Which Brand of Stevia is Best (Not Bitter)? The Stevia Story and Ultimate Taste Test Comparison

Last year, I sent out an email to everyone who had purchased the cookbook to see which stevia extract was the best-tasting, least bitter product out of the vast array that’s currently on the market. You guys kept sending in emails with suggestions for different brands of stevia to try, so I went out and bought them all! There are 11 different stevia extracts, not including 4 kinds of liquid stevia and 12 types of stevia packets, taunting me from the cupboard right now. I feel like a crazy cat lady, only with bottles of white powder in place of fluffy, adorable balls of fur. 

Why did I undertake this expensive and time-consuming experiment? Because I didn’t want you guys to deal with the frustrating experience of buying and trying a multitude of stevias in hopes of finding one that wasn’t bitter. Quitting sugar is one of the most difficult yet transformative journeys to undertake, and the right sugar-free sweetener can make or break that experience

You might still be wondering what all the fuss is about stevia. Why go to all the trouble of finding a good stevia as opposed to just using another sugar-free sweetener? Here’s your answer: Stevia is an invaluable sweetener for anyone who is trying to cut back on their sugar intake. Here are four reasons why I still love stevia after 7 years of sugar-free baking:

1. It’s safe* and diabetic-friendly, with no harmful side effects. With zero calories and carbohydrates, it’s one of the two natural sweeteners (the other being erythritol) that has no impact on blood glucose levels.

2. It’s exceptionally sweet, which makes it cost-effective. A little bit goes a long way.

3. It plays well with other sweeteners. Stevia never tastes quite right when you use it by itself to sweeten baked goods. However, when you combine it with erythritol or xylitol, it’s magical!

4. It tastes better than artificial sweetenersif you buy the right brand!

*There are stories floating around the internet that those with ragweed allergies could be sensitive to stevia. This claim has not been substantiated in the scientific literature. 

There are so many stevia brands out there, all making wild claims about tasting “just like sugar,” when in fact all stevia extracts are not created equal! I still remember that fateful date when I drove to the nearest health food store and excitedly purchased my first bottle of stevia powder, only to get home and find out it tasted like licorice-flavored failure. I felt defeated and discouraged. If the friendly folks over at the Low Carb Friends forum hadn’t clued me in to NuNaturals being the best stevia brand, I might have gone right back to a steady diet of Dr. Pepper and Pop Tarts. With the old, wonderful NuNaturals stevia extract, we were able to create decadent sugar-free substitutes for our old favorite treats, ranging from a frozen coffee drink that tasted like the Starbucks kind to a sugar-free chocolate cake that rivalled Duncan Hines.

And then 2013 happened. 

Alas, the delicious NuNaturals stevia we all knew and loved was no more. In 2013, the manufacturer stopped producing the extract, so the company switched to a different formulation of stevia. After a few loyal readers alerted me to the change with emails and comments, I set out on a quest to find the next best stevia product.

Scroll down for the results of the Ultimate Stevia Taste Test!

The Ultimate Stevia Taste Test 

 I searched Iherb.com, Amazon, and small natural foods companies for months to find all of the best-selling stevia products currently on the market. The following are the results of comparing the stevia extracts, side by side, in a series of blind taste tests. 

The Ultimate Stevia Taste Test: First Round Elimination

stevia-show-down

Not shown: NuNaturals, KAL Natural, Mood & Mind Stevia Powder

The following stevias were immediately removed from the testing line up. They were either bitter in flavor or very dilute in their level of sweetness:

KAL Natural Stevia Extract (too bitter)

KAL Pure Organic Stevia Extract (too bitter)

Mood & Mind Stevia Powder (too weak)

NOW BetterStevia Organic Stevia Extract Powder (too weak)

NuNaturals NuStevia Pure Extract, 2014 formula (too weak)

Stevita Simply-Stevia (too bitter)

SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Extract (too bitter)

The Ultimate Stevia Taste Test: The Final Four 

 jaja-stevioside-whole-foods-365-stevia-select-powder-extract-trader-joes-best-tasting-non-bitter-nonbitter-not-bitter-sweetener

From left: JAJA Stevioside, Whole Foods 365 stevia powder, Stevia Select stevia, Trader Joe’s stevia powder

The stevia extracts pictured above made it to round 2. 

