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The Difference Between Sorbet, Sherbet, and Sherbert

Are Sorbet, Sherbet, and Sherbert the Same Thing?

Are sorbet, sherbet, and sherbert all the same? Despite the fact that the definitions of sorbet and sherbet could be used interchangeably, there is a distinction among American frozen dessert manufacturers and a pretty clear difference in the use of one ingredient: dairy.

Sherbet

Sherbet — which is alternatively spelled sherbert — is a frozen fruit and dairy product that contains anywhere from 1 percent to 2 percent milkfat from milk or cream. Anything below 1 percent is referred to as water ice, anything between 2 and 10 percent is considered a frozen dairy dessert, and anything above 10 percent is generally labeled ice cream.

Sorbet

On the other hand, sorbet usually implies a fruit-based frozen dessert with little to no dairy — although the use of the term sorbet is unregulated. To add to the confusion, in other parts of the world, sherbet may refer to a fizzy powder stirred into beverages, or a beverage made of diluted fruit juice.

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So there you have it — the two delicious desserts are not, in fact, the same despite the terms often being used incorrectly. The main difference: sherbet contains dairy and sorbet does not.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim
Join The Conversation
moonsailor77 moonsailor77 6 years
Sherbet is not alternately spelled (or pronounced) "sherbert." Not now. Not ever. Sorry, it's a spelling/pronunciation battle I've been fighting for like 25 years. I think it's because it's the kinf of ice cream I liked growing up - orange, rainbow, you name it! :)
prencesschris prencesschris 7 years
makes a differnce to me since i'm lactose intolerant & anything that has dairy in it would make me sick.
runnereater runnereater 7 years
I was totally thinking the pic looked like Asian bread too!
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
Uh, that pic is NOT of sorbet, sherbet, or sherbert. I think it's a pic of steamed sweet bread (it's Asian).
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I always kind of figured that sherbet had dairy in it because it's a bit creamier than sorbet. I happen to LOVE orange sherbet...it's one of my favorite desserts!
Pampire Pampire 7 years
Sherbert has the milk in it like ice cream but not as much. Sorbet doesn't have the milk. At least that's what I always thought! I've never heard of sherbet though!
hanmeng hanmeng 7 years
Thanks. I always wondered what "sorbet" was.
chiefdishwasher chiefdishwasher 7 years
If it looks like a duck it is a duck.....all the same.
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