Gelato is traditionally made with dairy, typically containing milk and/or cream. However, dairy-free alternatives are available, using ingredients like almond, coconut, or oat milk to cater to those with lactose intolerance, vegan preferences, or other dietary restrictions. Always check the label or ask about ingredients to ensure it is dairy-free.
Dairy-Free Alternatives to Gelato
Sorbet: A refreshing, fruit-based dessert made from fruit puree, sugar, and water, free from dairy ingredients.
Coconut milk ice cream: A creamy, tropical-tasting alternative utilizing coconut milk as the base.
Oat milk ice cream: A smooth and rich option made with oat milk, offering a dairy-free experience.
Cashew-based ice cream: A luxurious choice made from blended cashews, creating a rich, dairy-free treat.
Almond milk ice cream: A popular dairy-free alternative that uses almond milk, providing a creamy, nutty flavor.
Soy milk ice cream: A widely available dairy-free option made from soy milk, offering a similar texture to traditional ice cream.
Dairy-Free Gelato Brands
Known for its wide range of flavors, Talenti offers a delicious range of dairy-free sorbettos made with real fruit and natural ingredients.
Gigi Gelato’s dairy-free gelato bars are made with plant-based ingredients, offering a tasty and eco-friendly frozen treat.
Puro Vegan Gelato
Puro offers artisanal vegan gelato made with high-quality, natural ingredients, providing a rich, creamy, and dairy-free indulgence.
Simple Dairy-Free Chocolate Gelato Recipe
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or any dairy-free milk of choice)
- 1 cup canned coconut milk (full-fat)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Combine almond milk, coconut milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, constantly whisking until the mixture is smooth and all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Once the mixture begins to steam (do not let it boil), remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until completely chilled.
- Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions, usually about 20-25 minutes.
- Transfer the churned gelato to a lidded, freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 4 hours or until firm. Before serving, let the gelato sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly. Enjoy your homemade dairy-free chocolate gelato!
Dairy-Free Gelato vs. Dairy-Free Ice-cream
Lower fat content: Gelato typically has a lower fat content than ice cream, as it uses less cream or high-fat milk alternatives.
Denser texture: Gelato is churned at a slower speed, incorporating less air, resulting in a denser, creamier texture.
Softer consistency: Due to the lower fat content, dairy-free gelato is often served slightly warmer, making it softer.
More intense flavors: With less fat to coat the palate, dairy-free gelato often delivers more vibrant and concentrated flavors.
Dairy-Free Ice Cream
Higher fat content: Dairy-free ice cream usually contains more fat, as it often relies on ingredients like full-fat coconut milk or cashews.
Fluffier texture: Ice cream is churned at a higher speed, incorporating more air and creating a lighter, fluffier texture.
Firmer consistency: Dairy-free ice cream is typically served colder, resulting in a firmer, more solid texture.
Milder flavors: The higher fat content in dairy-free ice cream can result in a slightly milder flavor profile than gelato.
Is Gelato Vegan?
Traditional gelato is not vegan as it is made using milk and sugars. Some recipes may also call for eggs.
Is Gelato Vegetarian?
Gelato is vegetarian. Vegetarians are okay with animal products like milk, honey, and eggs.
Is Gelato Gluten-Free?
Gelato is often gluten-free; its main ingredients are milk, sugar, and flavorings. However, certain flavors or mix-ins might contain gluten. Always check labels or ask about ingredients to ensure it’s gluten-free.