Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

How to Use Stevia (Liquid or Powder)

September 29th, 2011 · 42 Comments · Real Food Recipes

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?

[interactive_links style='side_count']


I’d love to see more of you!  Sign up for a free email subscription or grab my reader feed. You can also follow me on Twitter, get KS for Kindle, or see my Facebook Fan Page.

If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.

Kitchen Stewardship is dedicated to balancing God’s gifts of time, health, earth and money.  If you feel called to such a mission, read more at Mission, Method, and Mary and Martha Moments.

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.

Tags: ·····

42 Comments so far ↓

  • Michelle M

    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.

    Clair Reply:

    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!

    Katie Reply:

    I bet that would work! Good luck! ;) katie

  • Kelly

    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. ;)

  • Jen @ Oh no! I really do need to eat my vegetables!

    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.

    Kathy Reply:

    How do you get the bulk for cakes when baking with stevia?

    Jen @ Eating My Vegetables Reply:

    I’ve not made any flour based cakes myself with stevia (though I know others have ) and it hasn’t been an issue. I mostly do flourless egg based cakes, which simply work differently anyway. It’s worth a try.

  • Marci

    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 Reply:

    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

  • Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land

    Thanks for the links! We were just contemplating how to use the stevia plant we grew this year, aside from just snacking on the leaves while working the garden.

  • Heather Ledeboer

    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 Reply:

    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

  • Martha

    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.

  • Goldnrod

    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 Reply:

    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

  • Bettie

    I would like to use Stevia in an apple crisp recipe. Anyone have any idea of the substitutions necessary to replace the sugar?

    Katie Reply:

    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

    Kathy Reply:

    Do you use the alcohol free liquid stevia or the one with?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    We’ve probably used both, but we have no problem with alcohol (like in vanilla extract) so we typically just use the alcohol-based one from NuNaturals – although Sweetleaf, my favorite, is just water extraction anyway. :) Katie

  • Steph (The Cheapskate Cook)

    Thanks for the brand recommendations! I recently tried the Trader Joe’s version, but haven’t been a big fan of the taste and after taste. Have you heard of Kal? My sister-in-law uses stevia a lot and recommended that brand to me.

    Katie Reply:

    You’re not the first to recommend Kal. I am hoping to get some to try sometime soon… :) Katie

    Kathryn Reply:

    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.

    Steph (The Cheapskate Cook) Reply:

    Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll be looking for that one… that is if I ever use up this nasty bottle of stevia!

    Kathryn Reply:

    I saved my “nasty” bottles of stevia for baking. The ones i have that i didn’t care for very much i used for pumpkin pie. When i drink tea, i use the KAL brand because the taste is so apparent. It may take some time before i use up the experimental bottles of Stevia, but it doesn’t seem to go bad, not quickly, anyway.

    Steph (The Cheapskate Cook) Reply:

    oh good idea! I’ll keep an eye out for baking stevia recipes.

    Pat 11/18/2013 Reply:

    I use KAL Stevia all the time, but I have never baked with it. I love it. Now I wont be without it.

  • Ricki

    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).

  • Emily

    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.

  • K Louise via Facebook

    Just harvested our from the back yard this weekend :)

  • Cole

    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!

  • Tammy L

    Great, helpful tips, Katie! Thanks so much for linking up. :)

  • Liberty

    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!

  • Leon @ Organically Thought

    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.

  • Kathryn

    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.

    Kathryn Reply:

    I meant 1/2 tsp stevia per pie (not whipping cream!)

    Sharon Reply:

    What brand of Stevia please?

    Kathryn Reply:

    My preferred brand is KAL. I think it has the best flavor. I’ve tried others i don’t care for (in tea or for other sweet-intense uses), however, any brand seems to do fine in pumpkin pie. I’m using up the ones i bought but don’t like in the pies.

  • Shauna

    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 Reply:

    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

  • Rich Chocolate Fudge (Ummm… yeah, we’ll call it that) » The Cheapskate Cook

    [...] as needed. And if you’re not sick of hearing about it yet, read a little more about stevia here. In this recipe, it is interchangeable with other sweeteners, but using all liquid sweetener in [...]

  • When Kids Eat Like Grownups, Everyone Wins | daily digest

    [...] only use the pure stuff, not name brands with additives, if you try it. Here’s some info on how to use stevia in your [...]

  • Kathy

    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.

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

Mollys suds laundry soap