What Are the Differences between Ice Cream and Gelato?

With frozen yogurt suppliers popping up on every corner, it sometimes seems that ice cream and gelato are not as popular as they used to be.  However, few things can top the creaminess and sweet taste of a good cup of ice cream or gelato.  The question is do you know what the difference is between the two?

When the majority of people hear the word “gelato,” they tend to assume that it simply means “ice cream” in Italian.  However, this is an incorrect assumption.  Ice cream and gelato share some similarities, but the composition and nutritional value are vastly different.  Gelato tends to be creamier and denser than ice cream.  Gelato typically has less calories, fat, and sugar than ice cream.

Frozen gelato is usually made with less butterfat, with a fat content of about five to nine percent.  On the other hand, ice cream can have a fat content anywhere from fourteen to twenty-five percent.  Cream is used to make ice cream whereas gelato is made with milk.  This may seem strange for those who’ve delighted in the creaminess of gelato.  How could gelato possibly be less fat than ice cream?  Part of the reason for the extra creaminess in a cup of gelato is that air is added to ice cream and less air is added to gelato which makes gelato denser.  This results in a creamy taste without extra fat.

Along with a lower fat content, gelato is usually slightly lower in calories and sugar than its frozen counterpart.  A 3.5 ounce serving of vanilla gelato has 90 calories and 10 grams of sugar whereas the same size serving of vanilla ice cream contains 125 calories and 14 grams of sugar.

While gelato may seem like a healthier option, they are relatively equal.  Neither gelato or ice cream are considered health foods, however, if you don’t have too many unhealthy toppings, it’s okay to have a nice treat every once in a while.

As far as taste is concerned, it’s simply a matter of personal preference.  Both can offer a very rich, sweet and creamy taste to your taste buds.  There are of course reduced fat and sugar free versions of both for those that are trying to be more health conscious.  However, few things beat the taste and pleasure of a good ole fashioned cup of ice cream…or gelato.

Many ice cream shops and gelaterias today offer helpful ice cream shop supplies, such as smaller containers and calorie information that can help you enjoy your treat without any guilt.


Guest post is provided by Gelato Products, the one-stop shop for all supplies for an ice cream parlor or gelateria.  They carry everything from ice cream cups to tasting spoons.  Check out their website for more information.

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