What is the Difference Between Gelato, Sorbet & Ice Cream?


Ice cream, gelato and sorbet make delicious and refreshing desserts. Although these desserts are made with similar ingredients, they differ because they are made using different techniques and call for different proportions of milk, sugar, fruits and other flavorings.

Ice cream

  • Generally speaking, standard American ice cream contains a minimum of 10 percent milk fat while gourmet ice cream products can contain as much as 17 percent milk fat. Ice cream also contains about 16 percent sugar and 50 percent air. Ice cream has the highest number of calories per serving among the three frozen dessert types.


  • Gelato, Italy's low fat version of ice cream, has become popular with American ice cream lovers because it contains fewer calories than traditional ice cream. Gelato, made with skimmed milk and slightly less sugar than ice cream, contains a minimum of 4 percent milk fat and is flavored with fruits, nuts and chocolate. Gelato is also served at a warmer temperature than ice cream, making the flavors easier to taste.


  • Sorbet, a non-dairy, low-calorie frozen dessert, can be made by freezing sweetened water blended with fruit puree and flavored with wine or liqueur. Popular sorbet flavors include chocolate, mango, orange and strawberry.

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  • Photo Credit ice-cream image by AGphotographer from Fotolia.com
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