Summer and ice cream, what could be better? Whether it’s homemade Italian gelato or creamy soft serve, we enjoy it in on top of waffle cones or in frozen yogurt paper cups in every flavor imaginable. Although gelato and ice cream are both favorites, there’s some basic differences in how they’re made. Looking for healthy ice cream recipes? Try our Banana Ice Cream made with frozen bananas (shown below).
Less Fat – Gelato has less fat than American-style ice cream which contains a lot of cream. According to USDA labeling laws, ice cream must contain at least 10 percent milkfat which is made up of mostly cream and eggs. Gelato is made with more milk instead of cream and typically contains few egg yolks which reduces the overall fat content.
Less Air – Gelato is churned at a slower speed than ice cream which reduces the amount of air that gets into the base. This slow mixing process creates a dense consistency. It’s like whipping cream by hand rather than using a high-speed stand mixer. American-style ice cream is churned at a fast speed to whip air into the creamy base which aids in slower melting.
Temperature – Gelato is served at temperatures that are 10 to 15 degrees warmer than ice cream which taste best at around 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Gelato products in specialty shops are often kept at warmer temperatures so the gelato retains a soft, elastic texture. If it freezes, it becomes hard and dense because of its low-fat consistency.
Sugar – The sugar levels in Italian gelato and American-style ice cream varies greatly depending on the manufacturer. On average, a 3-ounce serving of vanilla gelato contains about 10 grams of sugar, as compared to a 3-ounce serving of vanilla ice cream that contains about 14 grams of sugar.
These basic differences give gelato a denser, milkier consistency that’s much less creamy than ice cream. With a lower fat content, gelato tends to have more intense flavors than ice cream, especially obvious in tart, fruity flavors like raspberry, blueberry, strawberry and lemon. On a hot summer day, you may choose the rich, creamy flavor of ice cream. After an elegant dinner, you may prefer the cool, milky flavor of lower-fat gelato. Whatever your preference one thing is certain, you’re sure to enjoy it.