What is the Difference Between Gelato and Ice Cream?

What is the Difference Between Gelato and Ice Cream?

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Gelato originates from Italy and has slow-to-melt milkiness and elastic, soft texture. Ice cream is considered to originate from the Chinese mountains, where they used snow as a base. It’s known for its creamier and rich body. Here are a few main differences between gelato and ice cream.

Difference Between Gelato and Ice Cream

What is the Difference Between Gelato and Ice Cream?

Dairy and Butterfat

You probably already know that gelato has fewer calories and that it is generally better for your health. However, both gelato and ice cream contain milk fat and are made with dairy products. Ice cream has a lot higher ratio of cream to milk. The more fat in the ice cream is why gelato is usually considered as a healthier option. It’s also responsible for ice cream’s luscious, thick feel in the mouth and firmer consistency. This is the reason why the ice cream feels creamier and holds flavor. Gelato is made mostly with milk, and it also doesn’t have such a huge percentage of butterfat.


This fat content results in a better holding of the air in a dessert. Ice creams with higher fat seem fluffy and light. This is because the fat has a binding relationship with the water molecules in the milk, and it results in lighter density. The air is present thanks to this lightness. When you think about making whip cream, it quickly turns into fluffy whipped mounds. If you try to do this with whole milk, you won’t do much, almost anything. Ice cream seems less caloric thanks to this texture, but it usually contains a higher percentage of fat.

Gelato is naturally denser since it has less fat to bind with the water molecules. The texture and dense weight of it allows it to look very rich. However, in reality, it has a lower butterfat percentage.

Air is the primary differentiator between gelato and ice cream. Ice cream holds more air than gelato.

Serving Temperature

The difference in air and densities really show up when the desserts are served. The ice cream can be almost solid and will still be very easy to scoop. On the other hand, Gelato has a very low-fat content and must be served soft and kept at a warmer temperature. If it were stored at the same temperatures as ice cream, you wouldn’t be able to scoop it at all.


So, what exactly does this all mean in terms of flavor? Gelato doesn’t have a lot of fat, which means that the flavor will be washed away more quickly. Experts recommend using gelato combined with delicate flavors like fruits. You will be able to taste the fruit flavor better since the flavor won’t be competing with the fat. Ice cream is better for lingering flavors. The ice cream will hold more aromatic and stronger flavor in your mouth thanks to the extra fat.

Not too many, but there are some differences. Keep in mind to check the temperature of your dessert, and combine them with adequate flavors.

Now that you know the Difference between Gelato and Ice Cream, which is your favorite?