Sunday, September 07, 2008

Stevia, Splenda, and Other Sweet Things

I'm asked about sugar alternatives so frequently that I figured I should just write a post about the topic. I have no personal experience with using stevia or artificial sweeteners. My husband and I don't care for them at all. My husband has a very strong dislike of stevia in particular. So I've never used it in my ice cream recipes.

However, a little Internet research has led me to believe that you could probably substitute 1 teaspoon of pure stevia (no fillers to bulk up the powder) per cup of sugar in my ice cream recipes. I think that Splenda can be substituted cup for cup (1 cup sugar = 1 cup Splenda). Of course, there are many other sugar alternatives out there, but with a little experimentation, you can probably find something that works for you.

I'd love to hear your comments about what you discover. It will help other readers, too, because I have no plans to abandon my evaporated cane juice (or whatever you want to call it).


  1. Anonymous11:10 PM

    While I don't have very much experience with artificial sweeteners either, I just wanted to warn against using them in ice cream. While they make make the base taste as good as it would with standard sugar, it won't prevent crystallization the same way that sugar will, and the resulting mix will freeze into a solid block of ice after any time in the fridge. If you're planning on eating your ice cream immediately after churning, then that's not a problem, but it just won't be a pleasant texture otherwise. (sorry to be such a downer!)

  2. Anonymous12:12 AM

    Hm, but doesn't the sugar add a necessary smoothness to the ice cream that could be hard to get without it? Especially since vegan ice cream has no eggs. Maybe you could use sweetener and a Tbs or two of alcohol to smoothen things up?

    thanks for a great blog! I'd tell you to check out my vegan ice cream blog but since it is all in swedish I guess it's not that interesting.. working on getting it translated though..

  3. I have used agave nectar instead of sugar as it is the lowest of the sugars on the glycemic index and therefore is better for diabetics. It worked great. I even cut the amount down.

  4. Anonymous8:43 PM

    Not to be the vegan police, or put expectations on others, but Splenda is tOtally tested on animals.

  5. Connie, how much agave do you use as a substitute for a cup of sugar?

  6. Anonymous9:32 AM

    I would not advise using stevia as a sugar substitute until you do a taste test. To me, and to quite a few others, stevia has a saccharine-like aftertaste which isn't all that pleasant.
    In the last several years I've used washed cane juice as my sweetener of choice. If I don't have access to a source, then I use pure cane sugar, never the beet stuff or corn derivatives. If it doesn't say "pure cane sugar" on the package, I don't buy it, but that's only for refined sweetener. I've used a product called Sucanat, which is essentially the most natural form of cane, with a lot of success, but have not tried it in ice cream.
    My position is, if you're going to go natural, why fake one of the parts?

  7. Anonymous5:27 PM

    Sucralose drug interaction
    aspartame drug interaction

    My sister is a nurse, had brain surgery, and takes tegretol. She told me that she avoided aspartame (which is high in phenylalanine) because there was an interaction. I seem to remember finding this while googling.

    At any rate if one is taking medication it would be a good idea to check for drug interactions.

  8. Stevia does have a taste that many of my friends call grassy. It takes some getting used to, like many things, but I think it has a pleasant sweet taste in hot drinks as long as only a teeny tiny bit is used.

    Using it in anything other than hot or cold drinks will create a horrific disaster right up there beside global warming. Using it in recipes can bring out the grassy taste. Stevia isn't sweet like sugar or agave--the taste is quite different.

    Don't use Stevia in ice cream!!

  9. I have sweetened ice cream with honey or pure maple syrup and have had delicious results!

  10. ok so vegans don't eat honey. My apologies.

  11. I think the best sweetener although I haven't used yet in ice cream would be Xylitol. I used in apple pie, tea, corn bread and drinks. It has no after taste and helps reduce cavity. Stevia is still good and it is better than artificial sweetener that can cause problems at a later time in the cells of the body. It retains water and can damage the kidney and other organs.

  12. Natalia8:31 PM

    OMG I think I found heaven!!! I really wanted to make more natural ice creams or similars. Thanks for creating the page!! Would be looking around! Yay!

  13. Anonymous3:38 PM

    I haven't tried Stevia in ice cream. In fact I'm looking for a stevia ice cream recipe right now. The bitter after taste you refer to is with the lower quality stevias. Grade A stevia with no fillers does not have that yucky taste. However you're not real likely to find it in most stores. But you can buy it online.