We’ve all been there, it happens to everyone who’s trying to eat less sugar.

You go to add some stevia to your recipe, and before you know it the result is inedible.

Such a bummer, even with the best intentions.

That’s what we’re covering today, how to add stevia to your recipes so that you get a perfect substitute for cane sugar.

One that blends so well that you’re taste buds can barely tell the difference, if at all.

A Little Background on Stevia

Stevia is actually a real plant. It’s grown here in San Diego (where we live) by a few farmers, and sold by the bunches next to other herbs like mint and sage at the farmers markets.

This naturally sweet leaf is approximately 23 times sweeter than traditional sugar!

There are 3 different types you can buy:

  1. Whole Leaf (from the farmers market)*
  2. Powdered
  3. Liquid

*For this article we won’t be talking much about using fresh stevia, although we have dehydrated it and used in other recipes such as Homemade Protein Powder.

Taste & Quality Brand Differences

Stevia products are all over the board, so don’t be surprised if what we suggest here doesn’t work with the product you have.

Not only do all of our taste buds and personal preferences vary, but so do the actual products themselves.

  • Some are more concentrated than others
  • Some powders have maltodextrin for a filler
  • Some liquids have alcohol for a filler
  • Some have natural & artificial flavors
  • And some aren’t very potent, and need to be over-compensated for
types of whole leaf stevia

Guidelines for Using Stevia in Recipes

1).  Stevia to Sugar Ratios

1 Tbsp. Sugar : 1/4 tsp. stevia powder

1 Tbsp. Sugar : 2-3 drops liquid stevia (6-9 drops of other liquid, flavored types)

2).  Use Liquid Stevia for Best Results

The liquid form is preferred for a couple reasons. The first is because the liquids don’t need other fillers like maltodextrin, but can be made with just stevia leaf and water. The second reason is because when using whole leaf or powdered*, you don’t get an even distribution of sweetness throughout your recipe; so you’ll end up with ‘pockets’ or areas of super sweetness and others with none.

*If you only have powdered, you may create your own: mix 1 tsp. of the powder with 3 Tbsp. water in a dropper bottle and keep in the refrigerator.

3).  Using as a Sugar Replacement in a Recipe

If we want to reduce the sugar content in a recipe, we add stevia and subtract some of the sugar – but not all. We’ve found when taking a recipe that normally has sugar in it (whether it’s coconut sugar, coconut nectar or maple syrup) and reducing the amount of sugar called-for, while adding in stevia works best. Often times when stevia is used to replace 100% of the sugar there’s an over-powering artificial taste which ruins the recipe.

4).  Focus on ‘Supportive Flavors’ in New Recipes

When replacing sugar entirely with stevia in most recipes, you won’t get the same result. However, if you’re creating a new recipe, or heavily modifying an old one, there are a few things you can add that help round out the flavor.

Trying also incorporating supportive flavors such as salt, vanilla, almond, coconut or citrus. These help balance out the sweetness spike in Stevia’s nature.

5).  Measure Twice, Cut Once

You only have one shot, add too much and it’s all over. Well not all the time, because sometimes you can add more of all the other ingredients to the recipe and make a double batch!

But seriously, this is the simplest advice we can offer: try a little bit first, taste it, then add more if needed. Some recipes are easy to see if you’ve added enough, such as smoothies. Others are more difficult, like cookies, as you have to wait until they’re done baking.

Recipe Substitutions Examples

We thought it would be useful to provide a couple real-life examples of the substitutions we’ve made.

These are two recipes we make all the time, before and after adding stevia to them.

Example #1

What my green smoothies used to look like, compared to what they’re like now:

low sugar smoothie with stevia3

Example #2

What our cookies used to look like, compared to what they’re like now:

low sugar cookies with stevia

As you can see, not only did we add stevia, but also kept some of the sugar and added in other supporting flavors like shredded coconut to help maintain the overall balance of the recipe.

The Type of Stevia We Recommend

We use the Stevia Whole Leaf Concentrate from Sweet Leaf.

It works the best in most recipes because it’s a liquid, and we feel really good about the simplicity of the ingredients – just stevia leaf and purified water.

I hope this has been helpful, and encourage you to try your own substitutes and report back to us on your successes and failures.

Please leave a comment below to continue the discussion: What recipes do you use stevia in? Which type do you prefer?

    23 replies to "How to Avoid that Artificial Stevia Taste"

    • Chaplain Babs France

      I have used SweetLeaf pure stevia with good results. As you say, replacing only part of the sugar works best. Since I am seriously allergic to the sugar alcohols, I have to watch the labels. Only got stung once, with Truvia, which is not pure stevia. SweetLeaf has powder and liquid, as well as flavored drops.
      Just my .02 worth.
      Can’t wait to try your cookies!

