What is the difference between sherbet vs. sorbet? It’s all a matter of dairy—sherbet has milk or cream, and sorbet doesn’t. Dig into the similarities and differences between these frozen desserts, then try your hand at making your own homemade sorbet!

What is Sherbet?

Sherbet is a frozen fruit purée combined with cream or milk, eggs, and sweeteners. It has a creamy texture with bursts of tart, sweet, and fruity flavor. Popular varieties include lime, raspberry, orange, and even rainbow.

Sherbet is considered a dessert, but it’s also used as a way to fancy up punch beverages. Sherbet is icier than your traditional ice cream; it contains no more than 2% of added dairy. 

It’s Sherbet, Not Sherbert

The word sherbet is commonly mispronounced with an extra “r” right before the “t.” Technically speaking, as sherbet derives from Turkish and Persian words, it’s pronounced sherBET. Confusion arose when the Sherbert Rose, a variety of rose plant, became more popular and a more established word years later.

What is Sorbet?

Sorbet is a frozen dessert that primarily consists of fruit. Whether sorbet has fruit juice, fresh fruit, or fruit purée, there are no dairy products added. Sometimes water and sweeteners are added depending on personal preferences. Sorbet is considered a dessert as well as a palate cleanser because it’s refreshing, light, and cold. 

Five pans of homemade sorbet sit on the counter before serving.

Sherbet & Sorbet Differences

The main difference between sherbet and sorbet is the dairy in sherbet. Sherbet has a more enhanced “ice cream” flavor with its small amount of dairy, whereas sorbet is icier, like Italian ice. Take a look at this comparison table of the different components that make up the two:

SherbetSorbet
Creamy TextureIcy Texture
Added DairyNo Dairy
Egg Whites / Egg YolksNo Eggs

Which is Healthier: Sherbet or Sorbet?

There isn’t necessarily one answer to a healthier frozen treat like sherbet or sorbet. For example, sorbet is a great alternative for someone who is on a vegan diet, but has a frequent sweet tooth. Sherbet would be a better option for someone who doesn’t want a heavy scoop of ice cream, but still wants a creamier, lighter flavor. There is no “better choice” here. It’s best to base the better option off of your own diet and personal preference. 

Are Sherbet and Sorbet Like Ice Cream?

No, sherbet and sorbet are fruitier cousins of ice cream. Because sherbet cannot legally exceed 2% of dairy content, it’s not the same as ordinary ice cream. On the other hand, the lack of dairy in sorbet makes it much different from the texture and taste of regular ice cream. 

Lime sorbet is cool and refreshing in the summer months.

FAQ

Is sorbet the same as gelato?

No, sorbet is a frozen fruit purée and gelato is milk- and cream-based.

Is Italian ice the same as sorbet?

No, Italian ice is grainer in texture since there is a bigger ratio of ice than in sorbet.

Is sherbet a sorbet?

​While they are both frozen desserts, sherbet has dairy and sorbet does not, creating a different texture and taste between the two.

Is sorbet creamier than sherbet? 

No, sherbet is creamier than sorbet because of the dairy ingredients like milk, creams, and buttermilks.

What’s the difference between soft serve ice cream and sherbet/sorbet?

More air is used in soft serve ice cream because of the ice cream maker it’s made in. 

Is sorbet dairy free?

Yes, sorbet is dairy-free because it doesn’t have milk or heavy cream. 

Are granita and sorbet the same thing?

No, granita is prepared by freezing the fruit juice/purée in a pan, then scraping it off, resulting in a coarser texture.

What’s the best way to serve sorbet or sherbet?

Let your cold treats sit at room temperature for 5 minutes for an easy serve.

Sorbet is dairy-free and the perfect summertime treat.

The Best Sorbet Recipes

It couldn’t be easier to make your own sorbet at home. And you don’t even need an ice cream maker!

The options are practically endless once you know the basics for how to make Homemade Sorbet (with ANY Fruit!).

Try these easy sorbets that can be easily tweaked to your personal flavor preference!

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