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Difference Between Gelato and Sorbet

Gelato and sorbet are two common frozen desserts usually consumed in hot summer days. The desserts are often regarded the same although they are different. The other closely related dessert is ice cream, which have the same base of ingredients as gelato.

Gelato is an Italian word for ice cream but these two are not entirely the same regarding composition and nutritional values. Sorbet also differs from these frozen desserts with composition the main which is the lack of dairy ingredients. This article highlights the key differences between sorbet and gelato.


What is Gelato?

Gelato is a frozen dessert mainly composed of milk + cream + sugar + egg yolk and a variety of flavoring agents. The dessert shares most of these ingredients with ice cream but it is more dense and smooth due to the way it is often prepared. There is more milk and less cream in gelato which gives it less fat compared to ice cream, but more fat compared to sorbet. In preparation of gelato, it is churned in machines where less air is let in to give it a fluffy texture. It is also prepared slowly while freezing it at relatively warm temperatures that ice cream is.

Because gelato is more creamy, it is mostly consumed in small portions. Compared with sorbet, it has fat and more calories, and thus no considered to be a healthy option. But that does not make sorbet a healthy option either because of its high sugar content from sweetened juice or syrup.

What is Sorbet?

Sorbet is a frozen dessert distinctly made of sweetened juice + sugar and flavored water. Alcohol can be added to reduce its icy texture. Unlike gelato, sorbet contains no milk or cream in it. If milk or any type of fat is added to the fruit-based sorbet, it becomes the sherbet. Sorbet is often churned in an ice-maker machine with little aeration than the ice cream.

Sorbet is naturally fat-free and contains fewer calories. However, it is not a go-to frozen dessert if you are allergic to sugary content. Consumption of sorbet can increase the blood sugar content. Also, because of the absence of any dairy in sorbet, it is deficient of calcium nutritional value. The ingredients of sorbet are not fixed. It can be made from a wide variety of fruits and other flavoring agents. Some restaurants use it as a palate cleanser after meals. A cup of sorbet can be equivalent to 40 grams of sugar content hence it is not good for those allergic of sugary intake.


Key differences between gelato and sorbet

Definition of gelato and sorbet

Gelato is a frozen dessert containing milk + cream + egg yolk + sugar plus a variety of flavoring agents. It contains more calories and fat compared with sorbet. Sorbet, on the other side, is a frozen dessert generally containing a sweetened fruit juice/syrup plus flavored water. It is also made of a variety of ingredients. There is no milk or cream added to sorbet and as thus contains less calcium.

Preparation of gelato and sorbet

Gelato is prepared in the same way the ice cream is prepared but much slower with little air let in to make it more dense and fluffy. It is frozen at warmer temperatures. Sorbet is, on the other hand, prepared in the ice cream maker relatively faster with little air too.

Compared with Ice Cream

Sorbet contains no cream or milk compared to ice cream. Meanwhile, gelato is almost the same with the same base as ice cream but contains more milk and less cream prepared slower in little air.

Health perspective

In comparison, gelato contains fats and more calories which might be a bad choice for those suffering from weight loss. However, it contains little sugar which can be a good choice for those allergic of too much sugar content in sorbet. Moreover, gelato contains more milk and cream which gives it an advantage over sorbet with more calcium.

Sorbet is mainly made of fruit juice and liquid. It contains more sugar which may be unhealthy to blood sugar content. Again, sorbet contains no milk or cream so there is less calcium which is good for the bones and teeth.

Either way, none of these frozen desserts can be regarded the winner in health. It depends on one’s health goals and requirements. If you avoid sugar, then gelato is the best. If you avoid fat and more calories, then sorbet is the best option.

Gelato Verses Sorbet: Comparison Chart


Summary of  Gelato Verses Sorbet

  • Gelato and sorbet are two frozen desserts
  • Gelato is mainly made of milk, cream, egg yolk, sugar and other flavoring ingredients
  • Sorbet is made of sweetened juice plus water and sugar, but alcohol can also be added although not always
  • Gelato is prepared slowly while adding little air to make more dense than ice cream
  • Sorbet is prepared in an ice cream maker with little air too
  • Gelato contains more calories and fat due to more milk and less cream
  • Sorbet contains less calories and less calcium
  • Sorbet contains more sugar content
  • None of gelato or sorbet is considered the best healthy option as they contain different nutritional values which may be harmful to the body. Gelato with more fat and calories and sorbet with more sugar content.

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  1. I would believe the content with more confidence if there was a proof reader or editor who reviewed the articles who was proficient in the English language.

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References :

[0]Adam Hickman, (August 29, 2015). What's the Difference Between Gelato, Ice Cream, and Sorbet? Accessed at http://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/whats-the-difference-between-gelato-ice-cream-and-sorbet

[1]Janet Ho, (Aug 17, 2016). The healthiest choice: Ice cream, gelato or sorbet? Accessed at http://www.chatelaine.com/health/the-healthiest-choice-ice-cream-gelato-or-sorbet/

[2]Caroline Weir, Robin Weir, (30 Jun 2017). Ice Creams, Sorbets and Gelati: The Definitive Guide. Grub Street

[3]Shelly Kaldunski (09 Jun 2015). Sweet Scoops: Ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and more! Weldon Owen

[4]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1d/Strawberry_sorbet_%284525439412%29.jpg/640px-Strawberry_sorbet_%284525439412%29.jpg

[5]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3e/Gelato_in_Italy.jpg/640px-Gelato_in_Italy.jpg

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