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Most of my recipes use some kind of stabilizers. I get a lot of questions what I use and what can be used instead.
When a recipe just includes the ingredient Stabilizer I have usually used a commercial stabilizer blend.
Sometimes I have noted the exact stabilizers or blend I have used.
If you don’t have the stabilizers I use don’t worry. There are plenty of alternatives.
First you can simply skip adding stabilizers at all. This might affect the quality of the ice cream a little but if you don’t intend to store the ice cream or take it in and out of the freezer multiple times you will be fine.
The second option is to replace it with what you have available or can easily source.
I always give the weight of the stabilizer I used. If you replace it you might have to use some other weight. If you use a commercial blend check the instructions on the package. Also one tip is to start at the low end of the recommended dosage.
Anyway here are some stabilizer options. You will find more info for each stabilizer below.

All recommendations are for a 1000g mix.
When using gums you need to get a high precision scale. They are quite cheap and can be found on Amazon for example.
You want to look for something like a jewelry pocket scale 0-500g with a 0.01g accuracy.

Tip! When adding individual stabilizers aim for 0.25% of the water weight as a good start (approx 0.12% of total weight)
Tip! When adding stabilizers you must always mix them with the sugar and/or other dry ingredients before adding them to the liquid. When adding you must also whisk vigorously or even better use a blender or a stick blender.

This is a great stabilizer and it is readily available. Use one sheet or 2g.

Gelatin + Xanthan gum
Xanthan gum is also available in most stores. Use 1g gelatin and 0.3g Xanthan. Be careful when measuring Xanthan, too much and the ice cream will get a slimy texture.

Locust Bean Gum (LBG)
This is one of the best stabilizers to reduce ice crystal size and protect against the heat-thaw cycle. If you only want to use one stabilizer this is a good candidate. Use approx 1g.

Tara gum
It’s like a mix between LBG and Guar. Can replace a LBG+Guar mix 1 to 1. Use at 1-3g.

Guar Gum
Another good stabilizer that gives the ice cream body. Not as good as LBG to suppress ice crystals. Use 0.5g-1g if used alone. Too much and the ice cream will become chewy.

This is a good blend use 0.8g LBG + 0.4g Guar.

LBG+Guar+Lambda Carrageenan
This is a very good general blend. LBG for ice crystals, Guar for body and L-Carrageenan for a smooth melt.
Use 0.8g LBG + 0.4g Guar + 0.2g L-Carrageenan. L-Carrageenan helps with what is called wheying off. This is when water separates from the ice cream when it melts. So, L-Carrageenan gives a smoother melt.

For mixes that is not heated
If the mix is not heated you need to use stabilizers that hydrates cold. If you blend your own stabilizers you can use Guar and Xanthan and L-Carrageenan but not LBG. Another stabilizer is Carboxymethyl Cellulose or CMC.

Try 0.8g CMC + 0.65g Guar + 0.3g L-Carrageenan


This post is about stabilizers but in some texts when you read stabilizers what it actually means is a mix of stabilizers and emulsifiers. Usually you will see recipes asking for 5g stabilizer and then they usually mean a blend. The industry name is Neutro. Normally the Emulsifier to Stabilizer ratio is 60:40, so 60% emulsifier and 40% stabilizer.
For all the stabilizers and stabilizer blends above you can just add an emulsifier to make a Neutro and you usually do this for egg-less ice cream and gelato. You can use Lecithin or Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids for example
Here is an example of a cold process Neutro.
0.80g Carboxymethyl Cellulose
0.65g Guar gum
0.30g Lambda Carrageenan
3.25g Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids E471

Stabilizers in Ice Cream

Stabilizers are hydrocolloids, which means that when they disperse into a liquid they bind to the water molecules, thereby reducing their movement. The primary purposes for using stabilizers in ice cream are.

• Make the ice cream smoother by reducing the size of the ice crystals.
• Increase mix viscosity.
• Resist temperature fluctuations.
• Control shape retention during melting.
• Control shrinkage.
• Control wheying off.
• Help suspend flavouring particles.
• Prolong storage time.

Guar gum (E412)

The guar or cluster bean, with the botanical name Cyamopsis tetragonoloba, is an annual legume. It is also known as gavar, gawar, or guvar bean. It has been grown in India and Pakistan for centuries.
• Hydrates cold.
• Adds body and viscosity.
• Provides heat-shock resistance.

