Gelato vs Ice Cream. What is Gelato? Custard & Soft Serve & Frozen Yogurt


Gelato vs Ice Cream

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When the summer temperatures come in, you will definitely want to have a cold dessert in your hand to help cool you down! Whether you enjoy something on the beach or at home, it is best to know the differences between different kinds of cold desserts.

The difference between these desserts, from ice cream to gelato, is a combination of four factors:

  • Milk fats (for creaminess) and proteins (for firmness)
  • Sweeteners (for sweetness and texture)
  • Stabilizers (to keep the desserts frozen and prevent ice crystals from forming in them)
  • Emulsifiers (to keep all the parts of the milk mixed together)

Water makes up the majority of these desserts, but the difference in the amount of these factors separates ice cream, soft serve, gelato, custard, and frozen yogurt.

Gelato vs Ice Cream:

Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Ice cream is one of the most popular summer desserts if you live in a place that is scorching hot! According to the International Dairy Foods Association, which keeps track of data on dairy-related foods all over the world, about 87% of all frozen treats sold are ice cream.

If you talk about ice cream, you may be referring to all these frozen desserts as a whole. It is used as a general term for this category of foods. If you want to get technical, however, you can see how the ingredients change from product to product.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the weight of the ice cream ingredients must be at least 10% milk fat and 20% milk solids. Most ice creams are fattier than that, containing up to 20% fat. Ice creams also tend to have more sugar, with added sugars and flavors totaling to about 15% of their weight. Often, it is served very frozen because it is less dense than other similar desserts.

What is Gelato?


This type of dessert comes from Italy, so you can easily find it when you travel to the country or when you visit the European community in your city. The word gelato means frozen in Italian, giving you a good idea of what it is. Usually, it’s characterized as melting in your mouth because it’s so dense, so what you’re tasting is the creaminess and intense flavors. This texture comes from using almost entirely milk, and the lack of fat intensifies the flavor.

It is also churned so that very little air is added into the mix, making it denser than other types of ice creams. The great thing about gelato is that it’s less fat than ice cream, making it just that much healthier!

Soft Serve

The ingredients of soft serve are the same as ice cream, but it is much softer and usually offered in a cone. The reason it can be kept so soft is that the machine used allows more air in the mixture, preventing it from freezing as solidly.

Soft serve is the ice cream of choice in fast food places and restaurants, as the staff just has to put the ingredients in a machine and let it do its job.


Custard is essentially the same as ice cream, but it has a tiny bit of egg yolk. This yolk, which contains a natural emulsifier to make the desserts richer, thicker, and creamier than ice cream, only has to make up about 1.4% of the custard’s weight. Like most other desserts, premium brands usually have high proportions of yolk in their product to make it stand out more from other ice creams.

Frozen Yogurt (Fro-Yo)

Frozen yogurt has been growing in popularity, especially among young people. Unfortunately, you won’t get the texture of dessert that you’re looking for just by putting yogurt that you buy from the store into the freezer. Because yogurt alone lacks the emulsifiers needed to keep the fats, proteins, and sweeteners together, you will end up with something closer to a popsicle than ice cream.

Colloquially, frozen yogurt is much more commonly referred to as fro-yo. A lot of ice cream parlors are now fro-yo shops! Frozen yogurts are made with yogurt added to an ice cream base. The ingredients include milk with yogurt cultures for the yogurt, and milk, cream, and sweetener for the ice cream base.

The best part about fro-yo is that it may be great for your digestive system’s health! If it is made with live cultures, it can encourage friendly bacterial growth in your intestines.

When summertime rolls around, what is your favorite dessert?


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