Can I caramelize swerve?

Swerve is a popular sugar substitute that is made from ingredients found in select fruits and starchy root vegetables like tapioca. It contains no artificial ingredients, preservatives or flavors. The ingredients in Swerve are enzymatically converted into sugars which results in a zero calorie sweetener.

Many people wonder if you can caramelize Swerve like you can with regular sugar. The short answer is yes, Swerve can be used to make a caramel sauce, caramelized nuts or other caramelized desserts. However, there are some important things to know when cooking and baking with Swerve that will help you achieve optimal results.

What is Swerve?

Swerve is a zero calorie sweetener that contains ingredients found naturally in fruits and vegetables. It is made from a combination of the following:

– Erythritol: A sugar alcohol that is found naturally in fruits like pears, melons and grapes. It contains 0.2 calories per gram.

– Oligosaccharides: Prebiotic fibers made from fruits and vegetable. They contain half a calorie per gram.

– Natural flavors: To provide a more sugar-like taste. The natural flavors contain zero calories.

Unlike artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose, Swerve contains no artificial ingredients. It is non-GMO and kosher certified.

Swerve measures cup-for-cup like table sugar and has a similar sweetness profile. It bakes and browns like sugar without any bitter aftertaste. However, Swerve is not absorbed by the body and passes through undigested resulting in zero net carbs and zero net calories per serving.

Can You Caramelize Swerve?

Yes, Swerve can be used to make caramel sauces, brittles, candies and other caramelized treats.

When heated to high temperatures, Swerve will take on a rich golden brown color and develop complex toasted, buttery flavors just like real sugar does. It also thickens properly and develops a smooth velvety texture when cooked to the right temperature.

However, there are some unique properties of Swerve that require slightly adapted techniques to achieve ideal caramelization results.

Challenges of Caramelizing Swerve

The main challenges when caramelizing Swerve are:

Lower Sweetness

Swerve is not quite as sweet as sugar. So when making caramel with Swerve, you may need to increase the amount to achieve the desired sweetness.

Faster Burning

Swerve browns faster than regular sugar at high heats. So you have less time to react before it burns. Reducing the heat allows for more control when the sugar begins to brown.

Moisture Content

Swerve contains more moisture than white sugar. So it’s important to cook the Swerve mixture longer to fully evaporate excess moisture for a smooth caramel.


When Swerve cools, it can recrystallize and take on a grainy texture. Adding a small amount of cornstarch or arrowroot prevents this.

Tips for Caramelizing Swerve

Here are some tips to achieve delicious caramelized Swerve treats:

– Use 1 1/4 cup Swerve for every 1 cup of sugar called for in the recipe. This compensates for Swerve’s lower sweetness.

– Reduce heat to medium-low once the mixture begins browning. Swerve browns faster than sugar at high heat.

– Cook the Swerve mixture for an extra 5-10 minutes once it reaches the desired brown color. This evaporates excess moisture for a smooth caramel texture.

– Add 1-2 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot per cup of Swerve. This prevents a grainy texture from recrystallization as it cools.

– Allow it to cool completely before using as a caramel topping or in candies. The texture continues to improve as it cools.

– Store caramelized Swerve in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for several weeks.

Swerve Caramel Recipes

Here are some delicious ways to use caramelized Swerve:

Swerve Caramel Sauce: Simmer Swerve, butter, cream and salt until deep golden brown. Cool completely before drizzling over ice cream, fruit, or other desserts.

Salted Swerve Caramel: Add a generous pinch of flaky sea salt to cooled Swerve caramel sauce. Use as a topping for cakes, cupcakes, cookies or ice cream.

Candied Pecans: Toss chopped pecans in simmering Swerve caramel. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet to cool and harden.

Caramel Popcorn: Drizzle freshly popped popcorn with warm Swerve caramel and sprinkle with sea salt.

Caramel Apples: Dip apple slices in cooled Swerve caramel for a classic fall treat.

