The keto diet has risen in popularity over the past few years, and it’s clear why. People have transformed their physiques and quality of life by simply changing their diet – i.e., nixing carbohydrates and upping healthy fat intake.
That doesn’t mean keto dieters aren’t indulging in delicious fare, though. They just have to be more creative with their ingredients. One way to do this is by swapping sugar for keto-friendly sweeteners. Which ones are the best, though?
There are many top-notch keto-friendly sweeteners for baking. My personal favorite is erythritol, but xylitol, monk fruit, and stevia are also excellent options. I do not recommend using allulose, dates, honey, and maple syrup.
Hi! I’m Michelle, a self-taught baker with over ten years of experience. While I do not currently follow a keto diet, I lived a few months as a “keto-er,” and I experimented with different keto sweeteners. I’m here to share my top and least favorites.
Top 4 Keto-Friendly Sweeteners for Baking
Many people have adopted the keto diet in hopes of reaping its potential health benefits, from weight and fat loss to lowered blood sugar levels. Adopting a keto diet doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all your favorite foods, though. You just have to be creative.
One thing you’ll need to do is find a keto-friendly sweetener to satisfy your sweet tooth.
There are plenty of them on the market, but these rank as the top four.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, I’ve tried all of these sweeteners, so these assessments are coming from personal experience!
One of the most popular keto-friendly sweeteners on the market is erythritol. That’s because it can be used in a 1:1 ratio to sugar, making it a super simple swap – even for beginner bakers.
However, seeing as how it’s 70% less sweet than sugar, many people add an additional cup – myself included. But hey, I prefer things to be really sweet. If you don’t mind a tamer flavor, using erythritol in a cup-to-cup ratio is perfectly fine!
Erythritol contains zero calories and zero carbs, the ideal combo for those following a keto-friendly diet. As a bonus, it’s also gluten-free. That said, if you’re following a gluten-free diet, you can use erythritol in your next baked goods, whether it’s cookies or bread.
Another top-notch keto-friendly sweetener that’s used regularly is Xylitol. It’s low-carb and low-calorie, yet is surprisingly sweet. In fact, it’s only 40% less sweet than sugar, so it produces similar outcomes to sugar. Plus, it can be used in a 1:1 ratio – easy peasy!
There are a couple of flaws with xylitol, though. For one, it shouldn’t be used for recipes that require crisping or caramelization. For example, you won’t want to use it for a batch of crispy keto cookies – you won’t get the right texture with xylitol.
However, through my baking adventures with xylitol, I’ve found it an awesome swap for soft and moist baked goods, like cake. I baked a keto-friendly chocolate cake not too long ago using xylitol, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the result!
The other drawback is that xylitol can cause gastrointestinal issues when consumed in large amounts – 40 to 50 grams. I haven’t personally suffered from an upset stomach from xylitol, but many people have. So just be cautious with how much you use!
3. Monk Fruit
Monk fruit was one of the first keto-friendly sweeteners I ever tried. I saw a friend of mine using it in all of the recipes she posted on Instagram, including ice cream. I had to give it a try – and it was incredible!
That said, monk fruit had to make it to my top four list.
It contains zero calories and zero carbohydrates.
I use it in a 1:1 ratio for sugar with no problem. However, some people prefer to use less (⅓ cup per one cup of sugar) or more (adding a few extra tablespoons). It’s a personal preference, so you may need to do some trial and error when using monk fruit.
Last but not least, let’s talk about stevia.
I have tried using stevia a couple of times. To be honest, it’s not my favorite. I find it to be incredibly bitter. Yet, everyone else I’ve talked to loves using stevia in baked goods. They don’t notice any bitterness whatsoever. That said, I added it to the top four because it has a proven track record, and you won’t know if you like it until you try it!
Like monk fruit, you may need to adjust the ratios until you find your perfect fit. Some use it in a 1:1 ratio with sugar, while others use half of the amount. It all depends on your personal preference and taste buds!
Aside from being slightly bitter, stevia is a good choice for keto diets. It works like sugar and won’t affect the texture much. It has zero calories and zero carbs, ensuring it’s a suitable swap for keto lifestyles.
Keto-Friendly Sweeteners I Don’t Recommend
Not all keto-friendly sweeteners are suitable for baking. Some of them did not pass my baking tests. Here are the keto-friendly sweeteners I do not recommend.
When I discovered allulose, I was so excited! It works amazingly well in several baked goods.
Yet, it wasn’t the dream come true that I thought it was.
Allulose made me extremely bloated and caused a good deal of gastrointestinal discomfort.
Some research has said that this only occurs to some people. So, if you want to give it a try, go ahead. Use it in small amounts to start with, though. Just in case.
Many people think dates are an excellent choice for keto-friendly diets because they’re a fruit. However, while dates may be ideal for paleo diets, they’re not a good swap for sugar in keto-friendly baked goods.
That’s because dates have a high amount of carbohydrates. And, if you’re on a keto diet, you know that’s a big no-no.
3. Honey/Maple Syrup
Another sweetener that many people think is OK for keto diets is honey and maple syrup.
Although these syrups may be “natural,” they’re quite high in carbs and will kick you out of ketosis.
Sorry, y’all – you can’t use honey or maple syrup as a sugar substitute. It just won’t work!
There you have it! The top sweeteners for keto-friendly baked goods – and which ones to avoid like the plague. If you’re not ready to check out this article just yet, I’ve included a couple of frequently asked questions below.
What sweeteners are not good for keto?
Sugar and carbohydrates must be avoided at all costs on a keto diet. That said, you should not consume any type of sugar. This means avoiding white table sugar, honey, maple syrup, dates, coconut sugar, etc.
Is it better to bake with stevia or erythritol?
If I had to choose between stevia or erythritol, I would select erythritol. My issue with stevia is that it produces a bitter aftertaste that I personally don’t enjoy. However, many people bake with stevia and don’t notice a difference. That said, both can be used.
Is Splenda OK for ketosis?
Splenda is perfectly OK for ketosis. So, if you’re looking for a sugar substitute for baked goods, you can use Splenda.
Luckily, there are plenty of keto-friendly sweeteners you can use for baking. My personal favorite is erythritol, but xylitol, monk fruit, and stevia are also great options.
What is your favorite keto-friendly sweetener to use in baking? Do you like using allulose, or does it cause stomach discomfort like it does for me? Share your stories in the comment section below, and add your favorite sweeteners if I haven’t mentioned them!About Michelle