There are many different reasons you may be choosing to reduce sugar in your diet, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without syrup.
Syrup is incredibly versatile. Whether you’re using it for your coffee, pancakes, or late-night ice cream indulgence, syrup adds a nearly magical touch to your dish. Thankfully, there are many ways to make a delicious syrup sugar-free.
What are the best sugar-free syrups? The best-tasting syrups with no sugar are a matter of preference, but in general, you’ll want to consider the type of sweetener that is used, the flavor of the syrup, and how you plan to enjoy it. Natural, organic ingredients are ideal.
This article will explain each aspect and offer you 9 of the best sugar-free syrups to choose from.
How to Choose a Sugar-Free Syrup
The most important factor in choosing any kind of syrup is the flavor.
In our list of 9 best sugar-free syrups, we’ve found the tastiest chocolate, maple, vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, and pumpkin spice syrup as well as the more traditional pancake or maple syrup.
It’s not just the added flavoring that you need to consider, however. Some sugar-free sweeteners can impact the taste of the syrup, regardless of the primary flavor.
Many people don’t like the taste of certain additives used to sweeten foods, so before you can choose a syrup, you should understand what each sugar-free alternatives taste like.
Sugar-Free Alternative Sweeteners
If you’re searching for sugar-free alternatives to your favorite sweets, you will likely find a great variety. There are many ways to increase the sweetness of foods, beverages, and, of course, syrup, without using actual sugar.
The most common solutions in the food and beverage industry include natural sugar-free sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols.
Natural Sugar-Free Sweeteners
Relatively new to the market in comparison to the other two types of sugar-free sweeteners, naturally sugar-free sweeteners come from plants. The most common include:
- Monk fruit
Technically, sugar alcohols are also natural, but because of how they are processed by the body, they belong in a separate category.
Both monk fruit extract and stevia extract are over 150 times as sweet as sugar; however, they are calorie and carbohydrate-free. They don’t affect blood glucose levels and there is no evidence of side effects, making them a very popular, healthy choice.
Both stevia and monk fruit have distinct “fruity” flavors that not everyone appreciates. To compensate, many manufacturers combine them with sugar alcohols to retain maximum sweetness with as minimal aftertaste as possible.
Sugar alcohols will add calories and carbohydrates to the item being sweetened, while still being considered sugar-free. They’re not commonly used in homes, as it isn’t common to package up sugar alcohols like sucralose or even stevia, but these are frequently used in the food and beverage industries.
Sugar alcohols used to replace sugar generally end in “ol”, making them relatively easy to identify on an ingredients list. The most common alcohols used in processed foods include:
Within our list of favorite sugar-free syrups, only erythritol makes an appearance. This may be because erythritol is the lowest calorie sugar alcohol.
Erythritol, as well as other sugar alcohols, are generally deemed to be safe for regular consumption.
However, they do belong in the FODMAP category of foods (or “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols,” that is, short-chain carbohydrates that aren’t absorbed well by the gut). People with digestive disorders may find that erythritol can cause bloating, gas, and other forms of digestive distress.
Erythritol has little to no aftertaste, but some people find that there is some acidity hiding behind the sweetness. With this additive, more people avoid it for digestive reasons than flavor and it is generally thought to be one of the most neutral sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners, as the name implies, are artificially made, intensely sweet sugar alternatives. They are chemicals that are commonly used in the food and beverage industries, and are also made available for use in homes under certain brands.
Some of the most common artificial sweeteners and the brand names they are known by include:
- Aspartame: NutraSweet, Equal, Sugar Twin
- Acesulfame potassium: Sunett, Sweet One
- Aspartame-acesulfame salt: Twinsweet
- Neotame: Newtame
- Sucralose: Splenda
- Saccharin: Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin, Necta Sweet
Artificial sweeteners vary in sweetness, availability, and risk factors. So when they’re used, they’re sometimes used in combinations. It’s not unusual to see multiple chemicals in a single product.
Artificial sweeteners are the most controversial sugar-free option because, while they don’t affect blood glucose levels and have been shown in limited studies to reduce hunger and therefore calorie intake, they’ve also been shown as a potential link to an increased risk of gut health issues and cancer.
Some people only taste sweetness when chemicals are used, whereas others taste an unpleasant bitterness or even metallic flavor. The only way to know which category you fall into is to try it for yourself!
9 Best Sugar-Free Syrups
Now that you’re familiar with your sugar-free sweetener options and have a better idea of what to look for, let’s check out some of the best sugar-free syrups:
|1.||Starbucks Naturally Flavored Coffee Syrup||Vanilla|
|2.||Torani Sugar Free Syrup||Hazelnut|
|3.||DaVinci Sugar-Free Gourmet Coffee Syrup||Caramel|
|4.||Jordan's Skinny Syrups||Vanilla|
|5.||Pyure Organic Chocolate Flavored Syrup||Chocolate|
|6.||NuNaturals Plant Based Stevia Syrup||Pumpkin Spice|
|7.||ChocZero Maple Syrup||Maple|
|8.||Lakanto Sugar Free Maple Syrup||Maple|
|9.||Mrs. Butterworth's Sugar Free Syrup||Maple|
We’ve chosen the best brands and flavors above, but it’s always worth branching out. If you simply love DaVinci, swear by Starbucks, or can’t get enough of Torani, chances are great you will love most of a brand’s flavors, not just the one.