JAJA Stevioside Powder

Trader Joe’s Pure Organic Stevia Powder

Whole Foods 365 Stevia Powder (not available for purchase online)

Stevia Select Stevia Powder

These four stevias are all good tasting, but there are slight differences in flavor profile. Trader Joe’s Stevia and 365 stevia are very similar in flavor and level of sweetness, with the TJ’s stevia having the edge over 365 brand flavor-wise. Stevia Select and JAJA Stevioside are stronger than TJ’s, but they are slightly more bitter. You can use any of these in the old Healthy Indulgences recipes, but you’ll need to use double or triple the amount of the following stevias to achieve the proper level of sweetness. 

The Ultimate Stevia Taste Test: The Winner!

trader-joe's-organic-stevia-powder-best-tasting-brand-not-non-bitter-healthy-indulgences

Trader Joe’s Pure Organic Stevia

This is it! This is the stevia you should stock in your pantry. Trader Joe’s stevia has a clean sweetness and no lingering aftertaste. You can buy it here, or you can purchase it at your local Trader Joe’s store for $9.99/oz. Just be sure to get the 1 oz bottle. The larger bottle of TJ’s stevia contains lactose (sugar!) as a bulking agent. 

If you’d like to use TJ’s stevia in older Healthy Indulgences recipes (pre-2014) and the recipes in the cookbook, use twice the amount of stevia called for. 

Untried Stevias

Here are the stevias I decided not to purchase based on the lack of reviews and/or the high percentage of unfavorable reviews (3-, 2-, and 1-star):

BulkSupplements Pure Stevia Powder (14% unfavorable reviews) 

California Gold Nutrition, Certified Organic Stevia (not enough reviews)

Frontier Natural Products Organic Stevia Powder (51% unfavorable reviews)

Hard Rhino Pure Stevia 90% Steviosides Extract Bulk Powder (not enough reviews)

Superior Source Sweet ‘N Natural Stevia Pure Nutritional Supplements Powder (not enough reviews)

Trim Healthy Mama Stevia (no reviews from a third party site)

Zenulife Health Global (not enough reviews)

Have you tried any of the above listed stevias, or a stevia that’s not mentioned here? If so, let us know what you think of it! 

This post may contain affiliate links. By purchasing products through the links, you can help support the site! I purchased these products myself and was not compensated for any of these product reviews. All opinions are my own.

34 Comments on Which Brand of Stevia is Best (Not Bitter)? The Stevia Story and Ultimate Taste Test Comparison

  1. Twila Burkholder
    January 16, 2015 at 9:44 pm (4 months ago)

    I have the THM stevia extract, and I do like it. It has a clean, sweet taste. My problem is I have a bottle of Sweet Leaf that I’m making myself use up first. It will take a while. I always pair these with other sweeteners as well. After this review I’ll buy the trader Joe’s brand.

    Reply
    • Erica Testa
      January 31, 2015 at 7:38 pm (4 months ago)

      Twila- why dont you like the THM, just curious?

      Reply
      • Twila Burkholder
        February 1, 2015 at 12:04 am (4 months ago)

        i do like the THM stevia extract, but want to use up the Sweet Leaf I have first. I will probably buy the Trader Joe’s brand in the future since you gave it a good review. It will be cheaper and I won’t have to pay shipping! I did buy the stevia liquid at TJ’s the other day, but haven’t used it, as I have Nunaturals to use up first.

        Reply
    • Lauren Benning
      February 16, 2015 at 9:42 pm (3 months ago)

      Twila, how do you like the Sweetleaf stevia?

      Reply
    • Nell
      April 8, 2015 at 4:29 pm (2 months ago)

      Twila, If you haven’t finished up the Sweet Leaf brand yet, why not try using half of each together and see if that helps with the taste so you can still get good taste and finish up the Sweet Leaf bottle. I’ve used this technique with other things and it works sometimes. Good luck.

      Reply
  2. Edith Patchan
    January 18, 2015 at 11:44 pm (4 months ago)

    I have not yet used any stevia extract because I couldn’t decide which one to buy! Your blog on stevia was so interesting but left me confused. Why didn’t you rate any liquid brands? What don’t I know? I always see recipes with so many drops listed, with very seldom powder being used. Now I’m more confused! lol

    Reply
    • Lauren Benning
      February 16, 2015 at 9:40 pm (3 months ago)

      Edith, thank you for sharing your reaction. This post was just covering the pure powder extract. I only use the powdered kind of stevia in my recipes because it has no fillers like alcohol or glycerin, so it can be added to batters, dough, and chocolate without disrupting the texture. Thanks to your feedback, I will be discussing the differences between the powdered, liquid, and the stevia in packets in an upcoming post.

