Sugar free baking is all the rage right now. Refined sugar has come under fire over the past few years due to its negative health effects. The body breaks down refined sugar rapidly, causing insulin and blood sugar levels to skyrocket. This can lead to health issues such as weight gain and obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression and even some types of cancer. Refined sugar also drains your energy and leads to accelerated skin aging. All this to say, the less refined sugar you consume, the better. So when you have a sweet tooth, reach for sugar free desserts that taste delicious and are healthy for you too. We’ve rounded up our favourite recipes so you can start baking delicious treats sans sugar.
3 Tips for Baking without Sugar
1. Use Fruits and Vegetables
There are a number of sugar alternatives available on the market but fruits and vegetables are an excellent way to add some natural sweetness to your desserts. Using them in their whole form means you’ll benefit from the fibre and nutrients they contain. Popular vegetable options are carrots, sweet potatoes and beetroot, while fruit choices include banana, berries, pineapple and mango. Dried fruits like dates, prunes and apricots are also great choices for boosting the sweetness of a recipe without refined sugar.
2. Amount Matters
In some dessert recipes, sugar is important for structure and texture, and when you bake with sugar alternatives, the ratio is not always 1:1. You often can’t replace the entire amount of sugar with a sugar substitute, but you generally replace about 25% of the sugar called for. Each sugar substitute is different, so make sure to follow instructions for the best results.
3. Adjust Bake Times
If you’re using a sugar free recipe, you shouldn’t need to worry about this, but if you’re using a dessert recipe that calls for sugar and switching it with a substitute, keep an eye on your bake time. Granulated sugar substitutes may bake more quickly than the recipe states, so check cakes 7-10 minutes before the recipe’s bake time, and check brownies, quick breads and cookies 3-5 minutes before. Also remember that sugar free recipes may not brown during baking, so don’t rely on this to tell you when they’re finished.
5 Sugar Alternatives
1. Monk Fruit Sweetener
Derived from dried monk fruit, this sugar substitute is zero glycemic, meaning it’s a zero calorie sugar substitute making it great for those who are diabetic. Monk fruit extract is 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar and also contains zero carbs, zero sodium and zero fat. It’s high in unique antioxidants called mogrosides, which are what make the extract so sweet. Some monk fruit sweeteners are only as sweet as table sugar so you can use them at a 1:1 ratio. Others are 2:1 up to 12:1. Make sure to check the label to be sure.
Agave nectar is super sweet and similar to honey or maple syrup. It can be added in place of sugar for baked goods, caramel, drinks and most other sweet things. Agave has a lower glycemic index and is a bit sweeter than white sugar, so you don’t need to use as much to get the desired result. Generally, for every one cup of white sugar, you can use 2/3 cup of agave and reduce the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup.
Stevia is a plant that’s a member of the chrysanthemum family, and it contains sweet tasting compounds called steviol glycosides, making it about 300 times sweeter than sugar. Due to this, you only need to use a tiny amount of stevia in comparison. It’s stable at high temperatures so can be used in baked goods and puddings, and it won’t impact your blood sugar levels or cause tooth decay. Generally, one tablespoon of granulated stevia is equal to ½ cup of sugar, so two tablespoons of stevia replaces one cup of sugar, but make sure to check the package directions.
4. Date Sugar
Dates are the dried fruit that hang from the date palm tree and dates have become a popular way to sweeten raw and baked desserts. They’re naturally sticky, moist and full of fibre, and since they’re a whole food they haven’t gone through any type of processing. Date sugar is sweeter than regular or brown sugar, so most people like to use about ⅔ date sugar for every one cup of sugar.
Xylitol is extracted from hardwood trees and the fibres of some fruits and vegetables. It tastes and looks like real sugar with fewer calories and a low glycemic index, so it has less of an impact on blood sugar levels. Note that in baked recipes it can have an aftertaste and leave an unusual feel in your mouth. Use it as a substitute in a 1:1 ratio for sugar, and if you have a dog, keep it far away from xylitol as it is highly toxic to them.
30 Sugar Free Desserts
1. Sugar Free Birthday Cake | Sugar Free Sprinkles
2. Pistachio Chocolate Blondies | Full of Plants
3. Chocolate Almond Cups | Delicious
4. Sex in a Pan Dessert | Wholesome Yum
5. Sugar Free Flourless Cookies with Almond Flour and Flaxseed | Kalyn’s Kitchen
6. Rawmisu | Delicious
7. Nutella Thumbprint Cookies | Primavera Kitchen
8. No Bake Sugar Free Cheesecake | Sugar Free Londoner
9. Keto Pecan Crescent Cookies | All Day I Dream About Food
10. Healthy Snickers | Delicious
11. Almond Flour Fig Cake | Sunkissed Kitchen
12. Vegan Coconut Snowball Cookies | Minimalist Baker
13. Low Carb Sticky Toffee Pudding | All Day I Dream About Food
14. Salted Caramel Ginger Pot De Creme | Hungry Couple NYC
15. Keto Sugar Free Banana Bread | Sugar Free Londoner
16. Sugar Free Chocolate Fudge | Taste of Home
17. Strawberry Pretzel Salad | The Cookie Rookie
18. No Bake Millionaire Shortbread | The Big Man’s World
19. Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie | Wholesome Yum
20. Sugar Free Keto Doughnuts | Sugar Free Londoner
21. Keto Peanut Butter Cups | Savory Tooth
22. Sugar Free Ice Cream | Taste of Home
23. Sugar Free Vanilla Cupcakes | The Sugar Free Diva
24. Low Carb Sugar Free Carrot Cake | My Pcos Kitchen
25. Sugar Free Peanut Butter Fudge | Sugar Free Mom
26. Healthy Pumpkin Pie | Confessions of a Fit Foodie
27. Keto Chocolate Truffles | Delish
28. Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies | Amy’s Healthy Baking
29. Easy Vegan Oreos | Feasting on Fruit
30. Gluten Free Lava Cake | Sweet as Honey
Don’t these sugar free desserts sound absolutely scrumptious? Try them out as you venture into baking without sugar!