Looking for ice cream without carrageenan? Does any brand even make simple, natural ice cream, without corn syrup and gums anymore? Well, luckily, there are a few good options to be found at the grocery store. Many of these brands that don’t use carrageenan also don’t use other ice cream stabilizers and additives, as well as corn syrup. Keep reading to get the full brand list.
What is Carrageenan?
Carrageenan is a food additive that is made from Irish Moss, which is a type of seaweed. It’s used to emulsify, thicken and gel foods. It’s one of many stabilizer and gelling industrial additives that ice cream makers use to cut corners to achieve rich, creamy ice cream.
Why should I avoid Carrageenan?
Studies show that carrageenan has been associated with inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, glucose intolerance, and even colon and bowel cancer. Though some of this is disputed, and the FDA maintains that carrageenan is perfectly safe, it’s still best to avoid unnecessary filler ingredients that are questionable at best.
What are other additives to avoid?
Other common additives/stabilizers in ice cream are:
- Guar Gum
- Carob/Locust Bean Gum
- Acacia Gum
- Gellan Gum
- Tara Gum
- Mono & Diglycerides
- Corn Syrup
- Xanthan Gum
- Modified Food Starch
All these gums are known to be irritating to the gut, inducing symptoms of indigestion and IBS. There are also studies showing that polysorbate-80 causes low-grade inflammation and the promotion of colitis in mice. In general, all of the above ingredients are cheap, filler industrial food additives that would not be used in any homemade product, and don’t have any reason to be in your body. High quality milk, cream, and egg yolks produce silky, rich ice cream without these added fillers.
Ice Cream Without Carrageenan + Other Additives
The following brands have some flavors without carrageenan and other additives, but check each flavor before you buy, because not all flavors are stabilizer-free.
Haagen Dazs is probably the most accessible ice cream brand on this list, and they do not appear to use carrageenan in any flavors. They have many flavors that are free of other stabilizers and boast a very simple ingredients list. But, they also have some flavors with corn syrup, soybean oil, soy lecithin and other less than desirable ingredients. Be sure to check each flavor before you buy. I’ve found the cleanest flavors to be: Vanilla, Chocolate, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Coffee, Vanilla Bean, Pineapple Coconut, Strawberry, Matcha Green Tea, Rum Raisin, and Cherry Vanilla.
Turkey Hill All Natural
Turkey Hill All Natural does not appear to use any carrageenan, corn syrup, or stabilizers and gums. This brand is probably available in most grocery stores in America, and has a more affordable price. This ice cream is also non-gmo. Regular Turkey Hill ice cream does have carrageenan and many other unwanted ingredients, so be sure to grab the right one.
Straus Family Creamery
If you’re in the Western United States, then you’re lucky to have access to really high-quality ice cream. Straus Family Creamery ice cream is organic, and has very simple ingredients. They do not use carrageenan, or any gums and stabilizers. In fact, every flavor is free from nasty additives, so you can dig in worry-free.
Adirondack Creamery is available only in the New York tristate area, but they do not use carrageenan or any other stabilizer or gum. This brand also has unique flavors such as Kulfi-Pistachio Cardamom and Syrian Date & Walnut.
Van Leeuwen’s ice cream has no carrageenan, and no stabilizers either. The ingredients on all flavors are very simple, and the ice cream is french style, which means they use more egg yolks. I believe you can find Van Leeuwen in Whole Foods Market and other grocers like Stop and Shop, nationwide.
Jeni’s ice cream does not ever have carrageenan, and they also seem to not use any of the gum stabilizers. The ingredients are generally pretty clean, particularly in the simpler flavors, and they use tapioca syrup instead of corn syrup. Jeni’s Ice Cream also claims to use grass-grazed milk. The brand has many fun, unique flavors, such as Pineapple Upside Down Cake and Cinnamon Roll.
McConnell’s does not use stabilizers, gums or carrageenan. The ingredients lists are usually very simple, though they do use tapioca starch. You can find them at independent grocery stores nationwide, or in scoop shops in Southern California.
I know this is probably not what you came here looking for, but if you don’t have access to any of the brands listed above, you can easily make very high-quality ice cream at home. With a simple ice cream maker, some high quality dairy and eggs, and you’re set to make ice cream far better than anything sold in the store.
Let me know if there are any brands out there that I missed by leaving a comment below!