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How To Make Liquid Stevia Extract

Do you want to know how to make liquid stevia extract at home? Turns out, it’s a simple process, similar to making many herbal tinctures. The difference, though, is that when you make liquid stevia extract, you want it to taste sweet. I’ve tried various methods for making liquid stevia extract, and most create something too bitter or too “grassy.” This method will help you extract the most sweetness with the least residual aftertaste.

Why would you want to make liquid stevia extract instead of buying it at the store? First, it’s cheap! Second, you feel like you’ve accomplished something. And third, you know what’s in it. The refined, white powder version of stevia remains a mystery, often containing maltodextrin (corn) or undisclosed “natural flavors.” And while some store bought liquid stevia extracts may be made from the stevia plant, others are made using the refined stevia. Unfortunately, there’s almost no way to tell which is which. So, if you want to be certain that you’re getting a healthy, natural sweetener, you need to learn how to make liquid stevia extract at home.


How To Make Liquid Stevia Extract

The Players

The How-To
If you harvest your stevia at home, begin by washing your cuttings to remove dirt. Remove the leaves from the stem, as the leaves are what contains the sweet-tasting glycosides. Let them dry in the sun or a dehydrator until crisp. Then, using a knife chop your dried stevia leaves finely. Do not powder your leaves as the powder is hard to filter out later and creates a residue that settles at the bottom of your finished extract.

If you don’t have a stevia plant, don’t worry. You can find dried stevia leaves just about anywhere you can buy herbs. (See where to buy stevia here.)

Place your crushed stevia leaves in a glass jar, then pour vodka over them to coat. We are using vodka instead of water to extract the glycosides because we’ll get a much sweeter end result this way. Opt for vodka over other liquors because it’s flavorless and cheap.

Put the lid on your jar, shake it up, and let it sit on your counter for 24-36 hours. Don’t let it sit for longer than 36 hours, as it will turn more bitter. I used to make a liquid stevia extract the same way that I made other herbal tinctures, letting it sit for weeks. While this may improve the medicinal quality of the extract, it sacrificed a lot of sweetness to do it.

Next, filter out the leaves. You can do this by pouring the extract through a coffee filter or cheesecloth.

At this point, you have two options.

1) Keep the alcohol-containing liquid stevia extract. To do this, transfer into a colored glass bottle (for light reduction), and store in a room temperature, dark place for up to 2-4 years.

2) Remove the alcohol from the liquid stevia extract. To do this, gently heat the extract over low-heat for 20-30 minutes. DO NOT BOIL. If your extract comes to a boil, you will overheat the glycosides and destroy the sweet taste. The longer you heat the extract, the thicker and more syrup-like it will become. I’ve found that on my electric stove top on low, 20 minutes is about ideal. Transfer into a colored glass tincture bottle and store in your refrigerator for up to 3 months.

You will only need a drop or two of your liquid stevia extract at a time to sweeten a beverage, so I recommend storing it in an amber glass tincture bottle with a dropper (like these).

Now you know how to make liquid stevia extract!
Pretty easy, right?

(photo credits: top by michellekc, lower by land_camera)

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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64 Responses to How To Make Liquid Stevia Extract
  1. Lori @ Laurel of Leaves
    December 14, 2011 | 2:33 pm

    This is fantastic! I can’t believe how easy it is to make this yourself. I will definitely be trying it!

  2. Carmen
    December 14, 2011 | 3:15 pm

    Amazing. I was at my Mom’s house last Spring and she had a Stevia plant. I tasted it and immediately wondered if this could be done. Thanks for showing me what to do.

  3. Emily
    December 14, 2011 | 3:35 pm

    so, if we leave the alcohol in its shelf stable for years, but with the alcohol removed it will go rancid at room temperature?

    • KristenM
      December 14, 2011 | 3:35 pm

      Precisely.

      • Emily
        December 14, 2011 | 3:46 pm

        I wanted to have a bottle at my desk at work for my morning coffee. But if I make it stable at room temp my work may become a bit… creative.

        • KristenM
          December 14, 2011 | 7:34 pm

          I doubt it. You still only need a drop or two to sweeten your entire beverage. You probably don’t fret the alcohol content of your vanilla extract, so why would you be concerned about this small amount?

          I shared the alcohol-free version for those who are sensitive because of restrictive diets.

          • Cindy
            February 21, 2012 | 2:44 pm

            Would you mind emailing me your alcohol free stevia recipe, please? Thanks!

          • Amanda
            September 12, 2012 | 3:45 am

            Where is the alcohol-free version? I’d love to find it.

