Sorbet. Sherbert. Sherbet. Norbert. Which one doesn't belong? Obviously Norbert. But really, what's the big diff between sherbert and sherbet anyway? Aren't they the same thing? Is one creamier than the other? One with more fruit flavoring? In this edition of food vs food, let's take a look at sherbert vs sherbet. Only one spelling shall reign supreme. Maybe.

So, is there a difference?

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Anna Yang

Simply put, no. Only spelling-wise. Sherbert is a different spelling of sherbet, which basically is a low-fat, fruit-flavored alternative to ice-cream that contains between one to two percent of butterfat from milk or cream at any given time. Any more than that officially qualifies the sweet treat as ice cream. This also differentiates sherbert/sherbet from sorbet, which is basically dairy-free.

Originally, sherbet was considered a cold drink made with sweetened and diluted fruit juice. And in the UK, sherbet often refers to a sherbet powder, which is a sweet, fizzy powder stirred into beverages.

Origin of the spelling squabble

So why are there two spellings in the first place? Is the sherbert vs sherbet ordeal a casualty of confusion?

Well, the origins of "sherbet" comes from Persian word sharbat and Turkish word şerbet—both stem from the Arabic word sharba, which means "drink." Both Persian and Turkish words lack an "r" in the second syllable, and when the sherbet concept entered the English language in the 17th century, spellings were a mess. And among the word frenzy, usage today still includes both "sherbert" and "sherbet."

Sherbet became the established spelling in the 18th century, but sherbert came back into the vernacular in the 20th century and is now used fairly regularly (but at a much-reduced rate).

Where to get the best sherbet

One of the most popular flavors to come out of the sherbert vs sherbet debacle is rainbow, obviously. And where do you find the best version aside from in the grocery store's frozen aisle?

Two of the most popular brands to produce the lauded rainbow sherbet are Baskin Robbins and Thrifty at Rite-Aid. Others include most fruits you can think of including strawberry, lemonade, mango, orange—you get the picture.

To settle the sherbert vs sherbet ordeal once and for all: there is ZERO difference except for spelling. They're both yummy summer treats you can get instead of or ALONG WITH ice cream; why have to choose one or the other when both are in this world to bless us with creamy goodness? The only choice you have to make is which flavors you want.