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What’s the Difference Between Sorbet vs. Sherbet vs. Ice Cream

With the debut of the Baskin-Robbins April Flavor of the Month, Watermelon Swirl Sorbet, a fruit-forward celebration of a spring in a scoop, you may be wondering, “what’s the difference between sorbet, sherbet, and ice cream?” Baskin-Robbins has your back with the inside scoop on the differences between these classic frozen treats.

To start with the basics, the foundation of all the products in the ice cream industry begin with the syrup formed when sugar dissolves in water. This base is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. Keep reading for insight into the differences between these sweet treats!

What is Sorbet

The simplest and chronologically oldest ice cream products are ices (or sorbet), which are essentially flavoring and frozen water. A sorbet does not contain any fat or milk, but must have a minimum acidity of .35%, which results in fruit and tart flavors, like Watermelon Swirl Sorbet. Sorbet is also non-dairy* and is available at Baskin-Robbins for those with non-dairy dietary needs or lifestyle preferences.

What is Ice Cream

At the other end of the spectrum is ice cream, which includes dairy ingredients, sweeteners, flavors and typically has 10-16% fat. This combination creates a less dense and creamy texture and appearance. Visit the Baskin-Robbins Flavor News page to stay up to date on all our must-have ice cream flavors this month, including fan-favorite Tax Crunch®.

What is Sherbet

Sherbet (Pronounced Sher-bet) falls in between sorbet and ice cream, as it is similar to ices, but includes dairy ingredients (in small amounts, about 1-2%), but is distinctly different from ice cream in flavor, mouthfeel and texture. Sherbet uses citric acid, which can make for more of a tart taste. A good example of a Sherbet that you may be familiar with is our Rainbow Sherbet

As you can see, these frozen desserts are all a little different, but the one thing they have in common is their availability at your local Baskin-Robbins. You can enjoy the brand’s sorbet, sherbet and ice cream right at home with “no contact” delivery via DoorDash or Uber Eats, or you can place an order at or through the Baskin-Robbins mobile app for pickup via drive-thru, carry-out, or curbside where available.

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*Non-dairy means that the item is made without dairy-containing ingredients. Although the following items do not contain ingredients with dairy, there is always a chance for cross-contact with dairy from other products in the restaurant. Given the likelihood of cross-contact in our restaurants, this is not suitable for people with a milk allergy.