Frozen Dessert vs. Ice Cream: What’s the Difference?

Next time you find yourself in the frozen dessert aisle, you might notice that some products identify themselves as “ice cream,” while others bear the label “frozen dairy dessert.” But what exactly does this mean?

Is frozen dairy dessert just another name for ice cream? After all, ice cream is frozen, contains dairy and is often enjoyed as a delectable dessert. However, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it’s not quite that simple. While both can provide a cool escape on a hot day, there are some key differences worth noting as you put together your grocery list.

Here is a closer look at ice cream vs. frozen dairy dessert in terms of ingredients, preparation, the types of treats that fall within each category and more.

Ice Cream Defined

In its purest form, ice cream is a delightfully simple concoction, composed of just a handful of ingredients, primarily starting with milk or cream. Crafting real ice cream involves the meticulous process of churning together milk, cream, sugar and flavors before freezing it to perfection. But the FDA has also set forth stringent legal guidelines on what can and cannot be classified as ice cream.

According to the standards outlined by the FDA, genuine ice cream must contain a minimum of 10% dairy milkfat, must weigh at least 4.5 pounds per gallon and should have no more than 100% overrun. Overrun refers to the amount of air incorporated into the frozen treat during production. Real ice cream has a controlled level of overrun, which contributes to its luscious, creamy texture. Less overrun means a denser, more flavorful product, making each spoonful a delight for your taste buds.

Anything that doesn’t meet the above standards outlined by the FDA must be labeled as “frozen dairy desserts,” which have risen in popularity as a flavorful alternative to ice cream. While resembling ice cream in appearance, frozen dairy desserts typically include a lower milkfat content, higher levels of overrun (incorporated air), and for those ice cream lovers with dietary restrictions, milk or cream can be replaced with dairy alternatives.

Where Tradition Meets Innovation

The world of ice cream-making is filled with tradition and craftsmanship, which helps make it such a wonderful space for both producers and cold treat-enjoyers. From hand-churning to small-batch production, the dedication to creating the perfect scoop has helped make ice cream a beloved treat for centuries – but there are always new innovations at play, as well.

Ice cream producers have always been renowned for their creativity, but this has reached new heights in recent years as new methods and flavors have continued to take shape. Ice cream-makers are experts at taking those few basic ingredients – milk, cream, sugar and flavors – and transforming them into a mesmerizing array of delightful creations. From classic vanilla and butter pecan to exotic combinations like Raspberry Rumble® or our Signature™ Espresso After Dark, the possibilities are limitless and growing more delectable by the day.

And as we all know, ice cream isn’t just a standalone dessert. It’s a versatile ingredient that can either be transformed into milkshakes, sundaes or sandwiches in addition to being paired with warm, flavorful desserts like brownies or apple pie. What mouthwatering combination will you enjoy after your next meal?

Experience the Magic of Real Ice Cream with Yelloh

Ice cream has the remarkable ability to transport us back to our most cherished memories – the taste of summer vacations, the soundtrack of the ice cream truck and the sweet reward after a long day. So, what can you do to ensure you’re indulging in a real ice cream experience? The answer is simple: go straight to the ingredient list! Look for a brand that prioritizes quality and real ingredients. In other words, look for a brand like Yelloh!

We have dozens of tempting, mouthwatering ice cream products and other frozen treats in our collection, all of which are made using real cream and natural flavors and colors. From the classic Vanilla Ice Cream Cups and Classic Vanilla Nut Sundae Cones to the bolder Signature™ Peanut Butter Waffle Cone Ice Cream Pint, we’ve got something to satisfy any sweet tooth.

So, the next time you’re faced with this frozen dessert dilemma, opt for the genuine delight of real ice cream. Your taste buds will thank you for it.

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