How to Use Stevia (Liquid or Powder)

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How do you practically use an herb that’s 30-300 times sweeter than sugar to substitute for sugar in recipes? Stevia is a great option as an alternative sweetener, but it isn’t easy to use in all situations.

I’ve explained that I prefer the liquid version of stevia extract and shared an interview with Jim May, the “father of stevia,” that details the importance of knowing how your stevia is processed.

Now for the “how to.”

Foods that are Easy to Use Stevia In

wwater kefir (2) (356x475)

Because the problem with stevia is that is has no bulk, you can easily use it in applications where you’re just adding a little sweetness, not depending on mass, and perhaps able to taste test as you go. We use stevia in:

  • hot drinks: tea, coffee
  • cold drinks: water kefir(above) or lemonade
    • Sweetleaf brand stevia has flavored versions that apparently mimic soda when mixed with carbonated water
  • homemade yogurt – mixed in with plain yogurt and fresh fruit
  • soaked oatmeal
  • green smoothies – sometimes they need a little boost if I don’t use enough frozen bananas

Can You Bake with Stevia?

sourdough tomato basil crackers (8) small

I mentioned my experience with NuNaturals stevia baking blend (awful) in last week’s post, so unless and until a brand comes out with a baking blend that has a safe carrier that doesn’t add carbs, aftertaste, or digestive issues to the ingredients, most baking recipes are not going to work with stevia.

However, there are a few things you might make homemade where stevia would be a good calorie-free substitute for sugar, such as:

  • homemade pudding (a few recipes coming in the new desserts book, due out in November)
  • homemade ice cream (Mare has an ice cream ebook if you’re not a frozen treat expert yet)
  • homemade crackers (the sweetener is such a small part that stevia should work great)
  • a sweet soy sauce for stir fry
  • frosting with yogurt cheese – I whip yogurt cheese, which is like cream cheese, with just a bit of maple syrup. Stevia would make it sweet enough, and it’s already spreadable without sweetener (perfect on my healthy fruit pizza).
  • I haven’t tried it yet, but I bet stevia would work in fruit desserts, like apple pie or a cobbler, and probably popsicles
  • I successfully used stevia (about 3/4 tsp. in place of 1/4 cup sugar) in this creamy coconut pie (recipe coming in the desserts book, or maybe even as the free download/sneak preview in a few weeks):

coconut blender pie (5)

What About the Whole Plant?

Although my brown thumb and I don’t personally have experience growing the stevia plant, some readers have discussed how to use the leaves here and here.

Mostly, it sounds like tea and lemonade are popular choices.

I found another source on how to use green stevia powder, which is basically what you could make by drying the leaves and pulverizing them in the blender. Where to buy green stevia powder for less.

Some Sample Recipes

I haven’t tried these recipes, but I thought it might be helpful for you to see some of the amounts that can be used for frosting or drinks. They come from the Sweetleaf company’s press release.

Again, I prefer the liquid extract for reasons of processing and taste. I think that to sub the extract, you could depend on about 5-10 drops per teaspoon sugar, or 10-20 drops per packet of Sweetleaf powder, since one packet sweetens approximately as well as 2 teaspoons sugar.


  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 lb. butter
  • 2 lb. cream cheese (or yogurt cheese)
  • 1 teaspoon (3 packets) SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener

Mix all together until light and fluffy.

SweetLeaf® Home-Style Lemonade

  • 6 lemons
  • 12 packets SweetLeaf Stevia®
  • 6 cups cold water

Juice the lemons to make 1 cup of juice. To make your labor easier, FIRMLY roll the lemons between your hand and countertop before cutting in half and juicing. In a gallon pitcher, combine 1 cup lemon juice, SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener and 6 cups cold water; stir. Adjust water and SweetLeaf Stevia® to taste. Chill and serve over ice.

Southern-Style Sweet Tea

  • Black tea
  • 2 quarts water
  • 10 packets SweetLeaf Stevia®

Bring two quarts water to a boil; remove from burner immediately. Add black tea and steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea and cool. Pour into glass pitcher and stir in 10 packets SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener. Stir until sweetener has dissolved. Let cool. Sweetened tea is more perishable than unsweetened – store it well-sealed in a glass (not plastic) container in the refrigerator.

