Can I Cook With Stevia?

Stevia lends itself well to cooking and baking, unlike some artificial and chemical sweeteners that break down at higher temperatures. Stevia is stable at temperatures of up to 392° Fahrenheit (200° Celsius) making it an ideal sugar substitute for many recipes. (1-2)

How Much Stevia Should I Use?

The adage "less is more" is definitely applicable with stevia, both in terms of sweetness and managing the slightly bitter aftertaste present in whole stevia sweeteners. Stevia is much sweeter than sugar, so adding the same amount of stevia to a recipe that was originally created with sugar in mind will result in a dish that is too sweet. For use in teas and other drinks, one packet of stevia (approximately ¼ teaspoon) is equivalent to two teaspoons of table sugar. (2)

In baking and other recipes, use the following chart: (2)

Stevia to Sugar Conversion Chart
Sugar Stevia Powder Stevia Liquid Premium Stevia Extract

¼ cup

3 tsp.

½ tsp.

⅜ tsp.

⅓ cup

4 tsp.

¾ tsp.

½ tsp.

½ cup

6 tsp.

1¼ tsp.

¾ tsp.

¾ cup

9 tsp.

1¾ tsp.

1 tsp.

1 cup

12 tsp.

2½ tsp.

1½ tsp.

Does Stevia Taste and Perform Just Like Sugar?

Using too much stevia in a recipe can result in a noticeable bitter taste. To avoid the bitterness that can result with stevia, some people use a combination of stevia and other stable sweeteners such as sugar, honey, fruit juice, or corn syrup. This can also help in baking recipes, since stevia doesn't caramelize or allow baked items to rise like sugar does. Ultimately, a bit of trial and error might be necessary to get the recipe just right. Try using different amounts and different brands to get the taste you like best. (2)

The Sweet Parts of Stevia

A component of stevia — rebaudioside A (also known as rebiana) was recently granted GRAS status by the FDA and some companies are marketing this stevia-derived sweetener (such as Coca Cola/Cargill's Truvia™ and Pepsico's SoBe Life Water™). Rebiana is one of two main compounds that make stevia sweet (the other is stevioside). Studies show that it is stevioside, the most prevalent and ironically the sweetest component of stevia, which exhibits the bitter aftertaste. These stevia-based sweeteners can be used in cooking as well. (3-4)

Bottom Line

Stevia works great in tea, coffee, and other hot and cold drinks; cookie and cake recipes; and jams and jellies. Sprinkle it on berries, fruit, and cereals at breakfast. Stevia can also be used in breads, although the bread won't rise as much as it will if you use sugar. Using stevia in drinks and recipes (anywhere you would normally use sugar) can help you avoid the health dangers of excess sugar and chemical sweeteners while allowing you to still enjoy your favorite sweet treats. We found some helpful cooking tips and great recipes on the University of Nebraska Extension site's stevia page(2)

Works Cited:

  1. Artificial Sweeteners: Boon Or Bane? Modi, S.V. and Borges, V.J. Hemraj B. Chandalia. 1, Mumbai: Springer, Jan-Mar 2005, International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries, Vol. 25, pp. 12-19. ISSN: 0973-3930.
  2. Jones, Georgia. Stevia. University of Nebraska — Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. [Online] February 2014. [Cited: April 8, 2014.] http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/html/g1634/build/g1634.htm.
  3. Kobylewski, Sarah and Eckhert, Curtis D. Toxicology of Rebaudioside A: A Review. Center for Science in the Public Interest. [Online] University of California: Department of Molecular Toxicology and School of Public Health, August 14, 2008. [Cited: April 1, 2014.] http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/stevia-report_final-8-14-08.pdf.
  4. Bagley, Lindsey and Fry, John. Stevia — a non caloric sweetener of natural origin. Institute of Food Science & Technology. London: Institute of Food Science & Technology, 2012. pp. 1-9, IFST information statement.
The brown color and nutty flavor that comes from sugar oxidizing with cooking heat.
GRAS is an FDA status designation meaning "generally recognized as safe."
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