Keto Sweeteners for Baking

When we choose a keto or sugar-free lifestyle, it means cutting out sugar completely. Having a sweet tooth and being an enthusiastic baker we have to look for the right keto sweeteners for baking keto desserts.

Not every sweetener is the healthiest and not every healthy sweetener can easily be used as a functional sugar replacement. Let us take a look at which keto sweeteners we prefer when creating our keto desserts and why:

  1. Erythritol
  2. Stevia
  3. Monk Fruit
  4. Monk Fruit and Erythritol Blend
  5. Swerve
  6. IMO syrup

When we choose a keto or sugar-free lifestyle, it means cutting out sugar completely. Having a sweet tooth and being an enthusiastic baker we have to look for the right keto sweeteners for baking keto desserts.

Erythritol

Erythritol is the most widely used when it comes to keto sweeteners for baking desserts. It occurs naturally in fruits and is a result of fermentation. It is made from fermented corn or cornstarch but has no impact on blood sugar levels, it has close to 0 calories, and close to 0 net carbs. As it is only partially absorbed and digested in the intestines, it can cause some stomach discomfort in minority of people but mostly has no side effect.

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Erythritol as a keto sweetener:

  • Most used keto sweetener
  • It’s an excellent bulking agent
  • Doesn’t dissolve in water as well as sugar and does not caramelize well
  • Sweetness: 70% as sweet as sugar
  • Taste: It can have a cooling sensation on the tongue
  • Products: Granulated sweetener, powdered sweetener, various blends (erythritol and stevia, erythritol and monk fruit, etc.)

Stevia

Stevia is a natural sweetener, extracted from the leaf of the stevia plant. It has 0 calories, and 0 net carbs, and glycemic index of 0. People who want to cut back on sugar and dislike erythritol’s cooling sensation on the tongue, often seek a solution in using stevia. As it is 200 times sweeter than sugar, it means that 1 cup of sugar can be replaced with as little as 1/2 teaspoon of stevia extract powder or 1 teaspoon of liquid stevia extract. That means that the bulk of the sugar or erythritol in baked goods is lost and needs to be replaced with other foods, like egg whites. Baked goods using stevia only, can end up denser, so one might want to add a bit more baking powder.

Stevia as a keto sweetener:

  • Good in beverages
  • Needs additional bulking agent for baking
  • It can cause headaches for some as it belongs to the ragweed family
  • Sweetness: 200 times sweeter than sugar
  • Taste: It can have a bitter aftertaste
  • Products: Powdered extract, liquid extract, and various blends (erythritol and stevia) that help get rid of the aftertaste

Monk Fruit

Monk fruit is another excellent choice when it comes to sweetening up your life on the keto diet. It is a natural sweetener and a powerful antioxidant. Again, 0 calories and glycemic index of zero. It is 300 – 400 times as sweet a sugar. The extract is very expensive, but if you were to use monk fruit extract instead of sugar, you would only need 1/6 teaspoon of monk fruit for each 1/4 cup of sugar. As with stevia, using monk fruit extract alone in baked goods would mean losing bulk. So prepare for smaller, fewer and denser desserts if you don’t add a bulking agent to a recipe.

Monk fruit as a keto sweetener:

  • Great in beverages
  • Needs additional bulking agent for baking
  • Sweetness: 300 – 400 times sweeter than sugar
  • Taste: No unwanted aftertaste reported
  • Products: Powdered extract, liquid extract, various blends (erythritol and monk fruit)

Monk Fruit and Erythritol blend

The blend of monk fruit and erythritol has been, for now, our favorite choice for baking. It is as sweet as sugar so that you can replace sugar 1:1 in any recipe. The blend has all the benefits of erythritol and monk fruit: It is a great bulking agent, it comes in granular as well as powdered form, and supposedly has some beneficial antioxidative effects. Moreover, because you use less erythritol, the cooling effect on the tongue is downregulated.

Monk Fruit and Erythritol blend as a keto sweetener:

  • Great for baking
  • It’s a good bulking agent
  • Sweetness: As sweet as sugar
  • Taste: It can have some cooling effect on the tongue but significantly less than erythritol alone
  • Products: Powdered or granulated form

Swerve

Swerve is a very welcome keto sweetener when it comes to baking at our house. It is a blend of erythritol and oligosaccharides (plus some natural flavors in some of the products). Oligosaccharides are a fermentable prebiotic fiber, otherwise known as inulin. Having 0 calories, and zero impact on blood sugar levels, it can be used in keto baked goods instead of sugar in 1:1 ratio. It is a good bulking agent, and it comes in granular and powdered form. What is more, you can get a brown version of Swerve, which is a very welcome brown sugar replacement! And last but not least, unlike erythritol alone, Swerve does caramelize.

