Sugars in ice cream

Ice Ice Daddy .com tries to simplify as much as possible the different concepts used in ice-cream making. Nevertheless, the chapter on sugars is fundamental . Take time to understand all this theory. It is important and will allow you to balance correctly your recipes.


Here are two notions that are not well described in France. They are concepts created by italian ice-cream makers. To find documentation on these subjects, it is necessary to consult books and articles written by italian and american specialists.

Learn more about POD and PAC then continue reading this article with the description of the different sugars.


POD and PAC are values which will allow you to assess the level of sweetness and "scoopability" of an ice cream.
Sugars will mainly have effects on these parameters. With the combination of different types of sugar, it will be possible to modify POD and PAC values and so, to choose the characteristics of your ice cream.
Each sugar also have properties that will improve the ice cream.

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Sucrose comes from sugar cane or beet. It is the sugar we use at home everyday. It is considered as a reference value compared to other sugars. It has a POD of 100 and a PAC of 100.
In ice-cream recipes, it will bring sweet flavor and will give the texture to the mix. Its main disadvantage is that it will crystallize at low temperature. It is therefore the main responsible for these very hard sugar crystals which will have a negative effect on the texture of the ice cream.
To solve this problem, part of the sucrose will be replaced by other sugars which do not have this crystallizing effect.


Dextrose comes from the corn transformation. This sugar is a very fine powder with a strong anti bacterial power. It has a POD of 70 and a PAC of 190
Dextrose will have an anti-crystallizing effect and will improve the texture of the mix. Its main drawback is that it will tend to discolor the ice creams and limit the overrun. In excess, it also risks to give a pasty or sticky texture. Last no least, dextrose is the sugar that will result in faster melting of the ice cream. It is the reason why it is recommended to limit its proportion although there are some italian recipes with a very high proportion of dextrose.


Glucose will come in the form of a fairly thick syrup or powder (atomized glucose). It is rather recommended to use powdered atomized glucose which will be easier to handle and will avoid incorporating water into the mix.
Several types exist which will be defined by their DE level (Dextrose Equivalent). The higher the DE, the higher the PAC and POD will be. For example, atomized glucose 42 DE will have a POD of 50 and a PAC of 90.
Glucose will have an anti-crystallizing effect. It improves texture and shelf life as well as increasing the dry extract content with a limited POD. But you must control the glucose rate in order to avoid a pasty or sticky texture.

Inverted sugar

It is made up of a mix of sucrose and fructose. It has a POD of 130 and a PAC of 190.
Inverted sugar will have an anti-crystallizing effect. Due to its high PAC value and its dry extract rate lower than other sugars (about 75%), it is perfectly suited to ice cream quite hard and lacking of water as chocolate ice cream. You must control the inverted sugar rate in order to avoid a pasty or sticky texture and a faster melting.

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If you do not have inverted sugar, you can use honey which has excactly the same properties. The only difference is that it will bring an honey taste to your ice creams.


Fructose that will be present in your ice cream will come from fruits incorporated in the recipe. It has a POD of 170 and a PAC of 190.


Lactose is the sugar contained in dairy products. It is therefore a sugar of animal origin. It has a POD of 16 and a PAC of 100.
Lactose has a strong water absorption power. You must control the lactose rate in order to avoid a sandy or dry texture.


Maltodextrins are mixes of different sugars defined by the low DE level. As a result, they're going to have a very low POD and PAC.

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Advices of Ice Ice Daddy .com

What should you do now ? You normally have sucrose at home. To begin, Ice Ice Daddy .com recommends you to buy three types of sugars. It should allow you to make most combinations :

  • dextrose
  • atomized glucose 40 DE approximatively
  • inverted sugar

It is really easy to find dextrose, powdered glucose and inverted sugar in France. If you have difficulties to find them in your contry, feel free to contact me. I will try to help you.

You can buy later a sugar with a very low PAC (maltodextrin or atomized glucose 20 DE) if you wish to start making alcohol ice cream.

And here is a small summary table with the main information on sugars.

Name POD PAC + Advantages
- Disadvantages
Sucrose 100 100 + Texture
- Cristallizing effect
Dextrose 70 190 + Anti-cristallizing, texture
- Low overrun
- Faster melting
- Chewing-gum texture
5% of mix
30% of sugars
Atomized glucose 38 DE 24 45 + Anti-cristallizing, texture
- Chewing-gum texture
6% of mix
25% of sugars
Atomized glucose 21 DE 10 20 + Anti-cristallizing, texture
- Chewing-gum texture
6% of mix
25% of sugars
Inverted sugar 130 190 + Anti-cristallizing
+ Water content
- Fast melting
- Chewing-gum texture
6% of mix
30% of sugars
Maltodextrin 18 DE 21 34 + Anti-cristallizing
+ Low POD

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