What’s the Difference Between Sherbet and Sorbet?

Their names are often used incorrectly.

June 06, 2022

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Style: "Target Levels"


Style: "Target Levels"

Photo by: Alexandra Grablewski/Getty Images

Alexandra Grablewski/Getty Images

By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen

Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.

You likely know that sherbet and sorbet are both members of the frozen treats family. You might also appreciate that they’re most likely to be fruity by nature. But what exactly is sherbet and how is it different than sorbet? Is sorbet or sherbet healthier? Let’s settle the score between the two.

Food Stylist: Stephana Bottom
Prop stylist: Marina Malchin


Food Stylist: Stephana Bottom Prop stylist: Marina Malchin,Food Stylist: Stephana BottomProp stylist: Marina Malchin

©Con Poulos

Con Poulos

The Difference Between Sorbet and Sherbet

Sherbet and sorbet are both fruity frozen treats whose names are often incorrectly used interchangeably. The main difference? Sherbet contains dairy while sorbet has no dairy.

Sherbet (not “sherbert” as it’s often mispronounced) incorporates a small amount of dairy, such as milk, cream or buttermilk, which give scoops a richer, creamier consistency as with this Raspberry Buttermilk Sherbet recipe (pictured above). Sometimes sherbet is also made with egg whites or gelatin to help stabilize the creamy texture.

Sorbet is made with just fruit and sugar, so it’s dairy-free. Sorbet tends to have an icier consistency; the more sugar sorbet contains, the less icy the texture. Sorbet flavors are primarily fruit-driven, like this All-Fruit Mango Sorbet or No Churn Raspberry Lime Sorbet. Sorbets also come in chocolate flavors. In this Passion Fruit and Chocolate Sorbet Cake, a store-bought pint pairs nicely with passion fruit sorbet to make a frosty filling for cake. Sometimes, sorbets incorporate vegetables, such as cucumbers, or herbs, such as mint, basil or thyme. In addition to being enjoyed as a dessert, sorbets can be served as a refreshing palate cleanser or as an unexpected but sophisticated cocktail ingredient, as with this Prosecco and Lemon Sorbet Cocktail.

Which Is Healthier Sorbet or Sherbet?

The answer to this question depends on whether one is comparing calories or fat content.

Sherbet is made with dairy, so it contains a little bit of fat. One ½ cup serving of sherbet averages around 130 calories and 1 to 3 grams of fat. Sorbet is made with just fruit and sugar and is therefore fat-free. There are between 120 to 150 calories per ½ cup of sorbet. Both sherbet and sorbet offer a lower calorie alternative to ice cream; a ½ cup of vanilla ice cream contains about 230 calories and 13 grams of fat.

Does Sorbet Have Dairy? Does Sherbet Have Dairy?

Sorbet is dairy-free while sherbet is made with small amounts of dairy such as milk, cream or buttermilk.


Photo by: Cavan Images/Getty Images

Cavan Images/Getty Images

Sherbet vs Ice Cream

Ice cream is typically made with a combination of cream and milk (and sometimes egg yolks), so it boasts a richer texture and creamier mouthfeel than sherbet. Because it’s made with more dairy, ice cream has a higher calorie count and fat content than sherbet. Sherbet is made with fruit, sugar and small amounts of dairy, such as milk, cream or buttermilk. Sherbet is lower in fat than ice cream; according to FDA guidelines, its milkfat content must not be less than 1 percent nor more than 2 percent.

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