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Does Ice Cream Have Eggs? Here’s What You Need to Know!

Eggs are the main ingredient in a lot of popular desserts—cakes, flans, cookies, and many more. But how about everyone’s long-time favorite cold treat, does ice cream have eggs?

The answer is some do, and some don’t! Several ice cream recipes call for eggs, and it plays different roles depending on the type of ice cream you’re making. 

There are many reasons you may not want to use eggs in your homemade ice cream recipe, and that’s okay. If you don’t like the taste of egg yolk, have an allergy, or prefer vegan ice cream, you can still make a tasty cold treat!

Let’s crack the shell and see why most ice cream recipes use eggs as an ingredient!

does ice cream have eggs

Does Ice Cream Have Eggs

Some ice cream variations contain eggs. While there’s a standard recipe followed when making ice cream, gelato, sorbet, and soft serve, you should still check or ask if the ones you’re purchasing contain egg, especially when you have an egg allergy.

Here’s a quick guide:

Eggs in Traditional Ice Cream

It’s common to find eggs listed as an ingredient in traditional ice cream. Whether you’re making a batch at home or popping in at the supermarket to buy a pint, eggs will likely be in there.

Traditional ice cream has two great qualities: it’s creamy and doesn’t melt too fast.

Eggs work with butterfat in cream and milk, which is used as an ice cream base. It binds to create an even creamier texture! Added to this, egg yolks also act as a natural stabilizer. It reduces the ice cream’s melt rate to ensure that you have enough time to pretty-up your dessert plate before the ice cream melts. 

Eggs in Gelato

Most gelato recipes don’t incorporate eggs in their mix. But for some flavors that do, they have a good reason!

Egg yolks act as a natural emulsifier in gelato recipes. Gelato is denser than ice cream, and its recipes typically don’t call for eggs because eggs can make the texture fluffier. 

But some gelato flavors specifically need this fluff. Heavy, solid, and & fatty flavors like chocolate and nuts need eggs to help incorporate more air in the mix and create a creamier texture. 

Eggs in Sorbet

Sorbet is a deliciously light frozen fruit treat that contains no cream, eggs, or milk.

Some homemade recipes for sorbet allow you to add egg white as an optional ice cream emulsifier and stabilizer. Egg white can preserve the texture of sorbet if you plan on freezing it for a few days. If you want a creamier sorbet, you can also include whipped egg whites.

Eggs in Soft Serve

The main ingredients in soft serve ice cream are cream, milk, and sugar. Soft serve has a dense, creamy texture and melts on your tongue as you eat it.

Typically, it doesn’t contain any eggs, but a mix like frozen custard may have some egg yolks in it.

eggs in ice cream

What Does Eggs Do in Ice Cream?

Eggs wear many hats when it comes to making homemade ice cream. Since you won’t always have the ingredients that restaurants or big factories use to make ice cream, you’ll need to turn to eggs to get the same results.

Here are some of the roles eggs play when used in ice cream recipes:

  • Color: Egg yolks add a yellow tint to ice cream, which helps eliminate the need for other coloring agents.
  • Emulsifier: Egg yolk contains lecithin, which helps thicken ice cream. When you use egg yolk in your mixture, your ice cream will have a richer and creamier texture.
  • Flavor: Eggs add depth of flavor to ice cream. It can create a custard-like taste and enhance other flavors like chocolates and nuts.
  • Stabilizer: Egg yolks inhibit thawing, so when you add them to your ice cream mix, you extend its shelf life.

Making Desserts Without Eggs

You can definitely make ice cream without using eggs. The same rule applies to making soft serve, gelato, and sorbet. Here are the results that you can expect if you exclude eggs into your mix:

Eggless Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream without eggs isn’t as rich and creamy as those with it. It also tends to melt faster. If you’re okay with this, then you have countless options of eggless ice cream recipes you can follow. 

Alternatively, you can use one of these ingredients to substitute the eggs in your ice cream:

Agar-agar Powder: This 100% vegan powder is mainly sold in the Asian market and is made from seaweed.

Cornstarch: To use cornstarch as an egg substitute, you’ll need to mix some with sugar, add it to the cold liquid, and slowly heat it to a boil. This process will turn the cornstarch into an ice cream thickener.

Eggless Soft Serve

Making soft serve at home isn’t as difficult as you may think, and there are some great recipes online. Almost all of them don’t use eggs, so you can whip up perfect homemade soft serve without this ingredient. 

Eggless Gelato

If you exclude eggs in your gelato mixes with solid and fatty flavors, you’ll end up with a thicker, more dense dessert. 

Eggless Sorbets

Eggs can emulsify, stabilize, and add a creamier texture to sorbet. If you exclude eggs, you can still achieve this by working with the right ingredients. 

Fruits that are high in fiber or pectin create denser, creamy sorbets. These fruits include grapes, mangoes, berries, pears, bananas, and stone fruit. 

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In Conclusion

Eggs, without a doubt, add color and flavor to your ice cream batch. It helps you create a creamy dessert and prevents crystallization, too. But if you decide to use eggs in your ice cream mix, remember to ask anyone who will eat it if they have an egg allergy.

Since eggs aren’t typically a needed ingredient in making ice cream, you can choose to exclude them. There are many ice cream recipes that don’t use eggs or encourage using an egg substitute.

So, does ice cream have eggs? When making homemade ice cream, it preferably should have! If you’re buying it from a restaurant or shop, other ingredients may substitute it. Either way, eggs can add flavor to your well-loved treat!