A sweet tooth person can never wait for special occasions or events to dive in their favourite ice creams and other sweets.
But, if you are among the people who think Gelato to be just another fancier and extravagant name for ice-cream, then it is very important for you to know the basic difference between ice cream and Gelato.
Ice cream is known to be a frozen dairy dessert that is made from milk, cream, sugar and egg yolks. French-style ice cream is a traditional ice-cream that contains egg yolks. These French-style ice-creams are richer than American-style ice cream as they didn’t initially contain eggs. However, over a period of time American ice cream has evolved to also include the yolks.
Process of making an Ice Cream:
All ingredients needed for making ice cream are first cooked together into rich custard.
After the custard base is cooled and then churned at a very high speed to incorporate air and increase its texture & volume. For the cost cutting purpose, the cheaper ice creams tend to have more air whipped into them.
Ice creams should be served at a cold temperature only, this makes scoops easily hold together, and the finished desert is creamy, smooth and light-textured.
Gelato is just the Italian word for ice cream. It starts out with a similar custard base as ice cream, but one of the major differences is that it has a higher proportion of milk and a lower proportion of cream and eggs.
Process of making a Gelato:
Apart from having higher proportion of milk and a lower proportion of cream and eggs, it is churned at a much slower rate. This results in Gelato to incorporate less air and leaving it much denser than ice cream.
Gelato is usually served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream, this helps its texture to stay silkier & softer. As Gelato has a lower percentage of fat than ice cream, the main flavour ingredient really shines through. Although you can make Gelato in an Icecream machine, having a best gelato maker would help a lot.
Difference between Gelato and Ice cream
Let’s have a look between the difference between Gelato vs Ice Cream
Butterfat, Air and Flavor:
Ice cream contains at least 10 per cent butterfat and usually exceed between 14 and 25 percent. Meanwhile on the other hand, Italian gelato includes only about 4 to 9 percent fat, which makes it a healthy option. Since, Gelato is churned at a much slower rate, thus it contains less air than American ice cream. This helps keep Gelato fluid, dense and creamy. And having less butterfat allows the flavours to emerge more.
Italian Gelato is served about 10 to 15 degrees warmer than American ice cream, at about 7 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it another flavor enhancer point as your mouth feels less numb and enables to taste it.
In case of ice creams you will witness the expansive array of flavours that ranges from your traditional vanilla and coffee ice creams to somewhat unusual flavors such as sweet basil and sweet potato. But on the contrary when it comes to gelato, the flavor profile is much more narrow and limited. There are a few classics you’ll find in gelato form like vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, and stracciatella as well as pistachio, tiramisu, and a variety of fruit flavors. These combination may vary to the one that you see in the ice cream aisle.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines ice cream as a dairy product with at least 10% of its calories derived from fat. However, as much as 25% of the calories in a typical carton of ice cream can come from fat.
On the other hand, gelato typically has a much lower fat content, at around 4–9% fat. It also packs much more sugar than ice cream does.
A 1/2-cup (78-gram) serving of vanilla ice cream can contain 210 calories and 16 total grams of sugar. Meanwhile, an equal serving of Gelato (88 grams) contains about 160 calories and 17 grams of sugar.
Texture and flavour:
Gelato is much silkier in texture and a bit denser than ice cream. This denseness allows gelato to pack much more flavour than traditional ice cream. Gelato also usually takes its flavours from natural sources.
Whereas, Ice cream’s typically higher air content makes its texture soft and light. Although, it has more butterfat than gelato, which means it may not be as flavourful as gelato. The only reason behind is that the butterfat coats your tongue, so it takes a bit longer for your taste buds to detect the ice cream flavour.
Serving style and uses:
Gelato is traditionally served about 10–15°F (6–8°C) warmer than the usual ice cream. This helps the flavours in gelato bloom, as your tongue isn’t as numb as it is when eating ice cream.
Ice cream is typically scooped with a deeply rounded spoon, with its higher fat content allowing it to be shaped into firm and round balls. Meanwhile, the gelato is served using a flat spatula called a spade, the manoeuvring of which helps soften the dessert.
Just like mentioned above, Gelato and ice cream share three main ingredients that are dairy, sugar, and air. The difference lies in their proportions.
- Dairy like milk, cream, or both and sugar are combined, mixed evenly, and pasteurized. Natural or artificial flavours are then folded in.
- Next, air is incorporated by churning the mix before freezing it. A measurement process is done of how much air is added into the ice cream or gelato during production. Gelato has low overrun, whereas ice cream has high overrun. Ice cream is churned fast, which folds & incorporate in a lots of air. Hence, its helps increase its volume by a large percentage.
- Apart from containing more air as compare to gelato, ice cream also contains more cream, which results in a high fat content.
- Often Ice cream contains egg yolks, whereas gelato rarely has egg yolk as its ingredient. Instead, gelato often contains more milk. Egg yolks can add fat and act as a stabilizer. Commercial ice cream can also include other stabilizers, such as guar gum.
Hi there, I’m Richard Parker! I own two food truck businesses in Hawaii, selling snow cones, gelatos and frozen drinks. I’ve been working with ice makers for most of my professional career, and created this website to pass on my knowledge. I hope you enjoy!