Diet and Nutrition

Baking With Sugar Substitutes

January 11, 2017   /

Baking With Sugar Substitutes

So you have diabetes, but you still want to have your cake and eat it too? Well, you still can! While portion control always will remain a concern, learning to bake with sugar substitutes, also known as artificial sweeteners or non-nutritive sweeteners, can help you enjoy your favorite baked goods, without using up all of the carbohydrates allowed for the entire meal with dessert.

Seven sugar substitutes are on the market, all with different names and packaging. Which one you choose may depend on cost, availability, your level of baking savvy, and personal taste preference. All of these sweeteners are deemed safe for consumption by the US Food and Drug Administration or you would not find them on store shelves! You can purchase these products in stores or online.

Each has its own Web site, which provides recipes, tips, and other useful information about the products. Here are a few:
Sweet’N Low®:
Sweet One®:

The oldest of the sugar substitutes is Sweet’N Low, commonly known as “the pink packet.” Composed primarily of saccharin, each individual packet of granular sweetener is equivalent in sweetness to 2 teaspoons (tsp) of sugar. Sweet’N Low also is sold in a liquid form, which is measured in drops. SugarTwin is a similar brand of saccharin sweetener.

Sweet One and Sunett are made from acesulfame-K (Ace-K). These and the saccharin sweeteners do not lose their sweetness when heated and are therefore well suited for use in cooking and baking. All of the sweeteners previously mentioned are ultrasweet and are used in very small quantities in recipes. Even though their levels of sweetness are not the same, you generally can interchange any of the saccharin or ace-K sweeteners in your recipes without altering the taste to a noticeable degree; this is because such small amounts are used in home recipes.

NutraSweet, Equal, and NatraTaste all are made from aspartame. They are good substitutes for sugar in some recipes, but may lose their sweetness with prolonged heating. If you are making recipes that require long cooking times or high temperatures, stick with one of the previously mentioned sweeteners. Equal is known as “the blue packet.”

Splenda, which is made from sucralose, is relatively new to the market. Splenda is heat stable. It is sold in packets, as well as in a granular packaged form. The contents of the packets vs granular packaged form are not the same—the packets are just sucralose, while the bulk packages have larger granules that measure “spoon for spoon,” the same as real sugar.

Truvia, which is made from the stevia plant, is the newest non-nutritive sweetener to the market. One packet of Truvia is equal to the sweetness of 2 tsp of sugar. It is good for baking.

Both Equal and Splenda now have “baking blends,” which are measured cup for cup like sugar in your recipes. Read the Nutrition Facts panels carefully to make sure you are not getting more carbohydrate than you think and to make sure you are purchasing the correct product. If you are not very confident in the kitchen, you may want to start out using one of these products. They make it easier to achieve good results, but your goodies may contain more carbohydrates.

Sugar provides several qualities to baked goods in addition to sweet taste, such as volume and texture. Therefore, it often is difficult to completely replace the sugar in any given recipe. It is generally recommended that you replace half of the sugar in a recipe with an artificial sweetener, but sometimes you can substitute more than that, depending on your recipe (how the sugar functions in the recipe) and your personal taste preferences. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup (C) of sugar, first try using ½ C of sugar and 12 packets of sweetener.

Sweetener Substitution Chart





¼ C granulated sugar

6 packets

2 tsp

1½ tsp

⅓ C granulated sugar

8 packets

2½ tsp

2 tsp

½ C granulated sugar

12 packets

4 tsp

1 Tbsp

1 C granulated sugar

24 packets

8 tsp

2 Tbsp

C=cup, Tbsp=tablespoon, teaspoon

To improve texture and volume of low-sugar baked goods, experiment with the following tips:

  • Decrease dry ingredients by 25% (for example, if a recipe calls for 1 C flour, use ¾ C instead)
  • Bake in a slightly smaller pan
  • Reduce baking time slightly
  • Add an extra egg or two egg whites
  • Increase some of the liquid ingredients, such as water, milk, or juice

For a powdered sugar substitute, combine ¾ C Splenda Granular with 2 Tbsp cornstarch in a blender jar. Cover and blend until Splenda is a very fine powder (1 Tbsp is ½ carb exchange).

Perhaps the best advice is to follow the instructions and recipes found on each product’s Web site, because these recipes are tested by professionals using the sweeteners. Baking with sugar substitutes sometimes is challenging, but with experimentation and patience you can achieve good results.

Information on each product was obtained from that product’s Web site at the links previously listed.