia please see my post Sugar Free Lifestyle.

The cupcakes in the pictures are my Pomegranate Blueberry Muffins with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Stevia sweeteners powders and flavored dropsIn order to stay fit, sharp and prevent irritability I switched to stevia a few years ago. It has changed my world. Do my baked goodies taste great? You bet! People that taste them cannot tell they have no refined sugar. With more and more people facing weight challenges, diabetes and other diet related concerns this low glycemic option can help us keep our favorite treats without having to loosen our belts.

Sugar free diet with stevia. Diet dessert recipes.

Products I Use

In this post I will share the brands I use and when I use them. This post is not sponsored by these brands, the opinions I share with you are always my own. There are 4 products I use all the time. Please note I do not use them interchangeably. For me they each suit a slightly different purpose. NuNaturals and SweetLeaf both have vast product lines but the products I mention here are the ones I like best.

Baking with stevia is not as challenging as you think. Since stevia is much sweeter than sugar you use a lot less in volume. My recipes will help guide you. Once you understand how it works most recipes can be adapted to be sugar free. I always recommend adding some stevia to your recipes and then adjust to taste. I give you a general guideline of what works for us.

NuNaturals and SweetLeaf brand liquid stevia drops.

Favorites

Baking: NuNaturals No-Carb Powder, remember a little goes a long way. You can also use the Vanilla Drops and Plain Drops (below). The results are the same, simply adjust my recipes to taste.
Sprinkling: Truvia and the No-Carb powder above. This is great on top of parfaits, oatmeal, french toast or any where you want some granulated crunch.
Drops: Vanilla NuNaturals and English Toffee SweetLeaf drops are great for coffee, shakes, hot cocoa, parfaits, frosting, whipped cream and ice-blended drinks. I love the Singing Dog Vanila extract they use in the vanilla NuNaturals drops. When I use those drops in baking I often leave out additional vanilla extract.

Powdered Stevia sugar free sweetener

This image is to illustrate how different one serving size is from brand to brand. Believe it or not the NuNatural’s on the right is sweeter even with that smaller quantity. That has to do with the amount of added Erythritol.

Helpful Tips

  • With sugar the measurements are more predictable, with stevia they can vary so you need to know your product. The volume will be very different than what you are used to.
  • I always encourage that you sweeten to taste. Don’t be shy to taste your batter when baking. Always start with a little and you can add more according to preference.
  • Don’t be fooled by “baking blends.” These have more stuff added to them to bulk up the product, to make the ratios appear more like sugar. For me less ingredients is more.
  • If I have not mentioned a product it is for one of two reasons, I have either not tried it or it did not work for me.
  • Let’s remember that in it’s natural state Stevia is a green leaf. Obviously it has been highly refined to get it into a liquid or powdered state. Use all products at your own risk.

Sugar free healthy blueberry muffins with cream cheese frosting

Brand Websites for More Info

NuNaturals
SweetLeaf
Truvia

Links to Some of My Stevia Sweetened Goodies

Please visit my recipe page for more sweet treats.

Other Bloggers Who Use Stevia

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. I simply share information that works for me and my family. If you have medical related issues please discuss them with your physician.

91 Responses to Stevia Favorite Go-To Sweetener

  1. Those look fabulous! I’ve tested stevia and was not really a fan of this natural sweetener (bitter and bland). The flavorings must be wonderful.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. I love stevia and as a diabetic it is even more exciting.
    Finally something that is not harmful to my body and tastes great.
    Thanks for the wonderul recipe.

    • Hello CHS- I read many comments on various sites about sweetners, but like yours. We have a elderly friend who is diabetic but eats all his meals out in diners and such, and we wanted to bake him some cookies (his “FAVORITE” food). I bought a bulk package of Stevia in the Raw before looking at recipes & now see a lot of unhappy comments online. Can you recommend any resources or recipes we could use to make some goodies for our ‘adopted grandpop’? Thanks & Best Wishes!

    • Angle: Thanks! Those cupcakes are amazing. Just to note: stevia is not an artificial sweetener. It is natural with no glycemic load. Baking with the NuNaturals you would not taste the difference.

