Are Sherbet and Sorbet the Same Thing?

Sherbet and sorbet are two popular dessert offerings, but are they the same thing?

Sherbet and sorbet are two popular dessert offerings, but are they the same thing?

The Short Answer

No, Sherbet and Sorbet are two totally different foods.

The Long Answer

When I was a kid at my grandma’s house, we always had sherbet. It was my favorite dessert. There was a fruity flavor mixed with a bit of dairy. I loved it. Orange and rainbow were where it was at, as far as flavors go. So, fast forward to adulthood. I’m at a wedding and we’re given lemon sorbet between courses as a palate cleanser. When I tasted it I said. “Oh, awesome, it’s sherbet!” I was quickly shouted down.

“It’s not sherbet, it’s sorbet!”

Well, that made me ask, are sherbet and sorbet the same thing? Is sorbet, as I had expected, just a snooty term for my favorite childhood dessert? As it turns out, no, they’re actually very different.

Sorbet is not that complicated. It’s made from just fruit and sugar. The fruit is blended, churned, and then frozen. Sorbet works well as a palate cleanser because it’s light, cold, and refreshing. There’s none of the heaviness associated with dairy products. Sorbet also has the distinction of being both dairy-free and gluten-free, so double score for those with allergies or special diets.

Sherbet is an entirely different animal. While it also contains fruit and sugar, a lot more goes into its creation. Sherbet contains dairy products, which make it creamier and a lot more like its distant cousin, ice cream. Sherbet can include cream, milk, gelatin, buttermilk, and egg whites. This is what makes sherbet so much richer than sorbet. By law, sherbet has to contain less than 2% fat, which makes it a perfect lighter alternative to ice cream.

Also, for my whole life, up until today, I’ve referred to it as sherbert…and apparently it’s called sherbet. So, there’s a bonus question answered for you all. and if you’re wondering what sherbert is, we answer that question in Is Sherbet Sherbert?

Where do your loyalties lie? With the refreshing, light, cleansing sorbet? Or with the rich, creamy, fruity sherbet? What are your favorite flavors of each? Sound off and let us know!

Are Sherbet and Sorbet the Same Thing?
Are Sherbet and Sorbet the Same Thing?

Kevin Kessler

Kevin J. Kessler is an experienced professional writer and published author living in Orlando, Florida. With a lifelong passion for food, this sandwich loving Italian boy enjoys exploring unanswered questions about the foods we all know and love so well. Kevin’s foodie lifestyle was born through his love of Walt Disney World and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. A lover of stories, he enjoys trying new dishes from all over the world and learning everything there is to know about where food comes from, how its prepared, and what variations on it exist.