Making Stevia Syrup

This last spring I decided to try growing stevia and then see if I could process it into a useable product, rather than buy the “stuff” at the stores. If you want to know why – you can read this article HERE.  The project began easily enough.  In other words – I got two of the three stevia seeds I planted to germinate! They didn’t seem to mind being transplanted into the garden and grew fairly well in the beginning.  To tell you the truth – I almost forgot about those sweet little plants because they were almost completely engulfed by the summer squash!    In fact, I even stepped on one of them when I was trying to harvest the zucchini – but with a bit of neglect, they grew anyway!  Not into huge plants, mind you, but they did grow!

  • Stevia seedling, just transplanted into the garden. April 28, 2013
  • Stevia plant, starting to grow a bit, but shaded by the zucchini! June 3, 2013
  • Growing a bit more, but still in the shade of the zucchini. June 30, 2013
  • Aaahhhhh. No more zucchini, finally growing! October 4, 2013

Note to self – don’t plant the stevia near squash next year.   Actually, I guess I shouldn’t plant the stevia near anything that will shade it because stevia is actually a sun loving plant!  But, in the end, both of the plants survived and I decided to harvest them on Tuesday, October 22nd.  It sounded like as good a day as any.

Growing Stevia

I repotted the rest of the stevia plants to over-winter in the house. Hopefully they will survive!

I had read that stevia is actually a perennial in warmer climates and will survive over the winter in a sunny window.  So, I harvested the stems and left about 6-8 inches on the two plants, then transferred them into a pot that I had filled with some of my earthworm soil.  That earthworm soil is like Miracle Grow on caffeine.  Anything I have planted with the stuff is healthy and grows quite quickly!  If you would like to read about my earthworm soil farm, click HERE.

With the plants cut back and replanted into a pot, now sitting in a sunny window, it was time to turn my attention to the actual making of the stevia syrup!

Making Stevia Syrup

I dried the leaves in a warm oven overnight.

I stripped the leaves off the branches of stevia, gently washed the leaves in cold water, then spread them out on a couple of cookie sheets to dry in a warm (about 110 degrees) oven overnight.  With the leaves nice and crispy, I followed the instructions I found HERE.   Which means I had to buy some vodka – which isn’t something I keep around the house on a normal basis.  Well, actually, I do have some old stuff in my cupboard, but I think I will have to throw it out.  Why?  Because my now grown sons have recently fessed up that when they were teenagers, they would take a sip or two (maybe

How to make stevia syrup

I used middle of the road – brand name vodka – to extract the sweetness from the leaves of stevia

three) from the liquor bottles my husband and I had stocked in the cupboard, and then put water in the bottles so we wouldn’t know that any was missing!  That was pretty smart because they knew hubby and I aren’t big drinkers of hard liquor and would probably never know the difference!  We didn’t!  In fact, those bottles of hard liquor are still sitting on the shelf in our cupboard fifteen years later!

I guess it’s too late to discipline them, but they have kids of their own now, and paybacks are coming!   🙂

So, off to my local grocery store I went.  I was amazed to see that there were quite a few choices for vodka, flavored and unflavored, starting at $5.99 a bottle for the cheapest stuff up to over $40 for the higher-end stuff.  There was no way I was going to spend $40 for a bottle of vodka, just to steep my stevia!  I ended up buying the middle of the road, common brand-name vodka.

The instructions were simple enough:  place the dried leaves into a clean jar, pour in enough vodka to cover, place a lid on the jar and shake.  Then leave the jar on the kitchen counter for 24 to 36 hours, shaking once in a while, but never letting it steep more than 36 hours or it could get bitter.  I decided I would go “middle of the road” and let it steep for 30 hours.

Okay – now comes the hard part.  You are supposed to strain the leaves out – easy enough – but then simmer the vodka without letting it boil – which thickens the liquid and neutralizes the alcohol!  Okay, I’m not the best cook, but for some reason I have always thought simmering was slow boiling!  So, luckily my new stove has a setting called simmer, so I suppose that should be about right.  I have read some articles about people not liking the taste of this method of extracting the sweetness out of stevia because it tastes “green”.  Well, after about 1/2 hour I could see some particulates forming at the bottom of the pot, which I think I can assume is the chlorophyll because the liquid isn’t as green as it was before. Maybe this is the part that tastes “green”?  So, I thought, perhaps if I can decant the liquid without the particulates in it, it might not taste as “green”?  Or (the light bulb just lit) perhaps I can strain the liquid through a coffee filter!!!  So, that’s what I did.  I don’t know if I should have, but I did.  So there!

