Homemade Sugar-free Nutella
If you ask me, few things are more delicious than when chocolate and nuts become one in holy culinary matrimony. There’s just something about that combination that makes my tastebuds sing and sends sensory fireworks to my brain. But when it comes in the form of a spread that you can slather on anything (and everything) your heart desires, that’s a whole other level of love for me. So, naturally, I had to come up with a healthy, sugar-free Nutella that could be enjoyed completely guilt-free!
I have a confession to make- I used to hate Nutella. I know, I know. How is that possible?? I don’t even remember the reason why. All I know is that my 7th grade French teacher brought some in for our “day in Paris” class and I was not about the Nutella. At all. I blame the fact that I actually really didn’t like Grade 7 French.
Anyways! Somewhere in my 20s, I smartened up and gave Nutella a second chance. Spoiler alert- I totally loved it. But, as I began to understand more about nutrition and how the body reacts to processed foods, I realized the ingredients in store bought Nutella were really not that good for me.
In fact, one serving of Nutella contains a whopping 21g of sugar! TWENTY ONE GRAMS! For context, thats roughly equivalent to the amount of sugar in half a can of soda. The next less-than-awesome ingredient? Palm oil. Which is super high in saturated fats that are no good for us either.
So, in developing a healthy homemade recipe, my priority was to make a sugar-free Nutella that was full of healthy fats and had additional nutritional benefits that you could feel really good about eating.
Let’s start with the most obvious ingredient- hazelnuts! Fun fact: hazelnuts are also known as filberts, which I challenge you to say 20 times fast. I’ll give you a minute…
OK, back to the recipe! Unlike palm oil, hazelnuts are high in unsaturated fats, which are actually good for us. They’re also high in magnesium, calcium and vitamins B and E!
For this Nutella recipe, you’ll need to roast the hazelnuts before blending. This is so you’ll be able to peel the skins off. Peeling the skins is necessary if you want to achieve a smoother consistency of Nutella. See the ‘Notes’ section in the recipe below for tips on how to get those pesky skins off while the hazelnuts are still hot!
On the left, you will see my tray of hazelnuts before roasting. On the right, you will see the tray of roasted, and peeled, hazelnuts. You don’t have to worry about getting every piece of the skins off. The idea is just to remove most of them.
Next up is the blending. I use my Vitamix blender for this recipe and would highly recommend it, or something similar, for the job. I use this blender all the time in my cooking! It is incredibly powerful and saves me SO much time in achieving super smooth consistencies. I’m also obsessed with this blender because it has a self-cleaning function. One less thing to wash? Um, sign me up! Now, if only my apartment had a self-clean button…
All that said, if you have a good food processor on hand, that would also get the job done. Either way, you’re probably going to have to occasionally stop and scrape the sides of your container to encourage the hazelnuts down toward the blades until they have finally turned to butter.
As you’ll see, on the left are my roasted (and still warm!), peeled hazelnuts ready to be blended. And on the right are the fully blended hazelnuts after just a couple of minutes in my Vitamix.
The all-star ingredient for sugar-free Nutella
Once you have the hazelnuts blended to your desired consistency, its time to introduce the secret health weapon to the mix! I’m talking about cacao powder!
If you’re reading that and thinking, “did she just misspell cocoa?” the answer is, “no!”. While cacao and cocoa both come from a cacao tree, the different processes they go through before hitting a store shelf means they have very different nutritional values.
In order to make cacao powder, cacao beans are dried, fermented and then heated at a very low temperature. On the other hand, creating cocoa involves heating the beans at a much higher temperature to achieve that slightly sweeter taste.
Why does this difference in process matter? Basically, the higher heat required to make cocoa actually degrades the nutritional value of the food. That means cacao, which is less processed, is significantly higher in antioxidants and several nutrients that are incredibly beneficial to your health.
Now, I’m not saying cocoa is bad for you. It’s just that cacao is a lot better. Guys, this sugar-free Nutella is basically a superfood!
If you have trouble finding cacao powder at your local supermarket, you can easily order it online. The brand I always use and highly recommend is Navitas Organics Cacao Powder.
The additional flavouring
Once you’ve added the cacao powder to your blender, go ahead and add the ‘flavouring ingredients’, which are vanilla extract, salt, and a dairy-free milk (I prefer hazelnut or almond).
Give that another few pulses in the blender or food processor, until it’s all well combined, and enjoy! My favourite uses for this Nutella is on a piece of toast, on pancakes, or straight from the jar with a spoon!
I know some of you may have questions about possible substitutions for this recipe. I can’t vouch for how the recipe may turn out if you decide to make substitutions, but I’d love to hear about your experiments in the comments below!
Cacao vs. Cocoa
As explained above, I make this Nutella with cacao powder because it has a ton of additional health benefits that make me feel really good about eating it by the spoonful. But, if the somewhat bitter taste of cacao is just not for you, you could try substituting cocoa powder, which will give the Nutella a slightly sweeter taste.
Sugar-free vs. Sweetened
I don’t add any sugar or sweetener to my Nutella because I love the taste of the cacao and hazelnuts all on their own. If you prefer a slightly sweetened spread, you could add about a 1/4 cup of high-quality maple syrup to the recipe. Or, if you do follow a sugar-free or keto diet, you could add some of your favourite sweetener, such as Swerve or Monkfruit.
My preference for non-dairy milks are hazelnut or almond because I find they complement the general flavouring quite well. I haven’t tried using any other milks, but if you have a favourite, go ahead and give it a go! If you aren’t concerned about dairy or aren’t following a vegan diet, you could also use regular milk.
Looking for other sugar-free nut butter options?
Check out this Butter Pecan Nut Butter by Bakerita! It’s smooth and creamy and goes on just about anything! Try drizzling a bit on top of my Silky Smooth Keto Oatmeal for an ultra-decadent, yet healthy breakfast bowl!
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Homemade Sugar-free Nutella
- 2 cups hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup cacao powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup hazelnut milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread hazelnuts in a baking tray and roast for 10-15 minutes depending on how powerful your oven is. Watch them closely to make sure they don’t burn.
- Remove hazelnuts from the oven. In order to achieve smooth Nutella, the skin needs to be removed from the hazelnuts.*
- Transfer the warm, peeled hazelnuts to a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until very smooth. You will likely have to stop and scrape the sides of your container a few times before the butter is really smooth.
- Add the cacao powder, vanilla, salt and dairy-free milk and blend again until well combined.
- Slather some of this healthy, sugar-free nutella on a piece of toast, your favourite pancakes, or eat it straight from the jar with a spoon like I do! The possibilities are endless, so enjoy however you please!
- *Removing the skins from hazelnuts is easiest to do when the nuts are still hot, but be VERY careful not to burn yourself! My preferred method here is to rub the hazelnuts together in a paper towel in my hand. The paper towel makes it a bit easier to handle the hot hazelnuts and also acts as a more abrasive surface than your hands, which makes the hazelnut skins peel off much more easily. If you’re left with a few stubborn skins that just won’t come off, don’t worry. The idea is to get most of the skins off, not necessarily all.
Thank you for sharing! I will be on a Journey Quest to find those types of Nuts So I can Make this Coco Spread. I tried some for the 1st time in my life the other day in some Hazel nut Chocolate Chip cookies And It was Tasty I must say! So I will be eating more when I make some from you recipe😊..