  4. Teresa
    December 14, 2011 | 5:36 pm

    Does this homemade stevia have an aftertaste like the storebought stevia does? The stuff I bought from the store tastes like Aspartame or something.
    Thanks

    • KristenM
      December 14, 2011 | 7:38 pm

      Stevia does have an aftertaste. The only way to avoid it is to process it to death and create something that’s not stevia — like Truvia. That said, this way of making the extract produces the least noticeable aftertaste of any of the other methods I’ve tried.

  5. Stevi
    December 14, 2011 | 7:20 pm

    I have 2 questions – could we use fresh leaves? Similar to making a mint julep (macerating the leaves)?

    And any thought’s on adding flavors? I buy some of the flavored liquid stevias like Lemon, Mint, Chocolate and Vanilla – they’re great for adding to water (or tea) while dining out. I’d love to be able to make my own flavored stevia!

    • KristenM
      December 14, 2011 | 7:41 pm

      It does better with dried leaves. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it concentrates the glycosides?

      Once you’ve got your extract, you can add other extracts to it to get your flavor. I’d start by adding a small amount of the flavor extract and work up until I found the blend of flavors I was looking for.

      • Kevin
        April 29, 2013 | 8:09 pm

        Does it work the same with water instead of vodka? Thanks

        • Amanda
          June 11, 2013 | 3:01 pm

          No, you need alcohol to pull out (extract) the medicinals in herbs, and water goes bad, breeding bacteria and other bad things. Her instructions above do include how you can get rid of the alcohol by warming it after you have your extraction. The only downside is that it doesn’t stay good for as long and needs kept refrigerated. Alcohol is a preservative.

    • Shaun
      March 14, 2014 | 12:11 am

      Dried works better than fresh due to Chlorophyll content in the fresh leaves, which will give it a “green” taste. Letting the leaves dry naturally and cure at proper humidity levels @45-55% humidity will break down the Chlorophyll and get rid of that bitter green taste. In general this is true for almost all plants that you want to make a tincture out of from my experience.

  6. Tanya
    December 14, 2011 | 7:39 pm

    What is the ratio of dried leaves to Vodka? Do you weigh the leaves or measure? Thanks!

    • KristenM
      December 14, 2011 | 7:42 pm

      You use enough vodka to cover the chopped leaves. I don’t weigh or measure anything.

  7. sarah
    December 14, 2011 | 8:05 pm

    sweet!! literally!
    definitely looking into getting a stevia plant next time I see one at Whole Foods.

    • John
      August 13, 2013 | 1:07 pm

      Home Depot has them all the time in their herb section during the spring for cheap.

  8. Christine
    December 14, 2011 | 10:07 pm

    I’ve been using stevia for a while (store-bought liquid extract). But I was wondering if anyone knows if it affects testosterone levels? If it does in only large amounts, what would a large amount be? I read about one study in mice, but couldn’t find much besides that.

  9. Kendahl @ Our Nourishing Roots
    December 14, 2011 | 10:41 pm

    Kristen, this is awesome! I have stevia seeds I need to plant and grow. I will eventually dry the leaves and make this. In the meantime I am anxious to buy some dried leaves and try this. Thanks!

  10. Corryn
    December 14, 2011 | 11:30 pm

    Thank you so much! I was needing a recipe for this. I’ll be making some tomorrow.

  11. Bebe
    December 15, 2011 | 1:38 am

    Yeah… I just bought half a pound of stevia from Bulk Herb Store (dot com) and was just going to put crushed leaves in with tea blends. Now I’ll have two ways of using them!
    Thanks for this post.

  12. Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares
    December 15, 2011 | 8:50 am

    I want to try this, too. Didn’t quite know what to do with our stevia plant, other than eat a leaf or two as I walked by.

  13. dylan
    December 19, 2011 | 4:34 am

    Stevia seeds are available from Suffolk Herbs- http://www.suffolkherbs.co.uk or Tel 01376 572456

  14. Terri
    December 20, 2011 | 12:34 pm

    Thank you for this information. I grew some Stevia plants this year and did not know how to use them. I will definitely be trying this next season.

  15. Michelle
    December 26, 2011 | 6:41 am

    Great! I have a stevia glycerite that has been steeping on my shelf for a couple weeks. Hmmm, wonder if it will be bitter? I will try this too. Normally i do tinctures with dried leaves at about half the jar full to.allow for the leaves to absorb the liquid. Do you always fill your jar completely?

    • KristenM
      February 7, 2012 | 2:14 pm

      I add enough liquid (alcohol) to cover the leaves. So, how full the jar is depends on how many leaves I’ve got in it!

