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Is Ice Cream Halal? Here’s What You Need To Know

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Shasha Dania  •  Jun 14, 2020

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There's nothing like an ice-cold dessert to cool you down on a hot day - and ice cream is the perfect sweet treat! From local 'potong' style ice cream to sweet and creamy soft-serve, ice cream is a great dessert whether eaten on its own or paired with a warm brownie or waffle. 😋 With so many ice cream shops and flavours available nowadays, you might be wondering where you can find halal ice cream in Singapore. Fret not - we're going to cover some of the ingredients to look out for, as well as whether some popular ice cream brands are halal or not!
What is ice cream made of?
At its core, ice cream is typically made out of cream, milk, and sugar. It's so simple you can even try making it at home! You can even put a creative spin on it, like with this ice cream mochi recipe. 😋
Is ice cream halal?
Any ice cream with only those ingredients above alone would typically be considered Muslim-friendly. The issue of halal ice cream comes in when other ingredients or additives are added that can render it unsuitable for Muslims. These are some of the ingredients to watch out for:
1. Emulsifiers/gelatin
In order to make icecream thicker, some manufacturers add emulsifiers or gelatin to give it a creamier texture. Emulsifiers that come from pig (porcine) or non-halal beef (bovine) origin would not be suitable for Muslims. However, some emulsifiers can also be derived from halal beef (which will typically be indicated in the ingredients), or from plant-based sources (which is common in vegan-friendly ice creams). In these cases, the mixture could still be Muslim-friendly so do check the ingredient label to see if the emulsifier is labelled accordingly! 😁
2. Alcohol
Alcohol is a popular ingredient in many ice creams nowadays, with flavours like Rum & Raisin or Tiramisu becoming more common. Most ice creams that are alcohol-based or include alcohol will outrightly state it on the ingredients label so you won't have to worry about accidentally eating it. 🍷 Some products may use 'rum and raisin flavour' (or other similar flavourings) that do not contain alcohol but may mimic the taste of the alcohol product. While these may technically be non-alcoholic or synthetically derived, as they are intended to mimic alcohol they are generally not advisable. (Similar to how scholars do not advise drinking '0% alcohol beer'.) 😊
3. Vanilla extract/natural vanilla/natural vanilla flavour
Vanilla extract, natural vanilla, and natural vanilla flavourare popular ingredients in ice creams, however, they are not suitable for Muslims as they are prepared by soaking vanilla pods in alcohol and water. Muslim-friendly ice creams may use alternatives like artificial vanilla flavour, vanillin, or vanilla essence instead - these are made synthetically, without the use of alcohol. Pure vanilla bean and vanilla paste are also Muslim-friendly options, as these are made directly using vanilla pods. 🍦 #HHWT Tip: This extract VS essence point can also apply to other flavours like almond, peppermint, or coconut! Do check the food labels to see if it's a synthetic essence, or double-check if any alcohol levels are indicated.
4. Food additives
There are many natural and synthetically-derived food additives and colourings out there - way too many for us to list here! MUIS has a convenient list of additives you can refer to, where the ones highlighted in orange have doubtful sources or manufacturing processes. 😄 While this list is not exhaustive, it's an easy guide to the more common additives and colourings.
5. Additional ingredients
Many ice cream shops nowadays offer 'mix-ins' or add-on ingredients like mini cookies, marshmallows, syrups, or sauces. 🍪 If the eatery is halal-certified or Muslim-owned you can restassured that these add-ons are okay! But if they're not, we advise you to dine at your own discretion. Even if the ice cream itself is made from Muslim-friendly ingredients, these extra tidbits may not be - marshmallows for example frequently contain gelatine.
Is Ben & Jerry's/Magnum/Haagen Daz/Udders/etc. halal?
Here's a round-up of some popular ice cream brands and eateries in Singapore and whether their products are halal-certified or not. In any situation where you're unsure, it's best to ask the staff for clarification and to dine at your own discretion!
  • Gelare: All Gelare outlets and products are halal-certified, delivery available via GrabFood, foodpanda, and Deliveroo.
  • Mingo: Commonly used in 'potong' ice creams such as Uncle Lim's Old School Ice Cream, Mingo's ice cream is all halal-certified.
  • Lickety SG: Muslim-owned eatery, ice cream available for online order.
  • Momolato: All products are halal-certified, available for online order.
  • Moosh Soft Serve: Muslim-owned eatery, soft-serve available for order via Whatsapp.
  • Overrun: Muslim-owned eatery, soft-serve available for order via Whatsapp.
  • Sugalight: All flavours are halal-certified, available for online order.
  • Swensen's: All products are halal-certified, delivery available via GrabFood, foodpanda, and Deliveroo.
  • New Zealand Natural:All of their ice creams are halal-certifiedexcept for Cookie Dough, Mint Choc Kisses, and Rum & Raisin.
  • Haagen Dazs: Some flavours contain alcohol, but selected products have been halal-certified before. (E.g. Hei Sushi used to offer mini pints of selected flavours). If a specific product is available at a halal-certified restaurant then it has been cleared for consumption, but other flavours remain doubtful.
  • Andersen's of Denmark: Not halal-certified.
  • Ben & Jerry's: Their products are not manufactured in Singapore, so they do not fall under MUIS' certification scheme. Some of their products contain alcohol or items like marshmallows, and we could not find any evidence of their ice cream being made in separate factories.
  • Binggrae Samanco/Melona: Not halal-certified. Some products may contain doubtful additives such as cochineal powder.
  • Magnum: Not halal-certified but no pork/pig-derived ingredients used in their ice creams. All colourings, stabilisers, and emulsifiers are plant-based. However, some products include whey which may be derived from animal enzymes.
The most assured way to know you're getting halal ice cream is definitely by buying it at halal-certified or Muslim-owned eateries. 😊 If you're buying from a plant-based or vegan-friendly ice cream shop, do check with them about alcohol-based ingredients! We hope that you'll enjoy your sweet treatsto cool down when the weather gets too hot. 😋