The Difference Between Custard and Ice Cream

The Difference Between Custard and Ice Cream imperial

Frozen custard and ice cream are two delicious treats that are loved by many but are often confused with each other. While both are creamy and sweet, some important differences set them apart. As a home cook, understanding these differences can help you make informed decisions when choosing which dessert to prepare or enjoy. Let's delve into the key differences between frozen custard and ice cream, including their ingredients, texture, flavor, and nutritional value. Whether you are a seasoned home cook or just starting out, this information will help you expand your culinary knowledge and skills.



The first and most notable difference between frozen custard and ice cream is the ingredients used to make them.

Frozen custard is made with a combination of egg yolks, heavy cream, a small amount of milk, and sugar. The eggs give the frozen custard a creamy and rich texture, while the heavy cream provides a smooth and velvety consistency. The sugar is used to sweeten the frozen custard and minimize ice crystals' formation. The ingredients are carefully heated to 183°F and then chilled, and then churned to create a dense and creamy dessert.

Ice cream is typically made with a combination of milk, cream, sugar, and flavorings. However, ice cream can also contain egg yolks but typically less than frozen custard. The milk and cream provide the base for the dessert, while the sugar adds sweetness and curbs ice crystal formation. Flavorings can range from natural ingredients like vanilla, chocolate, and fruit to artificial flavorings. The ingredients are blended, frozen, and churned to create a smooth and creamy texture.



The texture of frozen custard is dense, creamy, and velvety. It is known for its rich and indulgent mouthfeel due to the use of heavy cream in the recipe. Frozen custard has a smooth and dense texture due to its high butterfat content. When frozen custard is scooped, it has a smooth and creamy texture without any gritty or icy bits. It is also known for its ability to hold its shape due to the use of eggs, which also adds to its richness. The texture of frozen custard is what sets it apart from other frozen desserts and makes it a popular choice among those who enjoy a rich and creamy treat.

The texture of ice cream is smooth and creamy, and depending on the fat content can be light. The creaminess of ice cream is due to the combination of milk and cream in the recipe, giving it a velvety feel. Ice creams may have a slightly gritty or icy texture when a previously opened container has been in the freezer for several weeks. This is especially the case with lower fat and sugar-free varieties. But overall, the texture of ice cream is smooth and creamy. It is also easy to scoop and has a good balance between creaminess and texture.



Due to its high butterfat content, frozen custard has a distinct and indulgent flavor. Frozen custard flavor is often described as being more intense than ice cream due to the use of heavy cream and eggs in the recipe. The flavor of frozen custard is often compared to that of custard or pudding, with a smooth and creamy taste. Sometimes flavors are added.

The flavor of ice cream can vary greatly, as there is a wide range of ingredients and flavorings you can use in a recipe. The flavor of ice cream can range from classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate to more complex and unique flavors like mint chocolate chip, strawberry, and rocky road. The flavor of ice cream is usually described as refreshing, with a good balance between sweetness and creaminess.


Nutritional Value

Regarding nutritional value, frozen custard, and ice cream are different. Frozen custard is higher in fat and calories than ice cream. This is because of the egg yolks and heavy cream used in its recipe. Frozen custard is also typically denser than ice cream, which means it is more calorie-dense.

Ice cream is typically lower in fat and calories than frozen custard. This is because it is made with larger amounts of milk and lower amounts of cream.


Which is Better? Frozen Custard or Ice Cream?

Both frozen custard and ice cream have their own unique qualities and it depends on personal preference. Frozen custard is known for its creamy, rich, and velvety texture, while ice cream has a lighter mouthfeel and a wider range of flavors. Ultimately, it depends on what you're looking for in a frozen dessert - whether you prefer a creamy and intense flavor or a lighter and more diverse flavor range. Both frozen custard and ice cream can be delicious, and it's up to you to decide which is your favorite.