Difference Between Gelato and Ice Cream

Gelato and Ice-Cream are the all-time favorite 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 quite different. Gelato and Ice-Cream, when viewed in the context of the origin, churning process, the 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 flavor can help one distinguish. The temperatures at which both are served varies distinctly.

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

Gelato vs Ice Cream

The difference between Gelato and Ice Cream is the amount of air and fats they carry. The gelato contains less fat content than off Ice cream. On the converse, Ice cream has more filled with air than gelato. Galeto is also softer than ice cream. The first one is much delicious and smoother than the second.

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 flavors. Milk is added in comparatively more amount. 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 usually includes egg yolks.
ButterfatNormally gelato contains about 4 to 9 percent of butterfat.Butterfat content in ice-cream starts with a minimum of 10 percent. However, it usually ranges between 14-25 percent.
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 percent. This makes it denser and thicker in nature.Ice-cream is found to contain around 50 percent 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 flavor 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 normally scooped using rounded spoons.


What is Gelato?

Gelato is a creamy, frozen dessert known for the boldness of flavors 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 very rich. It was introduced in 1686 at the Café Le Procope in Paris by the Sicilian Francesco Procopio Cutò.

It is made from the 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 percent, 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 percent during the process. It is served at a warmer temperature for a frozen dessert, this allows the taste buds to be lesser numb, and one can feel the bold flavors.


What is Ice Cream?

Ice-cream is one of the most loved frozen desserts of all times 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 an 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 mostly found to contain egg-yolk as a basic ingredient.
  4. Gelato has a low butterfat content of up to just 4 to 9 percent. Whereas, the starting butterfat percentage of Ice-cream is 10, with an average of 14-25 percent.
  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 percent air, while Ice-cream contains about 50 percent of it.
  7. Gelato is served at 10-15 degrees higher temperature as compared to Ice-cream. 
  8. The flavors are felt to be denser in gelato than in Ice-cream. 
Difference Between Gelato and Ice Cream


  1. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/20103340706
  2. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d1aa/79d8b2dabf01e532dd480128c0cbf480a077.pdf
  3. https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01234850/file/13594_2013_Article_146.pdf
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