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The Best Keto Sweeteners for Baking
If you are new to the low carb and or keto lifestyle you are probably perplexed by all of the different keto-friendly sweeteners available to choose from.
Which one is best for baking?
Should I get one or multiple low-carb sweeteners?
Which ones actually work for baking and cooking?
I have compiled my many years of sugar free baking and cooking experience in this ultimate guide to bring you the answers you seek on which ones to use, plus when and what my favorite sugar replacement is for each application!
Here are the most common sweeteners that I recommend for baking!
- Monk Fruit
- Honey Substitute
- Maple Syrup Substitute
Let’s go over each one and what they are!
It is made by mashing and fermenting the natural sugars found in certain fruits.
While erythritol is usually made from corn, it is naturally occurring in pears, watermelon, soy sauce and a range of other foods we eat every day. You can find erythritol that is made WITHOUT corn if you are trying to avoid it altogether.
My favorite brands that do not derive from corn will state non-gmo erythritol as most all of corn, especially in the United States of America, is genetically modified.
The difference between erythritol and other sweeteners is the fact that the sweetness comes from sugar alcohols.
These do not break down in your body, so they don’t create an insulin spike when they enter the bloodstream (which leads to the sugar high and incresed blood glucose levels), nor do they feed harmful bacteria in your mouth or gut.
After they pass through your small intestine and bloodstream, they are excreted through your urine in an almost entirely unprocessed state, causing no known harm.
Some people may experience digestive upset and other side effects such as bloating and gas if large quantities of this sweetener is consumed.
You need to find out if you are ok with this sweetener or not.
Some people report a cooling effect on the tongue like mint when consuming.
I will use this sweetener in combination with other sweeteners so I do not need too much erythritol per recipe.
It is a granulated sweetener that is a 1:1 replacement for a cup of sugar in recipes.
It does have a sweetening effect that is about 70% the sweetness of sugar which is why I combine it with other sweeteners.
You can find it in granulated form and liquid form.
Granulated is used for bulking reasons to take the place of sugar in keto baking, while liquid is used in frostings, glazes and to help enhance batters that only need a pinch of added sweetness without bulk.
Stevia comes from the stevia rebaudiana plant that is 250x-300x sweeter than white sugar.
This very concentrated powdered sweetener is my favorite to combine with other low carb sweeteners in a very small amount.
The plant contains sweet compounds known as steviol glycosides.
The stevia plant is an herbal shrub-like plant native to Paraguay.
For over 1,500 years, peoples in South America have used fresh and dried stevia leaves to sweeten food, herbal medicines, and beverages (such as yerba mate).
There are over 240 known species of stevia, so each companies stevia that is available will differ.
Some are reportedly bitter and not too appetizing, but keep reading as I give my recommendations for the best brands of all of these sweeteners below so you do not have to experiment to find the best!
It is found in powdered form or liquid form.
I use the powdered form in my baking to add in additional sweetness where the granulated sweeteners only offer partial sweetness.
The liquid stevia is great in my frostings, drinks, and fat bombs because it imparts a sweet taste without a grainy mouth feel.
It is rare, but some people have an allergy to stevia products since the stevia plant is from the sunflower family, so keep that in mind.
Monk fruit, or luo han guo, is a small green melon native to southern China and named after the monks who first cultivated it centuries ago.
The health benefits of the fruit have been well-known in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for decades.
Many find the taste pleasant and less bitter than other types of sweeteners, especially artificial ones such as saccharin and aspartame.
It is rare to find monkfruit by itsself as a sweetener as it is expensive.
Monk fruit is a member of the Curcurbitaceae family (also known as the gourd family), which includes pumpkin, squash, cucumbers, and melons. Your risk of monk fruit allergy is higher if you’re allergic to other gourds.
I have found this brand here that is 30x sweeter than regular sugar.
This would be ideal for keto recipes that do not rely on the sweetener to be the bulk of the ingredients like muffins, breads, cakes.
