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Sorbet vs. Sherbet: What’s the Difference?

Written by on March 1, 2022

What is sorbet?

Sorbet is a frozen mixture of water, sweeteners, fruit juices/pulps, and even herbs such as thyme or basil. It can be enjoyed as a dessert or a palate cleanser to help taste buds switch gears and prepare for the next course.

The best sorbets are hand-produced in small batches—just enough to last each day, shares Lorenzo Franchetti co-owner of Lollino in New York City. At their shop, in addition to tantalizing gelatos, you’ll also find an amazing selection of dairy-free, fat-free, and gluten-free sorbets, as well as treats made with Stevia in case you’re avoiding sugar.

Is sorbet the same as Gelato?

While sorbet and gelato are both frozen (and delicious) treats, sorbet is made up solely of fruit purée, sweetener, and water, making it dairy-free. Gelato, on the other hand, is full of milk and cream, so not a vegan option at all. Gelato’s texture is also thicker and creamier than your typical sorbet

Is Italian ice the same as sorbet?

Italian ice and sorbet are easily confused because of their similar fruity flavours and composition. The biggest difference between the two is that Italian ice is a bit grainier in texture due to the coarsely ground ice that is used to make it.  Sorbet is a bit smoother, mainly due to a slightly different ratio of flavourings to ice.

Sherbet, or sherbert, as it’s pronounced in many locales around the country, is almost the same as sorbet, but can contain up to 2 percent milk products, fats, and eggs—you may even find some vanilla flavours, but this is more rare. Any frozen mixtures containing more than 2 percent dairy should be called ice cream or gelato—and here’s the difference between the two treats.

Sherbet comes in a variety of fruit flavours such as pineapple, orange, lime, raspberry, and mixtures of several types marketed as swirl or rainbow. Enjoyed mainly as a dessert, sherbet is also used as a fun way to dress up punch recipes, by floating the desired amount on top. A word to the wise: you might want to avoid swirl or rainbow in punch unless you want a brown or tan outcome. Sherbet is served in restaurants all over the country and is available in grocery stores everywhere, usually in its own section next to the sorbets and ice creams.

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