I have been making some yummy sorbets and ice creams.

Many recipes call for atomized glucose powder. However, 'atomized glucose powder' is not that readily available. 'Dextrose', however, is commonly available at local heath food stores here in Southern California.

There is some debate if dextrose is the same as atomized glucose. Specifically, look at this thread on eGullet where it is stated:

Dextrose is a type of glucose but is sweeter. Atomized glucose has what is called a sweetness coefficent of 50 while dextrose has one of 75.

Here are some other data points:

1. Wikipedia states:  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucose)

Glucose (also known as D-glucose, dextrose, or grape sugar) is a simple monosaccharide found in plants.

2. Harold McGee in 'On Food and Cooking' states (p. 653 in the most recent edition):

Glucose, also called dextrose, is a simple sugar, and the most common sugar from which living cells directly extract chemical energy.

3. The Culinary Institute of America's 'Mastering the Art of Craft of Baking and Pastry', 
   2nd edition states in the glossary (p. 914)

Glucose: A monosaccaride that occurs naturally in fruits, some vegetables, and honey. Also known as dextrose.

4. Heston Blumenthal's 'The Fat Duck Cookbook' in the Science section (p. 456):

Glucose: Arguably, glucose is the most important and widespread sugar molecule in biology.

All glucose molecules come in two versions, a left-handed version called L-glucose and a right handed version called D-glucose. D-glucose is the only type produced by nature and the only type used in food.

I am persnickety about using just the right ingredient. Is dextrose powder that you find at the health food store exactly the same as the expensive imported atomized glucose powders that need to be ordered from a specialty pastry supplier? Or is ordering fancy French atomized glucose powder a pain when you can just buy 'dextrose' and substitute 1:1.

Most atomized glucose powder comes from Europe and dextrose is from American sources. Is this just a different term for the same thing?

  • In normal stores in Europe, you also get dextrose. If there is "atomized powder", then it is probably only available at specialty pastry stores, or it is a name used in countries I haven't shopped in.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 21:38
  • I've made tons and tons of ice cream, and don't think I've even seen it in a recipe, so I'm not sure this is an ingredient you need to be at all picky about - just make things that don't call for it.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 6:27
  • @Jefromi : there are some diets (such as the low-FODMAP diet) where you're avoiding fructose, so try to use glucose/dextrose instead. (although, some people say it's okay on that diet to have fructose provided it's not more than your glucose intake).
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 2:52

4 Answers 4


Dextrose is one of the two stereoisomers of glucose, also known as D-glucose. The other is L-glucose. The two isomers are exactly the same except for being mirror images of one another.

In cooking, all glucose you encounter is going to be dextrose as that's the form that terrestrial life is able to produce and metabolize. (A few unusual bacteria can metabolize both). L-glucose was considered as a non-caloric sweetener but is too expensive to produce.

The only differences between ingedients labelled as glucose, dextrose, or corn syrup (not HFCS though) are going to be what other trace substances are present with it and in what quantities, and mechanical differences like grain size or concentration within a syrup.

Of course details like that can be significant to a recipe. If a recipe specifies "atomized glucose" then the specific mechanical properties may be important to the recipe. Consider how you can't use icing sugar to cream butter for a cake, and you can't use granulated sugar to make icing even though both are sucrose.


"Atomized glucose" seems to be primarily a French product, derived from spray-drying glucose syrup. Glucose syrup is best known in America as corn syrup (e.g. light Karo, not HFCS), and is mostly, but not entirely, glucose. Dextrose is pure crystalline glucose. They are not exactly the same ingredient, and probably not interchangeable in fussy recipes.


I have been studying Glucose for more than 20 years, I used to have glucose powder in my drinks, I now have Dextrose powder which is known ad D-glucose, it is Pure crystalline Glucose.

In honey,Glucose іѕ thе undеrlуіng саuѕе оf сrуѕtаllіzаtіоn bесаuѕе оf іtѕ lоwеr ѕоlubіlіtу соmраrеd wіth thаt оf fruсtоѕе whісh rеmаіnѕ іn а lіquіd ѕtаtе duе tо іtѕ bеttеr ѕоlubіlіtу.

Whеn gluсоѕе сrуѕtаllіzеѕ, іt ѕераrаtеѕ frоm wаtеr аnd turnѕ іntо ѕmаll сrуѕtаls.

L'Epicerie - Glucose powder (atomized) Atomized Glucose Also known as Glucose Powder.

Used in pastries, ice creams, sorbets, and confectionery.

Contrary to sucrose it delays sugar re-crystallization and keeps products and preparations from drying up for a better product preservation.

D-glucose does the opposite, it helps crystallize products fast.

If it is delaying crystallization then It is not the same as Dextrose.

  • 2
    So... are dextrose and atomized glucose powder the same or not? You don't seem to answer that question.
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 22:06

No--Dextrose and glucose are NOT EXACTLY the same. Dextrose is D glucose-and glucose consists of two parts the d glucose and the L glucose.This difference is only important in scientific studies and in some cooking recipes -where Atomized Glucose is called for--as this is not as sweet as Dextrose--but helps keep products from drying up too fast--ie they taste fresher for longer.

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