The Real Scoop On Ice Cream, Soft Serve And Gelato

Warmer weather means cooler treats, and in Austin there's no shortage of either. Here's the scoop on a few different varieties of our favorite frozen desserts, and places to try for each.

Lick Ice Cream

Photo by Gabby Phi

Ice Cream

Ice cream isn't just any old sweet, frozen confection. It consists of milk, cream, egg yolk and sugar that is whipped together and then pasteurized (heated) to kill any harmful bacteria.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the mix has to contain at least ten percent milk fat and at least six percent non-fat milk solids (think dried milk powder) to be officially labeled as "ice cream".

Despite our best efforts to create a healthier alternative, higher fat content does lead to a creamer texture and richer taste. Try Lick Ice Creams for enticing flavors like Texas Sheet Cake and freshly made waffle cones.

Lick Ice Creams
Address: 2032 S. Lamar Blvd
Hours: Sun- Thur 12:30 pm- 10 pm, Fri and Sat 12:30 pm- 10 pm

Dolce Neve gelato

Photo by Gabby Phi


Italian gelato contains less fat than traditional ice cream because it's made with more milk than cream. It's also denser and not as fluffy because it is churned at a much slower pace.

Gelato is best served at a temperature about 15ºF warmer than ice cream because it contains less fat and less air. Serving gelato at optimal ice cream temperature (about 10ºF) would result in a hardened block.

Dolce Neve, a quaint gelato shop that showcases the entire gelato making process right behind the counter, features 18 handcrafted flavors each day.

Dolce Neve
Address: 1713 S. 1st St
Hours: Mon – Fri 11 am – 10 pm, Sat – Sun 11 am – 12 am

Cow Tipping Creamery

Photo by Gabby Phi

Soft Serve

Soft serve is ice cream that has not undergone a hardening process. After ice cream has been whipped and mixed, it needs to be reduced to a very low temperature to harden. Soft serve simply skips this process.

Cow Tipping Creamery offers rotating flavors of soft serve daily as well as a tempting array of toppings and specialties.

Cow Tipping Creamery
Address: 2512 Rio Grande St
Hours: Tue 1:30 pm- 9 pm, Wed-Fri 1pm- 9pm, Sat, 1pm- 5pm, 6pm- 9pm

The Others

Other frozen desserts are not technically ice cream at all. Frozen custard is ice cream that contains eggs, which creates a smoother texture and helps the custard stay cold longer. Sorbet is a typically fruity frozen confection that is made with sweetened water and flavoring, while its close cousin sherbet contains very low butterfat content and is dairy-based.

So take your pick—as the Texas heat sets in, they're all one big happy frozen family, waiting to be scooped into your mouth.