Italian Gelato vs. Ice Cream: What's the Difference?

There’s always room for dessert, no doubt about that! When you’ve enjoyed a hearty meal with your friends, why not take this up the notch with some frozen treats? Do you prefer Italian gelato or ice cream? Are you thinking twice if you just read the same thing? Well, you are not alone.
Often, people get as confused as you are when it comes to gelato and ice cream. In fact, they think gelato is just some fancy Italian word for premium ice cream, but no it isn’t.
These sweet treats have distinct differences when you get down to the facts. But before you confuse yourself any further, let’s find out more on these two.

What is Gelato?

A scoop of your favorite Italian gelato is the perfect way to indulge during the hot days of summer. Its creamy, tasty, and decadent texture bears a striking resemblance to ice cream. But what is it really?
As you probably know, this popular dessert hails back in Italy tracing its beginnings during the early renaissance. This means that gelato came first than ice cream. Flavors like vanilla, pistachio, chocolate, and cream were traditionally developed first. More modern flavors ushered using fresh fruits such as raspberry, strawberry, apple, lemon, and pineapple.
If you’re a fan of gelato, you know that it has a denser and richer texture, and a milkier taste than ice cream. This is because its authentic ingredients contain more milk and less cream, and is churned at a much slower speed, resulting in a lower fat content and a creamier texture.

What is Ice Cream?

Ice cream is a world-wide favorite dessert. It’s a staple. Everywhere you go, you’ll find a new flavour ready for you to taste. While it is unknown who invented ice cream, its history spans worldwide and over centuries.
From eccentric flavors such as foraged wild garlic, fried chicken & waffles, hummus, and ice-cold beer, to the basics like chocolate, cookies N’ cream, and vanilla, ice cream has come a long way.
This frozen dessert is a mixture of milk, cream, sugar, and other ingredients, that is churned at a higher speed and served at a lower temperature, making a soft, creamy delight. Other than milk or cream, ice cream often uses gluten, to help give the mixture a more consistent texture.

Now, What?

If you’re one who’s interested in the technicalities, the differences between these two frozen treats boil down to three factors: fat content, air, and temperature.
Both ice cream and gelato are created in specific techniques that lead to a deliciously pleasant mouthfeel.

Gelato VS Ice Cream: Ingredients

Can you recall the ratio of milk to cream on Italian gelatos? Since gelato contains more milk, it starts with a custard base and uses less cream and eggs to create the rich flavor and creamier texture of the frozen snack.
On the other hand, ice cream uses more cream and less milk, making it significantly higher in fat compared to Italian gelatos. This difference in the ratio of ingredients is evident in the texture.
If you’re conscious about your diet and you’re keen on the fat content in every spoonful of these frozen desserts, you might find it interesting that gelato has lower fat content compared to ice cream. While ice cream has a butterfat content of 14 to 25 per cent, gelato only has 4 to 9 per cent. That is a notable difference of 10-16 per cent of fat content.

How is it made? Learn the Churn

Preparing a gelato requires the use of different elements such as pasteurisers for milk, freezers and immersion blenders. The first step in making both ice cream and gelato is cooking and incorporating all the ingredients. Like ice cream, to make a gelato you always start with a custard base.
However, the process becomes a wee different. In every scoop of your chocolate gelato and your chocolate ice cream, you will notice the varying textures. This will definitely tell you that the churning process is different between these desserts.
To get the light and airy texture of the ice cream, it is churned quickly which adds volume. Conversely, gelato is churned at a slower rate, leaving it denser than ice cream. This also gives gelatos a hard-to-melt consistency.

Cool, Cooler, Frozen Delights

Wondering why your gelato is always served soft? This is because if your gelato is served frozen you might break a tooth. The less air and fat consistency in your sweet delight makes it denser and harder to melt. This is why it is usually served at a higher temperature around 15 degrees warmer, making it soft and pliable.
If ice cream is served at the same temperature as gelato, you wouldn’t enjoy its delicious creamy texture instead it will simply melt into a sweet puddle.

Lingering Taste, Better Texture

If you’re to ask, which one taste better? It’s strictly a matter of preference. Some appreciate the light airy texture of ice cream, while others fancy the denser and milkier taste of Italian gelatos.
Gelato has gained amazing popularity around the world. It’s hard to play favourites, but surely, you’ll have a great day enjoying such a cold, relaxing treat on a hot summer day.
If you’re one who wants to explore the artisanal aesthetic of this flavour-rich and decadent dessert, head on straight to 8 / 426 Nepean Hwy Chelsea, Vic, 3196, and visit Cucina Dolce.

Why Scream Ice cream, When Gelato Is a Thing!

Italian gelato, ice cream, who cares? We do! Here at Cucina Dolce, we know you want to satisfy your sweet tooth craving with our luscious desserts.
Indulge in our dessert options such as Calzone Dolce, Chocolate Delight, Generation Y, and of course, our Gourmet Gelato with 16 flavors to choose from.
Explore Italy in a morsel. You can also book your parties with us or enjoy an appetising dinner with your friends and family.
Cucina Dolce is one of the best Italian food Melbourne. Contact us today and book a reservation. We’ll be more than happy to serve you! Call us at 03 9772 9091. You can also send us an email at
cucina dolce

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8/426 Nepean Hwy

Chelsea Vic, 3196