Donut Glaze Technical Help

Donut Glaze Technical Help (and icings)

Del-Val Food Ingredients donut glaze stabilizers are a premium icing and glaze stabilizers available in three highly concentrated versions. Standard, Transparent and extra stable.  We also have a 4th version for extended shelf life PACKAGED yeast donuts.  This grade is our ESL Glaze Stabilizer and products using this must be packaged in airtight packages.  This is perfect for the highly desired packaged glazed and iced donuts for self serve cases.  The ESL glaze will stay dry and will not melt in any packaging.

Del-Val has the best donut glaze technical help in the industry.  If you need help with donut glaze, call us and challenge us with your donut glaze technical help questions.

We are donut and donut glaze experts.  Our highly concentrated stabilizers are the best way to make donut glazes. Our products are available globally.  Contact us for more information.


Del-Val Food Ingredients only uses the highest grades of agar that has the highest water-binding and gel strength in our glaze stabilizers. Agar is the most expensive ingredient in the glaze stabilizer and there are several grades of agar. We only use a special grade of agar as it is highly functional in glazes due to its high water-binding ability. It is vital to use a stabilizer with the correct agar type and grade to achieve proper water binding characteristics.  Agar will not alter the water activity of the glaze, but it will help with reducing melting during hot weather and stabilizing the water movement.

How to Make Donut Glazes and Icings

A good cook up style glaze stabilizer is needed to make a stable donut glaze or icing.  Ready to use donut glazes and non-cook-up glaze stabilizers will never give the stability needed for a wholesale application.  Icing and glazes for sweet goods and donuts are water icings that consist of mostly sugar and water. Typically, donut glaze is used on yeast-raised donuts and honey buns where icings are used on pastries, Danish, honey buns, cake donuts, and yeast-raised donuts.

Sugar to water ratio and sugar crystals

Icings have a water content is 12 to 15% and sugar content of 82-85%. Icings will be more viscous and are applied to the top surface only. Icings are typically whiter in color.  This is due to the thicker application and some will add titanium dioxide to make the icing even whiter.  The lower water content and the fact that it is applied on a cooled baked good allows for a reduced syneresis of the icing. Thicker glazes and icings are always more stable than thin glazes.

Glazes have a water content of 20-25% and sugar content of 70-75%. The viscosity is lower so that it will flow over the entire product almost enrobing the donut.  Most glazes have a plate under the waterfall to pool the glaze to assure the bottom is completely covered.  The final glaze will be slightly clear. Glazes should be applied on hot donuts and glazes have more syneresis and other breakdown issues on shelf life.  Thinner applications are always less stable.

The icing or glaze system is a two-phase system consisting of small sugar crystals dispersed in a saturated sugar solution stabilized with our stabilizer. The key to making a successful glaze or icing is to develop a product that contains the minimum amount of syrup. The best way to minimize the amount of syrup needed is temperature.  Hotter glazes and icings are thinner and less syrup is needed. Maintaining the quality of a glaze or icing is dependent on controlling the syrup in the system.

Never add water to the glaze to thin it down.  This is the easiest way to destroy a glaze as it will throw off the sugar crystal to syrup ratio.

Donut Glaze Stabilizer

Stable High-Quality Glaze

Donut Glaze and Icing Ingredients


The stability of donut glazes and icings is dependent on maintaining a constant sugar crystal to syrup ratio during shelf life. Changes of more syrup during shelf life results in increased syneresis. Loss of moisture will result in cracking and chipping of the icing.  Donuts have high water and low sure.  The glaze has high sugar and low water.  This creates osmotic pressure as the system is out of balance.  The water will migrate from the high water donut to the high sugar glaze. The glaze will start to break down and this excess water will slowly evaporate.  Eventually, the donut will lose significant moisture and be unedible.  At this point, the glaze will continue to lose moisture and will appear dry.  This is a physical process and will occur at some rate as long as there is a moisture imbalance.

Boiling Stage

Granulated sugar is used in the boiling stage (syrup stage) of the process. This sugar is important for several reasons.

  1. Sugar will raise the boiling point of the syrup allowing a hotter glaze or icing to be made. It will also increase the percentage of hot boiling material added to the glaze or icing.  Hotter glazes can have lower water levels due to decreased glaze viscosity.
  2. Lower water levels will result in more stable crystals being formed.  In addition, this hot syrup will create a supersaturated sugar solution upon cooling which will help maintain the sugar solids to syrup ratio.

Higher granulated sugar levels will result in more stable glazes and icings.  It will also increase chipping in glazes that are frozen.


