What’s The Difference Between Gelato And Ice Cream?

You visit an ice cream shop to pamper your taste buds into a sweet indulgence. They are many flavors of ice-cream and gelato to offer. Now a question tickles your mind as what is the difference between gelato and ice cream. So before you lick the next ice cream, read this and find out what really are you going to eat so fondly. For a long time, gelato was famous by the name Italian ice cream. Your eyes might not easily discern the difference between these two popular deserts, there are certainly some distinctive factors that distinguish one from the other.

To put in simple words, Gelato is Italy’s version of ice cream. Made from many common ingredients, what differs a gelato from an ice cream is a process, the quality, the systems used in it. Many think that gelato is the Italian word for ice cream. But that’s not true. Gelato is an Italian word that means ‘to freeze’. Although, you can find many similarities between gelato and an ice cream there are certainly a lot of things that distinguish one from the other. Let’s see what they are.

What’s The Difference Between Gelato And Ice Cream?



  • There are certainly many things you can find in ice cream and gelato as common. It could be cream, sugar, and milk. But, what separates a gelato from ice cream is its ingredients. Ice cream is made with cream, whereas gelato is made with whole milk. For ice cream, the minimum fat content it must have is 10%. As gelato has more milk than ice cream it has 5 to 7 percent of fat but has 16+ percent of sugar.
  • You can understand the difference in these simple words. Between gelato and ice cream, gelato is sweeter than ice cream, and ice cream has more butter fat than gelato. Sugar in gelato adds viscosity to it and reduces its freezing point. So when you eat gelato you can now understand why gelato has a soft texture without melting it. It’s all because of the right amount of sugar added to it that makes this sweet dessert so amazing.
  • The increased amount of sugar in gelato as compared to ice cream helps in balancing the water content preventing it from freezing. A typical gelato contains a stabilizing base whereas this is not the case with ice cream. The use of whole milk in gelato gives it a smooth and creamy texture that is why gelato takes more time to melt than ice cream.


  • As compared to an ice cream gelato contains less cream. To add the extra texture to the gelato, cream is used. But for ice cream, the cream in it remains one of the basic ingredients in its making.

Delightful Making Procedure

  • Gelato is made in a factory where there is a batch freezer fully dedicated for gelato, a pasteurizer, and an immersion blender. Hand-made procedure to make gelato includes making it at -12° before taking it out to serve. Ice cream goes through a freezer tunnel at -40° and then kept in a cold room at -18° C to ensure good shelf life. The manufacturing process of gelato gives it a smooth texture whereas an ice cream has a more frozen and firm texture than gelato. An ice cream has more fat content than gelato. This is the reason why we feel the need to drink water after eating ice cream and not after eating gelato.

make milk to ice cream

  • Procedures to make an ice cream or gelato could be varied from one manufacturer to another. A basic procedure for making an ice cream suggests, that the ingredients to be cooked into a custard. Then, to increase its volume this base is then churned at a high speed and the air is infused in it. This gives light, creamy and smooth texture to the ice cream. A fact about ice creams is that the cheaper the ice cream the more air is whipped in it. So, the air just increases its volume.

ice cream machine

  • Turning to gelato, it contains more milk than ice cream and lower amount of cream. The churning process of a gelato is slower than ice cream. On an average a gelato contains about 50% less air than ice cream. This makes gelato more dense and healthier than ice cream.


It is said that the traditional gelato should not be served in an ice cream scoop. A spade just like a spatula is used to serve gelato. A spade is used to soften and scoop up gelato. Also, gelato is served fresh and on the other hand ice cream is made to store it for a long time. You can enjoy it anytime. To speak in technical terms gelato is served at 10 to 15 degrees while ice cream is served at a cooler temperature of 7 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit.

Health Impact:

ice cream and goloto-Difference Between Gelato And Ice Cream

  • You can easily find a gelato made with natural flavoring ingredients like fruits and nuts, chocolate etc. But, most of the ice creams have artificial flavoring substances in it. Having lower fat gelato adds lower fat to your diet.
  • Being denser and rich in sugar than ice cream, gelato has a rich taste. But, this might increase your calorie intake. If you are trying to lose your weight then, you need to cut down on your habit to eat gelato regularly. Made with a cream base, an ice cream can add more amount of fat in your diet.
  • The risk of putting on more weight cannot be overlooked for ice cream also. Being less dense than gelato, your taste buds might not get satisfied with just one scoop. Adding another next scoop may increase the calorie intake making it harder for you to maintain your calorie levels.
  • On an average, a gelato with 140 to 170 calorie content has 5 to 9 grams of fat in it. Whereas, a premium ice cream would contain about 70 percent more fat than a gelato.
  • Being a dessert that has high protein content many like to add gelato instead of ice cream. So gelato could be an affordable luxury. For seldom desert eaters an ice cream could be a more reasonable and affordable choice.

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