Difference between Sherbert and Sorbet

By: | Updated: Jan-4, 2018

In the summertime, some popular desserts aside from ice cream are sherbert and sorbet. Sherbert and sorbet are types of frozen desserts which are almost always fruit-based. There is a growing preference for these types of desserts as they are deemed less fattening than regular ice cream. But how do we differentiate between the two? Continue reading and you’ll scoop up the differences between sherbert and sorbet.

Summary Table

Sherbert Sorbet
Contains milk or other dairy productsDoes not contain milk
More creamy because of its fat contentMore grainy because of the ice
May also refer to a fizzy powder or a diluted fruit juice drinkOften used as a palate cleanser


Orange flavored sherbert
Orange flavored sherbert

Sherbert is the alternative term used for sherbet. It is a type of frozen dessert much like ice cream but it contains less milk or other fat (about 3%). Sherbert is a dessert which is midway between ice cream and sorbet. The texture is a little creamy. It is usually made up of fruit juice, water, sugar, and milk or cream. Some recipes use egg whites, gelatin, or buttermilk as added ingredients. In some countries like the UK, sherbert refers to a fizzy powder that is added to beverages. Still others refer to a diluted fruit juice drink as sherbert.

Watermelon-flavored sorbet
Watermelon-flavored sorbet

Sorbet is a type of iced dessert. The name “sorbet” originated from the Arabic word sharbat which means “fragrant mashed fruit drink.” It is made up of water, sugar, and another main ingredient, usually fruit juice or fruit puree, which gives it its flavor. Sometimes, alcohol is also included in the mix. Sorbet does not contain milk. It is considered to be the non-fat alternative to ice cream. The texture of sorbet is a little grainy because of the ice content. It is also noted to be the original gluten and dairy-free dessert. What’s most desirable about it is that it is light, cold and refreshing. Sorbet is also often used as a palate cleanser. It is served in between meal courses to clear the palate as it transitions from one flavor or taste to another.

Sherbert vs Sorbet

What is the difference between sherbert and sorbet? Both sherbert and sorbet are frozen desserts made from fruit juices or pureed fruits, water and sugar. The main difference is that sherbert contains some amount of milk and sorbet doesn’t. Because of the milk content, sherbert has a creamy texture compared to the grainy, icy texture of the sorbet. Sherbert is like ice cream and is taken as a dessert. However, in some countries, it also refers to a diluted fruit juice drink or a fizzy powder that is added to beverages. Sorbet, on the other hand, is often used as a palate cleanser as well as being a refreshing dessert.

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