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.
Now for the “how to.”
Foods that are Easy to Use Stevia In
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?
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):
What About the Whole Plant?
Mostly, it sounds like tea and lemonade are popular choices.
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.