What is Frozen Custard?

What is frozen custard?
What is the difference between frozen custard and ice cream?
How about gelato vs frozen custard?


Frozen custard incorporates egg yolks into the ingredient list to make it thicker and richer than ice cream. You can almost taste the incredible texture by looking at this black raspberry frozen custard cone!

What Makes Frozen Custard Special?

Frozen Custard VS Ice Cream - How is Frozen Custard different from Ice Cream and Gelato?

Frozen custard uses the same ingredients as ice cream (milk, cream and sugar) but also must include egg yolks.
Some ice creams may include egg yolks in their ingredient list, but only in small amounts. In fact, if an ice cream does include egg yolks the total amount must be less than 1.4% of the entire mixture according to the FDA rules. That’s right, the FDA regulates that frozen custard must contain egg yolks. Actually, egg yolk must account for an absolute minimum of 1.12% of the total frozen custard mixture in order to achieve custard status and be classified as frozen custard. Egg yolks give frozen custard its richer texture.

Also, ice cream is whipped to incorporate air into the mixture and frozen custard is not.
Thus, ice cream has a lighter consistency because it is vigorously whipped and thus more air is mixed into it.

Frozen custard is served at a higher temperature than ice cream.
This accounts for a softer yet denser texture over ice cream. The creamy, melty consistency of frozen custard is more like a soft serve, making it easier to lick but there is also something to bite into (unlike airy soft serve).

Frozen custard stands are actually rather hard to find, but are worth the hunt if you appreciate the indulgence.
If ever in Rochester, NY (or select other cities in the east coast states) be sure to check out Abbott’s Frozen Custard Stands. They’re a frozen custard chain with a fabulous treat (beware many locations are only open in the summer). Try the chocolate almond cone – they mix freshly roasted almonds into the freshly made (right before your eyes) custard only after you order so that each bit is both creamy and crunchy, sweet and salty. Soft smooth creamy frozen custard with a mouthful of crunchy nutty chunks in every bite – you will not regret stopping.

Gelato is churned at a much slower rate than ice cream and does not include egg yolks.
Incorporating less air and less fat leaves gelato denser than ice cream, but not as rich and indulgent as frozen custard. Gelato incorporates less fat than both ice cream and frozen custard, using more milk than cream in the ingredients. Gelato does not usually include any egg yolks at all, but if it does it is still under the 1.4% marker. Gelato is served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream, so that the texture stays silkier and softer than ice cream (like frozen custard). Because it has a lower percentage of fat than both ice cream and frozen custard, the main flavor ingredient – often a fresh fruit – really shines through in the flavor.

What is Frozen Custard?

Additional Information

To find out how long ice cream lasts, see our ice cream page.

To find out how long eggs last, see our egg page.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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