Gelato vs. Ice Cream: What's the Difference?

December 28, 2023 3 min read

Display of gelato flavors

Grab your favorite dessert spoon, and let's embark on a mouth-watering journey to uncover the secrets behind the creamy, dreamy worlds of gelato and ice cream. Spoiler alert: you might end up craving a scoop (or three) by the end of this! 

What Is Gelato?

Gelato is the Italian cousin to traditional ice cream, renowned for its dense, rich texture and intense flavors. Crafted with a higher proportion of milk and less cream, it contains less air and fat than its American counterpart, resulting in a smoother, more flavor-focused experience. Gelato is churned at a slower speed, which makes it denser and silkier, allowing the true essence of its ingredients to shine through in every scoop.

Differences Between Ice Cream and Gelato

One of the main differences between ice cream and gelato lies in their ingredients and composition. Ice cream is typically made with a higher proportion of cream and egg yolks, resulting in a richer and creamier texture. On the other hand, gelato is made with more milk and less cream, which gives it a denser and more velvety texture.

Another distinction between the two lies in their fat content. Ice cream is known for its higher fat content, usually around 14-25%, which contributes to its creamy consistency. Gelato, on the other hand, typically has a fat content of around 4-8%, making it a lighter option that still delivers a smooth and indulgent texture.


Gelato Texture

Gelato is distinguished by its notably smooth and silky texture. This unique consistency results from a slower churning process compared to traditional ice cream, which introduces less air into the mixture. The reduced air content results in a denser product. 

Gelato Ingredients 

  • Milk:Provides the base for gelato, contributing to its creamy texture and rich taste.
  • Sugar: Adds sweetness and affects the texture; the amount is carefully balanced to avoid overpowering the natural flavors.
  • Cream: Used in smaller quantities than in ice cream, lending richness without making gelato too heavy.
  • Egg Yolks (optional): Often included in traditional recipes to create a smoother texture and add a hint of richness.
  • Flavorings: Can range from pureed fruits, nuts, chocolate, to more adventurous and exotic flavors, defining the gelato's character.
  • Stabilizers (optional): Ingredients like guar gum or locust bean gum might be used to enhance texture and prolong shelf life.

Gelato Serving Style 

Gelato is typically served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream, around 7-12 degrees Celsius (45-54 degrees Fahrenheit). This warmer serving temperature helps to maintain its signature silky texture and allows the flavors to be more pronounced and discernible to the palate. Unlike the scooped balls of ice cream, gelato is often artfully swirled onto the cone or into the cup using a spade or paddle, showcasing its creamy consistency and vibrant colors.

Which should you choose? 

Alright, let's settle this sweet debate: Gelato or Ice Cream? Picture this: You’re walking down a sun-kissed Italian street, and there it is, a gelateria with its creamy, dense gelato. It’s like the silk of the dessert world, less fat but more flavor, every spoonful bursting with authenticity. Gelato whispers elegance and indulgence, with a texture so smooth, it’s  like tasting a cloud made of your favorite flavor.

Now, shift gears to a classic American diner with a hearty scoop of ice cream. It’s the nostalgic, fluffy treat of childhood memories, richer in cream, and airier in texture. Each scoop is a joyful leap into a pool of creamy delight, where more air means a lighter, yet richer experience. Ice cream is like that fun-loving friend who brings comfort and joy, no matter what.

So, what’s it going to be? The refined, flavor-packed elegance of gelato or the joyful, creamy richness of ice cream? Are you about savoring every sophisticated note, or diving into a comforting, creamy dream? Maybe, just maybe, the real joy is not having to choose and enjoying the best of both worlds! 

Love Ice Cream? Get A Scoop Of This

Now that you’re an ice cream expert, create your own rich and delicious ice cream at home with True Scoops premium ice cream mix. Just pick your base flavor, choose from vanilla beanchocolate, or strawberry,  follow the instructions on the pint packaging, freeze, and enjoy!

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