  3. I have always disliked stevia as well until I tried
    Nunaturals. You cant tell the difference in the final product, and
    even if you put a tiny bit on your finger, there is absolutely no
    bitter taste. Love this stuff.

  4. I am so glad that you wrote a post about this girl :) I
    have been wanting to learn about alternatives to regular sugar! I
    have only used splenda in the past but I will definitely be opening
    my horizons now that I read this!!

  5. I am a huge fan of all natural and safe alternatives for
    food… well, for my kids that is. I still eat oreos like they are
    going out of style. *total hypocrite I know* But I love this post
    and the awesome information you are putting out there!!

  6. I’ve never tried Stevia but I have wanted to for a long
    time. Since you are using a less amount of Stevia to replace sugar
    do you have to add more of something else to make up for volume in
    baking? Beautiful photos by the way

    • Kat: I come up with my own recipes so I can only speak for the measurements in those. As time goes on I will experiment more & more with recipes that traditionally use sugar. I also use a lot less fat & whole grain or gluten free flours. That said- my recipes are quite different than traditional baked goods in a few ways. They are also jam packed with flavor and nutrition.
      If you have any special requests just let me know :)

  7. Marla, I LOVE this post! I use NuNaturals liquid vanilla
    AND Sweeleaf Eng Toffee in exactly the ways you use them! I used to
    buy Truvia more but have gotten out of the habit. I use Nu Nat
    white stevia powder in many applications and like you, I use the
    purer powders more than their baking blends, b/c to me, those just
    add bulk. Sometimes that’s important, sometimes it’s not. I need to
    use the NuNat No Carb powder specifically now that you’ve rec’ed
    it. I use their White Stevia Powder but not the no-carb powder.
    There are soooo many versions, i even confuse myself in my own
    cupboard some days!

    • Averie: I also can get easily confused with all those bottles. Some of the formulas are quite similar to one another, if you look quickly it is easy to grab the wrong ones. I know that you also have great results with stevia. NuNaturals does hit the mark on so many areas. I have not yet run into any instances where I would need the bulky products though. I always look forward to your healthy posts.

  8. Interesting! I’ve heard of stevia, but have never tasted it
    or tried to use it in my baking. It seems like an interesting
    alternative especially if you’re making goodies for a large group
    (potlucks, parties, etc.) where there may be diabetics.

  9. I have heard that Truvia doesn’t contain pure stevia and that it has some shady ingredients added to it…do you know anything about that? I need to do more research. I am going to have to try the NuNaturals brand. I haven’t had great luck with powdered Stevia. It always just tastes off to me.

    • Mareya: Both NuNaturals and Truvia have erythritol which is a sugar alcohol. It is supposed to have hardly any impact on blood sugar or insulin levels. You can read the link to find out more about it. With everything we consume it is important to do our own research to find what works best for ourselves and our families.
      For me I need a replacement for regular sugar. Not everyone haas that need though. I really hope that down the road all of this stuff is safe for us. We need to weigh everything we hear about about sugar, stevia etc. Too much sugar is not good for our bodies either. Guess it is all about the balance. If you find out any more info please share, I want to know as much as I can to make the most educated choices. xo

  10. I’m on the fence with all sugar substitutes since I’ve had
    had two very well known Physicians tell me they believe there’s a
    connection between the sticky plaque on the brain of people with
    Alzheimers and sugar substitutes except Xylitol. Do you know
    anything about this?

    • Janie: That is freaky info you heard about artificial sweeteners. Stevia has been around for thousands of years. It is new to the US but many cultures have been using it over the long term. Studies that I have seen do not mention anything freaky. If they did I would certainly not use it. It is always best to check with your doctor if you have concerns about anything though.

      • The stevia PLANT has been around for thousands of years. The highly refined unhealthy sugar substitute made from the stevia plant, has not.
        Stevia, a product once banned in the US, is now (from public pressure) permitted to be sold in the US, albeit in a highly refined state.

        I have no problem with anyone wanting to bake sugar free using stevia, that’s called personal choice. I do however object to hearing or reading users of stevia rave about how wonderful & safe stevia is to consume, when there is no way they can be certain it is safe to consume, unless they had a degree in food science.

