Many people confuse between ice cream and frozen custard owing to similarities in looks and taste, but there is a distinct difference between ice cream and custard. The key difference between ice cream and custard is their key ingredients: the main ingredients in ice cream include milk, cream, and sweeteners while the main ingredient in frozen custard is the egg yolk.
Custard is a dessert made of eggs, sugar, and milk. Since frozen custard, which is a type of custard, is very similar to ice cream, this article will mainly focus on the difference between ice cream and frozen custard. There are millions who have never even tried frozen custard thinking it to be some sort of pudding that has been frozen. If you have ever been to Culver’s, you must have eaten their frozen custard. It is a dessert that looks just like an ice cream but yummier perhaps, due to the creamier and thicker texture. You will find that custard is smoother and gives almost a silky feeling in mouth while ice cream has ice chips and is sweeter than frozen custard.
What is Ice Cream?
Ice cream is one of the most popular desserts all over the world. The main ingredients of ice cream are milk, cream, and sweeteners. According to the United States Department of Agriculture standards, any food or dessert labeled as ice cream in the US must have 20% milk solids and 10% milk by weight. Any less, a dessert does not qualify to be an ice cream. Some of the costlier brands contain a lot more fat, containing 14-18% of milk fat. Another important ingredient in ice cream is sugar, without which ice cream does not become yummy for all. Around 15% by weight in an ice cream is sugar.
Moreover, ice cream is full of air that is pumped inside when the ingredients are mixed and whipped. This air increases the volume of ice cream. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires that there should be at least 4.5 pounds/gallon of ice cream, to ensure manufacturers do not pump in the excess air and cheat customers.
What is Frozen Custard?
Frozen custard makes use of cream and milk just like ice cream, but there is an additional ingredient in the form of egg yolk. According to FDA, any dessert that contains at least 1.4% egg yolk by weight is frozen custard. If this percentage of egg yolk goes down, the dessert qualifies to be an ice cream. The addition of egg yolk make frozen custard thicker and creamier.
Moreover, frozen custard is prepared fresh and not sold as ice cream. Thus, frozen custard does not contain additives and preservatives like ice cream.
What is the Difference Between Ice Cream and Custard?
Ice Cream vs Custard
|Ice cream is a soft, sweet frozen food made with milk and cream.
|Custard refers to a variety of food based on a mixture of milk or cream and egg yolk.
Frozen custard is a frozen dessert that looks like ice cream.
|Milk, cream and sweeteners
|Egg yolk (1.4% by weight), milk, cream, and sweeteners
|Not as thick or creamy as custard
|Thicker and creamier
|A high air content is pumped inside when whipping up ice cream to increase its volume
|Addition of air in frozen custard is natural and much less than ice cream
|May contain a lot of additives and preservatives
|Contains no or very little additives and preservatives
Summary – Ice Cream vs Custard
The term custard refers to many culinary preparations based on a mixture of milk, cream, and egg. Frozen custard is one such food, which falls under the category of frozen desserts. Many people do not understand the between ice cream and frozen custard since both these desserts are very similar in appearance. Overall, the difference between ice cream and custard lies in their ingredients, texture and aeration process.