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The undisputed king of cold desserts, you can hardly find someone who’d say no to ice cream. Available in many different flavors, ice cream is an iconic American treat, although you can find variations of it all around the globe.
Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, mint chocolate chip, butter pecan, rocky road, cookie dough – the list of our favorite flavors could go on forever!
While we all can agree that ice cream tastes divine, have you ever wondered how it’s made and what goes in it. A few ingredients are a given, such as cream and sugar, but what about the rest? What about eggs? Let’s find out.
So, does ice cream have eggs? With so many types and brands of ice creams with a variety of flavors and ingredients, some will contain eggs and some won’t. Many ice creams that you buy at the supermarket may not contain eggs, though it is always important to read the ingredients list to check for eggs. Most homemade ice cream recipes do include eggs.
Read on to find out what ice cream is made of, whether it contains eggs, why eggs are so important when making homemade ice cream, and a few popular ice cream brands that do and do not use eggs:
Ice Cream Ingredients
Ice cream is a frozen dairy-based dessert made with milk, cream, sugar, and sometimes egg yolks.
Traditional French ice cream was always prepared using eggs and had a richer texture and consistency than American-style ice cream. Although American ice cream initially didn’t, it has now evolved to include eggs.
To make ice cream, all the ingredients are first mixed to form a rich custard which, when cooled, is churned at a fairly high speed to incorporate air into it and make it voluminous.
The final product is smooth, creamy, and light-textured, and is served at a fairly low temperature to make sure it stays held together.
Does All Ice Cream Typically Have Eggs?
With so many different types of ice cream available in the market, you will notice that some melt faster than others while some stay cool even after a while. Some are rich and chewy while others are extremely light and airy.
The reason for this difference is the ingredients used, particularly eggs.
While almost all homemade ice cream recipes will ask you to include eggs in the mix, you will find several brands in the market that may or may not have eggs.
If you are trying to avoid eggs in your diet, make sure to pay close attention to the ingredients list when buying your favorite brand and flavor of ice cream.
Be extra mindful when opting for flavors that contain baked goods such as cookies or brownies since they are likely to contain eggs.
Vanilla, especially French vanilla, may also most probably contain eggs, and so would many organic ice cream brands.
Popular Ice Cream Brands That Have Eggs
While many ice cream brands contain eggs, some don’t in order to cater to vegans and those avoiding eggs.
Following are some popular ice cream brands and their flavors that contain eggs:
BrandFlavors Breyer’sBirthday Blast French Vanilla Strawberry Cheesecake CarvelVanilla Cold Stone CreameryFrench Vanilla Fudge Brownie Batter Key Lime Lemon Custard Red Velvet Cake Salted Caramel Salted Chocolate Caramel Dreyer’s/Edy’sFrench Vanilla Häagen-DazsMajority of Flavors
Popular Ice Cream Brands That Don’t Have Eggs
There are many popular ice cream brands out there that not only make egg-less ice cream but also 100% dairy-free ice cream suitable for vegans.
Following are some popular ice cream brands and their flavors that do not contain eggs or dairy:
BrandFlavors Baskin RobbinsNon-Dairy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Non-Dairy Chocolate Extreme Ben & Jerry’sNon-Dairy Pints Brave RobotAnimal-Free Dairy DaiyaChocolate Fudge Crunch Double RainbowAll Soy Flavors DreamAlmond Dream Häagen-DazsNon-Dairy Collection Luna and Larry’sCoconut Bliss TofuttiPremium Pints and Cuties Trader Joe’sSoy Cream
Why Are Eggs Added To Ice Cream?
Eggs, specifically egg yolks, play a crucial role when making homemade ice cream. Although you can easily make the frozen dessert without them, there’s a reason (or two, or more) why almost every recipe calls for them.
Egg yolks consist of water, fat, and protein, and the latter two are what makes them so important to making delicious ice cream.
Fat freezes differently than water and makes the ice cream soft and creamy, while the egg proteins form into a thick gel when cooked that, when zoomed in on a microscopic level, looks like a mesh of fibers.
When water gets trapped into this mesh, it can’t from chunky ice crystals, resulting in ice cream that always stays smooth and creamy.
Egg yolks are also full of emulsifiers that bind the fat and water together to create a creamy emulsion. They use the fat already present in the base of the ice cream and make it creamier.
Similar to how mayonnaise made with eggs is thicker and creamier, ice cream that has egg yolks also develops a richer texture and creamier flavor.
In addition to that, egg yolks also make the ice cream more stable, minimizing its tendency to melt earlier than normal.
They also prolong the ice cream’s shelf-life in the freezer since the egg yolks prevent the thaw and re-freeze cycle that ruins the creamy texture of the frozen dessert.
On top of all of that, egg yolks add a nice, custardy flavor to the ice cream that works great with flavors like vanilla.
The number of egg yolks the ice cream needs depends on the recipe you are following and the level of creaminess you are looking for.
