Skinny caramel macchiato, skinny vanilla latte, skinny iced chai — these sugar-fee versions of classic drinks are more popular than ever at coffee shops. Not only are they a deliciously lighter way to indulge, they've got benefits for your health too since limiting sugar intake is study-proven to help lower risk of type 2 diabetes and, of course, weight gain.
The hitch? Those coffeehouse treats can pack a punch to your wallet and often come with additional chemicals you're better off skipping. Luckily, we've got the sweet solution: The secret to making your own skinny syrup so you can easily — and healthily — flavor coffees, cocktails and much more.
Keep reading for the quick recipe that starts with just one ingredient plus water. Prefer to buy your skinny syrup pre-made? We've also included our top skinny syrup picks that'll add sugar-free flavor instantly.
What exactly are skinny syrups?
Skinny syrups are typically made using zero-calorie artificial sugar substitute called sucralose. Others are made with stevia, which is a sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the stevia plant. Skinny syrups also come in a variety of flavors that complement a range of recipes. And they're an easy way to add sugar-free sweetness to coffee drinks, cocktails, mocktails and even baked treats.
When it comes to calories, skinny syrups typically contain none while 1 tablespoon of white sugar has 49 calories. These syrups are also diabetic-friendly since both sucralose and stevia are unlikely to trigger blood sugar spikes.
How to make skinny syrups at home
The process of making skinny syrups is simpler than you may think. It involves dissolving the powdered sugar substitute and other flavorings in hot water until a transparent syrup forms. The syrup mixture is then cooled before being poured into a bottle or airtight container for storage. Keep scrolling for Food City’s basic recipe for skinny syrup using sucralose along with three flavor variations:
1 cup sucralose sweetener like Great Value Granulated No-Calorie Sweetener (Buy from Walmart, $4.94)
1 cup water
Boil water over medium heat, then remove from stove.
Add sweetener to water and mix until fully dissolved. Allow to cool.
Strain mixture through coffee filter to remove sediment. Pour into container.
Ginger syrup: Allow mixture to simmer on low heat with ½ to 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger in syrup for about 40 minutes. Strain and cool.
Citrus syrup: Add zest of 1 orange or lemon and about 1 tablespoon of citrus juice to ½ cup of syrup. Simmer on low about 40 minutes. Strain and cool.
Chocolate syrup: Add desired amount of cocoa powder and vanilla to mixture once sugar is dissolved and remove from heat. Sprinkle in dash of cinnamon for spiced chocolate flavor.
Note: Keep skinny syrup in airtight container in fridge for no longer than 2 weeks if flavored, and up to 1 month if unflavored.
There's a growing body of research that suggests that sucralose can have adverse effects on your "good" gut bacteria. If that's a concern for you, make your skinny syrup with stevia instead. Simply follow the recipe above, substituting 2 tablespoons of stevia like Truvia Stevia Leaf (Buy from Amazon, $6.55) for the sucralose.
3 picks for store-bought skinny syrups
Making your own skinny syrups is simple, but if you prefer to buy them already made, you can find them in stores and online in several flavors. Here are three skinny syrup varieties you should add to your pantry:
DaVinci Gourmet Sugar-Free Sweetening Syrup (Buy from Amazon, $8.07): Don’t be fooled by this syrup’s plain flavor. Why? Because it allows this syrup to be used for sweetening any hot or cold drink, from coffee and teas to cocktails and mocktails.
Torani Sugar-Free Vanilla Syrup (Buy from Walmart, $4.92): The delicate and warm taste of vanilla adds another layer of flavor to this syrup. Use to whip up homemade vanilla lattes or add a splash to a fruit smoothie for an unexpected yet pleasant hint of vanilla.
Jordan's Skinny Syrups Salted Caramel (Buy from Target, $4.99): Love salty and sweet flavors? If so, this salted caramel-flavored skinny syrup for pouring into coffee and drizzling over foods like yogurt.
What kinds of recipes can I use skinny syrup for?
Before using skinny syrup, it’s important to keep in mind that a little goes a long way. If you’re using it for hot or cold drinks, start with just a splash, then add more to taste. For baking, find recipes that use skinny syrup like this Zero-Sugar Added Blueberry Pie, which takes the guesswork out of deciding how much you should add to a dessert. Ultimately, the options for satisfying your sweet tooth with the help of skinny syrups is endless.
The food developers in the First for Women test kitchen enjoy adding these flavorful syrups to all sorts of satisfying sips. Here, they share two drink recipes that are perfectly sweet, delicious and guilt-free thanks to skinny syrups:
Caramel Coffee Sipper
1 ½ cups brewed coffee
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons caramel-flavored skinny syrup
1 cup ice
Puree all ingredients with ice and pour into 2 mugs.
Garnish as desired.
Grapefruit Crush Spritzer
1 maraschino cherry
3 lime wedges
1 ½ ounces tequila
3 ½ ounces pink grapefruit juice
1 ounce lime seltzer or grapefruit soda
A generous splash of plain skinny syrup
In glass, muddle maraschino cherry and lime wedges; remove limes.
Add tequila, grapefruit juice, lime seltzer or grapefruit soda, a splash of simple syrup and ice; stir well.
Serve and enjoy!
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