Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose (HPMC) (464) & Methyl Cellulose (MC) (463) have unique gelling properties. Selecting the right grade will require technical input from Hawkins Watts.


Hydroxy propyl methyl cellulose (HPMC) has very similar properties to methyl cellulose, although a smaller range of viscosity types are available. The gel point is higher for HPMC (between 60-70oC).

Deep fat fried foodsImproved Batter adhesion, reduced oil absorption, Thickener.
Reduced fat dressingsHigher hot viscosity, Fat replacement and emulsification.
Soups and saucesHeat stability, Improved creaminess and reduced phase separation.
Edible films and coatingsReduced frying oil pick up, High elasticity, reduced crystallisation in sugar coatings.
Extrusions and baked goodsShelf life extension, Increase plasticity, Improved freeze-thaw stability.
Bake stable fillingsBoil-out control, Control of depositing viscosity, emulsification.
Whipped toppings & MoussesFoam stabilisation. Syneresis prevention. Viscosity control. Protein replacement.


Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) is a methylcellulose modified with a small amount of propylene glycol ether groups attached to the anhydroglucose units on the cellulose backbone. HPMC is characterised by its monomeric chain length, degree of substitution and content of methoxy and hydroxypropyl groups on the monomeric unit. Methoxy group content is normally 22-30% whereas the dydroxy group content is around 6-10%.


Ion activitynon-ionic
Surface activityhigh
Solubilitysoluble in cold water, but insoluble in hot
Water retentionvery good
Effect of temperature on the solutionviscosity initially decreases with rising temperature, but then increases until a gel is formed; further heating causes flocculation; these processes are reversible
Effect of pHhigh solubility in all pH ranges
Effect of monovalent metal ionshigh salt concentrations may cause coagulation (reversible)
Effect of polyvalent metal ionsno complexation, therefore no flocculation
Film formationgood to very good film-forming properties

HPMC is ideal for

  • controlling the rheology of aqueous solutions;
  • controlling the release of substances in pharmaceuticals;
  • providing high water retention; and
  • forming films such as for tablet coatings.