Sorbet and sherbet easily blur together. Although they sound quite similar, these frozen treats are actually very different from each other, especially when compared to other frozen treats like ice cream. Most notably, sorbet hasn't always been used as a simple dessert. Traditionally, it's used as a palate cleanser in between courses so flavors aren't "mixed together" during a long dinner. It wasn't until the 1600's that sorbet was popularized as a dessert. 

What is Sorbet? 

Sorbet is a frozen dessert made of fruit puree and a sweetener (like honey or sugar). Its origins can be traced back to the Middle Eastern drink of a similar name, "charbet," which was made of sweetened fruit juice and water. Becuase it doesn't contain any dairy, sorbet is vegan (if made without honey) and contains less fat than normal ice cream. 

Like ice cream, sorbet can be made into endless flavors. It is also made in the same manner, as ingredients are frozen then churned together. In the end, a smooth uniform texture is formed. 

Sorbet vs Sherbet

cream, sweet, sorbet, ice, milk, chocolate, relish, strawberry, goody, wafer, sherbet, dairy product
Anna Yang

Sherbet (also spelled as "sherbert") is a frozen dessert that contains dairy and frozen fruit. The dairy portion of sherbet can have anywhere from 1 percent to 2 percent milkfat from milk or cream. The percentage of milk fat has an impact on what's considered ice cream or not. A product with less than 1 percent milk fat is considered "water ice." Anything between 2 and 10 percent milk fat is labeled as a "frozen dairy dessert." And ice cream is a product with over 10 percent milk fat. This is why something like strawberry sherbet and strawberry ice cream can contain very similar ingredients, but be considered completely different foods. 

Easy Sorbet Recipes

Because of its simple nature, sorbet is very easy to make on your own. In the spirit of summer, try out this Grapefruit Sorbet. Looking for something with more of a kick? Check out this Tequila Lemon Sorbet, served in an actual lemon peel. If you're in the mood for more of a "dessert" or jumping on the latest food trend, try this Berry Sorbet Sundae. It's pretty much the dessert version of an açaí bowl and is full of M&M's and bananas.

Other Ways to Enjoy Sorbet

ice, juice, watermelon, cocktail, strawberry, sweet, sorbet
Amanda Wakefield

As previously mentioned, sorbet can have other purposes other than a dessert. Many people enjoy sorbet mixed into drinks, even adding alcohol to it as well. Sgroppino is a well-known Italian beverage made from lemon sorbet, vodka, and prosecco. However, you can definitely enjoy a non-alcoholic sorbet drink as well, such as this Lemon Sorbet Drink

Even though it's commonly confused with other frozen desserts, sorbet goes back a long way as a popular, fruity treat. In comparison to sherbet and ice cream, sorbet is a great dairy-free alternative that can be enjoyed in many ways than just dessert.