Swerve as a keto sweetener:

  • Great for baking
  • Good bulking agent
  • It does caramelize
  • Sweetness: As sweet as sugar
  • Taste: None to a minimal cooling effect on the tongue
  • Products: Powdered or granulated form, white or brown

IMO Syrup

IMO syrup is a plant-based high-fiber syrup used for baked goods or beverages. Rather than a bulking agent, it has excellent binding properties that come in handy when making the keto-friendly pastry, dough that needs to be rolled out, or homemade protein bars. We like to use it instead of honey or maple syrup. Some people are against using it, reporting that it might impact insulin levels for them. We are not against it, as we only use it in small amounts in cases where baked goods can benefit from it. If you can, find gold IMO syrup to replace molasses and honey with.

  • Great as a binding agent
  • Good at replacing honey or maple syrup in recipes
  • It gets solid when heated up and cooled
  • Some people claim it can raise their glucose and insulin levels
  • Sweetness: 60% as sweet as sugar
  • Taste: No aftertaste. A gold/brown version can taste similar to molasses
  • Products: Plain (transparent) or brown/gold IMO syrup

When we choose a keto or sugar-free lifestyle, it means cutting out sugar completely. Having a sweet tooth and being an enthusiastic baker we have to look for the right keto sweeteners for baking keto desserts.

Summary

We have introduced our most frequently used keto sweeteners for baking. Our most common sweetener choice, for now, is erythritol-monk fruit blend. We rarely use plain stevia or monk fruit due to lack of bulk in baked goods, but we love adding them to drinks or smoothies. If you like to experiment in the kitchen, do give IMO syrup a try when making keto pastry, certain types of keto cookies, or homemade protein bars.

What is your favorite keto sweetener for baking? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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Nutritional and medical disclaimer
Please note that I am not a nutritional or medical professional. I do not give out any medical advice. I only share my own experience on this blog and encourage you to consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. The nutritional information provided for my recipes is an estimate. Please calculate nutritional information on your own before relying on them. None of the recipes I post are meant to be used by any specific clinical population. The ingredients in my recipes do not affect my glucose levels or cause any allergic reactions to me. You should use my recipes and shared experience at your discretion. I expressly disclaim any and all liability of any kind with respect to any act or omission wholly or in part in reliance on anything contained on this website.

12 Comments

  1. No diarrhea, but Swerve gives me intestinal upset (gas). I find that I need quite a bit of it to sweeten things.
    Maltilol causes diarrhea and gas.
    Can’t stand stevia by itself but ok mixed with other sweeteners in small amounts.
    I mix several sweeteners together and use the mixture.

    • That sounds like a good strategy. For me, interestingly, erythritol alone can sometimes cause intestinal troubles and thirst, and other times not. I prefer the mixtures, especially with monk fruit. Love Swerve, but I’ve never had a lot of it at once, so it hasn’t had a chance to give me trouble.

  2. Patricia Bargo

    We use erythritol and stevia products as our primary sweetners of choice. We do not have any problems with an insulin spikes, etc .and They are readily avaliable in the grocery centers where we shop and I do not have to order online.

  3. I do a lot of baking for friends and family and use erythritol mixed with a little stevia. I haven’t tried monk fruit due to the cost, and I don’t use Swerve for the same reason. I use a very small amount of black strap molasses with the erythritol when brown sugar is needed for recipes.

  4. Mountain Girl

    We use Swerve for baking…….no after taste. It is expensive!

  5. What are your thoughts on Pyure? That is the only sweetener that I use.

    • I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. Hope to get some of it soon.

    • I like using Pyure and all the other sweeteners mentioned in this article. Sometimes I use a mix of monk fruit and stevia, too. They all seem to work well in baked goods.

  6. What are the ones that cause diarhea? Sugar Alcohols.

    • None of the sweeteners listed above should cause diarrhea in a healthy person if used in moderate amounts.
      That is why I list and use these sweeteners.

      Artificial sweeteners that are sugar alcohols, like maltitol, can cause diarrhea in some people.

    • Thank you so much

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