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How to use stabilizers in ice cream

How to use stabilizers in ice cream

Last Updated on April 23, 2024 145 Comments

Ice cream stabilizers! They're probably the most controversial part of ice cream science. And they're a source a great agitation amongst ice cream enthusiasts. 

They're denounced by traditionalists, who think everything should be “natural”. And lauded by molecular gastronomers, who think science has all the answers.

They're a complicated subject. But there's nothing to be scared of here...

Most of them are natural. When you use them correctly, they'll almost certainly improve your ice cream. And in fact, if you've made ice cream, then you've probably used them in some form already.

So what are stabilizers?

Put simply: stabilizers are ingredients that thicken water. This is also called adding viscosity. The more viscous a liquid is, the “thicker” it is.

In scientific terms, they're hydrocolloids. When hydrocolloids disperse in a liquid, they bind to the water molecules, which reduces their movement. This reduced movement is apparent to us, as increased viscosity or thickening.

The most obvious example of using a stabilizer in cooking is when you thicken gravy with flour.

Gravy thickened with flour

Gravy thickened with flour: a stabilizer

Most stabilizers are natural, coming from plant, animal or bacterial origins. However under European Law (at least), they are considered food additives and must be represented by E numbers in ingredient lists.

Why do we use stabilizers in ice cream?

Stabilizers can improve ice cream in several significant ways:

  • They reduce ice crystal growth
  • They reduce air bubble size
  •  They slow down melting
  • They increase smoothness, body and creaminess
  • They deliver flavor cleanly

OK, so let's have a look at each of these areas in turn...

How do stabilizers reduce ice crystal size in ice cream?

Why do we want to reduce ice crystal growth in our ice cream? Well, ice crystals are an important part of ice cream. But if the crystals get too big, they are detectable by the tongue and give the ice cream a coarse, grainy texture and a cold mouth-feel.

So, smaller crystals = smoother ice cream!

Ice crystals are only formed in the ice cream maker. Once the ice cream is transferred to a freezer, the existing ice crystals may get bigger, but no new ones are formed.

But ice crystals can grow anywhere there are temperature fluctuations that cause existing crystals to melt and then re-freeze. Because when they re-freeze, rather than creating new crystals, the water migrates to join existing crystals, so increasing their size.

Ice crystal growth in ice cream over time

Over time, ice crystals grow as they melt and re-freeze (a to c)

Such temperature fluctuations can actually occur in both the ice cream maker and in the freezer...

Ice crystal growth in the ice cream maker

Ice crystals are initially formed against the super cooled sides of the ice cream maker. The rotating dasher then scrapes them from the sides and moves them into the center of the mix...

Ice crystals move from colder sides to warmer center

Newly formed ice crystals can melt when they move from cold sides to warmer center

Here, temperatures are warmer and the crystals may melt and then re-freeze later as the temperature of the whole mix decreases.

Ice crystal growth in the freezer

During storage, there can be many temperature fluctuations that cause the ice crystals to melt and then re-freeze. For example, when the freezer door is opened and then closed. 

Softened ice cream

Ice crystals that melt here will re-freeze and get bigger back in the freezer

Or when the ice cream is taken out to soften (before serving) and then placed back in the freezer.

So the challenge for all us ice cream enthusiasts is to make ice crystals as small as possible in the ice cream maker and to stop them getting bigger while the ice cream is being stored in the freezer.

While there's plenty of material that suggests stabilizers only restrict ice crystal growth during storage, there are other studies that show that the initial size of the ice crystals formed during batch freezing are smaller in mixes that use stabilizers.

In my experience, when they come out of the ice cream maker, mixtures made with stabilizers are definitely smoother than the same mixtures made without stabilizers.

How do they achieve this? The science is not clear here. But it seems likely that by restricting the free movement of water, stabilizers prevent melted ice crystals from finding and joining existing ice crystals when they re-freeze.

How do stabilizers reduce air bubble size in ice cream?

Why do we want small air bubbles in ice cream? Because (just like small ice crystals), lots of small air bubbles make the ice cream smoother!

Air bubbles in ice cream

Air bubbles in ice cream: the smaller, the better!

How do stabilizers keep the air bubbles in ice cream small? Again, the science is not totally clear here. We know that stabilizers make base mixes more viscous. And more viscous base mixes produce smaller air bubbles.

But why do viscous mixes produce smaller bubbles? One theory is that the greater shear stress (force) that's applied to more viscous liquids when they are being churned in the ice cream maker, reduces the size of the bubbles more.

Just like ice crystals, air bubbles can grow in size and reduce in number during storage. This happens in two ways:

  1. Disproportionation occurs when air transfers from smaller to larger bubbles.
  2. Coalescence happens when two bubbles come into contact and join.

The increased viscosity from the stabilizers protects against these processes too, by thickening the films around the air bubbles, which keeps neighboring bubbles away from each other.

How do stabilizers slow down melting?

Ice cream that melts too quickly is no fun to eat! Stabilizers can help here too, by both slowing the rate at which ice cream melts and maintaining its shape better, as it does melt.

Meltdown in ice cream

Top: fast melting ice cream. Bottom: slow melting ice cream

This is partly due to the water binding qualities of stabilizers: viscous mixtures simply melt slower.

But it's also due to the smaller air bubbles. Ice cream with many small air bubbles melts significantly slower and retains its shape better than ice cream with fewer, larger bubbles.

And as we already know: stabilizers promote smaller bubbles!

How do stabilizers increase smoothness, body and creaminess?

So, we've seen that by reducing the size of ice crystals and air bubbles, stabilizers produce smoother ice cream and slow meltdown.

But they also add body and give a creamy mouth-feel and a silky finish. These qualities are largely a result of the added viscosity that stabilizers produce...

Stabilized ice cream

Stabilized ice cream

Less free flowing water produces a more solid ice cream that tastes creamier and silkier because it's less watery.

Why are people suspicious of stabilizers?

Despite the benefits of stabilizers, many people are either suspicious of, or outright hostile towards their use in ice cream. I think there are two main reasons for this...

  1. bad experiences with over stabilized ice creams
  2. the unfamiliar names, chemically appearance and E numbers seem "unnatural"

Over stabilized ice creams are horrible! They may have a gummy or excessively chewy texture. They can exhibit extremely unnatural melting (maybe they don't melt!). And they often leave a pasty after-taste in your mouth.

Cheap ice cream stall

Cheap ice cream stall

But that's stabilizers used badly. When stabilizers are used well, you don't even realize they're being used at all. You're just amazed by how good the ice cream is!

However, the very concept of using stabilizers is too much for some people. This tends to be down to the idea that they are somehow unnatural, that they're chemicals added to reduce costs rather than improve quality, and that they're unhealthy or even unsafe.

But as I mention above, most stabilizers come from natural sources. And most of them have been used in cooking for hundreds of years.

It's true, they're often used in cheap, commercial ice creams to cut corners and save money. But it's all a matter of intent. If people are using them to save money, we should be wary. If they're using them to make better ice cream, then we should be curious!

Besides, if you've already made ice cream at home, you've probably already used stabilizers.

Stabilizers you're using already


Yep, egg yolks act as a stabilizer. So if you're making egg custard mixtures, you're already stabilizing your ice cream. The stabilizing chemical is egg yolk is called Lecithin, and it even has its own E number: E322.

Egg yolks will give your ice cream fantastic texture and body. They'll emulsify your mix. And they'll also reduce the growth of ice crystals and air bubbles.

Egg yolks will stabilize ice cream

Egg yolks will stabilize ice cream

So why not use egg yolks all the time? Well, they're good, but they're not great. They're just not as good at slowing ice crystal growth as other stabilizers. And over time, they let water escape, which re-freezes and makes the ice cream icy.

They subdue other flavors (especially lighter flavors like herbs and water based flavors like fruit). And they add their own eggy flavor, the strength of which depends on how many eggs you use and for how long, and to what temperature you cook the base.

So yes, egg yolks will stabilize your ice cream pretty well. But they're not the best performing stabilizers available.


If you've ever tried to make a Sicilian Gelato, then you may have used corn flour or tapioca flour. In southern Italy, they don't use eggs (or much cream) in ice cream. Instead, they use these starches to stabilize their milky gelatos.