  • These are the blue bottles I bought at Greenals! Supposedly a tincture (or stevia syrup, in this case) is not supposed to be exposed to light, hence the dark tinted bottles.
  • This is the color of the liquid strained from the jar with the stevia leaves and vodka. I was actually a beautiful green color. So, I set the stove temperature to "simmer" and came back every few minutes to stir.
  • After about 1/2 hour a green powdery precipitate began to form in the bottom of the pan. I assume this was the chlorophyll separating out of the liquid, but I'm not sure. Maybe this is what caused the "green" taste I have heard others complain of when they make their own stevia syrup.
  • So, since I don't like green stuff in my syrup, I decided to filter it out with an unbleached coffee filter. The resulting liquid was now a clear amber color! Success! I did pour it back into the pan to thicken up just a bit more, maybe another 10 minutes.
  • The final result of this extraction process was about 3-1/2 ounces of the stevia syrup, which filled - well - 3 and 1/2 one ounce jars! The jars will now reside on the door of my refrigerator and will last, from what I have read, three months - if we haven't used it all by then!

I ordered the beautiful blue jars with built in droppers from a company called Greenals through Amazon.  All six jars were less than $10.00!  Including shipping!  I am certainly going to order more of these for storing essential oils, once I learn how to make my own, but for now, I am going to keep the stevia syrup in these bottles.  Apparently you are supposed to protect the stevia syrup from light.

So, I made some coffee to test it out.  Wow.  Holy Cow!  Geeze Louise!  This stuff is sweet.  And good!  Not really “green” tasting at all!  Of course, coffee has a pretty strong flavor in itself.  I will have to try using this sweetener in other things before I can make a final judgement, so right now the jury is still out, but at this point I think I like it!  Bring on the recipes!

Thank you for your comments, suggestions and questions – I love them all and will try to answer each and every one!


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53 thoughts on “Making Stevia Syrup

  1. We have some stevia in vegetable glycerin sitting on our counter right now – how did you know?! We didn’t grow it, though, so I was glad to see your success indoors. Maybe that will be my next project. We shared this with our FB readers at

    • Thank you for sharing, Tessa! Actually, we grew the stevia outside, in the shade of the zucchini plant! The stevia was harvested leaving about 6-8 inches on the stalks because it should over-winter in the sunny window! We will see!

      • i have planted stevia for a few years now. yes it is easy to grow and in our cold weather it is still surviving. however i don’t bother with all the processing for syrup. i just cut it, take all the leaves, dry them and then pack in a mason jar. i make my morning coffee in a coffee press so i put the coffee, salt (to take out any bitterness) dried orange rind that i made myself, a little Cinnamon and i crush a few of the leaves of the stevia and my coffee is great.

        • Wow, Laura, you coffee sounds great! I have never heard of adding salt to take out the bitterness! I don’t really notice any bitterness in the stevia syrup, but you never know, the salt might actually make it better – I’m gonna try it! Thank you so much for the suggestion!

          • the salt is an old italian thing for any pot of coffee
            i use coconut cream & coconut milk just blended together for my coffee cream
            i can coconut milk & a handful of coconut cream chunks blended
            really good

    • Yes, you are certainly right! When I found out what kind of “junk” was hiding in the supermarket stevia, I was determined to find out how to make my own. This was quite the experience – growing the plant and then extracting the sweetness! Now I just need to learn how to cook/bake with it, but at least I know it’s good in coffee and tea! Thank you for taking the time to stop by with your comments!

  2. Hi Vickie, I loved this post and I hope to make my own Stevia syrup one day. Are your links in the post not working? I tried all tree and they didn’t work for me. Thanks, I appreciate the info 🙂

    • Good morning, Connie! Yes, you should make some! Also – thanks for alerting me about the links not working – all fixed now (I think).

    • This was quite a fun project – from beginning to end! Hopefully my stevia plants will overwinter well and I will be able to start with bigger plants next spring. Bigger plants = bigger stevia harvest! Thank you for stopping by, Pam!

  3. LOVE this! I love using stevia and have bought plants before, but was unsure how to actually use them. The store-bought stuff is okay, but highly processed. I am going to try this for sure,thanks so much!

    • You are so welcome, Bethany! I can’t wait to start cooking/baking with the stevia syrup. I know it’s a little different than regular sugar – but Food Network has a bunch of recipes I am going to try! Thanks for stopping by.

    • I know – who knew, right?! I didn’t know there was so much “stuff” in the commercial stevia you can buy at the grocery store. Then I started reading more and more about GMOs and manufacturing processes. When I found out that the stevia sweetener I had been buying for my hubby to use in his coffee (he needs to watch his sugar intake), I was horrified! That’s when I did some research and found out that in my area stevia grows just fine! This is one of my experiments that actually worked well the first time! Thanks for visiting my blog, Cindi!