You can find granulated monk fruit sweetener, but most are cut with erythritol in erythritol blends like Lakanto Sweetener to provide bulk for the 1:1 ratio replacement.
This one here is cut with allulose sweetener so you still get the bulk without the erythritol.
Allulose is commonly referred to as “rare sugar” because it’s naturally present in small quantities in just a few foods, including jack fruit, figs, and raisins.
Instead of being absorbed and metabolized like other sugars, leading to a rise in your blood sugar, it passes through your body and is ultimately excreted in your urine and feces similar to how erythritol works.
It’s perfectly suitable for the keto diet, as well as those seeking to manage diabetes since it is so low on the glycemic index and has no glycemic impact with zero net carbs.
This one in particular I prefer over erythritol because it does not have the cooling effect and it adds a softness to baked goods and does not harden when cold.
You can also find that I use it in my KETO APPLE PIE ICE CREAM here to help maintain a scoopable texture.
It is one of the more expensive alternative sweeteners so I do not purchase it readily, but it is worth getting a bag or two to experiment with or to make a few special recipes with.
If you have a problem with erythritol, this is the best sugar substitute alternative to use in combination with stevia or monkfruit.
It is the healthier alternative to sugar and the good choice in my opinion and works wonderfully in all of my recipes!
It’s a crystalline alcohol and a derivative of xylose — a crystalline aldose sugar that is not digestible by the bacteria in our digestive systems.
It’s usually produced in a lab from xylose but also comes from the bark of the birch tree, the xylan plant, and in very small quantities is found in some fruits and vegetables like plums, strawberries, cauliflower and pumpkin.
This is the brand I recommend as it is from the birch tree and works great in baking!
Xylitol may be able to help prevent cavities because it cannot be metabolized by plaque bacteria, unlike other forms of sugar.
This means that it can have beneficial effects on the oral flora (microbes living in your mouth) not shared by other sweeteners.
It may help prevent tooth decay and the buildup of plaque on your teeth because mouth bacteria can’t use xylitol as a source of energy.
It helps to neutralize acids in the mouth to help prevent possible gum disease too!
The only draw back to this sweetener is if you are sensitive to sugar alcohols, you may have digestive upset if you consume too much.
Also keep in mind that it is toxic to dogs and cats if you have pets in your home.
You may have thought that your days of enjoying honey were over since honey is so high in carbs and sugars and is not for someone on the ketogenic diet.
I have a sweet surprise for you as I have found the perfect honey substitute that actually works in ALL of my recipes!
I have been using Natures Hollow Brand honey substitute for some time now ever since I discovered it!
You can of course use it straight up as honey on a piece of low carb toast or on my KETO 5 INGREDIENT BISCUITS and feel like you are eating the real thing!
The texture is on point and it has a honey flavor that really gives it a wonderful taste!
Honey Substitute is sweetened with xylitol and has a very low effect on blood sugar levels.
Since I recommend this product to my readers, Natures Hollow has offered everyone interested in making a purchase 15% off with the coupon: LOW CARB15
I use this natural sugar substitute in my KETO CHOCOLATE FUDGE where it imparts a smooth texture and does not harden up too much like other sweeteners do.
I also have used it in my LOW CARB HONEY MUSTARD DRESSING where you get the honey taste
It works amazing in my chocolate ganache drizzle for my SAMOAS BROWNIES too!
Its consistency mimics that of real honey so it is the best option to use when you re-make any of your old recipes using real honey.
You can, as I did in my keto fudge recipe, use it instead of corn syrup in a recipe.
It works at high temperatures as well as low temperatures.
It contains 1 grams of net carbs per tablespoon and far fewer calories than honey, although it is a favorite choice of natural sweeteners among people following a paleo diet.
