Ice Cream Ingredients

There may be additional ingredients depending, of course, on the product being made.  Typically, these could include chocolate, fruit, nuts, cereals and wafers.

Milk proteins are a key ingredient of ice cream products. The protein in ice cream ensures small fat and air bubbles are produced. They give ice cream its creaminess. The protein also contributes to the flavour. Proteins in ice cream deliver about 2 to 12% of energy (average 8%) in the product.

Sugar gives ice cream a sweet taste, but that is not its most important role. The sugar controls the amount of ice formed during the freezing of the product. This ensures that the ice cream is soft enough to scoop and eat. It also gives thickness to the product and makes it stable to heat shock (being in and out of the freezer). The sugar will help as well to release the flavor of the ice cream.  On average ice cream contains 16 to 23 grams sugar per 100 g. This means around 11-16 grams in a typical serving. The sugar contributes up to 50% of the energy in the product.

Fat is an essential ingredient in ice cream as it provides structure, delivers flavour, boosts the creaminess and stabilizes the tiny air bubbles that influence the creaminess. Either dairy fat or vegetable fat can be used in ice creams. Typically, ice creams contain between 0 and 12 grams of total fat per 100 grams. Fat contributes from 0 to 45% of the total energy.

For some products, stabilizers and emulsifiers are needed. Stabilizers are added to improve texture and prevent meltdown. They are usually vegetable gums. Emulsifiers are added to improve structural properties of the ice cream: to make it thicker and more resistant to melting. Emulsifiers are usually vegetable oils or egg products.

No preservatives are needed, as the low temperatures at which ice cream is stored prevent the growth of any micro-organisms.

Ice and air are fundamental to giving ice cream its structure, affecting quality and stability. The smaller the ice crystals and air bubbles, the creamier is the ice cream.

More details on composition of the various edible ices can be found in the EUROGLACES Code for Edible Ices