1. Starbucks Naturally Flavored Vanilla Coffee Syrup
If you’re shopping for syrup specifically for your coffee, you cannot go wrong choosing the brand that made syrup in coffee popular in North America to begin with.
Starbucks’ sugar-free vanilla syrup is as close to iconic as it comes in the world of syrup, and we simply love it. Vanilla is a classic, versatile flavor and this one is simple perfection. It’s ideal for coffee and similar drinks, bringing a little coffee shop fun to your kitchen.
- Best sugar-free syrup for coffee
- Sweetened with sucralose
- Pairs well with simple brewed coffee, gourmet coffees, and even steamed milk
Biggest Drawback: This coffee syrup is quite thin, which works really well for beverages as it blends smoothly, but it isn’t as versatile for baked goods or food treats. The syrups available to purchase for home use are also not exactly the same as what is used in-store locations.
2. Torani Sugar Free Hazelnut Syrup
There is something about hazelnut that is incredibly satisfying, and this sugar-free hazelnut syrup drizzled over your favorite dessert is a match made in heaven.
It’s also thin enough to blend into hot or cold beverages easily. We recommend a hazelnut coffee protein shake to get your day started right.
- Best sugar free hazelnut syrup
- Sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium
- No calories, carbs, fats, or, of course, sugar
Biggest Drawback: We’re not sure why, exactly, but this syrup from Torani seems to be the most inconsistent in terms of flavor. It always tastes good, but the potency of the hazelnut flavor sometimes leans towards caramel or vanilla. When it’s right, it’s blissful and when it’s slightly different, it’s still pretty great.
3. DaVinci Sugar-Free Gourmet Caramel Syrup
If you’ve been drinking sugar-free for years, you are probably well acquainted with DaVinci’s popular sugar-free line already.
This classic caramel syrup tastes great on nearly anything that needs a little sweetness, but pairing it with whipped cream or, even better, coconut whipped cream, is a match made in heaven.
- Best sugar-free caramel syrup
- Sweetened with sucralose
- No calories, carbs, fats, or sugar
Biggest Drawback: DaVinci has been making sugar-free syrups for years and, if you’ve been enjoying the caramel flavor for a while, you may have noticed that the recipe has changed in recent years. Some people prefer it, some are disappointed, many don’t even notice the difference!
4. Jordan’s Skinny Syrups (Vanilla)
While we love the iconic flavor of the Starbucks sugar-free vanilla syrup, Jordan’s vanilla skinny syrup is our favorite vanilla for all other uses.
This syrup tastes brilliant in cocktails, yogurt and oats, baked goods, and even smoothies. The vanilla is obvious and doesn’t hide behind overwhelming sweetness.
- Best sugar-free vanilla syrup
- Sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium
- Gluten-free, kosher, non-GMO, and keto-friendly
Biggest Drawback: If you are sensitive to the flavor of artificial sweeteners, you may find that the aftertaste in this syrup is more noticeable than many of the others. If you’re used to using Splenda, and it doesn’t bother you, you will probably love this sugar-free vanilla syrup.
5. Pyure Organic Chocolate Flavored Syrup
Not only is this chocolate-flavored syrup sugar-free and keto-friendly, but it’s also vegan.
For all the plant-based folk who crave chocolate and have a hard time finding good quality products that are both sweet and free from all dairy, this syrup is made for you. Mixing with almond milk is the epitome of a nostalgic treat.
- Best sugar-free chocolate syrup
- Sweetened with stevia and erythritol
- Organic, vegan and keto-friendly
Biggest Drawback: If you’re a regular chocolate consumer, you will notice that this does not taste like conventional chocolate syrup. It’s also not as thick. But if you’ve been plant-based and/or sugar-free for some time, this syrup will hit the spot, even if it’s not an exact match in terms of flavor or consistency.
6. NuNaturals Plant-Based Pumpkin Spice Syrup
Pumpkin spice in your own home is a year-long treat that brings as much comfort from the spicy fragrance as it does from the flavor.
Adding it to your latte is an easy choice, but don’t stop there. Drizzling it over your morning granola, apple slices, or even pairing it with sharp cheese will spice up your daily routine sweetly.
- Best sugar-free pumpkin spice syrup
- Sweetened with stevia
- Spiced with flavors of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice
Biggest Drawback: Pumpkin spice can be a very personal flavor. There is no actual pumpkin, but rather a variety of spices traditionally used to spice pumpkins and pumpkin recipes.
If you find that the blend of spices isn’t exactly to your taste, use the opportunity to add small amounts of spices from your cupboard, increasing the flavor and nutritional value!
