Is There Milk in Sorbet?

Written by: Kelly Donovan

Sorbet is a popular dessert similar to ice cream, made from frozen sugary water and flavored with fruit. Due to its similarity to ice cream in the dessert family, people often wonder whether there’s milk in sorbet.

Sorbet contains no milk and is a mixture of water, sugar, and a flavoring such as fruit puree.

Due to the delicate crystalline texture of sorbet, milk isn’t used in the dessert; however, some variations use milk. This article will discuss how sorbet is made, whether it contains milk, and whether similar dessert products include milk.

Does Sorbet Have Milk in It?

Sorbet in its original form doesn’t contain milk, regardless of the flavoring. To make sorbet, you only need water, a blender or food processor, your favorite fruit flavoring, a sweetener, and a dash of lemon or lime juice.

Most store-bought sorbets don’t have any dairy products in them either, making them completely milk-free.

The only variation of sorbet that contains dairy is mulled wine sorbet, which is made with wine, orange, lemons, ruby port, various mulling spices, and egg whites.

cup of sorbet with strawberries on top

Is Sorbet Vegan?

For some vegans, sorbet might not be on the up and up.

Cane sugar, the common ingredient used to sweeten sorbet, can be filtered with bone char, a material derived from animal bones to decolorize cane sugar.

Similarly, some companies might use honey as a sweetener alternative, which, to some vegans, is an animal derivative.

Industrialized honey production is not particularly friendly to the bees, raising some ethical concerns about sourcing the ingredients for sorbet.

Does Sherbet Have Milk in It?

One important distinction to be aware of if you’re trying to avoid milk in your desserts is the difference between sorbet and sherbet.

Sorbet is traditionally not made with milk, while in the United States and Canada, sherbet is an ice cream-like dessert made with dairy and other milk additives.

Sorbet typically has a base of water, while sherbet might have a base of water or milk.

Sherbet generally contains egg whites, sugar, lemon juice, and other flavorings. Ensure you read the label carefully when buying your dessert, so you don’t mix up the two.

Does Italian Ice Have Milk in It?

Similar to sorbet in flavor, Italian ice doesn’t contain milk. It’s made from a base of plain water, too.

The only difference between sorbet and Italian ice is that the latter uses imitation flavoring instead of fruit juice.

If you’re concerned about a dairy allergy or dietary preferences, you don’t need to worry about there being any milk in Italian ice.

Does Gelato Have Milk in It?

Translated to ice cream in Italian, gelato does have milk in it.

Generally, it contains less milk fat than regular ice cream and is served at a warmer temperature.

It also has a denser consistency and softer taste than ice cream.

woman eating strawberry sorbet

Final Thoughts

Sorbet is, on paper, a dairy-free product similar to Italian ice.

If you’re buying it fresh from the store, you can always check the ingredients on the back to make sure you’re getting a milk-free sorbet.

There are also plenty of non-dairy milk alternatives available.

About the Author

Kelly Donovan is a freelance writer. She enjoys helping people reach their wellness goals by educating them about how food plays a role in their health.