    • Neither did I until I did some research. It’s amazing the amount of information you can find out there in the web. I am so glad this worked because I am trying to be more self sufficient, and this is another rung up the ladder to self suficiency! Between the stevia and the honey we plan to get from our bees, and maybe even growing some sugar beet for grannulated sugar, we should be set for sweeteners! Thank you Becca!

      • Some one posted a link to you on a cooking page and I am delighted to know about you. I have been doing some research on stevia and this is just what I have been looking for. The idea of using a french press with the leaves is one that has my attention. Also the suggestions of mixing into the coffee sounds delish! Bookmarked your Blog, so I will be checking in with you..often. Thanks again for this post especially.

        • Thanks, Diane. Glad to meet you! If you like infused water (letting fruits and herbs sit in water for a few hours to get flavored water), then you might enjoy putting a stevia leaf (you really only need one) in with the fruit! It is wonderful! I recently made a peach/basil/stevia infusion that was very, very good! You might want to try lemon balm or lemon grass and stevia. It tastes like lemonade without the acidity and all that sugar! Perhaps you would prefer blackberry/mint/stevia? The possibilities are endless!

  4. I love this!! And I’m so interested in it! Where did you find the seeds for stevia? Is it something I can purchase through a seed catalog? I’ve never looked!

    • Hello Mary. I got the seeds from Peaceful Valley Nursery: I actually got my seeds free because I had ordered something else, and they throw in seed packets with online orders. Also, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has them: The plant is becoming more and more popular, so I think a lot of the seed catalogues will carry them now. When you start your seeds, don’t water them too much. Then when you transplant them, make sure they get plenty of sun! I hope yours turns out as well as mine did!

    • I’m not sure if I was just lucky or did something right – but my plants seemed to thrive despite my neglect! Good luck in your next attempt!

    • I will have to do some further research, but I have never heard of this! Mine must have come pre-frozen, because I didn’t freeze them and they germinated just fine! The stevia plant is a subtropical/tropical plant where it rarely freezes, so I’m pretty sure that they don’t freeze in nature. If you can find a resource for this information, I would love to have it! Thanks for your comment!

  5. I am so glad I found your post on Small Footprint Fridays. I have used stevia for years and now thanks to you I am going to try to make my own. This is truly sustainable! No additives and worries about what is really in it! Awesome!

    • Isn’t this great! Especially if I can get my plants to live over the winter! But, I sure would love to be able to make my own vodka from potatoes. If I could do that, then I would be a self-sufficiency goddess! 🙂 Hahaha! Thanks for stopping by, Deborah!

  6. I just found your post from the blog hop. So glad I did. I enjoyed reading several of your post. I will have to try this in my garden next year.

    • Thanks for reading my posts, Michelle! Yes, I think anyone who wants a natural sweetener should try growing their own stevia and processing it! At least you will know that the stevia is totally organic (if you grow it that way) and not processed with strange and dangerous chemicals!

    • Those blue bottles are very beautiful. I got some of the amber colored ones also. I plan to make some vanilla extract and lemon extract the same way the stevia syrup was made and then will put them into the amber colored bottles!

    • Thank you for featuring my post on Wildcrafting Wednesdays, Kristin! I’m not sure what I did right (or wrong) but I am so happy that the syrup turned out good! When I get enough leaves I am going to try making the powdered stevia and see how that turns out. See you at the hop!

    • Thank you so much, PJ. And thank your mom for me also! It really isn’t hard to do, just takes a bit of time – six months growing the stevia plant! See you at the Pinworthy Project Party!

    • I wasn’t sure if I could grow stevia because it’s supposed to be a subtropical plant, but once it got some sunshine it did just fine! It’s doing very well in my south facing window inside the house right now and has a lot of new growth, so it looks like I will have a “mature” plant to start out with next year! Good luck!

  7. Was looking at some info on Stevia when I came across your page, and am glad you are sharing your recipe; sounds great! One thing, though, If you dried your leaves and used alcohol, then what you made was extract; not syrup. Syrup is made with water and fresh leaves.

  8. Wow. Have dried some stevia leaves from my 3 healthy plants. Will add particles to coffee and disperse with the sugar jar. Now must find recipes so I will know how much and when to use. Anybody try it for jams or pickles?

    • Hello, Dwaine! From what I hear, the stevia isn’t stable enough for jams or jellies, but it may be okay for pickles. Apparently heat is not stevia’s best friend. If anyone else has some information on this, please share! 😀

  9. Just wondering, if you made the stevia syrup with distilled water instead of vodka, could you freeze the finished product in ice cube trays for longer shelf life???

    • Hmmm… good question! I don’t know why this wouldn’t work. I hope you try it and let me know how it turns out. Thanks, Bonnie.