Looking for simple sugar substitutes? It’s OK! Whether your reasons are health based.
Or you just happen to have run out, I’ve got you covered :)
The Best Low Carb Sugar Substitutes
1. Pure Stevia Powder
Pure Stevia Powder looks like icing (powdered / confectioners) sugar.
It’s expensive but a tiny amount goes a long long way. We’re talking 1/2 teaspoon to sweeten a whole cake.
It’s my go-to healthy sweetener because it has the cleanest flavour and doesn’t include sugar alcohols.
Because it only provides sweetness, and not the bulk that sugar also provides, you’ll need to use a recipe based on pure stevia powder.
Or if you’re a confident substitute cook, I generally replace half the sugar with flour / almond meal by weight and the other half with extra butter or oil. And take it from there.
2. Stevia + Erythritol (Natvia / Truvia)
Granular stevia like Natvia or Truvia looks like regular white sugar. It’s a blend of erythritol and stevia.
The erythritol is a sugar alcohol which provides the bulk that sugar does, however it doesn’t dissolve in water as easily as sugar so the texture can be gritty.
It also has a weird ‘cooling’ mouthfeel that’s a little like menthol.
I generally don’t use it for these two reasons.
And the fact that no one really knows yet the impact of sugar alcohols on our gut microbiome.
On the plus side, it’s easy to substitute Natvia or Truvia for regular sugar.
You can do a 1:1 substitution, but I find they tend to be too sweet so I recommend using 1/4 to 1/3 less than the recipe calls for.
3. Reduce the original sugar content.
This won’t make your baking Low Carb, but it will take it in a healthier direction.
Just reduce the quantity of sugar in the recipe by up to a half. 9 times out of 10 you’ll be happy with the results.
The Best Sugar Substitutes – Carb Lovers
1. Honey / Maple Syrup
Nutritionally honey and maple syrup are essentially sugar plus water. However they bring interesting flavours with them.
Because they are in liquid form, it can be tricky to substitute these for granular sugar. But it isn’t impossible.
Generally start with 1:1 substitution by weight. If you can reduce any liquid ingredients (like milk) by 20%.
Honey also browns more quickly than regular sugar so be prepared to reduce the baking time.
Fresh dates are about 70% sugar which explains their sweetness.
I’ve used pureed fresh medjool dates as a sugar replacer in the past and have been happy with the results.
If using dried dates (much cheaper than medjool), chop them and soak in boiling water for 10 minutes. Then drain and puree before using.
For a recipe using dates, try this Super Moist Caramel Cake.
Mashed banana add moisture and lovely sweet flavour to baked goods like my Super Easy Banana Bread.
The Best Sugar Substitutes – Savoury Cooking
1. Skip it
If you’re not used to eating a lot of sweets, your tastebuds won’t miss sugar added to savoury dishes.
Dried fruit like apricots, dates and figs can add a lovely sweetness to savoury dishes. Just be careful if you’re watching your carbs as the sugar in dried fruit can add up fast.
More Ingredient Substitutes
- The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Substitutes
- Collard Greens
- Miso Paste
- Oyster Sauce
- The Best Low Carb Bread Substitutes
Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.
Have fun in the kitchen!