What's The Difference Between Ice Cream And Gelato?

by Lindsay Shapka in ,


Mounds of iced goodness sits in glass topped coolers, enticing those walking by to stop and purchase a scoop (or two) of melt-in-your mouth flavours like lemon, nutella, and blood-orange creamsicle. Nothing beats gelato.

But, then there is ice cream — served in crunchy waffle cones in favourite flavours like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, or mixed with things like cookie dough, or cheesecake. Mmmmm...

Both are delicious, have some flavours in common, and even have similar textures at times. In fact, gelato actually means ice cream in Italian. So what on earth is the difference between them?!

Here's what I have discovered:

  • Ice cream is made with cream and egg yolk, and has a fat content of at least 10% fat. Gelato, on the other hand, uses more milk than cream, uses fewer egg yolks (if any) so contains more like 5-7% fat.
  • Gelato is churned at a slower speed than ice cream, so it is denser because not as much air is whipped into it. Gelato is usually around 30% air, while ice cream contains around 50% air. This makes ice cream a little bit fluffier.
  • Ice cream is served frozen, while gelato is served at a warmer temperature so it doesn't use the elastic texture that makes it so enjoyable. 
  • Gelato tends to have more intense flavour than ice cream because there is less fat and it doesn't coat the mouth in the same way.

So there you have it! Happy indulging!