Have you used stevia in recipes? In what sort of recipe would you like to try it?

Disclosure: I received samples and information from Sweetleaf, but no endorsements of any kind. I am not an affiliate of Just Making Noise, just a friend. I am an affiliate with Mountain Rose Herbs and Amazon. See my full disclosure statement here.

I’m entered in Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Kitchen Tip Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, and Tuesday at the Table.

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43 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    I use stevia almost every day in my tea or coffee. I’d love to try it in apple pie, since that’s something everyone wants me to make during the holidays and I’m baby-stepping my way away from white sugar.

    • says

      FYI – I made apple pie using stevia (recipe via the sweetleaf website) last Thanksgiving and no one could tell it was any different than a traditional pie. It tasted great!

    • Shania says

      I recently made apple pie using liquid stevia, and it was the best apple pie I have ever had. My suggestion though, don’t underestimate it! Stevia is very concentrated, make sure you have a conversion table in from of you when baking with it. Here’s a good one-
      happy baking!

  2. says

    My kids love the stevia sweetened lemonade I make, usually just by the glass. They tend to go through a lot so I’m glad it’s not sugar sugar sugar going in to them! And I like to add a little of the vanilla creme flavor to my iced tea. I found it interesting on your other post that it said combining stevia with sugar alcohols can cause laxative issues. Maybe we just don’t get those but when I’m baking low sugar I like to use a combo of organic, cane sugar derived erythritol and stevia (and maybe a tiny touch of honey) for the best flavor profile. I make a sugar free key lime cheesecake that everyone so far has loved, even my suspicious-of-healthy-stuff dad. :) Ever since I found out splenda kills intestinal flora, it has been out of my house! I pay too much for probiotics to be killing them off that way. 😉

  3. says

    I use nu-naturals extract powder currently, and found 1/8 tsp replaces 1 c of sugar, generally. I usually add half of what I think I’ll need, taste, and add more. Cakes seem to do just fine with replacing the sweeteners, while brownies and cookies need the “sticky” of sugar to help hold them together (though that hasn’t stopped me from using stevia anyway!)

    I actually went out and got some of those teeny measuring spoons that says “pinch,” “dash” etc – because they correspond to 1/8 tsp, 1/16th, 1/32nd. Very helpful. I make chocolate milk with just cocoa and stevia – but I go by sight – you barely need a dusting of stevia.
    It works well for me because I like less sweet things in the first place. People who are used to very sweet things would probably use more sugar/honey/maple syrup than I do.

  4. says

    We sell Steviva Blend in our store as well as the plain Steviva. Here is what their advertising says…

    Steviva Blend (1 lb.) is a blend of the highest quality Rebaudioside A (stevia extract) an all natural grain extract, erythritol, a filler which is naturally occurring in a variety of foods and derived from non-GMO fermented grain.

    Have you ever heard of this brand or tried it? I had requests to carry it and it seems to be a hit. I have not used it myself yet, but I don’t do lots of baking anymore.

    • Katie says

      I haven’t tried that one, but erythritol can be a funky filler – doesn’t agree with everyone. It’s a sweetener that I’m really curious to dive into deeper when I get to it on my list for this series – some love it, some hate it (as usual in the food world, right?). :) Katie

  5. says

    I have a hard time not noticing an unpleasant (to me anyway) aftertaste when I use Stevia in most recipes. I have however used Lemon Drop SweetLeaf Liquid Stevia in green tea and enjoyed it.

    • Katie says

      I dislike the aftertaste of the powder stuff, too (although sweetleaf had the least/almost none). The liquid doesn’t give me an aftertaste at all. ??? :) Katie

  6. Martha says

    I’ve mixed up the green stevia powder in a shaker with cinnamon. I’ve used it when making french toast and cinnamon raisin bread and the kids haven’t noticed. I tried it making oatmeal once and it was nasty. Green oatmeal isn’t very appealing to look at either! The green is not as concentrated so you need more.