Here are the recipes I have used this honey substitute in with amazing results:
- Keto 3 Musketeers Candy Bar
- Keto Nanaimo Bars
- Little Melissa’s Fudge Brownies
- Seven Layer Magic Bars Recipe (Keto and Dairy Free)
Maple Syrup Substitute:
Although you may have not thought of this sweetener for baking, it does impart a wonderful flavor to baked goods and is a good option that adds moisture too!
One of my favorite flours to use is coconut flour!
Check out my post here where I go into the details of this gluten free, keto and low carb flour I use in my low-carb diet.
Coconut flour is a very thirsty flour, as you will read about in my post, and sometimes you do not want the extra egg in your recipe to reduce the eggy taste.
This is where a good maple syrup substitute comes into play.
I have made my own Maple Syrup Substitute here and it works great in my recipes!
Here are just a few recipes that I have successfully used it in:
- Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Easy Keto Blueberry Muffins
- Keto Maple Caramel Scones Recipe
- Low Carb Bahama Mama Cake
- Low Carb Maple Donuts
Out of all of the recommendations I give, this one actually does have some sugar in it, but considering how concentrated it actually is, it can fit into a low carb diet.
During the sugar-making process, juice extracted from sugarcane or sugar beets is boiled down until the sugars crystallize and precipitate out. The syrup left over after crystallization is referred to as molasses.
Typically, sugar cane juice undergoes three cycles of boiling and crystallization to extract as much sugar as possible.
With each successive cycle, the leftover molasses contains less sugar.
Molasses can vary in color, sweetness, and nutritional content depending on the variety or how much sugar has been extracted.
It is the best baking keto sugar substitute I have found that does not contain gluten.
A lot of keto brown sugars contain malt which contains gluten.
This poses a problem for me so I needed to come up with an alternative.
In my Keto Copycat Brown Sugar recipe I use molasses to give the moisture and rich brown flavor if I run out of my golden monk fruit extract sweetener.
You can of course skip this if you have the stevia liquid sweetener made with glycerin and golden monk fruit.
I do not always have the golden monk fruit on hand, so this is an easy alternative.
Molasses will last for MANY years in the cupboard and not go bad.
It contains 5% IRON, 3% VITAMIN B6 as well as 1% MAGNESIUM and is an excellent source of natural potassium.
It is the best choice for me so I know what goes in my baking.
There is a brown sugar alternative made by Truvia, but it still contains table sugar, although only a little, it still cuts into my macros for my recipes.
It helps to give the little bit of deep golden flavor that is needed in baked goods to mimic real brown sugar like in keto cookies.
There really is not much sugar contained in blackstrap molasses which the richest of them all.
There are a few common types of molasses:
- Light Molasses: This is the syrup left over after the first boiling cycle of sugarcane juice. It is the lightest in color, has the highest sugar content, and the least viscous texture.
- Dark or Medium Molasses: Produced as a byproduct of the second boiling cycle of sugarcane. This molasses is darker and more viscous than light molasses and contains less sugar.
- Blackstrap Molasses: This is the final byproduct of the third boiling cycle in the sugar making process. This variety contains the least amount of sugar and has the highest concentration of vitamins and minerals. Blackstrap molasses has a very dark color, is extremely viscous in texture, and, because it’s highly concentrated, it has a deep, spicy, almost bitter flavor.
1 teaspoon, that I would use in my Keto Brown Sugar recipe of backstrap molasses contains 4.6 grams of carbs.
My favorite brands of each of the sugar alternatives mentioned!
Powdered Sugar Replacement:
Granulated Erythritol Sweetener:
Granulated Xylitol Sweetener:
Liquid Monkfruit Drops:
Pure Monkfruit Sweetener:
Monkfruit + Stevia Drops:
As you can see, there are so many ways to sweeten your foods on a keto or low carb diet and I have used all of these!
These are the best sweeteners that I use all of the time!
Of course if you have any specific questions feel free to contact me through the contact button on the menu, or leave your question here as a comment.
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