Is It Ever Okay To Use Eggs When Making Gelato?

Italy's sweet treat has long sparked a debate between the merits of gelato versus the merits of ice cream, whose fundamental differences come down to milk and eggs. Italy's dessert utilizes more milk (but less cream and eggs) than ice cream. This ratio of ingredients creates a much denser mixture that is ultimately responsible for the signature texture of gelato. Ice cream, in particular, tends to rely heavily upon the use of egg yolks, whereas gelato recipes, at their most traditional, avoid yolks entirely. Tasting Table's own recipe for coffee gelato, for example, calls for water, ground coffee, sugar, milk, and whipping cream — no eggs in sight. Yet while yolks are not commonly used in gelato, it's more than okay to incorporate them into your next batch of stracciatella.

Eggs make it easy to bind and stabilize your gelato mixture. The yolks essentially help emulsify your gelato and create that silky, smooth consistency. Plus, eggs are easy to come by, so you don't have to look for more niche binding ingredients like guar gum or locust bean gum. And, to make matters all the easier, not only are eggs straightforward to find, they're equally straightforward to use.

Egg yolks are more than okay to use in gelato recipes

Crack open and separate some eggs, and you'll have Italian gelateria-worthy gelato in no time. To properly incorporate eggs into your gelato, you'll want to utilize just the yolks rather than whole eggs. You should also use them sparingly. You still want to maintain that perfect gelato ratio, so remember: more milk, less fat.

Generally, a few egg yolks should do the trick. Some recipes suggest using four egg yolks for every 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, and ½ cup of sugar. Other recipes rely on slightly more sugar and slightly less milk for the same amount of eggs. While the exact amounts differ, the ratios and techniques are relatively consistent. You'll want to whip or beat those egg yolks together with the sugar for a few minutes, or until you're left with a creamy, thickened, and fluffy concoction. Separately, heat your milk and heavy cream over the stove. Add these two combinations gradually, and eventually place the whole mixture over heat until your ice cream base thickens. From there, cool or refrigerate it before adding to a gelato maker. 

We promise: Even with eggs, your gelato will taste authentically Italian. All that's left to do is pick a flavor, though classic vanilla never disappoints.