Naturally Sweet Alternative to Sugar

Can I Cook With Stevia?

Stevia can be used for cooking.

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 (with some adjustments) for many recipes.(5758)

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 tea and other drinks, one packet of stevia (approximately ¼ teaspoon) is equivalent to two teaspoons of table sugar.(58)

In baking and other recipes, use the following stevia-to-sugar conversion chart:(58)

Sugar Stevia Powder Stevia Liquid Premium Stevia Extract
1/4 cup 3 tsp. 1/2 tsp. 3/8 tsp.
1/3 cup 4 tsp. 3/4 tsp. 1/2 tsp.
1/2 cup 6 tsp. 1 1/4 tsp. 3/4 tsp.
3/4 cup 9 tsp. 1 3/4 tsp. 1 tsp.
1 cup 12 tsp. 2 1/2 tsp. 1 1/2 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.(58)

The Sweet Parts of Stevia

A component of stevia - rebaudioside A (also known as rebiana) was recently granted GRAS status by the FDA. 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.(319)

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.(58)

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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."