Corn flour

Corn flour

Corn flour and tapioca flour work quite well as stabilizers. They don't subdue other flavors like eggs and impart much less flavor themselves.

However, I can often detect them, whether it's through a light flavor trace or a slightly pasty texture. And again, there are other stabilizers that perform much better.


While you almost certainly have some experience of the thickening properties of egg yolks and corn flour, you're less likely to have used gums before. But when people talk about the stabilizers used in ice cream, it's gums they're usually thinking about.

Gums are the most powerful, flexible and the most useful stabilizers that are available to us.

They suppress the growth of ice crystals better than any other ingredient. They can be used to alter the texture of ice cream in many different ways. They don't suppress other flavors, and are almost flavorless themselves.

What's more, they are so powerful that we only need to use them in tiny amounts. Typically, gum stabilizers would only make up 0.1 – 0.5 % of the base mix!

Xanthan gum powder

Xanthan gum

Most gums appear as off-white powders. In fact, they're all just complex sugars, also known as polysaccharides. And they're almost all derived from natural products.

Different gums have subtlety different chemical structures that will have very different effects on the texture, body and sensory qualities of ice cream. And even used alone, they're very powerful.

However, if you combine two or more gums together, the effects of each can be amplified. Or nullified. Or you might get a whole new set of effects! So it is worth experimenting with different combinations of gums to see what effects you find pleasing.

Thickeners vs Gels

While all gums will thicken liquid, some of them also form gels. Gel are substances that exhibit the characteristics of both a liquid and a solid.

Food technologists define a gel as "a high moisture food that more or less retains its shape when released from its container". And that definition's good enough for us here!

A carrageenan gel

A carrageenan gel

While some gums always form gels, some will only form gels in dairy based mixtures. And others will form gels only when mixed with other gums!

And different gels have different characteristics. For example they might be strong or weak, brittle or elastic etc.

When we're making ice cream, gels are generally harder to work with than mixes that are simply viscous. They can be difficult to get in the ice cream maker cleanly, so you often have to attack them with a blender to break up the gel.

However, if you're making low fat ice creams or sorbets, they're really useful because they add a creamy texture and substantial body that you wouldn't get otherwise.

Gums that form gels by themselves


Gel qualities

Locust bean gum


Iota Carrageenan

Soft, elastic gel with dairy 

Kappa Carrageenan

Stiff, brittle gel with dairy

Sodium Alginate

Rigid, brittle gel with dairy


Brittle, unstable


Brittle, slightly sticky gel

Gums that form gels with other gums

Gum combinations to form gels

Locust bean gum + Xantham gum

Locus bean gum + Kappa Carrageenan

Carboxymethyl cellulose + Guar gum

Carboxymethyl cellulose + All Carrageenans

Plant based gums

Most of the gums we use in ice cream are derived from plants. And generally, they're extracted from seeds or seaweeds!

Locust bean gum (E410)

Locust bean gum (LBG), is also known as Carob Bean Flour and is made from the seeds of the Carob Tree. This tree is very common in Mediterranean countries, and LBG has been used as a thickener in cooking for thousands of years.

Locust bean gum

Locust bean gum, made from the seeds of the Carob Tree

LBG is a very popular stabilizer in ice cream. It's one of the best gums at reducing ice crystal size. And it produces, a smooth texture, a creamy mouth-feel, and a silky finish. It also works well with other gums, especially Guar and Carrageenan.

The great thing about ice creams stabilized with LBG is that usually they don't seem like they've been stabilized at all. It gives ice cream a very natural feel. This is because although it forms a weak gel when frozen, that gel disappears when the ice cream melts.

Il Gelato Di San Crispino

The incredible Il Gelato Di San Crispino uses LBG

However, LBG is not without its disadvantages. It needs to be heated to fully hydrate, and different types of LBG hydrate at different temperatures. But it's typically around 185°F  (85°C), which is higher than ideal when making ice cream.

Used alone, it can also cause wheying off, which is when milk proteins come out of solution to form crystals that are detectable by the tongue and give the ice cream a grainy texture.

Guar gum (E412)

Guar gum is also derived from a seed, in this case the seeds of the guar plant which is a legume, like a bean. Guar beans have been eaten in India for thousands of years, but guar gum has only been used as a stabilizer since the 1950s.

Guar gum

Guar gum, made from guar beans

Guar gum doesn't reduce ice crystal size as well as LBG, but it adds much more viscosity to the mix, which gives more body to the final ice cream. Unlike LBG, it also hydrates at low temperatures.

But Guar works well with LBG, with each amplifying the powers of the other. So they are often used in combination.

Used in high quantities, Guar can give ice cream a chewy texture like toffee, which may be desirable, or not, depending on how you like your ice cream!

Some Guar gums have a strong "beany" flavor that is detectable in ice cream and obviously undesirable. So you may have to shop around to find a brand that doesn't have that taste!

Carrageenans (E407)

Carrageenans are extracted from seaweeds. Originally these were Irish Moss seaweeds and Carrageenans have been used as thickeners in Irish cooking for centuries.

Carrageenan from red seaweed

Carrageenan is made from red seaweed

However, nowadays, they're extracted from other types of red seaweeds that are grown in the Philippines, Tanzania and Indonesia.

Carrageenans perform pretty averagely at reducing the size of ice crystals. But they have a strong effect on texture, producing a rich and creamy mouth-feel that's similar to egg custard ice creams.

They also help prevent wheying-off (see above) so are often used in conjunction with LBG, which can cause this defect.

There are three different types of Carrageenans that are used in cooking, each of which varies slightly in their molecular structure:

  1. Lambda
  2. Iota
  3. Kappa

Iota and Kappa Carrageenans form gels with milk, so are more commonly used in sorbets and low fat ice creams. While Lambada is used in ice creams which have sufficient fat to stabilize without gelling.

Sodium Alginate (E401)

Sodium Alginate is also extracted from seaweed, this time the brown ocean kelp that's found in cold water areas.

Brown Kelp Seaweed

Sodium Alginate is made from Brown Kelp Seaweed

It dissolves in cold water but hydrates best at temperatures between 155 and 160°F (68 - 71°C). It's pretty good at keeping ice crystals small. And contributes a texture and body to ice cream that other gums can't replicate.

Sodium Alginate forms a gel with milk, so it's popular in low fat ice creams. And it's the way in which the rigid gel breaks into a fluid gel when it's being churned, which gives the finished ice cream its unique sensory qualities.

Carboxymethyl cellulose (E466)

Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) is also known as cellulose gum and is synthesized from plant cellulose.

Carboxymethyl cellulose

Carboxymethyl cellulose

It's probably better at suppressing the growth of ice crystals than LBG. It adds body and chewiness to ice cream to the same degree as Guar. And it forms a gel when combined with LBG, Guar and Carrageenans, which may or may not be desirable.

Since Carboxymethyl cellulose is a synthesized product that's extracted from cotton and wood pulp, it pushes the boundaries of what many people would call “natural”. However, it's perfectly safe and is commonly used in ice cream production.

Fermented gums

Xanthan gum (E415)

Xanthan gum is a product of fermentation and is created when the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris feeds on sugar. This might sound weird. But it's just like yeast in beer!

Xanthan gum

Xanthan gum

It's an extremely versatile stabilizer. It dissolves in (and thickens) hot or cold water. The viscosity it produces doesn't vary with temperature. It's highly resistant to freeze/thaw cycles. It works at a wide range of acidities. And it combines well with other gums.

It's not the best gum at suppressing ice crystal growth. But it's really easy to get hold of in health food stores (because vegans use it as an egg substitute). And this ready availability, it's ease of use and its versatility make it a great gum to experiment with.

However, if you use too much, it can give ice cream a slimy texture, which is quite unpleasant!

Other stabilizers

Gelatin (E441)

Gelatin is derived from animal collagen, usually pork or beef. And it's what was used to stabilize ice cream in the old days.



It suppresses ice crystal growth really well and gives ice cream a very nice, smooth texture. It's also very easy to get hold of.

However, it has largely fallen out of favour, because it's expensive and because it's an animal product.

Pectin (E440)

Pectin is extracted from citrus peel and apple pomace. It's been used for many years as the gelling agent in jam.