  16. Sara Jo Poff
    January 31, 2012 | 11:13 am

    This is awesome! I bought a 1-pound bag of crushed stevia leaves. It’s pretty much powder. Would that work? Maybe I wouldn’t even need to strain it?! Thank you! I’m pinning this!

    • KristenM
      February 7, 2012 | 2:14 pm

      You will definitely want to strain it, otherwise you’ll get a weird residue at the bottom of your extract. I recommend using chopped leaves over powdered leaves for just this reason — they’re easier to strain.

  17. Bethy
    March 6, 2012 | 3:13 pm

    Wonderful!!! I have jars and jars of dried Stevia and didn’t care for the taste from the other methods. I’m giving this way a try soon~tfs!

  18. Nora Clark
    March 21, 2012 | 9:54 am

    What are the proportions of leaves to vodka? Thanks!

  19. Bipul D.
    April 20, 2012 | 1:24 am

    I have searched and tested many ways that didn’t work out for me but this post help me to find out best one for me. Now i would like to say thanks to you because now I can Make Liquid Stevia Extract. Thanks

  20. David
    May 8, 2012 | 11:16 pm

    Thanks for the post and saving others time by trying the different methods.

  21. Christina
    May 15, 2012 | 10:07 am

    I made the stevia extract with the dried leaves and vodka like you instructed…I heated the mixture after it sat for 32 hours to get the vodka taste out..but it’s still a bit bitter and alcohol flavored. I didn’t boil it, but let it sit on low for probably an hour. What do I do? Should I use water instead with a little vodka? I miss the powdered stevia from TJoe’s but would rather make my own. Help!!

  22. Laura
    July 16, 2012 | 5:08 am

    Awesome post! I have a thriving stevia plant and made a small batch like I make herbal tinctures and have been letting it sit for 6 weeks! Now I know for my next batch. Thanks!

  23. Laura
    July 16, 2012 | 5:09 am

    Also, I wonder what the medicinal properties are since I now have a stevia tincture?

  24. janice
    August 7, 2012 | 2:54 pm

    We you simmer the mixture on the stove, does that remove the sugar that is in the vodka?
    Thanks!

  25. Christine
    August 25, 2012 | 10:09 am

    I purchased some dried stevia at our local amish store a while back, but didn’t know what to do with them. Searched today for flavored stevia and almost passed out at the price…so I remembered the leaves, found your site, and stuck a vanilla bean in with the stevia and vodka…can’t wait to see how it turns out!

    • Kitty
      February 17, 2014 | 3:00 pm

      it takes six weeks to six months to make a full flavored vanilla extract. If you are willing to spend the time, make your stevia extract, then add the vanilla bean and put it away for six months and you’ll have vanilla/stevia extract. as a plus, the vanilla bean will absorb some of the vodka and hopefullly your blend will be much sweeter.

  26. Jessie
    September 18, 2012 | 9:16 pm

    Thanks for the post, I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. I now have my dried leaves and am ready to go. I do have a question though. Can you make the extract leaving in the alcohol, and then go back into the alcoholic batch and take some out to simmer as needed? Or must you leave it alcoholic after you have stored it that way for a while? I hope that makes sense. Thanks!

  27. Misraf
    November 2, 2012 | 8:54 am

    Hi, thanks for sharing. In as much as I am very excited to try, I am unable to do so. Your steps said that to pour vodka over them to coat instead of water to extract the glycosides. You suggested to opt for vodka over other liquors because it’s flavorless and cheap.
    Sorry, do you have an alternative to vodka? I can’t take vodka.
    Thank you.

    • Jay
      November 4, 2012 | 7:21 am

      You can use any white spirirt – like white rum etc.

      Otherwise, search for the alcohol-free version if it’s for dietary reasons.

  28. Jay
    November 4, 2012 | 7:28 am

    Just wondering – could you leave the lid off the jar and allow the alcohol to evaporate over the course of a few days instead of cooking it down?
    Would there be any difference?

  29. Inga
    November 16, 2012 | 8:36 am

    Did anyone try to bake with this liquid extract?
    Will it leave bitter aftertaste in cakes?
    Anyone tried this? Please share results! Thanks

  30. Cara
    February 15, 2013 | 7:12 pm

    Is there any way to make this without the alcohol? I buy the stevia tincture with glycerin, but curious if I could make it? There are a lot of us who no longer have the ability to tolerate alcohol or working with alcohol. Thanks! Cara

    • Kitty
      February 17, 2014 | 2:54 pm

      yes you can make extracts with glycerine. google glycerites. I think that’ll provide the info you need, basically soak the leaves in the glycerine but you may need to allow it to soak longer. you could experiment with a quarter cup of leaves and a quarter cup of glycerine to see if leaving it longer would make it more bitter.

