What’s the Difference Between Gelatin and Hydrolyzed Gelatin?

Gelatin and hydrolyzed gelatin are missing pieces in the modern diet. Both are packed with amino acids and offer many health benefits, from improved joint health and hair strengthening to weight management. Despite their many similarities, gelatin and hydrolyzed gelatin (also known as gelatin hydrolysate) are also very different. Knowing how to distinguish the two can help people make informed choices regarding their diets. In this article, the Custom Collagen team defines gelatin and hydrolyzed gelatin and explains how they differ.

Difference Between Gelatin and Gelatin Hydrolysate | Custom Collagen | Pasture Raised

What is Gelatin?

Gelatin is defined as collagen cooked long enough for amino acids to break down into smaller components. The components are then extracted, filtered and dried into sheets or powder. When you dissolve gelatin sheets and powder into hot water, they form a gel substance. Gelatin isn’t an instant dispersal product, so it can take two to three minutes for it to fully dissolve. Once the gelatin dissolves and the water temperature cools down, the gel substance forms.

While warm water has this effect on gelatin, cold water does not. In other words, if you mix gelatin in cold water, you will not get the desired gel substance.

Where Does Gelatin Come From?

Typically, gelatin sources include the skin, bones and connective tissues of cows, chickens, pigs and fish. Our ancestors used to naturally consume gelatin by eating these types of animals. However, the human diet drastically changed over time. In modern times, consuming gelatin as a dietary supplement is one of the most convenient ways to ingest important amino acids and get the same health benefits our ancestors received.

Including Gelatin in Recipes

While we may not consume gelatin the way people did hundreds of years ago, there are many ways to incorporate it into our diet. Some popular gelatin uses include:

  • A substitute for eggs in a recipe
  • A substance for thickening sauces and soups
  • A key ingredient for baked goods like pastries

What is Hydrolyzed Gelatin?

Hydrolyzed gelatin is the result of gelatin in hydrolysis. The act of hydrolyzing something means to break it down by using water. That’s exactly how hydrolyzed gelatin is formed. After going into an enzyme bath, the natural protein chains in the gelatin are broken up. What’s left is a substance that’s easier for our bodies to absorb and digest.

Hydrolyzed gelatin dissolves instantly in hot or cold liquids. Unlike regular gelatin, hydrolyzed gelatin will not form a gel substance. In fact, it doesn’t change texture at all. Since it simply dissolves, hydrolyzed gelatin is easy to mix into a number of beverages and recipes. When it comes to adding it to your diet, it’s the more user-friendly option.

Additional Names for Hydrolyzed Gelatin

If you aren’t familiar with the term “hydrolyzed gelatin,” there’s a good chance you’ve still heard about it. Alternative names for this substance consist of the following:

  • Gelatin hydrolysate
  • Collagen peptides
  • Collagen protein
  • Beef collagen
  • Beef collagen hydrolysate

Including Hydrolyzed Gelatin in Recipes

As mentioned earlier, when gelatin dissolves in a warm liquid and the liquid cools, a gel substance is created. While this makes it a great ingredient for many recipes, the options are limited due to its texture. On the other hand, hydrolyzed gelatin has no consistency once it dissolves into a liquid. As a result, hydrolyzed gelatin can be mixed with nearly any recipe.

Main Differences Between Gelatin & Hydrolyzed Gelatin

Although gelatin and hydrolyzed gelatin offer great health benefits, there are three key differences between the two.

1. How They Dissolve in Liquid

Gelatin only dissolves in hot water and forms a gel substance after the water cools down. Hydrolyzed gelatin, however, dissolves in both hot and cold water but doesn’t change the texture of the liquid.

2. How They’re Consumed

Due to gelatin’s thick, gel-like substance, it’s typically consumed in food items like baked goods and dairy products. Hydrolyzed gelatin, however, can be mixed with any recipe.

3. User-Friendly Ranking

For those looking to incorporate the nutritional benefits of both forms into their diet, hydrolyzed gelatin is the more user-friendly. Of the two, hydrolyzed gelatin makes it easier for the body to absorb and digest amino acids. It’s also much simpler to combine with everyday meals due to its texture.

Keep in mind, gelatin isn’t a bad option when it comes to consuming essential nutrients — there are plenty of ways to consume it. Hydrolyzed gelatin simply provides more options.

The table below summarizes how gelatin and hydrolyzed gelatin are alike and different.

Contains Nutritious Amino Acids Instant Dispersal Product Dissolves in Cold Water Dissolves in Hot Water Forms Gel Substance
Gelatin Yes No No Yes Yes
Hydrolyzed Gelatin Yes No Yes Yes No

Experience the Nutritional Benefits of Gelatin and Hydrolyzed Gelatin with Custom Collagen

Since 2001, Custom Collagen has been the leading provider of high-quality clean gelatin and collagen products. Our hydrolyzed gelatin beef collagen peptides are naturally gluten-free, non-GMO and paleo-friendly. Best of all, they easily dissolve into beverages and provide a simple way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out about all the benefits of our commercial gelatin products today!