Caramel Dipped Pretzels: Dip pretzel rods halfway into Swerve caramel sauce and place on parchment to set.

Millionaire’s Shortbread: Spread Swerve caramel atop shortbread crust and top with chocolate to make this decadent bar cookie.

Turtle Brownies: Drizzle cooled Swerve caramel over brownies and top with chopped pecans.

Caramel Rolls: Spread Swerve caramel inside yeast roll dough, roll up and bake.

Caramel Monkey Bread: Coat bread dough balls in Swerve caramel sauce then bake into a pull-apart bread.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about caramelizing Swerve:

Can you use Swerve instead of sugar to make homemade caramel?

Yes, Swerve can be used in place of sugar to make caramel from scratch. Use 1 1/4 cups Swerve for every 1 cup of sugar called for. Be sure to reduce the heat and cook a bit longer to evaporate excess moisture.

Do you have to add corn syrup when making caramel with Swerve?

No, corn syrup is not required when making caramel with Swerve. The Swerve will thicken up properly on its own when cooked to the right temperature.

Does Swerve caramel harden like real caramel for candies?

Yes, Swerve caramel hardens up just like regular caramel as it cools. It can be used to make caramel candies, brittles, caramel apples and more.

Can you substitute Swerve 1:1 for sugar when making caramel?

It’s best to use 1 1/4 cups Swerve for every 1 cup of sugar to account for Swerve being less sweet than sugar. Using a 1:1 substitution may result in caramel that is not sweet enough.

Is Swerve caramel smooth or grainy in texture?

Swerve caramel can develop a grainy texture from recrystallization as it cools. Adding 1-2 tsp cornstarch per cup of Swerve prevents this for a smooth caramel.

How long does Swerve caramel last stored in the fridge?

Properly stored Swerve caramel will last several weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Allow it come to room temperature before using.

Can you use Swerve to make caramel without cream?

Yes, you can make dairy-free Swerve caramel using coconut cream instead of heavy cream. Just use an equal amount of full-fat coconut cream.

Nutrition Facts

One of the biggest benefits of using Swerve to make caramel is that it contains zero sugar and minimal calories compared to regular caramel.

Here is a nutrition comparison of 1/4 cup serving of Swerve caramel sauce vs. regular caramel sauce made with sugar:

Swerve Caramel

– Calories: 60
– Fat: 6g
– Carbs: 0g
– Sugar: 0g

Regular Caramel

– Calories: 229
– Fat: 3g
– Carbs: 55g
– Sugar: 51g

As you can see, Swerve caramel sauce has a fraction of the calories, carbs and sugar compared to regular caramel sauce.

So you can enjoy the rich sweet flavor of caramel guilt-free!

Storage Tips

To get the longest shelf life out of your Swerve caramel treats, follow these storage tips:

– Let caramel completely cool before storing to prevent weeping.

– Transfer cooled caramel into an airtight glass or plastic container. Air exposure encourages crystallization.

– Refrigerate for up to one month. Freezing extends shelf life for up to one year.

– If the caramel crystallizes, reheat gently over low heat until smooth.

– Allow refrigerated caramel to come to room temp before drizzling or using in recipes.

– Soft caramels and caramel candies will last 1-2 weeks stored in an airtight container at room temp. Refrigerate for longer duration.

Following proper storage methods allows you to keep Swerve caramel fresh and ready to use for all your sweet treats. The caramelized flavor won’t diminish over time.


Swerve is an excellent no-sugar sweetener for creating sugar-free caramel desserts and candies. With its ability to brown and caramelize like sugar, Swerve makes a delicious healthy alternative to regular caramel.

Paying attention to the unique properties of Swerve and using the right techniques results in spectacular caramel with 75% fewer calories than the real thing. Swerve caramel whips up quickly and stores for several weeks in the fridge.

So don’t resist your caramel cravings! Swerve makes it easy to enjoy this sweet indulgence the healthy way. Let your imagination run wild dreaming up all the tasty ways to use caramelized Swerve in your low-carb or ketogenic cooking.

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