How to Replace Sugar With Splenda in Homemade Recipes

Splenda, or sucralose, is 600 times sweeter than sugar and goes well in most desserts like cookies.
Image Credit: iprogressman/iStock/GettyImages

The average American eats just under 20 teaspoons of added sugar a week, per the University of California San Francisco.

Baking with Splenda is one way to cut down on sugar as this artificial sweetener works well in most recipes. Plus, it's essentially calorie-free.

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What Is Splenda?

Splenda is the brand name for a sugar substitute known as sucralose. A 1-gram packet contains 3 calories (from sugar), per the USDA.

Splenda tastes very similar to the real thing — that's likely because unlike other artificial sweeteners, it's made from real sugar that has its chemical structure adjusted, per the Cleveland Clinic. You'll find Splenda in many products in the supermarket: sugar-free gum, yogurt, beverages and baked goods.

Splenda is 600 times sweeter than everyday table sugar.

Tip

As Splenda is so much sweeter than sugar, a half-cup can replace one cup of sugar in most recipes. That said, the substitution amount differs depending on the precise Splenda product.

How to Convert Splenda to Sugar in Recipes

Because Splenda is heat-stable, it won't lose sweetness when it's cooked or baked, Danielle Gaffen, RDN, says. "For this reason, Splenda is widely regarded as the best alternative sweetener when it comes to baking and cooking."

But because Splenda is so much sweeter than sugar, you can't do a simple swap of sugar for Splenda — that is, you'll likely need less Splenda than the amount of sugar your recipe calls for. Plus, the conversion may differ from one of Splenda's products to another.

The chart below will help you convert your recipe so you can swap out sugar for Splenda:

Splenda to Sugar Conversion Chart

Amount of Sugar

Splenda Sweetener Packets

Splenda Granulated Sweetener

Splenda Sugar Blend

Splenda Brown Sugar Blend

Stevia Packets

Splenda Stevia Granulated Sweetener

Splenda Monk Fruit Granulated Sweetener

Splenda Allulose Granulated Sweetener

1 tsp

1/2 packet

1 tsp

-

-

1/2 packet

1 tsp

1 tsp

1 tsp

1 tbsp

1.5 packets

1 tbsp

-

-

1.5 packets

1 tbsp

1 tbsp

1 tbsp

1/4 cup

6 packets

1/4 cup

2 tbsp

2 tbsp

6 packets

1/4 cup

1/4 cup

1/4 cup

1/3 cup

8 packets

1/3 cup

2 tbsp + 2 tsp

2 tbsp + 2 tsp

8 packets

1/3 cup

1/3 cup

1/3 cup

1/2 cup

12 packets

1/2 cup

1/4 cup

1/4 cup

12 packets

1/2 cup

1/2 cup

1/2 cup

2/3 cup

16 packets

2/3 cup

1/3 cup

1/3 cup

16 packets

2/3 cup

2/3 cup

2/3 cup

3/4 cup

18 packets

3/4 cup

6 tbsp

6 tbsp

18 packets

3/4 cup

3/4 cup

3/4 cup

1 cup

24 packets

1 cup

1/2 cup

1/2 cup

24 packets

1 cup

1 cup

1 cup

Source: Splenda

Tips for Baking With Splenda

As any baker knows, there's a lot of chemistry involved in baking. Sugar does more than sweeten: It acts as a rising agent, turns cookies and cakes golden brown and helps baked goods become moist and tender, per the Sugar Association.

Expect slightly different results when you use Splenda in place of sugar. For instance, the texture will be different, Gaffen notes. "Splenda can also add an 'artificial' taste when used as the only sweetener in a recipe."

Here are a few other ways using Splenda can transform your baked goods:

  • It won't activate yeast:​ This matters if you're making bread — if your original recipe includes both yeast and sugar, retain some sugar or honey to activate the yeast, Gaffen says.
  • Baking may go faster:​ Keep an eye on your baked goods because using Splenda in place of sugar can decrease baking times, Gaffen says.
  • Your yield may be smaller:​ When you bake a cake, you may find that your recipe yields a bit less, Gaffen says. One solution: Switch to a slightly smaller pan (like an 8-inch cake pan, instead of a 9-inch pan).
  • Less browning:​ Unlike sugar, Splenda won't brown. That means you'll need to rely on other cues to know when baked goods are done. "To recreate the golden brown color of baked goods, you could lightly spray the batter with cooking spray right before placing it in the oven," Gaffen recommends.
  • Flavor and texture shifts:​ To boost flavor, consider adding an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract for every cup of Splenda, Gaffen suggests. Honey and molasses can also help with flavor, per Splenda. And, in recipes that call for both brown and white sugar, you can use Splenda in place of white sugar, but keep the brown sugar as-is for chewier, crunchier cookies, she says.

Is It Safe to Bake With Splenda?

Put simply, eating too much refined sugar is linked to weight gain and increased risk of heart disease and cavities, per the Mayo Clinic. So there's ample reason to seek out sugar substitutes such as Splenda — they allow you to have something sweet without the calories accompanying sugar.

Splenda was approved for use in food in 1998, after review of many health studies, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sucralose is "generally recognized as safe," per the FDA. It's "unlikely" that this artificial sweetener can cause cancer in people, per an October 2019 meta-analysis in ​Food and Chemical Toxicology​.

However, many believe more information is needed to fill in a full picture of Splenda's safety — and any potential health risks. In a glossary of food additives from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Splenda gets a red X, which indicates that CSPI believes it is unsafe or so poorly tested that eating it isn't with the risk.

"More research is definitely needed to determine the safety of sucralose," Gaffen tells LIVESTRONG.com.

That said, because Splenda is so much sweeter than table sugar, you'll need less of it — that means you'll consume fewer calories, per the Mayo Clinic. And, it "won't have an effect on blood sugar levels, which can be helpful for people with diabetes," Gaffen says. Artificial sweeteners are generally considered "free foods" for people with diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

"I generally recommend baking with Splenda if my clients have diabetes," Gaffen says — but for everyone else, "more research is really needed for me to strongly recommend or not recommend baking with Splenda."

Tip

Consuming very large amounts of Splenda per day may not be safe, so cap your intake of Splenda at 23 packets per day (about one cup), per the FDA.

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