        You might want to read the following from the USFDA. What this boils down too is, when one has to be on the alert of where their stevia product/s are made, and, what elements the particular stevia one buys, may or may not contain, why take the risk?

        http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/CMS_IA/importalert_119.html

  11. I have been with stevia a bit. It is supposed to be so healthy – like “aspartame” was supposed to be. Then it was Splenda – then, rather now: Stevia.
    To be honest, I am back to sugar.
    Beautiful cupcakes. Gorgeous. They look most and healthy and flavourful and so Marlaish! YUM
    :)
    Valerie

    • Valerie: Thanks for your comment. I do not like to get on the band wagon on “diet” type trends. Stevia is something that I stumbled on and it has made it so I can enjoy sweets again.
      All we can do is hope that the things these companies tell us about the safety of their products is the whole truth. My body has no tolerance for sugar so for me it is essential to find other options. Artificial sweeteners are not that option, not only are they thought to be unsafe but I cannot stand the way they taste. Happy you like my cuppy cakes 😉

    • Kulsum: Quite a few of the folks I know have not tried stevia either. Many people have not had such great impressions of it and I believe it was from using the wrong products. It is a new way of thinking to bake with stevia and use it in more than the morning cup of coffee. I am having a blast experimenting with it in my baked goods!

  12. Very informative, and honestly – I knew virtually nothing about these sweeteners until I read this post. Will have to do some experimentation. I could see using this in breakfast foods – muffins especially!

  13. Hey Marla,

    As a stevia website owner, I’m always on the lookout for blogs that have stevia recipes on them. I live in Belgium and the brands you mentioned in your post aren’t available here, so it’s quite hard to make my own.

    At the risk of sounding too cliché here, I really like this post. I’ve been wanting to do some reviews for my site on different stevia brands, and this answers some important questions for me. Keep up the good work, and have a happy, healthy day!

    Jo

    • Jo: I am so happy you stopped by. I just took a look at your website and you have some great info over there. All of the brands I mentioned use erythritol in their products – it would be interesting to know if that was for the patent purposes you speak of. I wonder if it adds anything to the flavor or takes away from the bitterness? As I keep saying, down the road this combo better be safe because I love to use these products. Had no idea you guys were allowed to use it in Belgium.

      • Hey Marla, If you take a look at a packet of Truvia for
        example, you will see that one of the ingredients is “rebiana”
        which is a type of rebaudioside A (one of the main glycosides in
        stevia). In this case, it’s not the rebaudioside A itself that’s
        eligible for patenting. It’s the PROCESS the Coca Cola Company uses
        to extract reb A from the stevia plant. Coca Cola has the exclusive
        right to sell “rebiana” (after all they have to slap a name on it,
        right?). I’m no lawyer so I can’t really tell you the exact details
        of how the patenting works. What I can tell you, is that Reb A has
        less of a bitter aftertaste than stevioside. That’s why companies
        are starting to use Reb A in their products more often nowadays. In
        Europe, the situation is still unclear. In April of 2010, the use
        of stevia was approved by EFSA but we’re still in a sort of
        transitional period over here. I’m from Belgium but I buy my stevia
        from an online shop in the Netherlands. Companies that sell stevia
        over here still have to put a label on their products saying “for
        external use only”. It’s impossible to answer all your questions in
        detail in such a small comment box though. If you’re interested, I
        could write a guest post for you, which answers all your questions.
        Just let me know what you want in it 😉 Take care! Jo

        • Jo: Thanks for all of that great info. I really question why stevia is taking so long to go global. It concerns me on many levels. Thanks for the offer to guest post. Perhaps down the road I will take you up on the offer. You are very well educated on stevia.

        • I’m getting ready to move to The Netherlands. So, you are willing to share it, I’d like to have the link to where you purchase stevia in the Netherlands.

          Thank you.

          • Hi Deborah, exciting that you are moving to the Netherlands. I know it can be tricky to find stevia abroad. I don’t know how to get it there ~ unless they happen to sell it.

  14. This tutorial is SO what I’ve been needing Marla. Although I’ve used stevia, I haven’t had the courage to incorporate it in my baking yet. Thanks so much for this very useful advice based on your years of hands-on experience with stevia products.

