What’s the Best Sweetener for Keto?

Here’s a question I’m often asked: What’s the Best Sweetener for Keto?  Everyone is looking for the best zero calorie, low-carb, keto sweetener.

What’s the Best Keto Sweetener?

We’re all bio-chemical individuals with unique makeup, which means our bodies react differently to the same stimuli. In other words, what works for me may not work for you and vice versa.

My Favorite Sugar-Free Keto Sweeteners

If you read my post, What’s the Best Milk for Keto, then you know I don’t believe in one size fits all diets or dietary ingredients, and so here I share a number of options for sugar-free keto sweeteners.

Healthy Keto Sweeteners for Dessert Recipes

Most Keto Diet recipes call for sugar alcohols like xylitol or erythritol (that’s what Swerve and Lakanto are made of) to sweeten low-carb desserts.

Those types of sugar alcohols are not an option for me as I can’t digest them. If you can tolerate sugar alcohols that’s great.

Is Erythritol Safe?

Do you have an autoimmune disorder (MS, Celiac Disease, Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, diabetes, etc) or any type of gut issue?

If so I would be incredibly careful using sweeteners like Swerve and Lakanto, or anything else made of erythritol.

Is erythritol keto? Yes. Is it safe for someone like me? No. To start, for those of us with autoimmune issues, minding our microbiomes is a top priority. Research shows that a healthy gut is the key to a healthy immune system.1

Sugar Alcohols and Gut Health

Why are sugar alcohols so disruptive to gut health? The reason is two-fold.

First, these zero-calorie sweeteners are polyols (4-carbon sugar alcohols). They can be very difficult for some people to break down, disrupting digestion and causing severe gut dysbiosis. Second, this type of sweetener contains corn.

LakantoSwerve and Lakanto Contain Corn

The majority of sugar-free keto diet sweeteners, like Swerve and Lakanto are made from corn, a food that is highly allergenic and incredibly hard on my system.

Corn-Based Sweeteners

I think it’s interesting that so many folks who used to be on a grain-free Paleo Diet, have switched over to the Keto Diet and are now consuming desserts made with large amounts of corn-based sweeteners.

If you’re one of those people I’d love to hear from you about this change and if it was positive or negative for you.

Sugar-Free Xylitol

Xylitol is a zero-calorie sugar-free sweetener often made from birch. I like that it’s a corn-free keto sweetener option (be sure to check the label to make sure the xylitol you buy is derived from birch, not something else).

This sugar alcohol is very hard for me to digest, so I don’t use xylitol. Some people say that this sugar-free sweetener has a cool aftertaste.

Monk Fruit

Monk Fruit

Some people like to use monk fruit for their sugar-free keto desserts. It’s another good option but not a low-carb sweetener that I have used much.

If you do buy it and want to use pure monk fruit, check the label to make sure it does not have erythritol. The pure Monk Fruit Sweetener that I recommend is made by Julian Bakery and can be bought online.


What’s the Best Sweetener for Keto Diet?

For me, the best sweetener for the Keto Diet is stevia. I’ve found that stevia doesn’t cause digestive distress when I use a pure form that does not contain inflammatory items like corn, erythritol, and other highly processed ingredients that are difficult to digest.

My keto recipes using stevia, are a hit with family, friends, and fans, and you’ll find several of them below!

Which Keto Sweetener Tastes Best?

I use stevia in very small amounts. In recipes sweetened with stevia, a little goes a long way! Although sugar-free stevia is fantastic, it is not perfect. The main issue with stevia is that some people find it has a bitter aftertaste.

If you are wondering which sweetener has the least aftertaste, stevia won’t be the best choice for you. However, when I pair stevia with strong flavors like coffee, chocolate, or citrus I can mask that aftertaste very effectively.

Sugar-Free Keto Dessert Recipes with Stevia

There you have it! If you’re wondering what’s the best sugar-free, low-carb sweetener, for me it’s stevia. If you have an autoimmune disorder, it’s perfect for you. Here are some of my healthy low-carb recipes sweetened with stevia!

Keto Blueberry Lemon Bread

Keto Bread with Blueberries

My Keto Bread with Blueberries is the most amazing low-carb bread and I sweeten it with stevia. If you’re in the mood for something plain, try my regular Keto Bread.

Both of these keto breads are amazing toasted and smothered in ghee, which is the perfect low-carb spread.

Keto Mojito Popsicles

Sugar-Free Keto Mojito Popsicles

Keto Mojito Popsicles are one of my favorite desserts! I can’t go a single day in the summer without having a batch of these in my freezer.

For this popsicle recipe, I use plain stevia. The mint and lime flavor profile is so incredible and also masks any stevia aftertaste.

Keto Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chocolate Chia Pudding

I created my Chocolate Chia Pudding recipe when my awesome mother-in-law (MIL) asked me to create and customize a healthy chocolate chia pudding for her special diet.

This Keto Chocolate Chia Pudding is not only amazingly tasty, with five ingredients it’s super easy to make. My sugar-free Chocolate Chia Pudding is sweetened with vanilla stevia.

3 Ingredient Keto Chocolate Pudding

3-Ingredient Keto Chocolate Pudding

Creating no sugar keto desserts can be quite challenging, but it’s one I love. When I make a sugar-free dessert, it’s not only free of refined sugar, it doesn’t contain high-glycemic sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

You’ll love that I sweeten my 3-Ingredient Keto Chocolate Pudding with vanilla stevia.