    • Kris

      Thank you for your post.
      Years ago, I was alerted to the potential deleterious effects of artificial sweeteners on metabolism. I have to wonder whether Stevia fits into that category. In another blog post by Empowered Sustenance, Lauren discusses her concerns with Stevia. So, to play devil’s advocate, I am enclosing the link to her blog post. It is definitely food for thought:

      • Peter Hagstrom

        Wow, thanks for the secondary opinion Kris.

        Everything seems to get complicated when put under a microscope, doesn’t it?!

        Thanks for sharing:)

        Does anyone else have any reservations with Stevia? I’d love to know what your thoughts are…

        • Wendy

          I have used stevia before as well as grown it. I am newly diabetic and was unaware of the processed stevia problems. I bought stevia in the raw and tried to make chocolate pudding. It was so bitter and awful my grandchildren could not eat it.
          What can J use for cooking and baking to substitute for sugar?? I didn’t think stevia would break down like that?
          Thanks for listening.

          • Sarah

            Hey Wendy! I would recommend trying coconut sugar or coconut nectar. It’s low glycemic and a lot more pleasant in flavor than stevia (kid friendly too!). You can find it at your health food store or on Amazon :) I hope that helps and good luck with your pudding!

            • Kim Lund

              I was taught to layer different things to help offset the taste, I soak dates in coconut water and add at the end to keep raw,

              I also use birch GMO free xylitol, by using small amounts of different things it’s easier to sweeten and avoid having bitter taste

          • Deborah J Rivest

            Thanks for your letter…. I just made chocolate pudding with stevia and it was horrible! Now I know why! I thought the stevia had gone bad.

      • vivian

        I havent seen any discussion about using fresh Stevia leaves. Obviously, when you pick a fresh leaf, it has not undergone any chemical processes. It has no added chemical ingredients. It’s Stevia in its purest, freshest form. You gan grow it on your windowsill or in your garden.

    • Peter Hagstrom


      We can relate, always having to check labels. There’s so many things you have to watch out for these days.

      The Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies are AWESOME too, you can see it here: https://theseasonaldiet.com/chocolate-chip-peanut-butter-cookies

    • Helene Meurer

      I love these easy-to-follow pointers and the examples. Stevia deserves attention, and people have short attention spans these days… so if you just ‘read the instructions’ it is possible to have success with Stevia while avoiding sugar. Super tips and great post, thank you!

    • Roberta

      Truvia has 3g carb per packet and I got fooled thinking it was stevia. In a low carb diet, my slice of bread now have 4gms…

    • Darlene

      My dentist is telling me to use Stevia in my coffee, I’ve always hated sugar substitutes. Any tips on getting used to it in your coffee without adding any other flavoring?

      • Peter

        Great question Darlene. Personally we don’t drink coffee, but I’d recommend checking out a product by “Sweet Leaf” called Sweet Drops that are flavored liquid stevia. They have flavors like vanilla, chocolate, peppermint mocha, hazelnut, etc. That would be my best recommendation as coffee typically needs another flavor to compliment the stevia taste for best taste. Hope this helps :)

      • Jodi

        I use xylitol in my coffee. It tastes sweet w no aftertaste. It is excellent for the teeth lowering decay rates. However when baking it requires more as it loses some sweetness when heated. And it’s pricey. I also bake well with Splenda.

        My two objections to stevia are taste and effects in fertility.

    • Judy young

      What fiavors do the liquid stevias come in? I am looking for a toffee flavor that l saw on the Dr. Oz show. Do you know where l can find it or does it have to be special ordered?

    • Enrique Ortiz

      Thanks for posting all this. I am wondering if Stevia can cause a long-term bitter taste. I used to use stevia (plus other natural sweeteners like honey or cane sugar) in every liquid which I wanted sweet. I have been having a bitter taste for months after i stopped using it. (Also taking anti-cancer drugs for cancer in the brain.) Just looking for some clues about this bitter taste, with which it is difficult to live.

    • Shaun

      Stevia has a TERRIBLE after taste.
      Cannot stand the stuff

      • Peter

        Yeah it can be a bit much sometimes. You definitely need to be careful not to add too much, otherwise it’s nasty. The benefit of consuming less sugar with a similar flavor in many recipes is worth it though!

    • lee

      sweetleaf has an aftertaste. I’ve heard its from asparatame which is NOT listed on the label. no doubt about it this stuff does NOT taste good in coffee at all. so do NOT believe the label as its stating NO AFTERTASTE! they lie! yeah its pretty strong too. I’ll use the 40oz bottle up because the stuff is expensive. however HONEY is still the best sweetener. the only plus is that stevia is also an alkalizer.

    • Nur

      I used to use stevia in tablet form for my coffe and tea even it has some addatives..but now I am on candida diet I have to use natural stevia so I bought powder form(we dont have liquid in my country) it was just horroble bitter no matter what I did(boiled than strained and used the liquid) it was still bitter and not sweet enough..even in pancakes after cooked still bitter..I dont ever use it again and I have nothing else to use for candida????

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