Sherbet vs. Sorbet

What's the Difference?

Sherbet and sorbet are both frozen desserts that are often confused with each other due to their similar names and appearance. However, there are some key differences between the two. Sherbet is a creamy frozen dessert that typically contains milk or cream, sugar, and fruit juice or puree. It has a slightly creamy texture and is often lower in fat than ice cream. On the other hand, sorbet is a fruit-based frozen dessert that is made with just fruit juice or puree, sugar, and water. It has a lighter and more refreshing texture, similar to a fruit slush. While both sherbet and sorbet are delicious options for those seeking a frozen treat, their ingredients and textures set them apart.


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TasteFruity and creamyFruity and refreshing
IngredientsFruit juice, sugar, milk or creamFruit juice, sugar
DairyContains milk or creamDairy-free
TextureSmooth and creamySmooth and icy
CaloriesHigher calorie contentLower calorie content
UsageOften used as a dessert or in floatsCommonly served as a palate cleanser or dessert
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Further Detail


When it comes to frozen desserts, sherbet and sorbet are two popular choices that often get confused due to their similar names and appearances. However, there are distinct differences between these two treats that set them apart in terms of ingredients, texture, and flavor. In this article, we will delve into the attributes of sherbet and sorbet, exploring their unique characteristics and helping you understand which one might be the perfect frozen delight for your taste buds.


One of the primary differences between sherbet and sorbet lies in their ingredients. Sherbet typically contains a combination of fruit juice or puree, sugar, milk or cream, and sometimes egg whites. The addition of milk or cream gives sherbet a slightly creamy texture and a richer flavor compared to sorbet. On the other hand, sorbet is made with fruit juice or puree, sugar, and water. It does not contain any dairy products, making it a suitable option for those who are lactose intolerant or following a vegan diet.


Texture is another differentiating factor between sherbet and sorbet. Sherbet has a smooth and creamy texture due to the presence of milk or cream. The addition of these dairy ingredients gives sherbet a slightly thicker consistency, making it feel more indulgent on the palate. On the contrary, sorbet has a lighter and icier texture. It is typically churned less during the freezing process, resulting in a smoother but less creamy mouthfeel. The absence of dairy in sorbet allows the fruit flavors to shine through more prominently.


When it comes to flavor, both sherbet and sorbet offer a wide range of options to tantalize your taste buds. Sherbet, with its creamy base, provides a balanced combination of fruitiness and creaminess. The addition of milk or cream enhances the overall flavor profile, creating a delightful harmony between the fruit and dairy elements. Sorbet, on the other hand, offers a purer fruit experience. Without the presence of dairy, sorbet delivers a more intense and refreshing burst of fruit flavors, allowing the natural sweetness and tartness of the fruits to take center stage.

Serving Suggestions

Both sherbet and sorbet can be enjoyed on their own or as accompaniments to other desserts. Sherbet's creaminess makes it a fantastic complement to pies, cakes, and tarts. Its slightly richer texture adds a luxurious touch when served alongside warm desserts, creating a delightful contrast in temperatures. Sorbet, with its lighter and more refreshing nature, is often served as a palate cleanser between courses in a multi-course meal. Its vibrant fruit flavors help to refresh the taste buds and prepare them for the next culinary adventure.

Health Considerations

When it comes to health considerations, sorbet tends to be the healthier option. Since it does not contain any dairy, it is naturally lower in fat and calories compared to sherbet. Sorbet is also a great choice for individuals with lactose intolerance or those who are looking to reduce their dairy intake. However, it is important to note that both sherbet and sorbet can still contain significant amounts of sugar, so moderation is key when indulging in these frozen treats.


In conclusion, while sherbet and sorbet may share some similarities in terms of their frozen nature and fruit-based flavors, they differ significantly in their ingredients, texture, and overall experience. Sherbet offers a creamier and more indulgent option with the addition of milk or cream, while sorbet provides a lighter and more refreshing fruit-forward experience. Whether you prefer the creamy richness of sherbet or the pure fruitiness of sorbet, both of these frozen delights have their own unique attributes that can satisfy your sweet cravings. So, the next time you find yourself in the frozen dessert aisle, you can make an informed choice based on your preferences and dietary needs.

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