Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Make your own Liquid Vanilla Stevia

I love the idea of not using sugar in recipes. Stevia is a plant, a wonderful green herb that is sweeter than sugar! It does have a bit of an herby taste but I tend to like it. You can buy whole leaf stevia, vanilla beans and vegetable glycerine from Mountain Rose Herbs. Amazon also sells Glycerin Vegetable Kosher USP - 1 Quart as does azure standard.

If you would like to know more about stevia, here is a wonderfully informative article from Real Food Forager.

I've used lots of dried, whole stevia plant (here it is in a rhubarb sauce) in some of my cooking and tea-mixing. I love it with hibiscus so there's no need for agave. However I've not used the liquid form a lot because it costs quite a bit! $11 for one ounce bottle? All it is water (or glycerin), preservative, and stevia! I just cringe about spending $11 for what is basically 4 tablespoons of an herbal infusion.

So what's a frugal herbalista to do? Why, make her own!

I used vegetable glycerin because it has a shelf life of 14-24 months. You can feel free to use water (shorter shelf life) or alcohol (but cook it off). I wanted something that would last longer than an herb infusion but not involve cooking (which can decrease the sweetness). This is a lot like my coconut extract recipe.

Vanilla Flavored Liquid Stevia
1 c glycerin
1/2 c warm filtered water
1/2 c dried stevia leaves or 1 c fresh stevia leaves
1 1/2 vanilla beans (omit if you like and add fresh grated coconut, orange peel, mint leaves or any flavor you desire), split

1. Combine all ingredients in a sterilized glass jar.
2. Shake vigorously throughout the day to keep herbs steeped.
3. Strain at 2-3 days. Longer and the stevia will be bitter.
4. Store in dropper bottle for easy convenience.

This recipe makes a little over 6 ounces. I kept a 4 oz dropper bottle for myself and gave away a 2 oz dropper bottle.

Liquid Stevia Conversions in Baking
If the ingredient calls for sugar, you can easily replace it with liquid stevia and a bulk substitute. Bulk substitutes can be applesauce, yogurt, mashed beans or vegetables.

1 cup sugar = 1 tsp liquid stevia + 1/3 c bulk substitute
1 tsp sugar = 2 drops liquid stevia
1 T sugar = 6 drops liquid stevia

However I have no guarantees how this will work for your individual recipe. My best advice is to start off with substituting only half the sugar with stevia and then work your way up from there. The bulk substitutes will also change the taste of the recipe.

Of course, there are a lot of recipes out there that use liquid stevia.
Chocolate Covered Katie has some great stevia-sweetened recipes as well as Elana's Pantry recently posted some fig bars.

Question of the Day:
What's your go-to sweetener?

I love honey - the taste, supporting the local bee keepers, the anti-allergy effects, and the smell.
Maple Syrup comes in close second. I don't use it a lot but it has a flavor all on it's own.

This is featured at Wellness Weekends, Allergy-free Wednesdays, etc..

I buy my herbs from
Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c


  1. I LOVE using liquid stevia in my cold drinks and other raw dishes. I haven't experimented with it in baking yet. I have a stevia plant that is growing like crazy, and I'm excited to harvest it and try this recipe. Is the glycerin safe? I was originally planning to do a water version and just keep it in the fridge but I like the idea of keeping it at room temp for longer.

    1. Food-safe vegetable glycerin is safe to my knowledge. Mountain Rose Herbs is derived from soy so watch out for that if you are soy-allergic and Azure Standard's is from palm.
      Herbalists have been using vegetable glycerin for years as an alternative to alcohol for safe herbal extracts.
      You can use fresh stevia with great results! I just used dried because that is what I had on hand. Remember not to let it sit longer than 36 hours or it will be bitter.
      Thanks for dropping by.

  2. What do you use in baking for a bulk substitute?

    1. I listed a couple of options like applesauce, mashed beans and vegetables. I've mostly used applesauce and in the fall, cooked pumpkin or squash. Some recipes use more milk but I would think that would make the whole recipe too liquidy but I guess it depends on what you are cooking. Maybe use more liquid when subsituting honey and bulkier ingredients like applesauce when substituting sugar.
      I recommend trying to substitute only a portion of the sugar at first. This way you can work your way up!

  3. I used vodka in mine and added to beans in the jar. I didn't split them. When I cooked off the vodka it tasted like the plain one I had made. What do you think I did wrong? I was thinking of adding a couple of drops of vanilla extract to the bottles.

    I also use lemon peels in one and orange peels in the other. They smell like lemon and orange peels. I wasn't sure if I should discard the peels or put them back into the vodka mixture. Thoughts?

    1. I wouldn't definitely split them. A lot of the essence comes from the seeds. Unsplit probably won't influence the flavor that much.
      Also when you are cooking off the vodka, maybe include the seeds then drain after?

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  5. I have ground stevia powder. How much would I use in your recipe? Thank you

  6. Do you steep this at room temperature or in the fridge? Thank you for this recipe!

    1. Hi Shelly,
      You are so welcome!
      I kept mine at room temperature but used it in a couple of months. My mother-in-law keeps hers that I made her in the fridge because she just uses a couple drops for her coffee each morning.
      Hope that helps!

  7. Mary, did your liquid stevia taste bitter at all?


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