There are two types: “low methoxy”, which requires calcium to gel and “high methoxy” which will gel at low pH with loads of sugar.

Denatured Whey Proteins

When we heat the ice cream mix, some of the whey proteins in the milk undergo partial unfolding and begin to form a network similar to those formed by hydrocolloids.

This process in called “denaturing” and will help stabilize the ice cream too.

However, the stabilization is not nearly as powerful as the hydrocolloid's, and should be seen as an addition to rather than an alternative.

How to use stabilizers

So if you're thinking you might like to experiment with stabilizers (and specifically gums), there are three steps that you need to get right:

  1. Measuring
  2. Dispersion
  3. Hydration

Measuring stabilizers

Gums are so powerful, that you only need to use a tiny amount: typically between 0.1 and 0.5% of the weight of the base mixture. And if you go just slightly above these proportions, you'll start to get over stabilized ice cream, which can be quite unpleasant.

0.1g kitchen scales

0.1g kitchen scales

So, to get your weight measurements right, you'll need some scales that are accurate to 0.1g (or even better 0.01g). 

Quarter teaspoon measurements

Quarter teaspoon measurements

You might have some success experimenting with ¼ teaspoon measures, but it'll be hit and miss. And good quality scales aren't expensive.

My ice cream calculator can help you work out how much exactly you need to add to your mix.

Dispersing stabilizers

Once you've measured your stabilizer, you'll need to mix it with the rest of the ingredients. Gums tend to clump together and won't disperse properly if you dump them straight into a liquid. And if they're not dispersed properly, they don't work!

The best way to get an even dispersion is to add the stabilizer to the other dry ingredients and then mix them all thoroughly with a fork or a whisk. Spend a good 5 minutes on this to make sure it's thoroughly mixed.

Mixing stabilizers

Mixing stabilizers with the other dry ingredients

Once it is mixed, add the liquid and give it a proper going over with a hand blender. Again spend a good few minutes on this.

Blending dry ingredients with milk

Blending dry ingredients with milk

Some people suggest using a blender to form a vortex in the center of the liquid, and then pouring the dry ingredients into the middle of the vortex for the best dispersion. I haven't found this necessary, but it might help.

But I can't stress the importance of this step enough. If you don't disperse the stabilizer, it will clump together and won't fully hydrate. Which means your mix won't thicken properly. And your ice cream will suffer!

Hydrating stabilizers

In order to be effective, a stabilizer must be hydrated: it must absorb water. Some of them need to be heated, others hydrate in cold water. Some hydrate faster than others. You need to know how to get the best hydration from the stabilizer you're using.

Hydrating the stabilizer with heat

Hydrating the stabilizer with heat

For example, Locust Bean Gum needs to be heated to about 185°F (85°C). While Guar and Xantham gum hydrate at room temperature. And Guar needs up to an hour to fully hydrate. Whereas Xantham gum hydrates much quicker.

So, remember:

  1. Make sure you're working with the right amount of stabilizer by weighing it accurately
  2. Properly disperse it by mixing it thoroughly with the other dry ingredients before you add liquid
  3. Treat it with the appropriate amount of heat and time to fully hydrate it

Get these three steps right and you should have great success!

Ice Cream Stabilizers: Final Thoughts

Stabilizers are often treated with great suspicion and even hostility. Generally, I think this is because people are ignorant of what they are and why we might want to use them.

They're natural and they're safe. Of course, some people may be allergic to them. Just as some people are allergic to eggs. If that's the case, they should be avoided.

However, they can help us make much, much better ice cream. And that's the most important point here. We're not using them to save money. We're not using them to cut corners.

When we use them, we use them to deliver better texture, better body, a more creamy, luxurious finish. And more stability!

As home-made ice cream enthusiasts, we're already hampered by crappy machines that take ages to freeze our mixtures, and inflexible freezers that are never at the right temperature.

Stabilizers can help us overcome these disadvantages to make ice creams that rival the professionals. I urge you to at least experiment!

About the author 


Wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, I'm always looking for the perfect ice cream. The "dream scoop". I document my findings, my successes and failures here...

  • Hi!

    I have a question.
    I am working on a paper about ice cream, and I am wondering if you maybe have got a date of when this was written? I need to cite my sources in teh paper, and so I actually need a surname and the year inwhich something was written. Is this possible? Could you give this to me?

    Thank you!


    • Excellent site you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article? I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get comments from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thank you!

  • I’m fascinated by the explanations of why to use stabilisers in ice creams. Two questions, you did not mention Agar Agar, can that be used and would I have any particular things to consider in using the product. Secondly, is the stabilzing effect of gums for example the same for sorbets?

    • Hi Chris,

      Yes, you can definitely use Agar Agar. I’m not sure why I overlooked it and I’ll definitely add it when I get the chance!

      Things to consider. Agar agar needs to be heated to almost boiling point to work properly (194 F / 90 C). And you only need a tiny amount (0.2% of total weight or less).

      Gums work just as well in sorbets. You just need to experiment. I made a recently made a fantastic Raspberry Sorbet using a stabilizer mix of 4 parts Locust Bean Gum, 3 parts Guar Gum and 1 part Iota Carrageenan.

      I will be updating this page with more practical advice and examples, so keep checking back.

      I hope that helps!


  • Hi, can i use cubic hydric ice in shear mixer to make gelato or italian water ice for industrial scale? It’s simple to break ice crystal structure and reduce it in colloid dimension and homoginize it with yhe others ingridients to make ice cream, thanks

  • Hi there,

    Thank you very much for this interesting and helpful article.

    I would like to try using making ice cream with locust bean gum, xanthan gum, guar gum and Tara gum (?) (not all at the same time, but individually and in different combinations of pairings). I was wondering how you determine how much of each to add? Should some gums be more and others less when using together?

    I’d be very grateful for some advice or if you could point me towards where to find the information.

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Jai!

      The gum stabilizers you’re talking about would generally make up between 0.1 and 0.5% of your mix by weight.

      You can use my ice cream calculator to work out exactly how much that should be in grams.

      Some gums are complimentary. So if you use them together, their effects will be amplified. For example I’ve used Xanthan and Guar together to try to find a good no-cook stabilizer.

      But there are no hard and fast rules: the only way to know is to experiment!


      • Carl!

        I’m so glad I found this article! Just in time for my own experimentation. So, you have used guar and xanthan gums together. That is also my plan. What proportions to each other? Total proportion of the mix? I’m looking forward to my first batch.


        • Hi Rory,

          The total proportion of the mix will depend on the rest of the ingredients. For my egg-less base I was using 0.3 – 0.5 % of the total base.

          As for the proportions to each other I’d advise experimenting! Start with half and half.

          One of the problems I’ve had is finding Guar that doesn’t have an unpleasant taste. Another is that too much Xanthan will give the ice cream a slimy texture.

          As ever, the best thing to do is experiment!

          It would be great if you could report back with the results (good or bad!).



          • Okie dokie! Served it last night. Used about 18 oz. of evaporated milk, cup and a quarter of baker’s sugar and about a teaspoon and a half of vanilla extract. I used a little more than an eighth of a teaspoon each of guar and xanthan gums (equal amounts). Just as the mixture was really coming together I “swirled” in my own marionberry preserves and let it freeze up.

            Results? KILLER!!! My wife and I had it again tonight. The ice cream didn’t have any objectionable texture or flavor. It wasn’t slimy or “chewy”. It was quite stable. Melt rate was about the same as some of the better name brands.

            Ok, all that being said, minute ice crystals were barely discernible. Discernible but not objectionable. Further mixing should fix that.

            Now my wife wonders why we actually buy ice cream. Next experiment: espresso ice cream.

          • Hi Rory,
            Your ice cream sounds delicious!!

            I’ve recently been making a custard base ice creams in an electric ice cream maker and got to wondering how to stabilize it so it’s not melting so quickly..

            Which led me to this website! So thanks Carl.

            Do either of you mind sharing your recipes? Or just wondering if you simply make a custard and then add the gums as described above?


