The use of liquid nitrogen in culinary applications has become a popular trend, particularly in high-end restaurants and creative dessert bars. This colorless, odorless liquid is famous for its capacity to provide dramatic, smoky displays that attract guests. While the visual features of liquid nitrogen can improve the dining experience, it is critical to understand the ramifications of its use in food, both from a health and safety standpoint.

A culinary phenomenon. Liquid nitrogen (LN2) is nitrogen in liquid form at extremely low temperatures. It is a cryogenic fluid that can cause fast freezing when in contact with living tissue. When used in cooking, it freezes food in seconds, resulting in a distinct texture and presentation. The smoky look is caused by the quick vaporization of liquid nitrogen when it comes into contact with warmer air, resulting in a cloud of nitrogen gas that has a smoky appearance.

“Don’t play with the mimicking of dragon smoky in your nutritious dishes” or else pay off your health.”

Endospore bearing food poising bacteria

Liquid Nitrogen Usage

In retail food and food service establishments, liquid nitrogen has been used as a

    • Freezing agent (e.g., for ice cream).
    • Processing aid for dry herbs and spices.
    • Rapid chilling agent for beverages.
    • Preserved dead bodies, or organs in the laboratory or hospitals
    • It is also utilized in aircraft, automotive, R&D, chemical manufacture, energy, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare.

What is the science behind the smoky appearance of liquid nitrogen

When liquid nitrogen is added to food, the resulting smoke flows dancing over the food. When LN2 is exposed to room temperature, it changes from a liquid to a gas, producing a fog-like effect. This transition occurs around -196°C (-320°F), therefore handling liquid nitrogen requires prudence and specific equipment.

HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points

What are the culinary uses of Liquid Nitrogen?

Chefs use liquid nitrogen to create unique foods such as rapid ice cream, frozen cocktails, and airy foams, known as molecular gastronomy, and Dragon’s Breath cookies produce a “cloud” or “smoke” effect on dishes. Rapid freezing minimises the size of ice crystals, resulting in a smoother texture for frozen treats. Furthermore, LN2 can be used to swiftly freeze fresh food while preserving its colour, texture, and nutritional value.

Chefs employ liquid nitrogen to produce novel meals like fast ice cream, frozen drinks, and airy foams refers to molecular gastronomy, which relates to Dragon’s Breath cookies that create a “cloud” or “smoke” effect on foods. Rapid freezing also reduces the size of ice crystals, yielding a smoother texture for frozen sweets. Furthermore, LN2 can be used to quickly freeze fresh produce, keeping its colour, texture, and nutritional content.

microorganism control in food products

What are the health effects of smoky liquid nitrogen in your food?

Consuming meals with liquid nitrogen can have major health consequences. Extreme cold can injure tissues, resulting in frostbite-like internal injuries. If not completely vaporized, it might result in stomach or intestinal perforations. Inhalation of the vapor can potentially cause breathing issues. To eliminate these hazards, liquid nitrogen should be entirely evaporated before eating.

While it produces a striking visual effect, safety should always be the top priority when utilizing liquid nitrogen in culinary applications. Proper handling and education are critical to avoiding negative health consequences. Some helpful information gathered from grey literature is offered below.

  1. According to information from the Hindustan Times in India, a Delhi man drinks liquid nitrogen at a bar and develops a stomach hole as a result.
  2. An adolescent was left with painful burns and ulcers on his palm after eating Dragon Breath cookies that came into close contact with liquid nitrogen, according to Free Malaysia Today.
  3. Karnataka boy sick unexpectedly after swallowing “Nitrogen Smoke Biscuit,” according to news sources.

    close up food

    What are the regulations for smoky liquid nitrogen food?

    Food Safety Standards: According to the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 and the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation of 2011, liquid nitrogen is limited to use for packing and freezing. It should not be presented for immediate consumption with foods such as biscuits, ice cream, wafer biscuits, and so on. Before serving, ensure that the liquid nitrogen has completely evaporated from the dish or drink.

    In Tamil Nadu, India, the state government has issued guidelines prohibiting the use of liquid nitrogen in food and beverages for immediate consumption. Violators suffer severe consequences. On August 30, 2018, the FDA issued an advisory alerting consumers and retailers about the risk of serious damage from eating, drinking, or touching food products prepared with liquid nitrogen just before consumption.


    liquid nitrogen food

    General Safety Guidelines

    Liquid nitrogen should only be used in areas with a proper ventilation. To prevent oxygen displacement, it’s storage facilities should be outfitted with an oxygen monitoring system. Personnel working with liquid nitrogen must wear protective clothing, such as thick gloves and closed, durable shoes.

    Thus, liquid nitrogen can produce cosmetically appealing outcomes in food; nevertheless, safety care must be followed to prevent damage to humans. A balance of amazement and alertness. Liquid nitrogen has altered the culinary industry, enabling chefs to push the boundaries of creativity and presentation. However, because to the health concerns associated with its use in food preparation, exercise caution.

    Diners should be aware of the risks and only enjoy the smoky appearance of liquid nitrogen-infused food after the liquid has entirely evaporated. Any carelessness with liquid nitrogen might have catastrophic health repercussions. The key to any culinary trend is finding a balance between the desire for originality and the commitment to safety and well-being.



    Dr. Sanjoy Gupta (Ph.D)

    Dr. Sanjoy Gupta (Ph.D)

    Senior Officer- Training and Capacity Building

    Dr. Sanjoy Gupta is a seasoned researcher with 13 years of experience across plant biotechnology, health science, nutrition, phytoplankton, and botanical studies. He has conducted research at reputed institutions like CSIR IIP, BSI, NIOT, and Cultivator Natural Products. With over a dozen published articles in national/international journals and thoughtful blog contributions, Dr. Gupta’s multidisciplinary expertise advances knowledge in holistic wellness and scientific innovation.

    Sajid Hussain

    Sajid Hussain

    Deputy Technical Manager (Food/Water/AYUSH/Cosmetic - Testing)

    Sajid Hussain is a versatile analytical science expert with M.Sc. degrees in Food & Nutrition, Chemistry, and relevant diplomas. Boasting over 10 years of experience across diverse domains like food testing, pharmaceuticals, environmental studies, and more. A seasoned auditor for NABL, FSSAI, BIS, and ISO accreditations. Holds FSSAI Food Analytical certification and AYUSH approved chemist credential. Contributes research articles and blogs, showcasing technical proficiency. A distinguished figure in analytical science with a proven track record.

    Reference :

    2. Nandini DB. Use of liquid nitrogen and associated health hazards. Int J Oral Health Sci 2021; 11:2-4.
    3. Ali, D., Farber, J. M., Kim, J., Parto, N., & Copes, R. (2021). A qualitative risk assessment of liquid nitrogen in foods and beverages. Food Protection Trends, 41(3), 293.
    6. Free Malaysia Today. 2016. Teen suffers burns, blisters from Dragon Breath cookies. Available at: Accessed 26 June 2019