  15. I have been using “Stevia in the Raw” in my coffee and tea
    for a while because it’s the only locally available (in a rural
    area) brand that doesn’t taste bitter to me. I tried Truvia that
    way but it seemed to have an unpleasant aftertaste. The drops you
    suggest may be better for that purpose. I also grow Stevia plants
    with my patio herb garden in summer and just break leaves off to
    sweeten tea and water and lemonade and such. My kids like to just
    munch on it while they’re playing in the yard. I feel really good
    about that. I’m glad to have your post to direct me in trying other
    forms and brands especially in cooking. Someone once told me she
    picks it straight from the plant and uses it in baking quick
    (batter) breads, but I have not been so brave as to try that–or to
    try it in baking yet. I want to, though, because my MIL (a
    diabetic) bakes a lot with Splenda and I am convinced that Splenda
    is not good for us (it makes me feel bad–literally–I have
    headaches). If I can try some recipes using Stevia and she likes
    them, maybe she will try it, too. I’ll definitely investigate
    further! Thanks again!

  16. Though I’ve never used and don’t forsee myself using
    Stevia, my mother and mother-in-law are both new to using it and
    would be delighted to know that you can bake with it, too. I’m
    going to send this post along to them – I’m sure it will be very
    informative and helpful! Thanks, Marla. Have a great
    weekend!

    • Georgia: I hope your mom and mother-in-law enjoy this post and have great success baking with stevia :) Thanks for popping by and for your sweet comment as always.

  17. Marla, thanks for sharing your experience with Stevia and clarifying how to use it. I have to say I am wary of sugar substitutes, although I understand Stevia is “natural.” Isn’t Stevia still processed? I always worry that what starts out as being natural, becomes unnatural by being processed, as it’s chemical makeup is altered. Recently, I’ve been using coconut sugar, another low glycemic sugar, which is all natural.

    • Jeanette: I agree with you and these great points. The coconut sugar sounds like a good option that I might try using sometimes.
      I just found this info on it:
      “Coconut Sugar is rated as a GI 35. By comparison, most commercial Honeys are GI 55 and Cane Sugars are GI 68.” The stevia brands I use hardly show up on the GI index at all.
      Sugar makes me shaky, lack of focus, sleepy and all over yucky. My body does not process it well. For now, stevia works very well for me. If there is ever an indication that I should take it out of my life then I will. Again, we all need to make the choices that suit us at different times in our lives. I always love your educated, thought out and encouraging comments.

  18. I am a BIG fan of stevia and use it in my coffee every morning! I tend to use the trader joe’s brand because it’s cheap but I should branch out to these other products and start using it in my baked goods. In fact, I think the next thing I bake shall come from YOUR blog so that I can try it out in a recipe I know will wow everyone. Great post!

    • Joanne: Very cool that you have had success with TJ’s stevia. Case in point, that one works for you and I did not have great luck with it. The products out there are vastly different and that is why I felt I had to write this post on the products I use. If Trader Joe’s stevia works for you (and yes it is more affordable) you might want to try baking with that. As far as I remember it had some extra powder in it that I was not too keen on. Not sure how much you would need to use, but I am sure it would not differ too much from the quantities I suggest in my baking. If you try any of my recipes soon please share how your results turned out :)

  19. Thank you for this very informative post! I’ve heard of
    stevia many times but didn’t know anything about it. Unfortunately
    I couldn’t find it anywhere in Turkey. Hope it comes here
    soon!

  20. Marla – I love how you have taken these products and made them current and useful beyond the cup of coffee or herbal tea. You are thinking outside of the box and really creating wonderful, tasty recipes. It’s impressive!