  31. Katerina
    June 22, 2013 | 4:00 am

    What ratio of stevia/vodka should I use?

  32. Angie Meara
    September 5, 2013 | 8:19 pm

    How do I infuse a flavor like chocolate? I love adding the store bought chocolate stevia to milk for my kids once in a while for a special treat. I’d also like to make this as a holiday gift.

  33. Christine
    September 14, 2013 | 8:38 pm

    Can you give me an idea about quantities? Given that more than 36 hours causes bitterness, is it possible that you can put too many leaves with too little vodka? Or vice versa? Have you found a good ratio? Or am I simply being too detailed?

    Thanks so much!

  34. Alexandra Earle
    October 2, 2013 | 6:53 pm

    Thanks for this recipe. I tried this today and after 25 hours of letting the stevia sit in the vodka I drained it and had a pretty sweet extract. I decided to try heating it to remove the alcohol as I have some friends who prefer not to have alcohol in their final product, but I found that even after heating it for a little on very low heat (got nowhere near boiling) I could smell a lot of sweetness in the air and the extract itself was much more bitter than it originally had been? Any thoughts on what I could have done wrong? Does heating it always make it lose some sweetness and increase the bitterness? Thanks!

    • Kitty
      February 17, 2014 | 2:01 pm

      try a double boiler next time so that the heat source doesn’t actually get near the extract. it will provide a more even heat and I suspect that’s what the problem is. the liquid at the bottom of the pan was hotter than the surface and was the source of the bitterness.

  35. Angie Meara
    October 24, 2013 | 10:36 pm

    Can I stick vanilla beans in it after it steeps for 24-36 hours? Or, should I include the vanilla beans in the original steep w/ the stevia leaves?

  36. Kitty
    February 17, 2014 | 1:57 pm

    For those who want a shelf stable product without so much alcohol, I’ve bought bottled extract that was glycerine based rather than alcohol based. I prefer to use half alcohol and half glycerine so I don’t taste the alcohol.

    Also, all the stevia on the market that I like has a slight flavor of vanilla, probably to mask the aftertaste. I plan on putting about half of an 8th tsp of vanilla in a pint of stevia extract to see if that does the same job.

  37. heather
    March 8, 2014 | 5:30 pm

    When its warmed does all of the alcohol come out? Is it safe to give to kids?

    • Shaun
      March 14, 2014 | 12:23 am

      You’re only adding a drop or two to a beverage. If you’ve ever given a child a sauce that was made with wine or other alcohols, chances are you’ve given them more alcohol than 2 drops of this.
      Even if you simmered this mixture (which you don’t want to do, only warm it) for 3 hours, you still would not be able to remove all the alcohol. Alcohol content would still be at around 3-5%

      Unwarmed is perfectly safe for a child for a drop or 2, and keeping it bacteria free by leaving the alcohol in is probably more safe. The less processing you can do the better, always. Just don’t hand the bottle to a child and let him drink the bottle ;)

  38. dlagrand
    May 10, 2014 | 1:04 pm

    One caution: if you use heat to boil off the alcohol – use an electric stove with your vent fan on. Alcohol vapor is flammable so using a gas stove (or any open flame) can ignite the vapors.

  39. Roslyn
    May 12, 2014 | 5:20 pm

    can you tell me what is in the plant that acts as a contraceptive..is it to do with eostrogen / progesterone… I have infertility as a reslult of too much eostrogen and have never ovulated till later in life…I lost weight in that time and had regular cycles, and still do but am putting weight back on??? and now I am wondering if it is to do with stevia, I consume only the powdered certified organic pure form, but that would not have anything to do with the homonal affect of stevia…..very interested ???

  40. Miriam Mabrey
    May 17, 2014 | 9:21 pm

    Can you use powdered stevia leaves?

    • Kristen Michaelis
      July 8, 2014 | 11:00 am

      It’s not recommended. In the post, I say, “Do not powder your leaves as the powder is hard to filter out later and creates a residue that settles at the bottom of your finished extract.”

  41. Diane
    July 8, 2014 | 10:26 am

    I would like to try this, but its not clear to me how much vodka or dried stevia leaves to use. Can you advise? Thanks.

    • Kristen Michaelis
      July 8, 2014 | 11:00 am

      Use enough vodka to cover the chopped leaves. I don’t weigh or measure anything.

  42. Joe martino
    July 13, 2014 | 10:01 pm

    Would grain alcohol impart less taste than vodka? I will try both cause I use a lot of stevia and enjoy it much.

    • cu buivan
      August 12, 2014 | 3:52 am

      Many thanks to author and commentors to have great natural benifit

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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