What Is Gelato Made Of?

Most people have heard of gelato. There is something about its name that makes it sound a lot fancier than any regular old ice cream, and this is only further reinforced by the fact that this is an Italian creation. 

However, while a lot of people have heard of gelato – not many people actually know what it is, and even fewer know what it is made of. But, if you are considering trying gelato, this might be something that you want to know. 

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at what gelato is, what makes it different from ice cream, and, most importantly, what it is made of. So, if you want to find out the answer to any of these questions, keep on reading! 

What Is Gelato?

First things first, let’s take a look at what gelato is. Well, as you would probably expect, Gelato is an Italian dessert of the frozen variety.

A lot of people get gelato confused with ice cream, and many think that these two terms are interchangeable. But this isn’t the case. In fact, gelato is very different from ice cream.

Of course, there are similarities between the two, and the main one is the fact that both of these desserts are produced using dairy products.

While a lot of companies have now pioneered vegan alternatives for both ice cream and gelato, traditionally both of these dishes would have been made using dairy products (including milk and cream).

Most gelatos will still be made using real dairy products.

Gelato is often considered to be an artisan product, and it is produced in a number of different flavors. These include vanilla, hazelnut, pistachio, cream, and lots more.

Of course, to produce different flavors of gelato, different ingredients will be added to create this taste experience. But, the majority of gelato recipes will start with the same handful of base ingredients.

Let’s take a look at what these ingredients are. 

What Is Gelato Made Of? 

Now that we know what gelato is, let’s take a look at what it is made of. Well, as we have just mentioned, gelato will usually consist of a handful of base ingredients that remain the same, no matter what flavor you choose.

To create the taste experience, additional ingredients will be added to make the gelato taste a certain way. But, the base ingredients will almost always be the same. So what are they?

Well, gelato actually consists of 4 main base ingredients. They are: 

  • Milk
  • Heavy cream
  • Egg yolks
  • Sugar

The majority of gelato recipes will also include vanilla in the recipe, even if the gelato flavor itself isn’t vanilla. However, as not all recipes include this, it can’t be considered a base ingredient. 

When combined and prepared properly, these 4 ingredients will create the texture of gelato that we know and love. But, if you create gelato using just these 4 ingredients, it will be bland and flavorless. That is why you should add additional ingredients to create your desired taste experience. 

Vanilla can be added to gelato to create vanilla gelato, and chocolate chunks and cocoa powder can be used to create chocolate gelato. Likewise, fruits can be added to the mixture to create a light and refreshing flavor.

The great thing about gelato is that you can add lots of different flavorings to it to create exactly what you want. But, how do you make gelato? Let’s find out.

How Do You Make Gelato?

How Do You Make Gelato?

Preparing gelato is a lot easier than you might expect. Excluding the flavoring that you want to add to your frozen dessert, there are only 4 ingredients that you will need to prepare, but they all must be of the highest quality.

Vanilla is one of the most popular flavors of gelato that exist, and it is one of the easiest to prepare too. So, let’s take a quick look at how you do this. 

To begin with, you will need to whip your egg yolks and sugar together using either a hand mixer or a stand mixer. You should beat these ingredients for around 5 minutes until they form a cream with a soft and fluffy texture. 

While your egg yolks and sugar are mixing, you should bring your milk almost to the boil in a saucepan, and leave it to cook for around 5 minutes. It is very important that you do not let the milk boil. 

After 5 minutes have passed, you should add your egg yolk/sugar mixture to the saucepan with the cooked milk. You should stir constantly while adding the mixture to the milk.

Next you should add your flavoring, we would suggest using either vanilla extract or vanilla bean. Keep your saucepan on the heat for a further 5 minutes.

Once the 5 minutes have passed, take your saucepan off the heat and add your cold heavy cream. Once this is done, you will need to mix your ingredients really well and then leave to cool.

Then place in the freezer for around 5 hours.

What Is The Difference Between Gelato And Ice Cream?

Now that you know what gelato is made of, and how to prepare it. Let’s take a quick look at what makes gelato and ice cream different from one another. 

Of course, there are lots of similarities between these two desserts, but there is one thing that makes them very different, and that is the ratio of ingredients used. 

Both gelato and ice cream have a similar list of base ingredients to one another. However, the proportions are slightly different. Gelato has less cream and more milk in its recipe than ice cream, giving it a softer texture and more flavor.

The reduced amount of cream also means that gelato tends to have a lower fat content than ice cream. This is why a lot of people believe that gelato is the healthier option of the two.


In short, gelato tends to consist of 4 base ingredients. They are heavy cream, milk, egg yolks and sugar. On top of that, it will also contain ingredients that are added to make the gelato flavorful. 

Thank you for reading!

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