Mono and Diglycerides are used in baking to assist in emulsification. This results in higher volumes and uniform cell structure.

Mono and Diglycerides


What are Mono and Diglycerides?

Mono and Diglycerides are an emulsifier used in bakery products. They are the most commonly used food emulsifiers.1

They can be from a source of plant oils and animal (hog and cow) fats.2 Mono and diglycerides can also be produced synthetically via catalytic transesterification of glycerol with triglycerides usually from a hydrogenated soybean oil3 or palm oil.


Mono and diglycerides acts as an emulsifier. Mono and Diglycerides can improve loaf volume and create a softer crumb. Mono and diglycerides were first used in margarines for pastries and Danishes to achieve a flaky crust. In cakes, it increases the specific gravity which results in a more airy crumb.4


Monoglycerides contain one fatty acid chain attached to a glyceride molecule, while diglycerides contains two fatty acid chains.



Powders: The most common form of mono and diglycerides used in the bakery due to the ease of dosing. A molten (liquid) mono/diglyceride or distilled monoglyceride is sprayed into a chamber which congeals (solidify) into spheres. This could range from 100 – 1000 micrometers in diameter depending on various settings and the type of product being sprayed.

Hydrates: Hydrates are typically manufactured by taking a molten (liquid above room temperature) monoglyceride and adding it to water at a specific ratio to form the desired phase. It then goes through a cooling process using a scraped surface heat exchanger. As it cools, the monoglyceride crystallizes and entraps the water into a lattice of very fine crystals with very high surface area. This makes for a highly functional emulsifier.

Distilled monoglycerides: A mono/diglyceride (40-60% mono) can be distilled to form a high purity monoglyceride (90+% mono). If the distilled monoglyceride is solid at room temperature, it can either be a powder, flake, or pastille. The flake or pastille forms are often used in applications where you melt the emulsifier into an oil (i.e. shortening and margarine manufacturers) rather than adding it directly at the bowl.

Shortening-style mono/diglycerides: Mono and diglycerides that are semi-solid at room temperature will be passed through a scraped surface heat exchanger to make a paste or pliable product. These mono and diglycerides are usually better at fat dispersion than the Powdered monoglycerides but both have crumb softening effects. These are typically the types of mono and diglycerides found in an emulsified shortening.


Both mono and diglycerides are used in small quantities as an emulsifier in baked goods. They allow ingredients such as oil and water that would not normally mix, to stay in solution together. They also disrupt starch retrogradation and improve crumb softness. Powders are usually used at 0.5-1% Baker’s percent while hydrates are used at 0.5-1.25%.


  1. Mahungu, S. M., and W. E. Artz. “Emulsifiers.” Food Additives. Ed. A. Larry. Branen, P. Michael Davidson, S. Salminen, and J. H. Thorngate. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2002. Pg 710.
  2. Campbell‐Timperman, K., J.H. Choi, and R. Jimenez-Flores. “Mono‐ and Diglycerides Prepared by Chemical Glycerolysis from a Butterfat Fraction.” Journal of Food Science 61.1 (1996).
  3. C., Singh, Shah D., and Holmberg Krister. “Synthesis of mono- and diglycerides in water-in-oil microemulsions.” Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society 71.6 (1994): 583-587.
  4. Ebeler, S.E., L.M. Breyer, and C.E. Walker. “White Layer Cake Batter Emulsion Characteristics: Effects of Sucrose Ester Emulsifiers.” Journal of Food Science 51.5 (1986).
  5. Krog, Niels. “Association of Emulsifiers in Aqueous Systems.” Food Colloids(2004): 45-54.