      Reply
  3. lew
    January 19, 2015 at 1:59 am (4 months ago)

    Have tried some of these and agree the Whole Foods 365 is very good. Have to use up what I have before buying the TJ’s. I do really like THM stevia. Very concentrated and no bitter taste. Hope you review the liquids. I like 365 vanilla liquid and have been trying stevia glycerite as that tends to be less bitter than the powders

    Reply
    • Lauren Benning
      February 16, 2015 at 9:40 pm (3 months ago)

      Iew, thanks for your feedback about the stevias you’ve tried. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about liquid stevia.

      Reply
  4. Lori Frerman
    January 20, 2015 at 1:28 pm (4 months ago)

    Good to know about TJs! I am using Whole Foods 365 now and planned on trying THM once I finished up my last bottle. Thank you for your time and money you put in this!

    Reply
    • Lauren Benning
      February 16, 2015 at 9:41 pm (3 months ago)

      You’re very welcome, Lori!

      Reply
  5. Joannabanana1989 .
    January 21, 2015 at 3:39 am (4 months ago)

    Sweetleaf is my all time favorite! Its not bitter and i only need the tiniest amount to make something sweet.

    Reply
  6. Courtney Soularie
    January 22, 2015 at 8:54 am (4 months ago)

    I haven’t bought the powdered from TJ’s. I’m excited to try it. Their liquid stevia is amazing. I tell everyone about it!

    Reply
    • Lauren Benning
      February 16, 2015 at 9:42 pm (3 months ago)

      Courtney, I’m enjoying their liquid stevia, too! What’s your favorite way to use it?

      Reply
      • Courtney Soularie
        February 16, 2015 at 11:45 pm (3 months ago)

        Glad you are liking it. I love it in tea and baked goods. Also made bbq sauce with it the other day and it was really great!

        Reply
  7. Erica Testa
    January 31, 2015 at 7:37 pm (4 months ago)

    Ive heard THM stevia is very good… I’m debating on that and TJ’s right now… any opinions?

    Reply
    • Lauren Benning
      February 16, 2015 at 9:42 pm (3 months ago)

      Erica, I’m getting a sample of the THM. Thanks for posting your question.

      Reply
      • Erica Testa
        February 16, 2015 at 9:46 pm (3 months ago)

        Let us know! I ended up buying the TJ’s based on your recommendation! :)

        Reply
  8. GiGi Eats Celebrities
    February 1, 2015 at 7:33 am (4 months ago)

    I’ve never had TJ’s Stevia but I have had EVERY OTHER KIND there is!!! NuNaturals and Now Stevia are the two that are currently in my pantry, but now I am intrigued to try Trader Joe’s!

    Reply
    • Lauren Benning
      February 16, 2015 at 9:41 pm (3 months ago)

      Glad to find another stevia fiend! Did you notice a change in the NN stevia, Gigi?

      Reply
      • GiGi Eats Celebrities
        February 17, 2015 at 1:57 am (3 months ago)

        UGH YES I DO and it stinks! :( I used to be devoted to their stevia, but no longer. I am all for Better Stevia these days, or Natvia Baking Stevia!

        Reply
  9. Michelle
    March 3, 2015 at 7:17 pm (3 months ago)

    Did you notice that Trader Joe’s stevia contains lactose? That could be a problem for those who are lactose intolerant. Just thought some might like to know.

    Reply
    • Lauren Benning
      March 3, 2015 at 7:54 pm (3 months ago)

      Michelle, there are 2 types of stevia under the Trader Joe’s label. The one in the large, 8 oz container does contain lactose. The 1oz bottle pictured above in the post does not contain lactose. I mentioned this in the post. :)

      Reply
  10. Jeffry Calhoun
    March 4, 2015 at 2:55 am (3 months ago)

    Re:Hard Rhino Bulk Stevia

    Pro: One of the cheapest.

    Con: Bitter, many other choices taste much better.

    I am trying to use up a lifetime supply of this, most often by using this for about 1/2 the stevia in big recipes, where it is not as noticeable.

    I hope somebody can come up with some kind of ultra low carb sweetener that will work well with cocoa powder. Nothing seems to work well. I just bought both the liquid and powder form of Trader Joe’s to try. My blood sugar jumps up with ERYTHRITOL, which is the best tasting low carb sweetener.

