Also known as glycerol, 1,2,3-Propanetriol

What is Glycerin?

Glycerin is a three-carbon chain molecule which has an alcohol team bound to each carbon. It is a sweet and viscous liquid provided in bakery foods items as a humectant, water activity reducer and also crystallization modifier. In food chemistry, glycerin is the backbone of fats and oils i.e mono-, di- and triglycerides.

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Glycerin can kind links with acid moieties (i.e. Fatty acid chains) at the hydroxyl groups, losing a hydrogen and also esterifying v these fatty acids to form fats.

If every of the 3 arms that glycerin is attached to a fatty acid, the result product is a triglyceride.If only two are linked, the is a diglyceride.If only one is so linked, that is a monoglyceride.


Glycerin, or C3H8O3 is a naturally occurring substance which makes up the structure blocks that fats, mono- and diglycerides, polyglycerol esters and many various other food molecules. It can be obtained from microbial fermentation or via chemical synthesis.



Glycerin is a multifaceted ingredient. The main features of this molecule include:

Carrier/solvent because that flavor extracts and color mixesSweetenerModifier of water activity (aw) in foodsShelf-life extenderHumectant (used to keep a certain moisture contents to avoid the drying-out of foods)Crystallization modifierPlasticizer

Glycerin is used in confections to maintain the early stage level of crystallization the the soft sugar. It additionally helps prevent ice crystal formation in frozen batter and dough.

Commercial production

Glycerin can be derived from either natural sources (plants and also animals) and industrial resources such as the spin-offs of biodiesel and soap. Alternatively, it have the right to be obtained through chemistry synthesis.

For glycerin to be suitable for human consumption, it must be ultra-pure (99.5%). The high purity standard for glycerin as a humectant food additive needs that the components of ethylene glycol and also diethylene glycol no exceed the borders of 0.1% in the finished product, collection by the FDA.1

Once produced, glycerin is a clear, or yellowish hygroscopic viscous liquid with slight odor and slightly sweet taste.


High-speed cakemaking has actually historically relied ~ above the addition of glycerin and other polyols (e.g. Propylene glycol) to attain aw worths as low as 0,85 come 0.80. In such applications, glycerin helps prolong the microbial stability and also keep a tender and also moist mouthfeel in muffins, batter cakes, cake doughnuts, and many various other sweet baked goods. Glycerin is likewise used in non-aerated icings.

Glycerin is usually added to batter cake formulations in ~ levels ranging from 2.0 up to 15.0 % (based ~ above flour weight). The higher the glycerin dose, the more tender the product and much more prone to post-baking collapse due to insufficient strength gelatinization and crumb setting. Alternatives to glycerin incorporate sorbitol, propylene glycol and also other polyols.

Relevant properties of glycerin2

Solubility: miscible in water and alcohol in ~ 20°C (68°F)Molecular weight: 92,1 DaBoiling suggest at standard pressure (101,3 KPa / 0 feet over sea level): 290°C (554°F)Melting point: 18°C (64°F)Density in aqueous systems at 20°C (68°F): 1230 Kg/m3 (max. Water content 5% w/w)Relative sweetness: about 65% (compared come sucrose)


In the US, glycerin has a GRAS status when offered in accordance with GMP. It can be supplied in alcohol addict beverages, cured meats, and soft drinks. The FDA allows the enhancement of this ingredient without border in flour and sweet baked goods (those made with chemical leavening) yet its use is prohibition in bread and yeast-leavened products.

Glycerin has actually the additives list number E-422. According to the europe Food safety Authority (EFSA) reports, glycerin is not an additive that has been topic to concerns about safety.

In the UK glycerin is permitted without limit in flour and also baked goods however is banned in breads. GMP in cured meats, ices, soft drinks.

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Msagati, T.A.M. “Humectants.”Chemistry the Food Additives and Preservatives, john Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2013, pp. 162–166.Moriartey, S. “Solvents.” Food additive Data Book, second edition, Blackwell posting Ltd., 2011, pp. 938–940.