      • Hi Carl,
        thanks for the good explanations. Am interested in knowing about the exact measurements of the ingredients to put in what amount of e.g 2 litres or 3 litres of milk to produce the best soft serve using my newly acquired soft serve machine.
        I tried to mix but the mixture was as thick and unpleasant.
        please help

  • Can you suggest /recommend a formulation of Stabilizer Cum Emulsifier(combined )
    which can be used for making Icecream with Milk Fat and or Vegetable Fat ?

    I have Guargum, Locust Bean Gum , CMC ,Xanthan Gum ,Carragenan, GMS & Sodium Alginate .
    What could be the ratio of blending to get a good product ?

    Look forward to your guidance .


  • Hello,

    Currently i use guar gum in my ice cream mix, but it melts too quickly. I would like to add locust bean gum but it’s quite hard to find in my country. Can you suggest another stabilizer that works well with guar gum and will help with the melting problem?

  • Hi Carl
    Amazing insightful article, thank you for sharing!! Do you mind telling me the proportion if I was to use Knoxx gelatin?
    Thanks again!!

  • Terrific article.

    Just wondering have you experimented with arrowroot or tapioca syrup?

    Thanks for your reply!


    • Hi Tina,

      I haven’t used arrowroot yet. There seems to be a consensus that it produces a slimy texture when mixed with dairy. But I’ve also read some positive experiences of it being used in ice cream. I guess it’s one to test out ourselves to be sure!

      I’ve used tapioca flour as a stabilizer. It works very much like cornflour. Although it’s supposed to be a bit better. I haven’t used tapioca syrup as a sweetener though.

      If you do use either please report your experiences back here!



    • I’d wondered the same thing about flax seed gel Luke! You’ll need a powerful blender to break up the seeds so the mixture is smooth though I think.

  • Hello,
    I’m Looking to produce a vegan coconut soft serve ice cream (14-17% fat). I’ve been unsuccessful with stabilization over time due to the freeze – thaw nature of soft serve. Any recommendations on stabilizer combinations? I’m trying to stay away from the Carrageenan’s.

  • I’m new to the game. I just purchased a Spaceman soft serve machine and would like to do soft serve custard. The shipping costs for pre mixed bases is ridiculous to Alaska. I want to just make my own custard base from local ingredients instead. The problem, if I place the base custard mix in the machine it will churn to butter with the amount of milk fats before it gets turned into the frozen custard form. Any ideas of what stabilizers to use with a custard mix to keep from buttering?

    • Hi Lane,

      What percentage is the fat content of your mix? Are you using stabilizers? In fact it would be easier to help if you could post the whole recipe.


  • Hi Carl,

    I have a Cuisinart ICE-30, and of late I have started to work with stabilizers, and of late my ice cream stops churning 8-10 mins after having started, which is very surprising, because this never used to happen before. I am thinking that perhaps the base might be too viscous, because of the stabilizer, and that is why it is not churning. I just made a batch of vegan vanilla gelato with 13% fat, and 19% sugar, and 2%SNF (so 34% solids), and I am surprised that it got stuck while churning. I have made chocolate bases with 42% solids (without stabilizers) and haven’t had churn problems.

    Do you have churn problems with the ICE-30?



    • Nope, I’m very surprised to hear that. The proportions look fine to me. Which stabilizers are you using?

      To be honest when I started experimenting with stabilizers I went way over the top on many occasions (with the mixture sometimes looking pretty solid before it went in the machine!). And I was exclusively using the ICE-30 at this stage too.

      But I don’t remember it ever getting stuck while churning. I suppose I could have been taking out as soon as it looked OK visually without checking the time. Certainly I’ve removed mixtures after around 12 minutes because they looked good to me.

      I’m presuming you’re concerned because the mixture’s not yet reached -6 degrees?

      • It is both the draw temperature and overrun I am concerned about. I need air (besides sugar) in my ice cream so it doesn’t harden.

        Could there be aomething wrong with the machine? Is there a test I can do to find out?

        • Mmmm the ICE-30 is such a simple machine and that’s one of the best things about it: there’s very little that can go wrong.

          Presumably the issue (if there is one) will be the motor. But I can’t think of what you could do to test it.

          Were you using the same mixture with no problems previously? I mean it could be that you’re just using too much stabilizer…

          • Hey Carl,

            Yes I am using the same mixture, perhaps lower quantity (400-500 gr) than before and no stabilizer. Could this be the issue (i.e. not enough ice cream mix)?

            I just made a salted caramel batch with 43% solids, and once again, after around 10 mins, it stopped churning (the motor is still whirring, and the bowl is still rotating, but the mix isnt churning). With 12 mins (using a 25 mins recipe), still to go the mix is around -6/-7…so the temperature is dropping well (and quickly), but for about half the time, the mix isn’t churning.

            I can’t figure it out!

    • hi luke I had a problem with my Cuisinart when I used the wrong paddle the whole bowl froze solid I had to ring the shop and they told me to check the paddle once I had let the machine thaw out

      kind regards Julia.

      ps I have been unable to find any pectin for Cuisinart gelato recipes
      I live in Perth Western Australia

  • I think I may have figured out the problem…let me know what you think:

    Of late, I have started to age my ice cream in the freezer for 90 mins and not the in fridge for 120+ mins which is what I was doing before.

    I noticed that the temperature of the chilled mix is around 0 degrees after taking it out of the freezer and that very quickly after freezing the mix (say 8 mins), the draw temperature of -6/-7 was reached, which I thought was quite quick, when compared to before when it would take a good 25 mins to get the temperature down to -4.

    I think the unusually low temperature reached unusually quickly is thickening the mixture well in advance of the time required to aerate it (25 mins). I am thinking that perhaps the 25 minutes churn time is design to coincide with a -4 draw temperature, which gives the base enough time to aerate and cool down.

    There is only one way to test this, which is to revert back to a chilling temp of 4, and see what happens. Thoughts?

    • Yes for sure, the ICE-30 is going to struggle once the mixture gets down to -7 as a considerable amount of the water will have turned to ice, thickening the mixture and straining the motor.

      While getting the mixture as cold as possible before you put it in the machine is good idea (since it will reduce dynamic freezing time which reduces ice crystal growth), it looks like you might have gone too far!

      Unfortunately the amount of air the ICE-30 adds to the mixture is quite low compared to other machines so this will be exacerbating the problem.

      I sometimes leave my mixture in the freezer for a short while too, but not to the extent that it reaches 0 degrees. I’d definitely try a shorter period in the freezer.

      Also I don’t think you’re strictly “ageing” it in the freezer for 90 min (or even in the fridge for 120 min). To age (rather than just chill), you’d need to leave it for a longer period (in the fridge).

      • Problem solved! I chilled (not aged, as your rightly say) and it worked. It did start to get stuck at around 20 mins, but that was after it was well aerated.

        By the way, I purchased the dasher from the ice-70 and put it into the ice 30 and significantly reduced the layer of ice cream between the dasher and the barrel wall.

  • Hi, Carl, I’m trying to re-create Starbucks’ vanilla yogurt which has locust bean gum and pectin. It has the most heavenly, marshmallowy texture. I can’t find anything online about how to thicken homemade yogurt with these two things. What do you think?

    • Hi Rhonda!

      I haven’t tried Starbucks vanilla yogurt. Is it a frozen dessert, a drink, or just a flavored yogurt? I also haven’t had much experience with pectin.

      A combination of Locust Bean Gum (LBG) and pectin sounds really interesting though!

      In order to get the most out of the LBG you’ll need to heat it.

      I would probably start off with half LBG and half pectin. Total amount: 0.2% by weight.

      Disperse the LBG in some sugar then mix into the yogurt and heat to 185°F (85°C). Take it off the heat then mix in the pectin. Cool it down and see how it ends up!

      If it’s too jelly like (and it may well be!) reduce the amount of LGB and/or pectin.

      I hope that’s helpful! Please let us know how you get on…

  • Hi Carl, I’m using ICE-100 and making ice cream with fat about 12% ( cream : milk = 1 : 1.75), using tapioca starch as thickeners, no egg , using less sucrose than most recipe. My ice cream turned out with great flavor; I don’t detect any big ice crystal but it left quite cold mouthfeel . It’s hard to scoop, too! (at -14 degree Celsius).
    So I decide to use soy lecithin as emulsifier and gums as stabilizer. I can find Guar, Carrageenan (unknown types) but LBG . I’d like to ask how much guar and carrageenan should I use for 1 liter ice cream like I mention above ?
    Thanks alot!!!

