Look, I know I’m the Southwestern gal on Food Network, and I know I should probably stay in my lane— but when a good thing comes along I have a hard time covering it with a blanket and pretending it doesn’t exist.
My husband started Keto 2 months ago and has lost 30 POUNDS! (Update: 40 lbs! And he wasn’t even that overweight to begin with.) And now that I have (basically) an underwear model walking around my house, I find it difficult not to share our secret life of Keto. 😀
So from here on out, I hope you’ll enjoy some of the best recipes that I share on our Keto journey… starting today with this Keto Simple Syrup.
It seems that the internets have had a lot of trouble with this recipe.
So today, let me share with you my recipe and workaround for Keto Simple Syrup, since it’s probably the first time I got to pull out my food science books since culinary school. And if you love your cocktails as much as I do and still want to be as Keto as possible, you’re going to thank me for sharing my Homemade Strawberry Vodka Recipe with you!
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First off, What is Simple Syrup?
Simple Syrup is a syrup made from boiling equal parts sugar and water, used by bartenders to make and sweeten cocktails. The tricky thing is it doesn’t just add sweetness. Due to the sugar molecules being distributed densely in the water molecules, it provides a sensation called “mouth feel”, which refers to the denseness and viscosity it contributes to cocktails.
Consider the margarita: The best recipe for margaritas is tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, and simple syrup, shaken with ice. Why are good margaritas a little thick if those ingredients are all water based?
Answer: Simple Syrup
So put that in your pocket and hold on to it while we talk about erythritol…
Erythritol in the Keto Diet
In my opinion, one of the main reasons the Keto diet is so successful is it’s promotion of the sugar alcohol, erythritol. Keto diet icons didn’t invent erythritol, it’s actually been around for over 100 years used mostly to sweeten protein drinks and fitness supplements. Erythritol is 70% as sweet as table sugar with virtually no caloric intake, and here’s the thing… to most people it TASTES LIKE SUGAR.
This is coming from a family that despises Truvia, Splenda, Stevia— you name it, we hate it!
Before the Keto diet became wildly popular, erythritol was not widely available to home consumers. ..it wasn’t stocked in grocery and nutrition stores, it was simply an additive for sugar-free gum and diet food makers. Keto cookbook authors and writers brought this ingredient to the forefront and consumers insisted erythritol be stocked in stores. Now it’s virtually everywhere… and it’s delicious. 🙂
But it does have one problem….erythritol will not dissolve into water in equal parts, without immediate crystallization upon cooling.
It’s chemistry and there’s no getting around it. (We tried… a lot!)
So there is our challenge folks… How can we simulate the mouthfeel of simple syrup, using the palatable sweetness of erythritol, while staying within the boundaries of the Keto diet?
Click here to get the Erythritol that my family and I swear by!
To the lab we go!
I visited a chemist to find out what would be the threshold for dissolving Erythritol in water, before crystallization would ultimately take place.
They also recommended Distilled Water, which after being steamed (through the process of distillation) has no impurities which can trigger crystallization. (Urban Cowgirls know all about that anyway after learning to make bacon fat caramels.) 🙂
So, our recipe begins there…
With 50% Erythritol to Distilled Water we have the beginnings of our recipe..
1 C. Distilled Water : 1/2 C. Pure Erythritol
I boiled this and it’s as thin as water, though still pretty sweet. Now we need to add additional sweetness and mouthfeel.
The usual thickeners of the kitchen are not keto friendly— cornstarch, flour, even arrowroot powder, are all “no-nos” on the Keto diet. So, I picked up a packet of Xanthan Gum (a thickening agent used in everything from toothpaste to salad dressing) and got to work experimenting with several different measurements.
Though all of these are featured on Instagram and Youtube in video form I suggest a 1/4 of a 1/4 teaspoon (aka 1/16 teaspoon).
1/4 t. of Xanthan Gum made a simple syrup with the consistency and thickness of dish soap… This would be useful in making a fully Keto Maple Syrup Alternative, with just a few drops of maple extract added…
Anything less than 1/4 of a 1/4 teaspoon was too thin to say it successfully solved the Keto Simple Syrup problem.
Click here to get your Xanthan Gum!
How to Bump the Sweetness
To bump the sweetness without adding additional Erythritol, I recommend alternative Keto sweeteners such as Truvia or Stevia brand, Sweet Drops. These are eyedropper drops of liquid Truvia or Stevia that allow you to add controlled doses into your simple syrup. And before you get all cray and say you hate the taste and tingly sensation of Stevia, just know… I DO TOO. You don’t taste it because of all the Erythritol. Keto cookbook authors constantly recommend using a combination of several keto sweeteners in 1 recipe because together they create a more realistic alternative to sugar.
For me personally, I’ll stick with a good brand of Erythritol for all my baking needs, but in this specific recipe, Sweet Drops can allow you to gradually bump the sweetness of your Keto Simple Syrup, without the overt taste of Stevia.
Click here to get the Sweet Drops that we use.
Here is the recipe for the Keto Simple Syrup
(Erythritol Simple Syrup)
If you make the recipe, post it to social media and tag Urban Cowgirl!
I’d love to see how it turns out!
If you enjoyed this recipe and you’re looking for more tips on the Keto diet, check out my article, How to prepare for the Keto Diet!
And if you’re already into the Keto diet and looking for some of my best Keto recipes, check out my Easy Keto Meatballs w/ Ricotta & Marinara as well as my Easy Keto Pizza WITHOUT a Cauliflower Crust!
- 1 c. Distilled Water
- 1/2 c. Erythritol
- 1/4 OF A 1/4 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum (powder)
- 5-10 Sweet Drops (Truvia or Stevia in eyedropper form)
- Place the distilled water into a saucepan, along with the erythritol.
- Take a 1/4 teaspoon measurer and fill it up on a 1/4 of the way with xanthan gum (this is a dry powder). Pour this into the saucepan and whisk well. NOTE: This is 1/16 of a teaspoon.
- The xanthan gum will want to clump up, but do your best to whisk it into the erythritol and water mixture. Heat the mixture over medium to high heat and continue to whisk now and then. (Note: Eventually when the simple syrup is made and cooled you can shake up the bottle and any little clumps of xanthan gum will be shaken into the mixture.)
- As it comes up to a boil, drop in 5 drops of sweet drops. In the final mixture, this will slightly increase the sweetness of the keto simple syrup without tasting like Truvia or Stevia, which many people do not think tastes as close to sugar as erythritol does.
- As it reaches boiling, the xanthan gum will cause the mixture to thicken to the consistency of simple syrup. Let it boil for 45 seconds and then pull off the heat and cool. You can taste it and add more sweet drops if you desire a super-sweet simple syrup.
- When cool, place in a mason jar and shake well to remove any specks of xanthan gum.
- This sugar-free erythritol simple syrup lasts indefinitely and will not crystalize. It can be added to all sorts of keto cocktails.
We have had a few comments on the syrup crystallizing for people who put it directly into the refrigerator.
After fully cooling, my family and many of my readers do refrigerate this every week with no problem.
If you encounter issues, consider leaving the syrup out on the shelf. We're still trying to track down if a certain brand of erythritol is to blame for this problem, which we see pop up ever so often given the vastly different climates of our readers.
Monkfruit sugar can be substituted for erythritol.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 3Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
This nutritional information is provided as a courtesy as an estimate only. Consult with a dietician for precise estimates.