What's The Difference Between Ice Cream And Gelato?

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,

The difference between ice cream and gelato

Colorful mounds of sweet iced goodness sit in glass-topped coolers, enticing those walking by to stop and purchase a scoop (or two) of melt-in-your-mouth flavors like lemon, Nutella, and blood-orange creamsicle.

Nothing beats gelato.

But, then there's ice cream โ€” served in crunchy waffle cones in favorite flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, or mixed with things like cookie dough, or cheesecake.


Both are delicious, have some flavors in common, and even have similar textures at times.

In fact, the word "gelato" actually means "ice cream" in Italian.

So what is the difference between ice cream and gelato? 

Fat content

Ice cream is made with cream and egg yolks and has a minimum fat content of 10%.

Gelato uses more milk than cream, uses fewer egg yolks (if any) so contains more like 5-7% fat at the most. 


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 slightly warmer temperature so it doesn't lose the elastic texture that makes it so enjoyable!


Gelato tends to have a more intense flavor than ice cream because there is less fat and it doesn't coat the mouth in the same way.