Using An Ice Cream Maker For Gelato


Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream. In Italy gelato needs to have a minimum of 3.5% butterfat but there is no upper limit. For ice cream the United States requires a minimum of 10% butterfat while premium ice cream may contain much more butterfat.

There are a few basic differences between ice cream and gelato. Gelato has less air churned into it and has less fat. Ice cream mixtures are heavy on cream while gelato uses more milk not cream. Gelato is usually lower in fat, sugar and calories. Since it contains less air gelato has a more dense texture than most ice cream.

Although gelato is usually churned at a much lower speed than ice cream when it is being made in a commercial ice cream maker you can make gelato at home using your regular ice cream maker the same way you use it to make ice cream. Most ice cream makers for residential use all run at the same speed.


You can either make a custard type gelato or you can include fresh fruits in your gelato.

Individual recipes for gelato are many and varied. They will contain milk, sugar, flavoring and/or fruit and possibly egg yolks or cornstarch may be used to stabilize the base and thicken the gelato.

A basic recipe for gelato is 2 cups of milk, you may use either whole, fat-free, low fat milk, soy milk or light cream or almond or rice milk. Next you need ½ cup of sugar and 5 egg yolks.

Heat the milk until it starts to bubble then remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Meanwhile in a heatproof bowl beat the sugar and eggs until they are creamy and thick. Very slowly beat the cooling milk into the eggs. Put the bowl over simmering water and stir with a wooden spoon until custard coats the spoon back. Remove bowl from pan and let cool. Stir every few minutes. You can put the bowl in the refrigerator to cool or sit the pan in the sink in some cold water.

Blend any flavorings or additions into the cooled custard and pour the custard into your ice cream maker and freeze using the manufacturers instructions. Stop the machine when the gelato is almost firm. Enjoy your homemade gelato.