7. ChocZero’s Maple Syrup
This maple syrup is sweetened with monk fruit extract. Because maple is such a powerful, rich flavor, the natural fruitiness of monk fruit is nearly undetectable, making this sugar-free syrup nearly identically to the more traditional variety with no artificial aftertaste.
- Best sugar-free maple syrup
- Sweetened with monk fruit extract
- No water or preservatives, just thick, rich maple syrup
Biggest Drawback: This syrup is sugar-free, but it is the highest calorie and carbohydrate syrup on our list. With 32 calories and 15 carbohydrates per tablespoon, this syrup isn’t an optimal choice for those following a keto diet.
8. Lakanto Sugar Free Maple Syrup
If you’re searching for a syrup that is keto-friendly, this maple-flavored syrup is lower in calories and carbohydrates than ChocZero’s making it a much better choice.
With only 1 net carb per 2 tablespoon serving, giving you plenty of room to work this into your daily carb quota.
- Best sugar-free syrup for keto
- Sweetened with monk fruit extract and erythritol
- Vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free
Biggest Drawback: Real maple syrup is thick and rich and while this maple-flavored syrup is sweet and satisfying, it is thin and not a close match for maple flavor. It is a good-tasting syrup that will fit in well on a keto diet, however. So if that’s your main goal, this a great choice for you.
9. Mrs. Butterworth’s Sugar Free Syrup
Similar to real maple syrup, part of the beauty of pancake syrup is the thickness. Mrs. Butterworth’s does not disappoint!
Even though it is sweetened with artificial sweeteners, most people find it impossible to tell the difference between the sugar-free and regular versions. You can use it to whip up a reduced sugar version of these chocolate chip cookies and no one will be the wiser!
- Best sugar-free syrup for pancakes
- Sweetened with aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and neotame
- Rich, buttery, sweet flavor and thick syrup consistency
Biggest Drawback: Many people equate pancake syrup with maple syrup, and they are not the same thing. This syrup is sweet and buttery, not maple-flavored. It is great on pancakes and waffles but if you’re searching for the maple taste you’ll be better off choosing one of the previously listed syrups.
Does sugar-free syrup have calories?
Sugar-free syrup may or may not have calories, depending on the brand and the ingredients used in the syrup.
On our list of the 9 best sugar-free syrups, 4 of them do have calories and 5 do not. Most sugar-free syrups in generally are relatively quite low in calories, if not free from them.
Does sugar-free syrup have carbs?
If the sugar-free syrup contains any calories, it will likely come from carbohydrates.
Sugar alcohols are not considered sugar because they do not affect blood glucose levels, but they are still carbohydrates. The same is true for natural sugar alternatives like monk fruit or stevia extract.
If your sugar-free syrup is made using chemical artificial sweeteners, it will likely have no carbohydrates.
If it is made with any other type of sugar alternative, it may have carbs and calories. It may also have fiber, however, reducing the overall net carbs, which can also make a difference to your diet plan.
Is sugar-free syrup good for diabetics?
We would not go so far as to say sugar-free syrups are good for diabetics, nor for anyone, in fact. However, because they do not have any effect on blood sugar levels, they are generally considered to be safe for diabetics.
For syrup or any other food or beverage to be considered good, it would have to have an intrinsic nutritional value. Sugar-free syrups are neutral, at best.
What is the healthiest syrup to use?
The answer to “what is the healthiest syrup?” is a really tough one to answer because it’s difficult to define “healthy” in this context.
However, one syrup that is always part of the debate for the healthiest syrup would be maple syrup. It comes from the sap of maple trees and is only very minimally processed (assuming it’s actually 100% maple syrup), which means it retains most of its nutrients.
Many people don’t know this, but maple syrup actually has some really beneficial minerals and antioxidants. Manganese, for example, is found in maple syrup and can help with the prevention of oxidative damage. Zinc is also found in maple syrup and helps support your immune system.
In addition, pure maple syrup also has a much lower glycemic index than other sweeteners.
Honey is another very healthy syrup and a popular sweetener. Honey is also minimally processed and contains all kinds of healthy minerals and antioxidants. Quality raw, unprocessed honey also contains pollen, which can help with seasonal allergies, especially if you buy your honey locally.
Although both honey and maple syrup are very healthy syrup options, they still should be consumed in moderation due to their high levels of natural sugar.
This is also a reason that many alternative sweeteners like monk fruit, erythritol, stevia, etc. have become increasingly popular: because they have zero calories.
Are “Skinny Syrups” healthy?
So-called “skinny syrups” are specifically marketed as being a healthier alternative to traditional syrups, mostly because they typically contain less sugar and calories.
However, it’s important to know that just because skinny syrups have fewer calories does not necessarily mean they are healthier. These syrups often contain lots of ingredients, including artificial sweeteners, flavors, and other additives.
Many of these ingredients have been linked to potential health problems.
Up Next: 5 Best Sugar-Free Chocolate Syrups