Gelato and ice cream are both delicious treats and though they've been pleasing crowds for some years now, many people still don't know the main differences between them. When it comes to gelato vs ice cream, a lot of people usually stick with what they like or assume the two are one in the same. But, they do differ quite a bit.

ice cream in bowl

Fast Facts:

Author Morgan Morano spoke to NPR in 2015 to talk about the main differences between the two. She wrote a book The Art of Making Gelato and was trained in Italy about how to make it. She broke down distinct features:

  • Gelato is creamier than ice cream.
  • Gelato has more milk than cream, though both treats use the ingredients.
  • Ice cream uses egg yolks whereas gelato very rarely does.
  • The fat content in gelato is far less than that of ice cream.
  • Gelato is stored at a warmer temperature than ice cream.

Gelato

Gelato uses some of the same ingredients as ice cream such as cream, milk, and sugar. It very rarely uses egg yolks, however, which is a common ingredient found in ice cream. Moreno said that egg yolks in gelato are only ever really used if they want to add extra flavor. Gelato also has a stronger flavor but uses less cream thereby lowering its fat content.

Something often overlooked in the gelato vs ice cream debate is that gelato is stored at a higher temperature than ice cream. Ice cream is best stored at 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 °C) while gelato is usually stored at 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 °C).

Gelato is churned at a slower rate than ice cream as well, which keeps it denser and sometimes more flavorful.

Fun Fact: In 1686, Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, a Sicilian fisherman and chef, opened the first gelato cafe in Paris. He named it Café Procope and it still stands to this day.

Ice Cream

Ice cream has been around since the fifth century when ancient Greeks were eating desserts similar to ice cream. So, even from way back in the day people seemed to be digging this treat.

Ice cream uses egg yolks in their ingredients as opposed to gelato, which usually stays away from them. Ice cream is also churned faster, which makes it fluffier than gelato. It needs to be stored at a cooler temperature and if ice cream was stored at gelato's temperature, it would melt.

The fat content in ice cream is significantly higher as well. It usually has anywhere from 10 to 25 grams of fat whereas gelato has a modest four to nine.

When you dig into a tub of ice cream you probably ensure that you're getting big scoops for yourself. Gelato, on the other hand, is served with a spade. Moreno says, "Not only can you work gelato with the spade to soften it up, but there's a whole artistry."

Fun Fact: Over 80% of Americans have ice cream in their freezer at any given point.

Well, hopefully that settled the ice cream vs gelato debate for you! With tons of cool flavors and options available, there are also lots of ways you can make ice cream or gelato at home!

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