Ice cream, ice milk, gelato, sorbet…. do you really know the difference between them?


Ice Cream


Like the name suggests, ice cream is a frozen product made from cream. Milk is often adding to the mixture as well as other flavorings and sweeteners. Did you know that up to 60% of the volume of the container is air, This is introduced in the whipping process and gives ice cream a light and fluffy texture. Ice creams are further divided into categories based on the amount of butterfat they contain. Premium Ice Cream has between 11% and 15% butterfat. While this ice cream is richer and denser you pay for it in the calorie count. Usually these premium ice creams come in small containers and have “gourmet” style flavorings.


Regular ice cream is somewhat less dense and contains 10% to 11% butterfat. This type of ice cream is sold in the standard larger containers, and contains the standard flavorings. This style is perfect for milkshakes.


Economy Ice Cream has exactly 10% butterfat by law. No frills here.


Light Ice Cream means that there is EITHER 50% less fat OR 33% fewer calories than the regular ice cream produced by that particular company. But if you are calorie conscious look at the label. Light versions of the premium brands can have more fat and calories than the regular version of other brands.


Reduced Fat Ice Cream is required by law to have 25% less fat than that particular company’s regular version.


Ice Milk is not a name you see too much anymore. At one time this was the low fat version of ice cream. But with advances in technology this has been replaced with reduced fat ice cream.


Soft Serve Ice Cream is the same as the harder ice cream except that it is served at a higher temperature. Sometimes it is seen as tastier because it does not numb the taste bud


French Style Ice Cream


This ice cream is made with a custard base that includes egg yolks. It is very rich and silky. Also called glace.




The big difference between gelato and American style ice cream is in the amount of air that is whipped into the product. (20% air for gelato and up to 60% air for ice cream) The result is a denser and more intensely flavored dessert




This is a frozen dessert that is made from fruit purée and can include the flavorings of herbs and spices. It is then whipped to lighten its texture. Sorbet contains no milk.




Like a sorbet this is a fruit based product, but milk is added for creaminess. But by law it can contain no more than 2% butterfat.




Very similar to sorbet but granita is not whipped and ice crystals are allowed form. It has a more granular appearance, and a crunchy texture.


Well there you have it,  a lot of info but now you know what your guilty cold delights actually are made of 🙂



One Comment Add yours

  1. Karina says:

    Thanks for laying this out! I have always wondered about a couple of them.

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