Some recipes call for as little as two egg yolks or as many as ten per quart of ice cream. It is best to go for a middle ground and settle for 5 to 6 egg yolks, or simply follow what your recipe says.
How To Make Ice Cream With Eggs
Making ice cream with eggs is a classic way to prepare this delicious cold dessert. The right proportion of milk and cream to egg yolks give your ice cream a thick and creamy consistency that tastes heavenly without feeling heavy.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to make ice cream using eggs at home with an ice cream machine using a few basic ingredients including milk, heavy cream, sugar, salt, and egg yolks:
- Simmer the milk, heavy cream, sugar, and salt in a small pot for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves completely.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and slowly add 1/3 of the hot cream mixture into the yolks.
- Next, whisk the yolk and cream mixture into the pot of hot cream.
- Put it on medium-low heat and let the mixture cook until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- You may use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of the mixture, which should be 170°F.
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and let it cool to room temperature.
- Cover it and let it chill for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
- Churn the mixture in an ice cream machine following the manufacturer’s instructions and serve directly for a soft serve or let it chill in the freezer to get a harder texture.
How To Make Ice Cream Without Eggs
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to make egg-less ice cream at home (without an ice cream machine) using a few basic ingredients such as heavy cream, condensed milk, salt, and your choice of flavors:
- Pour the heavy cream into a mixing bowl and whip it for about 3 minutes, or until stiff peaks start to form.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, salt, and vanilla extract (for making vanilla ice cream).
- Mix a scoop of the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture since it makes it lighter and easier to fold into the remaining whipped cream.
- Gently mix the rest of the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture, folding it and being careful to not deflate or over-mix it.
- Pour this mixture into a freezer-safe container smoothing the top and covering it with plastic wrap.
- Freeze for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight before serving.
Now that you know whether ice cream has eggs, why some recipes do, and some of the popular brands that have egg-based and egg-less ice creams, here are a few additional questions we thought you might have:
Does ice cream contain raw eggs?
While all commercially produced ice cream is usually made with pasteurized eggs or egg products, you will often see recipes for homemade ice cream calling for raw eggs to be used in the base mixture.
The FDA and the USDA advise people to start with a cooked base for maximum safety, even when using pasteurized eggs, especially when serving people with health conditions and those at risk of foodborne illnesses.
As an added precaution, it is advised to use only pasteurized milk when making homemade ice cream.
How do you safely use eggs when making ice cream?
When working with raw eggs for ice cream, there are a few precautions that you can take to reduce your risk of falling sick.
If you find it too risky, look for egg-less ice cream recipes that taste just as good, or opt for pasteurized shell eggs or pasteurized egg substitutes.
You may look for a recipe that calls for a cooked custard base to kill the salmonella. Make sure the mixture measures at least 160°F to get rid of all the bacteria.
Resist the urge to taste the uncooked egg mixture during preparation and just wait until it is fully cooked.
What can you use in place of egg yolks in ice cream?
If you are avoiding eggs and cannot add them to your ice cream to make it richer and creamier, there are a few easy substitutes that you can use instead of eggs.
Instead of making a traditional custard base using eggs, you can thicken it with a few tablespoons of cream cheese and some cornstarch.
The quantity of the cream cheese is not enough to affect the taste of the ice cream, but enough to give it a creamy and smooth texture.
Alternatively, you may opt for agar-agar powder which is made from seaweed.
Why does some ice cream taste eggy?
Although many ice cream recipes use egg yolks to make it creamier and more delicious, no one likes ice cream that tastes eggy.
This can happen due to the cooking temperature being too high during the cooking process.
When preparing the custard base, make sure to not go above 185°F as it will cook the custard enough to turn your egg yolks into scrambled eggs.
What makes ice cream grainy and icy?
The perfect texture for ice cream is always soft, smooth, and creamy. However, at times, you may notice that your homemade ice cream takes on a grainy and icy texture.
This happens because of large ice crystals forming during the freezing process. To make sure this doesn’t happen, always use a sufficiently cool freezer bowl and chill the custard mix as much as possible.
For best results, you may place the freezer bowl in the freezer overnight before using it.
Another way to ensure that your ice cream has the perfect texture is by making a custard-based ice cream that includes egg yolks since it helps stabilize the mixture during freezing.
What is the difference between ice cream and gelato?
While both ice cream and gelato are made with cream, milk, and sugar, authentic Italian gelato contains more milk and less cream than ice cream.
It also doesn’t generally have egg yolks, which are a common ingredient in most ice creams.
When talking about their textural differences, gelato is much creamier, denser, smoother, silkier, and more elastic than American ice cream.
Can lactose intolerant people eat ice cream?
No. Lactose is found primarily in milk and other dairy foods, and since some of the main ingredients in ice creams are milk and heavy cream, it makes it unsuitable for people with lactose intolerance to have ice cream.
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