Gelato vs Ice Cream: Difference and Comparison

Gelato and Ice-Cream are the all-time favourite desserts, loved by people of every age. Their appearance is quite similar, which can make it a little hard to tell the difference between the two.


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However, these creamy frozen delicacies are pretty different. Gelato and Ice-Cream, when viewed in the context of the origin, churning process, texture, or ingredients, can help spot the difference.

Both of them have similar base ingredients, like sugar and milk. However, the rest of the process differs entirely for these.

While their appearances can be quite deceptive, their texture and flavour can help one distinguish them. The temperatures at which both are served vary distinctly.

From the way they both melt into your mouth to the boldness of the flavours applied, you can quickly tell the difference once you know the following factors:

Key Takeaways

  1. Gelato is an Italian frozen dessert made with milk, sugar, and flavorings and has a denser and softer texture than ice cream.
  2. Ice cream is a dessert made from milk, cream, sugar, and flavorings that is churned and then frozen.
  3. Gelato has a lower fat content than ice cream and is served at a slightly warmer temperature.

Gelato vs Ice Cream

Gelato is an Italian dessert made with milk, sugar, and flavorings, with a denser texture and lower fat content. Ice cream is made with milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks, and is churned at a high speed to create a lighter and fluffier texture. It has a high fat content and is served at a colder temperature, resulting in a firmer texture.

Gelato vs Ice Cream


Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonGelatoIce Cream
CreaminessGelato has a silky-smooth texture with a higher density. It is found to be more elastic, creamier as well as fluid.Ice Cream, on the other hand, has a softer texture. It’s made up of finer crystal owing to its lighter texture and lesser density.
IngredientsGelato contains cream, sugar, milk, and flavours. Milk is added in comparatively more amounts. Also, it mostly has no egg yolk content, unlike ice creams.Ice Cream is made up of the same base ingredients with a higher cream content than gelato. It includes egg yolks.
ButterfatTypically gelato contains about 4 to 9 per cent of butterfat.Butterfat content in ice cream starts at a minimum of 10 per cent. However, it ranges between 14-25 per cent.
ChurningGelato is churned at a slower speed. This infuses a lesser amount of air into the mixture to make the consistency denser.Ice creams are churned at really high speeds. This doubles its volume with the amount of air that gets whipped into it.
AirAir content in gelato is about 20-30 per cent. This makes it denser and thicker in nature.Ice cream is found to contain around 50 per cent or more air. This makes it easy to scoop and serve.
TemperatureGelato is served at temperatures 10 to 15 degrees higher than ice cream. It allows one to get a richer flavour as the taste buds aren’t numb.Ice creams are served at comparatively lower temperatures. It thus melts slowly in the mouth.
Serving StyleGelato is served with a flat spatula or spade.Ice-Creams are is normally scooped using rounded spoons.


What is Gelato?

Gelato is a creamy, frozen dessert known for the boldness of flavours infused into it. It has a soft and smooth texture, which melts into the mouth quickly.

Its consistency is pretty dense, and the taste is vibrant. It was introduced in 1686 at the Café Le Procope in Paris by the Sicilian Francesco Procopio Cutò.

It is made from cream, sugar, and milk with little or no egg yolks. Gelato is made with higher milk and sugar content with cream in low proportions.

This also results in a low butterfat content of 4-9 per cent, which makes it healthier than ice cream. It is churned pretty slowly, which allows lesser air to get whipped into the mixture.

Gelato’s overrun ranges around 25 to 30 per cent during the process. It is served at a warmer temperature for a frozen dessert, making the taste buds less numb, and one can feel the bold flavours.


What is Ice Cream?

Ice cream is one of the most loved frozen desserts of all time and by all ages. It is known for its soft, creamy and light texture.

It is said to originate in China when it was served to the King Tang of Shang in 618-97 AD. Its main ingredients are milk, sugar, cream, and mostly egg yolk too.

High proportions of cream are used to make ice cream, which results in high butterfat content (10-25%) too. According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), ice cream derives 10% of its calories from this fat.

The process of making ice cream requires it to be churned at high speeds, which allows a high amount of whipped air to get infused into the mixture. This results in the mixture getting double the volume after the process.

It is served ideally at 10°F when the ice is in a well-crystallized form and is served in scoops.

ice cream 2

Main Differences Between Gelato and Ice Cream

  1. Gelato as a smooth, creamy texture that is much fluid and elastic in nature. Whereas, Ice-creams have a light and soft texture with a lower density.
  2. Both of them contain the same base ingredients: milk, sugar, and cream. But gelato has a higher milk content, while ice cream has a higher cream content.
  3. Unlike Gelato, Ice-cream is mainly found to contain egg yolk as an essential ingredient.
  4. Gelato has a low butterfat content of up to just 4 to 9 per cent. At the same time, the starting butterfat percentage of Ice-cream is 10, with an average of 14-25 per cent.
  5. Gelato is churned at comparatively lower speeds to get the desired consistency. However, Ice-creams are churned at high speeds to infuse large amounts of whipped air into it.
  6. Gelato contains 20-30 per cent air, while Ice-cream contains about 50 per cent of it.
  7. Gelato is served at 10-15 degrees higher temperature as compared to Ice-cream. 
  8. The flavours are felt to be denser in gelato than in Ice-cream. 
Difference Between Gelato and Ice Cream
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