    • Hi Yuta,

      Can all the ingredients by weight?

      Generally the gums would make up 0.1 – 0.5 % of the total weight. Since you’re already using tapioca flour I would definitely be at the lower end of that scale.

      Really you should be OK just using tapioca flour though.


  • Hi Carl,

    Multi-part question coming up…thanks for your patience!

    Now that mango season is in full swing, I have started to make mango sorbets. A few days ago I made a batch with guar gum and it turned out great (although it did have a very small icy sensation when biting down on the ice cream).

    Yesterday I made another batch and skipped the guar gum and noticed that the icy bite sensation was greater and much more perceptible. I think the guar gum must have made the difference, right? Reducing ice crystal size is one of the things guar gum is known for, right?

    Is there any other stabilizer that reduces ice crystal size even more? I want to eliminate that icy bite entirely (although I have my doubts if it is at all possible with home ice cream making equipment – I wrote you a note on the troubleshooting section). I think you suggest LBG, but it seems quite inconvenient to work with it because of the high temperature required to hydrating it. How do you hydrate LBG if you are making a sorbet?

    Many thanks,


    P.S. Have you thought of setting up a PayPal donation option on your site? I would certainly donate! Although I have read your entire website from A-Z, I do value your engagement and the fact that you respond to posts!

    • Yes it will definitely be the Guar Gum that makes the difference.

      You can mix the LBG with the sugar and some water and heat it up to hydrate the LGB. Once it’s cooled it will form a weak gel which you can mix with the fruit puree before you add it to the ice cream maker.

      Guar and LBG complement each other really well, so you could also try a mix.

      Apparently Carboxymethyl cellulose (E466) is even better than LBG at suppressing ice crystal growth. I haven’t tried it yet though.

      I haven’t thought about PayPal donations, no! There are some Amazon affiliate links on the ice cream makers, but that’s all so far.

      Thanks for the suggestions and compliments though, I’m glad you find it useful!

  • Dear Carl;

    Very informative. My question is whether Pysllium Husk can be used as a stabilizer in ice creams. If yes, any disadvantages or caution that you make like to share on the same and how to use it?


    • Hi Jaydev,

      Yes apparently Psyllium can be used as a stabilizer. I haven’t tried it myself, but one of my readers has (see the comments on the emulsifiers page).

      Apparently it works quite well. You’ll probably need to use a little more than you would the gums listed on this page. I would just mix a teaspoon or so with the sugar and then dissolve it in the milk as usual.

      Let us know how you get on it you try it!


    • Hi Stephanie,

      Yes you can definitely use Pectin. I haven’t used it myself but I’m planning on giving it a go and I’ll then update the post.


  • Hello Carl,

    I have been making some gelato and using cremodan as a stabilizer but its expensive and would like to try some experimentation with locust bean gum, guar gum, Carragenan, etc., but dont know in what amount should I use them.

    Is there any fórmula for the stabilizer and emulsifier you could share in order to make the gelato and Sorbeto.

    Thank you

    • It really depends on the recipe and which stabilizers you’re using Joe. But the gums you mention would make up 0.1 – 0.5 % of the total weight. If you’re using Soy Lecithin as an emulsifier then it could be 0.2 – 0.5 % by weight. You can use my calculator to help you here.


  • It is common in the Middle East to use Arabic gum from a local tree sap to stabilize ice cream. I am not able to find out if this needs to be heated in order to work properly. Do you know anything about this thickener?
    Thank you,

    • Hi Stephanie,

      You mean mastic? I think you need to heat to dissolve the ground mastic. But you shouldn’t cook it for very long or it won’t work. I read somewhere you add it to the nearly boiling milk, cook for 90 seconds and then remove from the heat.

      I hope that helps!

  • Hi

    Very interesting Reading. Im a beginner in making Home ice cream or Gelato.
    To much for me. I read in a recipe use Gelatin

    What do you reccomend, easy to find in store and easy to use?

    • You can definitely use multiple stabilizers as they often compliment each other really well. I’ve certainly seen recipes that use Tapioca as well as gums. The only way to find out is to experiment! If the result feels over stabilized, cut back on the Tapioca or cut it out altogether.

      You certainly don’t need to use Tapioca if you’re using gums.

  • I don’t have any dry ingredients. I’m using glucose as my sweet so when would I add my Avacream ice cream stabilizer? I forgot it in this batch of Bourbon Butterscotch ice cream (Hello My Name is Ice Cream, D.Cree) I guess we will have to see how it turns out.

    • Mmmm tricky. You’ll just have to mix it into the wet ingredients I guess. Try to disperse it as much as possible and give it a really good mix.

  • Carl,

    Thank you for the excellent information. Does anyone have a good recipe for sugar-free ice cream made with granulated Sucralose or something similar? I made a few 1.5 qt batches using eggs, heavy cream, cashew milk, vanilla, granulated sucralose, liquid stevia, Hershey’s unsweetened dark cocoa powder, and xantham gum. The consistency straight out of the ice cream machine was fairly creamy, but froze solid as rock after I put it in the freezer overnight. Per your article and many comments here, I am going to experiment with LBG and Xantham Gum, but I was wondering if anyone has a tried and true sugar free recipe.

    Thanks again for all of the information!


    • Hi David,

      I haven’t made any sugar free ice cream yet. But I’d imagine that Suralose doesn’t lower the freezing point of water to the extent of Sucrose, if at all.

      I haven’t been able to find any real numbers for this though.

      So you could try adding some vodka (or other alcohol) which will lower the freezing point and therefore keep your ice cream softer.

      I’ve got more information on the contribution that sugar makes to ice cream and when we substitute sugar we need to make up these contributions some how.


      • I added vodka and more egg yolks on a subsequent batch, which helped slightly, but the overall texture out of the freezer was still hard. If I let it sit out for a few minutes it was ok.
        After reading the “contribution sugar makes to ice cream” I think I am going to have to add some. I am no longer a pre-diabetic, due to my low carb high fat lifestyle, which is why I try to avoid sugar at all costs.
        I will try the Jeni Bauer recipe on my next go around, I think the sugar content should be ok for a small serving.

        Thanks again for this fantastic website!

    • I can tell you that xylitol will NOT freeze… I made two custard based batches and both stayed as soft as soft serve ice cream for an entire week. I’m actually trying to figure out how to harden my next go b/c I like the flavor of xylitol at bit more than swerve/ erythritol.

    • I am certainly no person to use as an example as my cooking skills are poor. I use a Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2-quart machine and absolutely love it! I don’t make the absolute best ice cream but it makes me very, very happy and it is so easy and quick. No cooking! I use Madhava Organic Light Agave (100% Blue Agave)(Amazon)for ALL my sweetening needs. You might check this out for an option. PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS SWEETER THAN SUGAR!!! In the following recipe adapted from Cuisinart, I substitute 1/2 cup agave for 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. This doesn’t make it super sweet. Anyone wanting to try this could start here and adjust according to personal likes. I use cream of tartar for the stabilizer just because it is something I have on hand all the time. It does leave a tiny taste in the vanilla recipes that I equate to a hint of lemon. I kind of like it. I have my own rule of thumb that I use for this machine which is NO MORE THAN 5 CUPS TOTAL COMBINED LIQUIDS or it will run over and make a MESS. Therefore, since the sugar is a liquid, I cut the other liquids back by that amount. This is my recipe.

      Simple Vanilla Ice Cream (adapted from Cuisinart) Makes about 7 cups

      This ice cream can easily be dressed up by adding your favorite chopped candies or sprinkles at the end of churning. If you want to add something like cookie, cake, or brownie pieces, you could stir them in by hand after removing from Cuisinart bowl.

      In a medium bowl, use a mixer or stick blender on low or med speed or whisk until well combined:
      2 C milk, whole
      2T cream of tartar (this is very important – DO NOT leave out)
      1 C milk, evaporated
      1/2 C agave (Madhava brand) (orig. called for 1-1/2C granulated sugar)
      2 pinch table salt
      Add & whip or mix approx 1 minute:
      1-1/2 C heavy cream
      2T vanilla extract

      Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, or overnight. I use really cold (short of being frozen) ingredients (except agave) and skip this refrigerate-over-nite step.