  21. These Muffins are gorgeous! I will be passing your site on
    to several friends- that also try to use only Stevia! (Its tough to
    do- so Im quite impressed :) Wanted also to invite you to
    participate in a weekly Event I host titled Seasonal Sundays! I
    LOVE Seasonal food :) Amazing Blog! So happy I found you! Happy
    Sunday! -Brittany-

  22. I like Stevia but I’ve never baked with it! My go-to sweetener is typically raw, local honey but I would definitely like to start using Stevia more. Thanks for the great info, sweetie! By the way, the cupcakes are so incredibly sweet! XO

  23. Thank you for this! The only Stevia I’ve used is the white powder Stevia extract that Trader Joe’s sells, and I’ve only used it in smoothies, oatmeal, and herbal tea. It does have a diet-y taste that I’m kind of getting used to. I didn’t know there were so many other types! I’m so happy you broke them all down and are able to bake successfully with them! (That’s something else I’ve wondered about…)

  24. Great summary on stevia. I only really use one brand at this time but I should probably branch out and try the different types for other baked goods. Truvia is made with erythritol, right? That’s my preferred sweetener, I almost always do a combo of erythritol and stevia as I find they enhance each other’s sweetness without any aftertaste. Thanks for sharing all of your info!

  25. Thank you for this post Marla! I’ve been interested and I’m
    going to go out and get these sweeteners. I think I need to try
    that banana almond snack cake first! Thanks for the Stumble add. I
    dont get to go to Blogher this year. :( I see your also going to
    camp blogaway. I wanted to go to that but it didnt work out either
    but I hope to next year!.

    • Megan: I will miss you at BlogHer Food in May. Hopefully we will catch up at some point this year. Can’t believe it is March 1st all ready. Not sure where the time is going. As of this point I am not signed up to attend Camp Blogaway. I will be going to Evo though – just purchased tickets to that.

  26. I grew Stevia in the garden last summer but never dried it so it was purely ornamental in the end. I just didn’t know what to do with it. Now that I’ve read about the different kinds you’ve been using in baking I’m very curious. I’m doing Weight Watchers right now and looking for ways to avoid processed foods but still have a treat now and then – I think I’ll be making one of your treats soon!

    Thanks so much!
    Connie

    • Connie: I have never grown stevia, but I should. I tend to have good intentions in the garden & never seem to follow through 😉 Good luck with your Weight Watchers goals.

  27. Hi Marla, I need to stop using sugar in my sweet tea, and it is all I drink at home. Black tea contains oxalates that are not good for my kidney stones, so my doctor suggested I switch to green tea. I love the green tea but sweeten it just as I would black tea, for that good old southern sweet tea :) Which Stevia or other option would you recommend for sweetening tea? I’d like to try it right away as my first steps toward moving to a sugar free lifestyle :) Thanks so much!

  28. I have been using Stevia for about 12 years, almost 13. I have been doctoring with a holistic doctor for some health issues. He says,”No wheat, no sugar!” I have been doing this pretty much all the time, though I do splurge every now and then. I found a recipe for some brownie truffles and I was going to try baking the brownie with spelt flour and use stevia for the sugar. Do you use the recommended substitution on the package or do you wing it? I have used stevia in salad dressings, my coffee or tea, simple things. If anyone tells me they find it bitter, I recommend that they start smaller, it really is very, very sweet and easy to over do it.

  29. im so confused to what to use stevia or trevia, stevia in the raw or powder form or drops. I’m new to this. please help

  30. Hi,

    Have you tried the NuNaturals stevia powders since they switched suppliers? They say it’s now “sweeter”, but we all find it bitter. Plus, it does not work for baking – no sweetness.

    Thanks

  31. Have you be chance found a replacement for the Nu Naturals brand of stevia since they switched suppliers? I’m totally bumbed that it taste bitter now. It’s no longer sweet without the aftertaste like it used to be. I appreciate your help as. Am diabetic and not sure what to use now.

    • Hi Janet. I am so sorry to hear that they changed their formula. No, I have not found a replacement. Did they change the vanilla drops? Those are my all time favorite…..

  32. Great to see the stevia recipes. My problem is at least one of the products contains dextrose, most likely gmo corn. Pure stevia Sweetleaf is the way to go.

  33. i love nu-natural stevia too! i first tried it at a natural food restaurant (in plain lemon water!) several months ago. i have since bought it; and yes, i love it for the no bitterness that you can find in stevia! i haven’t tried baking with it, but since i have seen your website today, i will try it!! thank you for sharing!!

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