Tips for Using Stevia and How to Substitute Stevia for Honey

If you’ve looked through many of my recipes, you may have noticed that I often use stevia. I like stevia because it allows us to enjoy sweet things while minimizing our intake of added sugars. Unfortunately, stevia is more complicated to use than other alternative sweeteners. Stevia’s sweetness is much more concentrated than other sweeteners, and since sweetness also varies between brands, there’s no standard way to convert conventional recipes into stevia recipes. When I first started using stevia, I couldn’t find many stevia recipes or resources so was left to flounder about on my own.

Fortunately, all of that floundering led to a lot of experimentation which eventually taught us how to best use stevia in our kitchen. Today, I want to share our best general tips for using stevia, as well as some specific guidelines for how to reduce the honey in a recipe by substituting my favorite brand of stevia extract.

General Tips for Using Stevia

Never Use Stevia on Its Own

Most (if not all) stevia extracts contain somewhat of aftertaste. To minimize this aftertaste, never use stevia to on its own; instead, always use stevia in combination with another sweetener.

Depending on your taste buds, I recommend using a quarter to a half of the original sweetener and substituting the rest with stevia. When using this technique, Jesse and I rarely notice the stevia aftertaste.

Experiment with Different Stevia Brands

Some people like different stevia brands more than others, so I recommend experimenting with different brands to see what you like. From what I’ve read, some have much more noticeable aftertastes than others.

Personally I exclusively buy this stevia extract.

Always Taste Test

Stevia works best in no-bake recipes that you can easily taste before completing, such as homemade chocolates, ice cream, gummy candies, salad dressing, and no-bake cookies. Add a little bit of stevia to replace some of the sweetener, taste, and then add more stevia if necessary.

Stevia is also great for sweetening tea, smoothies and other beverages.

We’ve had some success using stevia in baked goods that are not hugely dependent on the texture properties provided by sugar, such as crustless pumpkin pie. As for other baked goods, I’m sure that there’s an ideal way to use stevia…but we haven’t found it yet. While you can certainly get recipes like muffins and cupcakes sweet enough by using a combination of honey and stevia, losing part of the honey means you also lose a lot of the moisture that the honey provides. Jesse thinks that adding more oil may be the solution, but he hasn’t yet nailed down the right amount to add for the missing honey. (If you have any tips/ideas on this front, please share!)

How to Substitute SweetLeaf Clear Liquid Stevia for Honey

Since stevia sweetness varies between brands, I’m afraid I can’t provide a definite conversion chart for substituting stevia for other sweeteners. I can, however, tell you how to substitute my favorite brand of stevia extract, SweetLeaf clear liquid stevia. These conversions are all for honey since that’s the only sweetener we use in our house.

Here’s how to substitute:

  • If you suspect that the recipe you want to modify is going to be too sweet for your taste buds, use only a quarter of the honey called for in the recipe. Substitute the rest of the honey with five drops of stevia for every missing tablespoon of honey. (After years of eating low-sugar, Jesse and I prefer things to be only mildly sweet—this formula usually does a good job of moderating sweetness.)
  • If you think that the recipe you want to modify is already the correct sweetness, use half of honey called for in the recipe. Substitute the rest of the honey with eight drops of stevia for every missing tablespoon of honey.

What the above two guidelines boil down to making sure that your recipe contains enough honey to balance out the stevia content. We’ve found that you shouldn’t use more than 15 drops of stevia for every tablespoon of honey. If you go above that ratio, you’re much more likely to experience an unpleasant stevia aftertaste. You can avoid this just by following the rules above, but remembering this ratio is another way to think about it you’re so inclined.

Where to Buy Stevia

I usually buy my stevia from Azure Standard or Amazon. Most health food stores carry it, too. You can also grow stevia and make your own extract—I’ll be giving that a try next year!

Do you use stevia? What are your best tips?


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19 Responses to Tips for Using Stevia and How to Substitute Stevia for Honey

  1. Denise says:
    Glad to see this post. I've been wondering about using stevia in recipes, but I haven't ventured any further than using it in salad dressings and enjoying it in my morning coffee.
  2. Lori says:
    Love how this is perfectly outlined in a single blog post!
  3. [...] Tips For Using Stevia from Whole Natural Life. These are very good pointers if you want to decrease the use of other sweeteners. [...]
  4. MissPiggy says:
    Hello, I use stevia in combination with apple/date compote for my baked goods. The compote makes up for the missing moisture and mass from honey/sugar. Have fun experimenting!
    • Meghan says:
      Thanks for sharing! That's a great idea.
    • Diane P. Wilson says:
      Ms Piggy...I realize this response is 4 yrs. from your original response to substitutions for honey in baked goods but I am new to all this stuff and need some advice. I need to substitute honey with only Stevia, not any other artificial sweeteners or sugar or maple syrup, etc. Could you give me some advice on ratios. I'm sure by now you have some kind of system worked out. Thanks.
  5. Carrie says:
    what are the treats in the picture? they look good.
  6. Shellye says:
    Can thus be modified to use NO honey? Thanks!
    • Shellye, as I explain in the post, I've found that it's really best to use part stevia and part other sweetener rather than just all stevia. In my experience, all stevia tends to give too much of an unpleasant aftertaste. That's not to say that you can't do it, of course--but I haven't figured out the correct conversion when not using any honey.
      • Quinetta says:
        Hello, I'm a stevia fan. I've used the powdered stevia for years. I've never had any problems with an aftertaste. I must have been blessed. I'm a diabetic. Honey makes my blood sugar rise so I can't use honey, maple syrup, agave syrup. I guess you have to acquire the taste.
  7. Cindy says:
    Would you mind sharing how to make appl date compote. I'm trying to bake without honey. Thank you!
  8. Barbara says:
    Someone told me recently about using applesauce to make my honey-based cookies & nut quick-bread (& muffins, etc.) more moist--worked FABulous; but now that I want to try to lessen my honey and use liquid stevia, can I add some almond milk to keep the liquid part stable? After of course I figure out how many DROPS of Stevia--I make huge batches & freeze'm, so should be challenging.....
  9. adrienne says:
    Hi there. So what would be a sign of not tolerating something well or not? My son is just going right onto full GAPS and we would like to include stevia white powder that is only processed with water. He seems to be OK with it but I don't want to make a mistake. Thanks!
  10. anna stolz says:
    i have had to flounder about on my own too but sometimes it really works out! often i will add in full fat coconut cream or some kinda coconut milk wih the stevia to make up for the honey/maple in many paleo recipes (for now while i'm on a parasite and candida cleanse, but hey maybe forever)! hope that tip helps :)!!
  11. Stacie says:
    Thanks for this. I've been considering experimenting with making my own stevia/honey blend for convenience in making my tea. This is helpful.

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