      Pour the mixture into the already running Cuisinart® Ice Cream Maker frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 20-35 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture but be very thick.

      Let machine run until mixture is really, really thick. Mine runs a total of about 20-25 minutes to the stage that I put the mixture in air-tight freezer container and place in freezer for about 4 hours to over nite.

      Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving. (I just serve straight from the freezer as I have never seen it come out of the freezer rock-hard anyway.)

      Notes –


      BE SURE to watch the total of all liquids and additions. No more than 5 cups. This will expand as it freezes.

      It is important to adjust the sugar as you premix to adapt to effects of different ingredients and differing taste desires.

      Any additions should be no larger than an M&M and be added about 5 minutes before end of mixing.

      Might consider adding cornstarch, cream of tartar, or … for silky texture and to avoid formation of ice crystals. Obviously, I like to use cream of tartar. You can see it start thickening almost immediately.

      My freezer is set at -8F. I use the bowl, clean it, and put it back in the freezer. The freezer is its usual storage place and the bowl is always ready to use. The bowl is so cold that at the end of making whatever, it will still freeze my towel to it when I try to dry the bowl after I wash it and before I put it away after use. I bought an extra bowl so that I have 2 in the freezer and can have 2 batches in way less than an hour. It is definitely better if you let it cure in the freezer over nite unless your objective is soft serve.

  • Hi Carl! Great article! I am wondering if you have experimented with non-dairy icecreams made with for example coconut milk. Which are the best stabilisers to use. Thank you.

    • Hi Julia,

      I haven’t as yet no. Check out some of the other comments though, there’s a few messages (that include recipes) from Luke who’s having great results with non-dairy ice creams.

      Basically the same stabilizers that work with dairy milk should work with non-dairy milks.

      I’ll be updating the site early next year with a ton of new stabilizer content!


  • I am venturing into making goat’s milk ice cream in my dairy. Do you have any information on Tara Gum? Also, can LBG be heated in a small amount of milk and then added to the larger amount of milk. I don’t want to heat all of my milk for the ice cream to 185.

    • Hi Barbara,

      No! I hadn’t come across Tara Gum before. It looks really interesting, definitely worth trying.

      Yes you can heat the LBG is a smaller amount of milk and then add it to a larger amount. I’m not sure if it work quite as well, but it will definitely work.

      Let us know if you try Tara Gum, I’d really like to know what it was like.


  • Hiii
    I’m trying to make fruit popsicles…. Is there some way you can share a commercial recipe ….. Because my popsicles are totally fruit based…. I do not understand the quantity of sugar or base syrup( water + sugar+ stabilizer)
    It would be a great help!!!!
    Thank you

  • Hello !
    What a great article to read ! I have been struggling to find any info on stabilizers . I have bought a magimix gelato expert and plan to use it for small batches of gelato for my small pizzeria . I haven’t bought a commercial machine because I am not sure the demand of gelato yet and I am also working from home . If I were to start using LBG and guar gum together would that solve my problem of having a gelato that doesn’t melt to quickly or if it does not sell out in the first week it would last in the freezer , I am currently using a recipe that has milk powder and tapioca flour , it worked great! There was no egg and hardly any cream and beautiful texture but I am worried about stability with melting and it froze rock hard and soften once left out for a few min , I’m needing to find something that the gelato can be in a display freezer and not melt too quickly when served .would I take the tapioca flour out if using the LBG and guar ? I would so appreciate any advice as the info on making simple home made ice cream is ALOT but hardly anything on homemade gelato to sell at a shop ..

    • Hi Kelly,

      The LBG and Guar will definitely slow down the melting.

      And while it will also reduce the iciness if you store it in the freezer, once gelato is frozen in a standard freezer, it’s quality does decline markedly.

      If you can, I’d recommend making it fresh every day.

      If you have to keep it in the freezer, try not to disturb it by opening the door again until you take it out to serve it. Unfortunately it still won’t be as good as the day you made it!

      Since the tapioca is used as a stabilizer, then yes if you use other stabilizers you can reduce or remove the tapioca altogether.

      I hope that helps!

  • Hello Carl, just a little feedback regarding a recipe I followed from a book that specified 0.5% stabilizer in a fior di latte gelato recipe. I used guar gum as the stabilizer and it came out extremely chewy. I have reduced it to 0.125% for my second run and will make my way up from there. If you have any tips around guar gum that aren’t stated above it would be great if you could share them. If you would like to look at the recipe it’s available here. https://www.goodfood.com.au/archived/gelato-recipe-from-gelato-messina-20131202-2ymr2

    • Hi Stefan,

      Sorry about the delay getting back to you. I’ve made that recipe too!

      That is the problem with Guar: it can make the ice cream chewy. The only advice I would give you is to mix the Guar with another stabilizer. Try Locust Bean Gum which goes really well with Guar.

      I hope thats’s helpful.


  • Should stabilizer be added to homemade vegan yogurt (cashew milk) before or after incubation? Thinking of using gluten free xanthan gum.

  • Carl I was wondering if your calculator works for popsicle as well I dis a course in Brasil for Gelato and Paletas but, it was 3 yrs ago and have just bought all the equitment and should be arriving in th next month.

    Thank You, Juan

  • hello carl
    recently i am using corn starch for ice cream and milk shake please suggest me the subtitute for corn starch for ice cream and thikning milk shake

    thank you

  • I really appreciate your info here. I bought a quite expensive Cuisineart ice cream maker and all my ice cream get icy in the refrigerator. I’ve tried all the pre-cooling, fast freezing techniques to no avail. I hope this works.

  • Hello – this is all very interesting – thank you for sharing! I am approaching this a little differently. I feel sacrilegious saying this, but I’m just blending things up in a Vitamix and freezing them. I know. this is not optimal for ice crystal formation (as opposed to an ice cream machine) but it’s all I have. Hence I’m very interested in the gums/stabilizers.

    I have to say the first batch of dark chocolate espresso sorbet that I made was pretty darn good. It had lots of dark chocolate, corn syrup, espresso, some ‘Irish Cream’ liqueur, a pinch of salt… Blended it up, froze it, viola. The texture was a tiny bit icy but very acceptable. Guests loved it + I loved it. I think I just got lucky.

    The next experiment was a coconut milk (full fat) pineapple sorbet, cooked coconut milk with cardamom, added sweet fresh pineapple, pinch of salt, bit of lemon juice, more Irish Cream. Blended up + froze. It was a bit icier, though very tasty. I would have liked it to be smoother so I’m going to experiment with the ‘gums.’

    I think if I get hold of an ice cream machine it’ll be much better, no?

    But somehow I’m feeling like rising to the challenge of developing the best possible blender-method sorbets.
    I have to freeze them a day or two ahead because I take them to friends'(or clients’) homes for dessert so don’t have option of machine or prep time.

    Any thoughts on stabilizers/gums for this scenario?
    General comments on what I’m doing?
    Am I wasting my time trying to do the ‘impossible’ trying to make relatively smooth sorbets by blending then freezing? (for example the slow freeze will always make bigger ice crystals).
    Have you had any experience with this Vitamix type method, or know anyone who has expertise?

    Thanks and regards – a new friend…

  • Hi!!

    I read this article to try and see if you could use agar agar to try and stop the melting of an ice cream. I know agar would probably help slow the melting process but can it stop melting?

    If it can how much should I use etc.

    Kind regards,

  • Hi Carl,
    God bless you man for this wonderful and insightful article! I lived in SF for like 3 years, and now i’m back in India. I am a fan of thickshakes- that are made with great quality premium icecreams. However, my
    local market doesn’t really have a good quality icecream which is viscous and rich enough to make a thickshake, if it does, then in 5 min it automatically becomes a milkshake!

    I have a KitchenAid icecream mixer to try out my recipes at home. In order to make great thickshakes- that can last for longer times (thickness)- what stabalizers or thickening agents do you suggest, i should add? Also, please mention their weight/quanity. I enquired locally, and was able to find GMS powder, CMC powder and xanthan gum and guar gum powder. From i article i now know, that the latter two form a great pair, but i do not know anything about the former two. Could you please tell what are GMS, CMC powders and should i be using them?

