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What Is The Best Emulsifier And Stabilizer For Ice Cream

Ice cream is a beloved frozen dessert known for its rich flavor and smooth texture. Both of these owe much to the critical ingredients in its formulation—emulsifiers and stabilizers. These additives play an essential role in ice cream making. In this blog post, we will explore the roles of emulsifiers and stabilizers in ice cream, their common types, and the differences between them.

What Is Emulsifier In Ice Cream?

Ice cream consists of a complex emulsion of fat, water, sugar, air, and other ingredients. Without emulsifiers, the fat and water phases would separate, leading to a lack of uniformity and consistency in the product. Thus, emulsifiers are vital for creating delicious ice cream. They enhance the texture by ensuring a smooth and creamy feel through the uniform distribution of fat droplets and air bubbles. Moreover, food emulsifiers boost whippability and overrun. These features are key to achieving the light and fluffy texture of ice cream.

What Is Stabilizer In Ice Cream?

A stabilizer is also one of the common additives in ice cream. It helps to improve the texture and consistency of the product. Stabilizers in ice cream prevent the formation of large ice crystals and enhance the viscosity of the mixture. By doing so, stabilizers help stabilize air bubbles and fat droplets during freezing and storage, resulting in smoother, creamier, and more stable ice cream.

Which Emulsifiers Are Used In Ice Cream?


Derived from soybeans or egg yolks, lecithin is a natural emulsifier. It helps in forming a stable emulsion and is also known for its ability to improve the release of flavors in ice cream.

Mono- and Diglycerides:

Mono- and diglycerides are common emulsifiers used in ice cream. Monoglycerides consist of one fatty acid molecule combined with glycerol, while diglycerides consist of two fatty acid molecules combined with glycerol. These emulsifiers are widely used in ice cream production to stabilize the emulsion of fat and water, prevent ice crystal formation, and improve texture and mouthfeel. The typical concentration of mono- and diglycerides in regular ice cream ranges from 0.1% to 0.2%.

Polysorbate 80:

Polysorbate 80, also known as polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monooleate, is a synthetic emulsifier commonly used in ice cream. It helps to improve the texture and stability of the final product by ensuring a uniform distribution of fat and air, which results in a smoother and creamier texture. The typical concentration of Polysorbate 80 in ice cream ranges from 0.1% to 0.5%. It is often used in combination with other emulsifiers and stabilizers to enhance overall effectiveness and achieve the desired texture and stability.

emulsifier polysorbate80-tween80

Sorbitan Monostearate

Sorbitan monostearate, also known as Span 60, is a synthetic emulsifier derived from sorbitol and stearic acid. Sorbitan monostearate is a valuable emulsifier in ice cream production. It offers many benefits in terms of stabilizing emulsions, improving texture, preventing ice crystal formation, and improving melting properties. Its inclusion in ice cream formulations helps produce high-quality, consistent, and enjoyable products for consumers.

What Stabilizer Is Used In Ice Cream Making?

Guar Gum:
Derived from guar beans, guar gum is a natural thickening agent. It helps prevent ice crystal formation and improves the smoothness of ice cream.

Xanthan Gum:
Xanthan gum is produced by fermenting sugars with the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris. Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide used as a stabilizer and thickening agent in various food products, including ice cream. The typical concentration of xanthan gum in ice cream ranges from 0.05% to 0.2%.

Derived from red seaweed, carrageenan is a polysaccharide that acts as a thickening and stabilizing agent in ice cream. It helps maintain a smooth texture and prevents ice crystal formation.

Cellulose Gum (Carboxymethyl Cellulose):
Cellulose gum, derived from cellulose fibers, is a synthetic stabilizer that improves the viscosity and texture of ice cream, ensuring a smooth and creamy consistency.

What Is The Difference Between Emulsifier And Stabilizer In Ice Cream?

1. Primary Role:

Emulsifiers: Focus on stabilizing the mixture of fat and water, improving texture, and enhancing air incorporation.
Stabilizers: Focus on increasing the viscosity, preventing ice crystal formation, and maintaining a stable texture.

2. Mechanism:

Emulsifiers: Work by reducing surface tension between immiscible liquids (fat and water).
Stabilizers: Work by thickening the mixture and controlling the size of ice crystals.

3. Impact on Texture:

Emulsifiers: Contribute to a creamy and smooth texture by ensuring even fat distribution and enhancing overrun.
Stabilizers: Ensure a stable, smooth texture by preventing ice crystals and maintaining viscosity.

4. Combination:

Often, emulsifiers and stabilizers are used together in ice cream formulations to achieve the best possible texture, stability, and consistency.

Best Emulsifier And Stabilizer For Ice Cream


Emulsifiers and stabilizers both play crucial roles in the production of high-quality ice cream. Emulsifiers primarily focus on creating and maintaining a stable mixture of fat and water, while stabilizers enhance the thickness and stability of the ice cream, preventing ice crystal formation and extending shelf life. Together, they ensure that ice cream is smooth, creamy, and enjoyable for consumers.
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