Italian ice
Lime-flavoured Italian ice
Place of originItaly
Main ingredientsWater, fruit (concentrate, juice, or purée)

Italian ice is a semi-frozen sweetened treat composed of finely granulated ice and fruit concentrates, juices, or purées, or other natural or artificial food flavorings.[1][2] Italian ice is similar to sorbet and snow cones, but differs from American-style sherbet in that it does not contain dairy or egg ingredients.[1]

Italian ice was introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants and is derived from the Sicilian granita, a similar and related Italian dessert.[3] Traditionally lemon flavored, popular modern choices include cherry, strawberry, and other fruits and confections.[4]


The Italian word sorbetto and English sherbet come from fruit syrups sweetened with honey or palm sugar that the Arabs used to drink diluted with water.[5]

In Europe, Italian ice seems to have appeared at the same time as ice cream in the second half of the 17th century. Both products use the same technology. Italian ice can be used as a stand-alone refreshment, dessert, or as a palate restorer in a multi-course meal.[6]

An orange Italian ice (sold as water ice)

Italian ice is commonly referred to and sold as water ice in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, including South Jersey.[7][8]

See also


  1. ^ a b U.S. Food and Drug Administration, CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 Archived 2020-02-04 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 9 June 2011.
  2. ^ "What's in the Ice Cream Aisle? Archived 2018-05-04 at the Wayback Machine". International Dairy Foods Association. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  3. ^ Bienenstock, David (August 20, 2015). "The Best Italian Ice Is Frozen in Time". Munchies. Vice Media. Archived from the original on 2019-07-18. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  4. ^ "Top 10 Italian Ice Flavors". K 104.7. 2018-06-12. Archived from the original on 2018-06-14. Retrieved 2022-06-02.
  5. ^ "Choice Reviews | Login". doi:10.5860/choice.38-4203. Archived from the original on 2019-12-10. Retrieved 2022-12-02.
  6. ^ Davidson, Alan (2014-11-20). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7. Archived from the original on 2020-01-10. Retrieved 2022-12-02.
  7. ^ "Water ice: What it is, what it isn't, how to say it and where to get it". pennlive. 2018-07-20. Archived from the original on 2022-05-24. Retrieved 2022-05-25.
  8. ^ Von Bergen, Jane M. (23 May 2015). "What water ice teaches us about the world". Archived from the original on 18 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2016.