Sherbet, Sorbet and Granita

Have you ever wondered what is the difference?

The legal definitions of sorbet and sherbet could be used interchangeably, but there is a distinction in American frozen desert. Sorbets and Sherbets are similar, but there are some big differences.

Sorbets are made with puréed fruits, sugar, and water plus sometimes some alcohol and Sherbets are made with the three same ingredients, essentially blended fruit, water and sugar, that’s churned and then frozen. Sorbets never contain any dairy products.

Sorbets are almost the same thing as Granita (Italian ice) it has the same base as sorbet, but instead of churning it in an ice cream maker, the base is just poured into a pan and placed in the freezer. The surface is scraped multiple times as it freezes, creating icy flakes that are coarse and more crystalline or granular in texture than sorbet.

Sherbet on the other hand can contain cream, milk, egg whites, gelatin, or even buttermilk added to a sorbet mixture, and the result is a frozen dessert that’s richer Sherbet becomes sorbet’s creamier cousin.



Refreshing and delicious! What I find different between the ice cream maker and the stirring the frozen mix is the ice cream maker results in a slightly smoother consistency. Both methods are full of flavor and are wonderful. Do not let not having a machine stop you.
Servings 6 servings
Calories 334 kcal
Author Laurie


  • 2 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups fresh lime juice strained
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 drops green food color optional


  1. Pour 1/4 cup cold water over gelatin until it softens it. Combine the remaining 2 cups of water and the sugar in a small heavy saucepan and boil over high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the syrup becomes completely clear. Thoroughly stir in the gelatin, remove the pan from the heat and add the lime juice, salt and food color. Then pour the mixture into a shallow dish.
  2. Freeze 1 hour or until solid particles begin to form on the bottom and sides of the tray. Beat the sherbet briskly with a fork to break up the ice crystals then return it to the freezer for 1 hour more. Beat the egg whites until stiff enough to stand. Scrape sherbet into a bowl. Gently fold egg whites over the sherbet and mix them together thoroughly, return the lime sherbet to the dish, and freeze for 2 to 3 hours more.
  3. * If you have an ice cream maker, after you add egg whites and pour into the ice cream maker and then follow the manufacturer's directions.
  4. use a simple sugar syrup (50/50 sugar water)
  5. You also might be comparing sherbet to sorbet, which has the same ingredients but typically has the addition of either egg whites or dairy which gives it a much creamier texture without the fattiness of ice-cream.
  6. Actually, they are not quite the same. Sorbet is ice sweetened with fruit, wine, or liquer. Italian ice, which is similar, does not contain ice but contains frozen fruit purees or similar. Sherbert contains a small amount of dairy, but the milkfat content is less than 3%, differentiating it from ice cream. In the U. S. what is commonly called sorbet is most likely an Italian ice. The difference is the lower milk fat content.

Recipe Notes

The general things that can cause icy sorbet: Too much water Compared to other ingredients. Since you probably aren't going to take water out of your fruit, you pretty much have to add sugar or alcohol to compensate for this. This is tricky if you're improvising, and if the water content of the fruit varies. Bad churning/freezing: This is mostly determined by the ice cream maker you have. It sounds like you're probably okay, since you get good results sometimes, but if the churning isn't good, you can get big ice crystals as it freezes around the outside before getting mixed well. If you're using the common type with a pre-frozen vessel, make sure you've frozen it thoroughly, so that you can churn long enough to smooth things out. Chunky fruit: Big chunks will be really obvious, but even tiny chunks can help provide little bits that make the result freeze hard. Make sure that you puree well. Too cold a freezer: sorbet is going to be best if it's not frozen extremely cold, but your freezer probably is nice and cold. Be willing to let it sit out a little bit before eating, or and perhaps keep it in the door where it's slightly warmer.
Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 334 Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.1g 0%
Saturated Fat 0.01g 0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.02g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.01g
Sodium 22mg 1%
Potassium 112mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 86g 29%
Dietary Fiber 0.3g 1%
Sugars 80g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 1%
Vitamin C 39%
Calcium 2%
Iron 0.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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