pieces of different cakes in a circle with big wooden spoon of sweetener overlaid with title: Sweet Success: Using Sugar Substitutes in Family Cookbook Recipes

Sweet Success: Using Sugar Substitutes in Family Cookbook Recipes

Do you have a low calorie food section in your family cookbook? With so many choices in sugar substitutes available now, making baked goods with fewer calories, and many other low-sugar desserts, is so much easier.

It used to be that if you were dieting or diabetic, you just had to avoid these foods altogether, but now with sugar substitutes, you have a choice.

Baking with sugar substitutes

Cooking with sugar substitutes isn’t hard, but not all artificial sweeteners are identical when it comes to taste and volume in a recipe, especially for baking.

A good rule of thumb for baking is to first replace half of the sugar in a recipe with a sugar substitute, then test the results in terms of texture, taste, and browning quality.

There are arguments for and against artificial sweeteners, sure, but there is no denying that some people need them, and like them.

Below are some of the most popular sugar substitutes, with links to websites that include many recipes that you may want to try or include in your family cookbook.

Equal/ Equal Spoonful (Aspartame)


4 calories per packet
1 packet = 2 teaspoons sugar
24 packets = 1 cup sugar
Loses sweetness when baked at high temperatures for a long time. Can be added during last few minutes of heating or cooking.

Equal Spoonful

2 calories per teaspoon
1 cup = 1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon = 1 teaspoon sugar
Loses sweetness when heated to high temperatures for long periods of time. Can be used spoon for spoon in place of sugar. Check the Equal website for baked recipes that use the sweetener with no breakdown.

Splenda  (Sucralose)

0 (zero) calories
1 cup = 1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon = 1 teaspoon sugar
Great for some sweet dishes, but may not work well in cake recipes that rely on sugar for structure. Check the Spenda website for more information and recipes.

Sweet & Low / Sweet & Low Brown (Saccharin)

Sweet & Low

4 calories per packet
24 packets = 1 cup sugar
1 packet = 2 teaspoons sugar
May be used in cooking and baking without losing sweetness.

Sweet & Low Brown

20 calories per teaspoon
4 teaspoons = 1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon = 1/4 cup brown sugar
May be used in cooking or baking without losing sweetness. Note that measurements for bulk sweeteners differ from packet sweeteners, which are more concentrated. Check the Sweet & Low website for directions and recipes.

Sweet One (Acesulfame-k)

4 calories per packet;
1 packet = 2 teaspoons sugar
12 packets = 1 cup sugar
Can be used in cooking and baking without losing sweetness. Check the Sweet One website for more details and recipes.

Sugar Twin (Saccharin)

0 calories per packet
1 packet = 2 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon = 1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup – 1 cup
Retains its sweetness when heated. Comes in white and brown forms. Tastes and measures like sugar. Check out these tips for baking and cooking with this product at the Sugar Twin website.

I have found that some artificial sweeteners work in hot beverages better than others, so it is best to try several types of sugar substitutes to determine which ones are better for your specific family recipes.

Through trial and error, perhaps you will have enough low calorie recipes to start a section in your family cookbook.

Other family members may have experimented with cutting calories or carbohydrates and sugar in their diets and have some fabulous recipes you could include in your family recipe book.

In any case, you’ll see that sweet dishes don’t necessarily mean high calories or carbs, and that sugar-free recipes for slimming up don’t have to be tasteless, unsatisfying, or deprived!

Happy cookbooking,


About Erin Miller

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