Glaze Mixing stage

Powdered sugar usually 6x sugar is used for the fine sugar crystal phase. There are other grades such as 10x and even a product containing 10% maltodextrin instead of starch.  All work to make glazes.

Humectants such as corn syrup or invert sugar can absorb water and help prevent evaporation from the donut icing or glaze to a very limited extent. However, they can also create sticky glazes and icings and will retard drying.  Corn syrups will make the glaze glossier and more prone to breakdown.  Corn syrup is very useful in frozen glazes. The softer glaze will not crack as much in the freezer.

Typical levels of corn syrup are 0-4% of the powdered sugar content in icings and glazes.

Yeast Raised Donuts

Glazed Yeast Donuts


The amount of water in icing or glaze is usually the controlling factor in the stability of the glaze or icing. It is very important to limit the amount of water.  Use heat before water.  The maximum safe temperature to apply glaze is approximately 145F.  Temperatures above this can create gritty glaze due to excess crystalization.  The recommended application temperature is 135-140F.  This is much higher than the old recommendations of 120-125F.  Short holding temperatures of about 145 are typically not an issue.  Extended holding at elevated temperatures is risky.

Once again never thin a glaze with water.  If a glaze thickens over time due to evaporation, only thin with a simple syrup of 50:50 sugar to water.


Two types of fats are typical in glazes and icings: Hard fat flakes with a melting point of 120F and higher and standard bakery shortenings with melting points of 110-120F.

Shortenings help speed up the setting of glazes and icings and they will provide some stability. Fat can also help maintain the sugar to syrup ratio of the glaze by making fat barriers that prevent sugar and syrups from migrating.

Levels vary with climate and packaging types. In the past levels of 1% to 4% or the powder, sugar levels were typical. We have seen improved packaged glaze stability for levels up to 10%. Higher levels are useful in items to be frozen. Higher levels of fat will require the use of lower melting point fats to prevent the chipping of the glazes and icings. Lower melting point fats can add creaminess to the glaze or icing.

However, excess levels of hard fat flakes can produce brittle icings and glazes that can chip and flake and can set too fast and can be waxy. In packaged donuts, the fault level is well above 10% fat.

Soybean oil is occasionally used at low levels to improve gloss.

Processing Donut Glazes and Icings

The process of making glazes and icings is a 2 or better yet a 3 stage process.

The first stage is the boiling of the glaze stabilizer.
Cookup glaze stabilizers contain agar and MUST be boiled to fully hydrate the gum. Failing to adequately boil the stabilizer will not activate the agar and it WILL NOT function.  Boiling is a critical step.

Coldwater and the glaze stabilizer are added to the steam kettle and this is brought to a rolling boil for 3 minutes.  The time is important as water is evaporating.  Do not over boil, under boil, or hold the hot syrup for later use.  This will result in inconsistent moisture levels. Enough time and temperature are needed to fully hydrate the agar to gain full functionality. Do not skimp on this stage.   Consistent glazes and Icings need consistent boiling times.

The second stage is to add the sugar to the boil and reboil. Sugar will compete with the agar during the hydration stage.  Boiling the glaze stabilizer without sugar will allow more thorough hydration of the agar. That is the reason why you should do this in 2 steps. Many do this in a single step, but the results are not as consistent. Bring the syrup to a boil a second time for 1 minute and add the hard fat, shortening, and emulsifiers.

The syrup should then be mixed with the powdered sugar.  Add the boiling syrup to the mixer with the powdered sugar in 3 stages.  Multi-stage is important to avoid lumps.  DO NOT OVERMIX.  Mixing too long will cool the glaze.  Ideally, the glaze will be 135F after mixing.  The glaze may need to go into a heated holding tank to bring the temperatures up to the ideal application temperature of 135-140F.

Flavors and colors are typically added at the end of the mixing process.

The process for a liquifier process vs. a vertical mixer is slightly different.

Liquidifier- add all powdered sugar and allow the high shear machine to smooth out the glaze.


Apply glazes and icings at 135F to 140F. This recommendation is much higher than those of the past. Lower water levels are needed in the syrup phase at these temperatures and will allow the glaze to flow well and set fast. Our experience shows much better results with this higher glaze and icing application temperatures. Do not allow the temperatures to exceed 145F. Severe crystallization will occur if the glaze is held at 150F.  This will create a very gritty unstable glaze.

Avoid thinning glazes and icing. If it must be done using simple syrup.  NEVER USE WATER. Water will upset the balance in the glaze or icing and water will destroy the stability.

If your production staff is using simple syrup on a regular basis, this indicates the batch size is too large. Remember, the syrup ratio is critical, and constantly adding simple syrup to thin out the glaze is an indicator that the syrup to sugar ratio is changing too much.

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