What is ice cream overrun?

Jargon_Gibberish_380pxThe new Taylor UK Jargon or Gibberish section is going to help you with some of the terminology used in the ice cream and catering trades to give you a better understanding about what we’re on about, so you know what you’re talking about…

What does ice cream Overrun mean?

Overrun is a term which gets used a lot in the ice cream trade. In simple terms it’s the percentage of air which is held within a frozen product.

Ice Cream vs FroyoAll ice cream, gelato and sorbet products have a percentage of air. Without the air, these products would be very dense and hard, lacking the smooth texture which you would usually associate with these items.

Air increases the volume of the finished product, this ultimately increases profit but too much air can lower the quality of the product. Typically one litre of liquid ice cream mix before it’s frozen weights approximately one kilo, the same weight of mix once frozen will no longer fit in a one litre container, it will now require a 1.4 litre container because of the increase in volume due to the air content. For this reason, frozen ice cream style products are usually sold by volume opposed to weight.

Different frozen products have a different percentage of air, typical but not definitive examples are:

Scoop Gelato – Typically 25-30%

Scoop Ice Cream – Typically 50-60%

Soft Serve Ice Cream (gravity machine) – Typically 30-35%

Soft Serve Ice Cream (pump machine) – Typically 60-80%

How to calculate the overrun of your product/machine?

Step 1 – Place an empty container on a set of scales and zero the reading.








Step 2 – Fill the container with un-frozen liquid mix right to the brim and place on the scales. Make a note of the weight of the mixture.








Step 3 – Clean and dry the container. Fill the container with frozen product directly from the machine; with a straight edge, level the top off.








Step 4 – Place the container of frozen product on to the scales. Make a note of the weight of the frozen mixture.








Step 5 – Use the formula bellow to calculate the overrun of your frozen product.

Weight of liquid mix [subtract] weight of frozen product [divide by] Weight of frozen product [times by] 100 = % Overrun

For example:

  • Weight of liquid mix: 500g
  • Weight of frozen product: 350g
500 – 350 / 350 x 100 = 42.9% Overrun   


PLEASE NOTE – Overrun percentage is affected by multiple variables including but not limited to; machine condition, product recipe/formulation, machine type/configuration. The information contained in this article is for illustration and guidance purposes only, your overrun percentages maybe different.

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