Gelato without Sugars?

Often customers ask me about “Gelato with no sugar” or “Sugar free Gelato”.

Let’s state that: it’s impossible to make Gelato without sugars. It is possible to make Gelato with different sugars with different levels of glycemic index.

Why is not possible to make Gelato without sugar?

Let’s start from the beginning:

Sugars are divided into 3 major classes:

  1. Monosaccharides: Dextrose; Glucose, Fructose
  2. Disaccharides: Sucrose, Maltose
  3. Polysaccharides: Glycogen, Starch, Cellulose

What they do in our Gelato?

  • Enhance sweetness
  • Contribute to lowering the freezing point of water
  • Improve the texture and palatability of Gelato
  • Enhance flavours

Sucrose is the main sweetener used, it is a disaccharide made up of glucose (dextrose) and fructose (levulose). The other main sweeteners used in Gelato making are: Dextrose, Glucose syrup, Inverted sugar and Maltodextrin.

Why they are so important?

Sugars play a fundamental role in the Gelato production process because of the:

  • Sweetness point: it is the power of a sugar to give sweet flavour to the Gelato mix.
  • Antifreezing point: sugars are the only ingredients in Gelato that do not get “iced”.

Those two “powers” are calculated on a scale set by the value of the Sucrose, in that the Sucrose is measured at both a 100 sweetness point and a 100 anti-freezing point.

So, to answer the main question of this topic: sugars, because of their antifreezing value, make Gelato  “scoopable” and “creamy” otherwise, stored below 10 degrees it would be only a piece of ice.

Remember: it is very important to keep in mind these values when you calculate and you make your own recipes. You can set the sweetness of your Gelato and at what temperature you are going to store it.

Example: my Gelato is stored at about-12 degrees. If a restaurant ask me to give them my Gelato, what I should do? I should change the antifreezing point of my recipe since restaurants store Gelato in a normal freezer, which is usually set between -18 and -22. Otherwise my Gelato after few hours will be rock solid and not scoopable from the staff members of the restaurant.


A basic chart of Sugars that we use into Gelato:

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