Keto Brownies

Sugar-Free Keto Brownies Recipe

My Sugar-Free Keto Brownies recipe is a labor of love for my readers on low-carb high-fat (LCHF) Keto Diets. If your digestion is at all compromised, be careful because the recipe contains erythritol in addition to stevia.

Sadly, because of the sweetener, they are not something I can eat, but Mr. Pantry loves them!

My incredible Keto Nut-Free Zucchini Bread recipe is another one of those recipes that I’ve created for those of you on a sugar-free diet, but that I myself don’t eat.

My Favorite Keto Sweeteners

Now that you have my favorite keto sweetener list. I’d love to hear from you. What is your favorite keto sweetener?

This post is an oldie but goodie from the archives, I first shared What’s the Best Sweetener for Keto in 2019.

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93 responses to “What’s the Best Sweetener for Keto?”

  1. Good morning Elana,

    I hope you are doing well. I have a questions for you since I reread your article on your “Favorite Keto Sweeteners”, from 3/5/21. I have a recipe for chocolate Paleo freezer bars that used 3 teaspoons of monk fruit. I don’t want to use the Monk Fruit and would like to use Stevia instead (I have the SweetLeaf brand, sweet drops Vanilla Creme). But I am not sure on the conversion. Would you be able to advise me on how many drops of the Stevia to use in place of the 3 teaspoons of Monk Fruit?
    Thank you for all your recipes and articles. I am a big fan of all that you do, and have been using your recipes for many years.


    • Barbara, thanks so much for your comment and for being on this healing path with me. I haven’t tried that so not sure :-)

  2. Hi Elana,

    With your auto immune issues, which are you personally more likely to use in baking – – agave sweetener or Stevia? When substituting Stevia for maple syrup, what portions should be used? I ask, because it seems like one would only use small amounts of Stevia compared to a larger amount of maple syrup, which would change the liquids in the recipe.


  3. I have used xylitol, erythritol and stevia for decades. Xylitol isn’t always from birch bark, as it can also come from corn. That said, I rarely use it because of the possibility of gut issues. I use a combination of erythritol, stevia and monk fruit, and find that works best for me, and I don’t get stomach or gut issues from it. I use less of each in combination because they seem to enhance each other without ever tasting the bitterness of stevia. I use an organic liquid stevia from NOW brand, and buy it in 8 oz bottles as that is the most cost effective I’ve found. I also rarely make treats so that is another reason why I don’t find it a problem to use the combination of sweeteners for a dessert, which is rare, only a few times a year. My daughter has autoimmune issues however, and she can’t handle xylitol or erythritol at all, so it really is an individual experience. I use the liquid stevia in coffee regularly, almost daily.

    • Annie, the xylitol I link to is made of birch bark, but agree, not all xylitol is, so I’ve updated this article to reflect that. Thanks so much for sharing your sweetener combo and usage!

  4. You might want to let your readers know that xylitol is deadly to pets in very small amounts. I love it but it’s not worth the risk to have it in my house.

  5. Oh thank you! It’s hard to be low FODMAP and eat a diet lower in carbs since there aren’t too many nongassy options for me out there. My body seems to like stevia the best, but the brands I have tried leave an odd aftertaste. Which brand(s) might you recommend? I notice the link to the vanilla creme flavor, but what about a straight up, plain flavor?

    • Hannah, if you click the highlighted text that says “stevia” under the heading “What’s the Best Sweetener for Keto” you will be given that information. The photo of stevia is also clickable :-)

  6. Thank you for your perspective on these sweeteners. Has been a topic of discussion in my family with differing issues from GI problems, autoimmune diseases and diabetes. You certainly cleared things up for me about the sugar free sweeteners. I hadn’t found any other articles with this same information about blood sugar spiking, belly trouble and inflammation. And with a family full of food allergies it really helps to know what these sweeteners are sourced from.

  7. Thanks so much Elana, for this article! I started keto in January, had been Paleo for years and wanted to try keto. I was wondering why I had such gas and upset stomach after eating a keto dessert sweetened with Swerve. This explains a lot as I have multiple auto immune diseases and leaky gut at times. I had no idea these sugar alcohols are derived from corn. I do know that when I’ve been your paleo desserts with honey or maple syrup I had no digestive issues. Thanks again.

    • Karen, thanks for your comment and for sharing your story here. It is one I have heard more times than I can count and I am committed to helping others understand what ingredients are in their food :-)

  8. I use Sweethleaf Stevia in clear, vanilla, English toffee, berry, orange.
    I have been trying the Better Than Sugar a Sweetleaf product which is half stevia and half erythritol.
    I have also been using liquid Allulose and granular for different applications.
    I too, use these in very small anounts, and not daily except liquid stevia.
    Happy to say no problems noted.
    I prefer no corn base either.
    I’m currently looking into switching my stevia items to an organic product by Omica.

    • N, nice to see you here and hope you are well! I’m going to check out that organic stevia product, it sounds promising!

  9. Hi, I also use pure organic monk fruit from Julian Bakery. I have interstitial cystitis which is aggrevated by sugar alcohols and especially by stevia. The pure monk fruit and occasional monk fruit allulose mixtures are the only sweeteners my body can take. Still, I try not to have any sweetener often.

    • I too have IC. I had no idea stevia aggravates the problem. I have been having many uncontrollable flare ups and couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Thank you for your comment as you may have helped me solve my unknown triggers.

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