    Thanks a ton!

  • I thank you and thank you again for your wonderful article! I appreciate all the knowledge, time and effort you put into sharing this with other ice cream lovers! Now I am going shopping!

  • Hi Carl,

    I am making no added sugar popsicles. Strawberry ones (experimenting with combo of cream cheese, milk/cream, strawberries, vanilla extract and dates), chocolate ones (coconut milk, cacao powder, vanilla extract and dates) and vanilla ones (cream, Greek yogurt, dates and vanilla extract) and tropical ones (pineapple, mango and coconut water) and have been using xanthum gum in them with reasonable results.

    My questions are:
    1) Is it better to use Guar instead of Xanthum in frozen products?
    2) Would I be better off using a combo of gums e.g. xanthum and LBG or xanthum and guar or guar an LBG? I’ve read some info about the synergy of these stabilisers but also that some are better at reducing ice crystal formation and others are better at reducing heat shock. Obviously the use of LBG is tricky in frozen products because of having to heat it to stabilise it….
    3) should I leave the mixture out of the freezer, to ‘rest’ as it were to allow the stabilisers time to hydrate before I freeze them? I am currently using my home freezer for experimenting so I know the freeze time is not what it would be commercially.

    Thanks so much for your input!


  • Can I ask. Whats the reason for fish eye like ice cream, I know it’s a stabiliser probably and is it heat abuse?

  • Hi there! there is video on youtube with the name ‘Cliff Attempts to Make Stretchable Ice Cream (Booza) — You Can Do This!’ , how accurate is this video. does guar gum really makes ice cream stretchy like turkish ice cream when heated like that. i tried making ice cream that way, it did not work. there is no recipe mentioned in the video.

    is there any other way of preparing stretchy ice cream like turkish ice cream without using the salep and mastic.
    Please tell me.

  • Hi thanks foe all reapply.
    I am trying to make a ice cream which is very elastic, so much so ,it can be looks like a chewing gum.
    Back in Middle East we use selap or Orchis mascula.
    It’s is very expensive to buy Orchis mascula . Therefore I am looking for a steblizer or any gums , that can give a same elastic looks , so much that the ice cream can be pulled with out cutting out. Like chewing gum.
    Do u know anything that I can use to get that same effect?
    Thank you

  • Thanks so much for this thorough information! I’m lactose intolerant and enjoyed Rice Dream ‘ice cream’ until it disappeared. So I’ve embarked on making some myself. I’m about to try Guar Gum and Tapioca.

  • Hi,

    Thanks for the hugely informative and helpful website. I’m just starting out making my own ice cream and am loving learning all about it.

    I’ve made a really delicious egg yolk based ice cream (5 yolks per kg) that’s turned out really well but perhaps just a touch on the icy side. Do you think adding some stabiliser (Guar Gum) on top of the egg yolks could help or can you not combine them?


    • Hi Evan,

      Sorry about the late reply. You can use stabilizers (like Guar Gum) on top of the eggs and they will certainly improve the texture and reduce the iciness.


  • Hello. If I were to use LGB and guar gum in combination, do you have the % of each I would use or should I use them in equal parts? Also what should the weight be of those two combined be compared to the weight of the ice cream batter?

    Thank you, this site has been incredibly informative!


  • What about psyllium powder and arrowroot powder? I’m making homemade ice cream and wonder whether either or both of these would be beneficial additions

    • I haven’t tried either of these yet Katarina, I’d be very intersted to hear how you get on if you do though! But I’ve heard that arrowroot powder can give a slimy texture, so I wouldn’t use too much.

  • I am a home cook. I’m making ice cream for diabetics. Im hydrating the milk mix with the LBG/guar in guart jars in a sous vide at 185F. Is 30 minutes enough to ensure that the locust bean flour gets hydrated enough in the center? Will it hurt the mix if I leave it in longer?

  • Hi there I have my own ice cream parlour,at the moment I use a uht mix but I would love to make my own from scratch…very difficult to find someone who can break it down in simple terms, I’m looking into buying a pasteurizer as we speak

  • Im a 19 year old aspiring ice cream entrepreneur from the Philippines, and I am more inspired to pursue an ice cream business. Thank you for the clear explanations, I am excited to try these gums in my ice cream! Hope to read more ice cream insights.

  • frankmcginness@gmail.com
    I disagree, starting with your premise, ice cream should be creamy smooth. It’s not to be like gravy, frosting, or gelato. Ice cream is ice and cream, not ice egg cream. Ice cream’s incredible singular trait over of all foods is it’s delectable light crumbliness that magically suddenly melts and is gone but leaves a clean wet finish with a trace of cream dairy fat. Deliciously refreshing.
    Frankly I can’t fathom why destroy all of this by adding non ice cream conditioners that the mouth immediately senses it foreign texture and taste. It’s like damn melt already so I don’t have to keep chewing it. It’s not suppose to be an indelicate chew. True ice cream is a delicacy.

    • Well, that’s one point of view!

      For me, what I don’t want is small, detectable pieces of ice in my ice cream. And the best way to avoid that is with some kind of stabilization.

      Whether that’s eggs or locust bean gum. Or something else.

      I suppose you’re talking about a Philadelphia style ice cream, with no eggs?

      These are great if you eat them the same day you make them. But they don’t keep well in the freezer.

  • Hi, are there any problems in trying to substitute high fat coconut milk for dairy, and Stevia for sugar? Do you know of any recipe using these that comes out well ? Also, is it necessary to use an ice cream machine? If so, which one do you recommend. I’d love to get this information and thank you for your blog.

    • Hi Barb,

      I haven’t tried to make dairy free coconut ice cream yet. So I can’t answer this through experience! However…

      If you can whip the coconut cream so that it holds air (in the same way you would whip dairy cream), then you you could just put it in the freezer and avoid using a machine.

      There are plenty of “no ice cream machine” dairy recipes that do the same. And the way they work is by using a very high fat base (no milk). So you can whip enough air in before freezing.

      However in you case this will be complicated by not using sugar. Sugar in ice cream isn’t just for sweetness. It’s also for body and to keep it from freezing too hard in the freezer.

      So if you just stick your whipped coconut cream (without sugar) in the freezer it’s likely to freeze solid and have poor texture once it softens when you take it out.

      You could try adding a tablespoon of vodka to the whipped cream to stop it freezing too hard. You could also try adding small amounts of guar gum or xanthan gum to the mixture to improve the texture.

      The only way to find it what works is to try!

      To be honest I think you’ll have much more success if you use an ice cream maker.

      I have a written a full guide here.

      But in summary: if you live in the US, I recommend the Cuisinart ICE-21. If you don’t then I recommend the Cuisinart ICE-30.

      I hope that helps!


  • I am curious what you would recommend for rolled ice cream. We want to mix our base fresh but are finding it difficult compared to the premixed jugs because it seems to not be as creamy or roll as easily. We’ve tried heavy cream with sweetened condensed milk and it always seems so close, but not quite there. Do you think a stabilizer is our answer?

    • Hi Angel,

      Yes I think you should probably try an ice cream stabilizer blend. They almost certainly use them in the premixed jugs.

      I hope that helps!


  • Any tips using tara gum? also, any considerations with vegan (coconut-based) ice creams? The coconut milk can I use says it already contains guar… Not sure if it is the same as guar gum

    • Hi Harry

      I haven’t tried Tara Gum yet. I had a batch in the post to test out but it went missing.

      I’ve heard really good things though.

      As far as I know it will hydrate without heating, doesn’t cause chewiness like Guar. And in fact works really well with ice cream.

      Let me know if you try it. And keep checking back. As soon as the postal service is working properly again I’ll re-order and write up my experiences.



  • Hi there,

    I’m new to ice cream making.

    After too many years of having the only ice cream option available to me be coconut based due to dietary issues, I have found I hate coconut ice cream with a passion and am attempting to make my own.

    I was wondering if you had any suggestions on the best ice cream stabilizer to use with rice milk.

    My first attempt with emulsifying the rice milk in a blender with canola oil went okay. The flavor was really good, but it froze very hard and had a decent amount of ice. I’m hoping some type of stabilizer with help it because creamier.

    Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Bill,

      I don’t think rice milk suits a specific stabilizer any more than dairy milk does.

      Different stabilizers will transmit different qualities to the rice milk ice cream, which may or may not be desirable depending on your preferences.

      So I would suggest you to experiment!

      You’ll probably get the best results to begin with if you use a pre-blended mix. Modernist Pantry, Amazon, Special Ingredients all sell these.

      Most need heating. Other like Guar or Xanthan don’t.

      They will definitely reduce the iciness and therefore increase the perception of creaminess though.

      So I’d definitely urge you to give them a go.



  • Many thanks for your very informative and detailed write up on this subject of stabilizers aka as thickeners or gelling agents. Not sure whether you have come across another gelling agent called Arrowroot powder which I used to thicken the sauce for my Chinese food cooking and wonder whether it is good for ice cream making?

    • Hi Raymond,

      I know of Arrowroot but I haven’t used it myself. It’s supposed to produce a slightly slimy texture when mixed with dairy though, so be careful of that!



  • Hello Carl! Just wondering can I just use the Knox gelatin to make my ice cream easy to scoop. How would you recommend for me to use the gelatin? Can I just pour it into my mix or do I need to cook it first? Your input would be greatly appreciated.
    Comment I’m getting in my ice cream is “it’s too hard”

    Thank you!

    • Hi Jackie,

      Yes you can do that! Here’s a quick recipe from the book Ices:

      2 Tbsp Water
      1 Tbsp Powdered gelatin
      2 Cups Milk
      2 Cups Heavy cream
      1/2 Cup Sugar
      1 pinch Salt
      1 Tbsp Vanilla extract

      1. Put the water into a bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin into the water, whisking constantly.
      2. Bring milk to the boil in a saucepan, then remove from heat.
      3. Stir the sugar and salt into the milk to dissolve them
      4. Pour the milk mixture onto the dissolved gelatin, stirring all the time
      5. Cover and leave to cool.
      6. Mix in the cream and vanilla
      7. Churn in your ice cream maker

      I hope that helps!


  • This goes on forever, lot of ice cream people. I don’t want to go crazy making ice cream like a chemist just some simple advice. My machine is a 1.5 Pint Thermo-Electric Ice Cream Maker and uses 1.5 cup of mix batter per bach. Recipe for vanilla is 1.5 cup wheylow ice cream sugar, 1 tsp vanilla bean or extract mixed with half&half to make 1.5 cups batter. What would serve best for me and amount. I’m sure this changes flavor made like coconut nut uses can coco cream & milk so thickens on its own.

  • Love the article and definitely learned a lot.

    Do you recommend a good supplier or brand name for Locust bean gum and guar gum preferably organic?

    Thank you,

  • Hi I have some questions that is cracking my head up. While I was making the ice cream for so many times I’ve added guar gum during the churning process which takes up about 20-25 mins of churning using my kitchenaid ice cream mixer. After churning, I put into the ice cream tubs n pop into the freezer and the next day, it is difficult to dig in with the spoon and I have to wait a while to melt a little to dig it in. The problem is it coming from the gum or the churning process is not long enough? Please enlighten me with this issue as my ice cream base is a yolk based ice cream. Should I add xanthan gum together with guar gum to decrease the solid texture of the ice cream?does the amount of both gum is equivalent in the same portion?

    • Hi Elaine,

      First of all I’m not sure if I’ve understood you correctly, but you shouldn’t add the Guar (or any other stabilizer) to the mix while it’s churning.

      It should be thoroughly mixed into the sugar before you add to the liquids. Before it goes in the machine.

      But more (or different combinations of) stabilizers won’t really stop your ice cream from being hard when you remove it from the freezer. I mean, it might help a bit but not much.

      It’s quite common to have to leave home made ice cream out for 5 minutes for it to soften up.

      But if you don’t like it, try adding more sugar to the mix. Plus maybe a little more stabilizer (added at the correct time).

      The extra sugar will stop so much of the water in the mix turning to ice (which is what’s making your ice cream hard).

      I hope that helps!


  • Thank you so much for the helpful information. I know you posted this a while ago but do you have any experience or suggestions on working with non-dairy substitutes? I’m looking to improve on an oatmilk recipe

    • Hi Kelly,

      I haven’t made many non-dairy ice creams but you can use all of the ones I talk about for dairy in non-dairy mixes.

      You could start with Guar gum maybe. You’ll need a little more than you’d use in a dairy recipe.

      Try mixing the Guar with Locust Bean Gum for a thicker ice cream.

      Don’t forget, Sorbet is essentially a non-dairy ice cream, so you could also use any pre-mixed Sorbet stabilizer.

      I hope that helps!


  • Aren’t there recipes from which to start experimentation. I appreciate info on the trade offs, but don’t have the time to start from scratch. With the info in this article one could adjust according to how a recipe came out.

    • Hi John,

      You mean recipes for stabilizers? Or ice cream recipes that use stabilizers?

      For the former, try a 50/50 mix of Guar Gum and Locust Bean Gum at 0.3 or 0.4 percent of the total ingredients weight.

      If the texture is too chewy, decrease the Guar and increase the Locus Bean Gum.

      I hope that helps!


  • I’ve been cooking an egg ice milk custard base. I got some Bob’s Red Mill guar gum. In making my base, I first scald the milk, then cool it somewhat and add the sugar and egg yolks. I would think to mix the guar gum in with the sugar as part of the second step, when I reheat everything in a double boiler to 185°.
    My question: will the heat destroy the guar gum?
    Please reply here or to my email; I don’t do Facebook.
    Thanks in advance!

  • Hello.im new to ice cream making.
    i am just blown away by these information and i might need help.

    1.What kind of stabilizer can i use in oyster mushroom flavoured ice cream?
    2.i am not using eggs nor sugar in my ice cream for some taste reason.if thats the case how would i know the grams or amount of your preferred stabilizer?

    i just dont know what kind of stabilizer to use and how much i will put in my craft.

  • Hi There, I have small ice cream business and always have issues with ice cream, it gets rock hard in freezer so can you tell me how can I make ice cream and what should I use in there so it stays softer even in -20 degree please

    • Hi Haresh

      The easiest way is to add more sugar. If that makes it too sweet, swap some of the sugar for Dextrose.



  • Hi

    My question is about hydration.

    The various dry powder gums tell me their recommended dosage, but in order to use them they need to by hydrated and cooked.

    If I am using 4oz of milk, 4oz of cream and 4oz of water, do I just add the recommended gum dosage to this total mixture and heat to the recommended temperature and time? How this different than pasteurization?

    Or does one hydrate the gums separately and then add they hydrated gums with the other ingredients and if please provide the calculation
    Thank you

    • Hi Gary,

      You hydrate the gums in the mixture. So yes, you add them to the other ingredients, and then as you heat and mix, they become hydrated and start to do their work..



  • Hey Carl!

    I want to add xantham gum to my custard ice cream base. The recipe says to whisk the sugar with the egg yolks, then temper them with the scalded milk & cream, then cook the whole mixture until 170 F.

    If you recommend mixing the xantham gum thoroughly with the sugar, then blending the dry ingredients with the wet using an immersion blender, I’m wondering when exactly I do that if I am adding the sugar (mixed with the stabilizer) to egg yolks first, then the scalded milk/cream. Would I just blend the mixture with the immersion blender after I’ve tempered the egg/sugar/stabilizer mixture with the milk/cream? In other words, is it okay for me to beat the stabilizer/sugar mix with egg yolks before adding to the wet ingredients then blending?


  • I’ve been purchasing a store-brand ice cream for many years, labeled “All Natural”, and have been pleased with it. Most of the flavor’s ingredients were “milk, cream, sugar, flavoring” and nothing more. I just noticed, after a disappointing experience with “strawberry”, that it now has Guar gum and Carrageenan listed as ingredients. I checked it because the consistency and flavor strength was very different. The product acted more dense, which was OK, but the flavor was seriously compromised. In the past the pieces of fruit were larger, and a little icy, but I was fine with it. I’m planning to complain, and appreciate the education you gave me with your site. Is it likely the choice of stabilizers would negatively effect the ice cream?

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