  7. Goldnrod says

    I remember yrs ago finding a website where a lady made lots of things with stevia. I particularly remember baked goods & sweets. From what I remember, she bought something made for baking & cooking in bulk. Have you done a web search for baking & cooking with stevia? I knew I couldn’t buy in bulk, so didn’t continue to read that blog. I lost the web address long ago.

    • Katie says

      There are baking blends to bake with stevia, but the fillers they use, at least in the one or two I got to try, taste awful. ??? :) Katie

    • Katie says

      I’ve found that about 3/4 tsp. liquid stevia can equal 1/4 c. white sugar. The great thing about apple crisp is that you might be able to taste test the mixture before baking. If you’re using powder, the packet should tell you – some brands are one packet = 1 tsp. sugar, Sweetleaf is one packet = 2 tsp. sugar. Good luck! :) katie

    • says

      I’ve tried most of the brands and KAL is the only one i like. It doesn’t seem to have the aftertaste that so many others have. I respect the Sweetleaf brand and all that Katie has written about it, but i like the taste (and general lack of aftertaste) of KAL. I have shared it with others who have had a negative response to stevia, and most of them like it too.

      I love their vanilla flavored stevia, tho it contains maltodextrin, so i have some reservations about it. I use several of the KAL brand supplements, too.

  8. says

    Some great advice! I do bake with stevia. These days, I usually combine it with something else, but when I first started the anti-candida diet, I used it on its own in muffins, pancakes, and pretty much anything else that I wanted sweet. I did have some success with the muffins, bread, and a giant baked apple pancake (and I still make those recipes even though I no longer need to use stevia-only as a sweetener).

  9. says

    I use stevia in baking but always in combination with honey or maple syrup. My favourite use for it is in pies and other fruit desserts, because I find the fruit covers up the aftertaste completely and you don’t need the bulk of sugar in those.

  10. says

    I tend to use Stevia in lemonade or iced tea. I’m so afraid of using too much when I bake.

    Thanks for sharing with Tuesdays At The Table; its GREAT info!

  11. says

    I’ve used the liquid stevia mixed with coconut sugar and experienced lots of success…My favorite stevia treat is is sparkling limeade: in a quart jar mix juice of 1-2 limes 5-10 drops of stevia (totaste) and fill up with Pellegrino. DELISH!

  12. says

    This is a great post. Back in 2008 I was in need of some extreme nutrition as medicine. As part of this I had no simple carbs or sugars for 6 months (with the exception of an apple once and a while). In this time I found stevia! I used it in my mint and chamomile tea. My favorite thing to do with it was make a creamy dessert with organic raw heavy cream stevia and carob powder (I was avoiding caffeine too). There was much more to my regimen but I will report that I brought my cholesterol down from 240 to 140 in 2 months with no medication. My blog was on vacation for the last week getting a make over. I was very stubborn and insisted on writing my own WordPress theme. I was getting traffic from blogging but no one was commenting. I have employed a professionally designed theme that let me make the changes I wanted and now I would love anyone that has a minute to check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

  13. says

    Liquid stevia makes the best pumpkin pie! We don’t even miss the sugar. My husband is a pumpkin pie snob, and he is pleased with the result. Of course, i’ve begun using whipping cream (organic) in place of the evaporated milk, too. The result is wonderful. I use 1/2 tsp per pie.

  14. Shauna says

    I had just bought a bag of the new “Stevia in the Raw” which measures like sugar. It is bound to maltodextrin. How is that for a filler? I saw one of the sources is corn (which I try to avoid since the majority is GMO). Your thoughts?

    • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

      Maltodextrin is almost certainly corn, and Stevia in the Raw is one of those “wool over your eyes” things if you ask me. It’s going to be 90% maltodextrin and a big of stevia. So…..I think I have a box taking up space in my cupboards, too, but I’d rather not. :) Katie

  15. Kathy says

    Several on here have recommended KAL, but when I checked the label, KAL contains maltodextrin. Unless you buy the organic, which some say has more of an aftertaste than the non-organic.

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