    I just read that you are starting a new cookbook project. Best wishes for success. Now that the low carb craze is over, we severe diabetics need all the help we can get! (It is very dangerous to eat more carbs then make up for it by adding insulin).

    Reply
  11. Robert Green
    March 12, 2015 at 5:11 pm (3 months ago)

    Lauren, I know your recipes for 2014 and later would only call for the amount of stevia called for in your instructions if using TJ’s stevia while your pre 2014 recipes would require 2x the amount of stevia called for if using TJs, but in general, for recipes not your own, would you guess that when stevia powder is required that I should double the amount of stevia required if I use TJs as is not a strong as some other stevia powders? Also do you have a favorite stevia liquid?

    Reply
    • Lauren Benning
      March 12, 2015 at 7:53 pm (3 months ago)

      Robert, good question! The difficult part about using other people’s recipes is the lack of notation that usually accompanies them. I go fairly in depth with discussion of ingredients and comparisons of similar ingredients so that you get the results that I do in the test kitchen! If I were making someone else’s recipe, I would start with the same amount of TJ’s stevia as the amount that is listed. The TJ’s extract was one of the stronger products (not compared to the old NuNaturals stevia, but definitely stronger than the new NuNaturals stevia, as well as every other stevia currently on the market).

      NOW stevia is in a class of its own. It is considerably weaker than the other stevia extracts on the market. If the stevia listed is the NOW brand, I’d use 1/2 the amount of stevia listed.

      TJ’s liquid stevia (sold right next to the powdered stevia) is just as good as the powdered product. Highly recommended!

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  12. Principal Haney
    March 14, 2015 at 12:08 am (3 months ago)

    Hi Lauren, I’ve been baking low carb using your recipes for years! You really helped me get through a very difficult period of my life, being diagnosed with diabetes in 2010. After finding your site, I’ve been able to eat sweets and still maintain proper blood sugar levels! Thank you for all of your work!

    I still have about an ounce of the old formulation of the NuNaturals stevia (wow this stuff really keeps lol). I’ve been using it as a comparison as I search for a replacement. So far, I’ve tried Now Better Stevia (organic) and Trader Joe Organic Stevia Extract as you recommended. But I made a half gallon container of tea, and started with double the amount than I would use with NuNaturals (1/2 teaspoon instead of 1/4 teaspoon), and it didn’t sweeten. I then added triple, and then four and finally five times the amount before I gave up and put a 1/4 teaspoon of NuNaturals in it to “clean it up.”

    Is it possible that TJ changed its formulation too? Or is it just best in baked goods?

    Thanks,

    LeViis

    Reply
    • Lauren Benning
      March 16, 2015 at 5:40 pm (2 months ago)

      LeViis, thanks for the kind words. I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying the recipes these past years! I appreciate your feedback so much.

      Re: the stevia – you’re exactly right about the TJ’s stevia being significantly less sweet. In some recipes, it can take 3-5x as much TJ’s to come close to the intensity of the old NN stevia. The old NN stevia was incredibly potent. I wish I knew how they extracted it! There’s nothing else like it. I’ve had to become used to recipes taste less sweet, in general, since switching from the NN. You can only add so much erythritol before its aftertaste becomes undesirable.

      Please do share your tea recipe if you are able to tweak it with one of the newer stevia.

      Hope that helps, LeViis!

      Reply
      • Terry Peoples
        March 23, 2015 at 8:51 pm (2 months ago)

        I was incredibly disappointed when they changed the NN recipe. I’ve got a long email string between me and a rep at the company, where he admitted the change and explained it was due to losing the source/supplier they’d been using. I check back periodically to see if they have restored the product to the original sweetness and quality, but so far no. I did some testing between the old and new, and figure the new version is only 20-25% as sweet as the old. Plus some added bitterness that wasn’t there before!

        Reply
  13. milly
    April 20, 2015 at 1:05 am (1 month ago)

    I’m another who sorely misses the old NN. I still have a bit of it left. I hope someone can come up with a similar formulation soon. I don’t understand how it could have been so good but no one seems to be able to replicate it. About ten years ago KAL had a FANTASTIC pure stevia, but then changed their formula, too. I just don’t understand why they can’t reproduce or grow the crop as they used to. So many people loved it. Does anyone really know what happened?
    I tried the new Reb-99 (I think it’s called) from NN and it’s not good, either.

    Reply
  14. diane
    May 27, 2015 at 3:23 pm (2 days ago)

    Have you tried NaturAmericas? Very very delicious…..anyone have any info on it?

    Reply

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