Locust bean gum (LBG, Carob bean gum) (E410)

Locust bean gum is obtained from the beans of the tree Ceratonia siliqua, grown mostly in the Mediterranean area.
• Must be heated to 85C/185F for full hydration.
• One of the best to reduces ice crystal size.
• Adds medium viscosity.
• Adds superior heat-shock resistance.
• Does not produce any taste or flavor-masking properties.

Tara gum (E417)

Tara gum is obtained from the seeds of the Caesalpinia Spinosum pod.
• Partly cold soluble but needs to be heated to 80C/176F for full hydration.
• Like a mix between LBG and Guar.
• Does not create any wheying off like LBG so can be used without adding carrageenan.
• Does not produce any taste or flavor-masking properties.

Carrageenan (E407)

This stabilizer was originally derived from red algae called Chondus crispus. The major sources of this gum are now the two tropical red seaweeds, Eucheuma cottonii and E. spinosum.
• Mainly used to control wheying off.
• Hydrates cold.

Xanthan gum (E415)

This bacterial exopolysaccharide is obtained by the growth of Xanthomonas campestris in culture. Its blend with guar gum and/or locust bean gum makes an effective stabilizer for ice cream, ice milk, sherbet, and water ices.
• Hydrates cold.
• PH resistant.
• Easy to get hold of.
• Not the best at ice crystal suppression.

Gelatin (E441)

A common stabilizer before the introduction of gums. Made from animal collagen.
• Hydrates at 50C/122F.
• Very good ice crystal suppression.
• Requires long aging time to fully hydrate.
• Easy to get hold of.

Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose CMC (E466)

This chemically modified natural gum is a linear, long-chain, water-soluble, and anionic polysaccharide. CMC forms weak gels by itself but gels well in combination with carrageenan, locust bean gum, or guar gum.
• Hydrates cold.
• Adds body and chewiness.
• Very good ice crystal suppression.

Corn starch

Info needed…(I never use starches)

Tapioca starch

Info needed…(I never use starches)

38 thoughts on “Stabilizers”

  1. Hi Sir,

    Im trying to make italian water ice ( Philadelphian water ice ) Im using fruit syrup (which contain xanthan gum), sugar and water. But still the shape is not that good, what stabilizer do you recommend for making the shape like the one in Happyice shop in USA.

    1. I’m not familiar with Happyice so I have no idea what that is.
      Anyway Italian water ice sounds like it is a Sorbet, so use the recommended sorbet stabilizer on this page.
      Or, buy a commercial sorbet stabilizer blend.
      If you somehow can get an ingredient list of some flavor from Happyice it might be possible to guess what they use.
      Also, remember that they probably have much better ice cream machines so an exact copy might be hard.
      And if you can consider adding other ingredients, Inulin is magic for sorbets to make them more creamy.

  2. Hi
    In this blend: 0.8g LBG + 0.4g Guar + 0.2g L-Carrageenan, is it possible to replace L-carrageenan with either kappa or iota carrageenan? What is the difference?
    Thank you!

    1. According to Underbelly, the K- and I- Carrageenan creates a gel so if you use them you should use much less.
      But you can read more on his blog.

  3. hello , thanks for the good insight . can you let us know what should be the viscosity cps of Cmc in your recipe. as there are different viscosity of Cmc available in the market

    1. I actually don’t have any information on the viscosity of the CMC I use.
      After some research I found this.
      “The average degree of polymerization of sodium carboxymethyl cellulose for ice cream is 250-500, and its 1% aqueous solution is 200~500 centipoise at 25℃”
      from this website

  4. very helpful details , thankyou for shared.
    can you give us detail about all type of emulsifier and its usage by dose by dose eith stabilizer , this is very important fo me , please give me responce

    1. You should use emulsifiers at 0.3% of total weight or more.
      Use Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids E471 or Lecithin.
      Or at least two egg yolks per Kg mix.
      You can also use PS80 together with E471 in a ratio of 80:20 [MDG:PS80]

  5. Thank you! That was just the info I was looking for. Just one question: since LBG is problematic to get right now, what proportions should I use with Tara : Guar? Should I still add carrageenan in this mix?

    1. From what I understand you don’t need Carrageenan when using Tara gum but I’m not 100% sure.
      The Tara gum is like a mix between LBG and Guar so you should be OK with only Tara I think.
      Let’s see if anyone else can comment on this, I know Tara is becoming popular in Gelato nowadays.

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