Frozen Yogurt vs. Ice Cream: What’s the Difference?

Simon King
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The History of these Frozen Desserts

How did Americans get from trekking across the Ice Cream Alps to buying yogurt in pints? Like much of the history of our culture, it's deeply rooted in the quest for economic prosperity. Ice cream as we know it was popularized by Carvel Ice Cream in 1920s Baltimore after a road trip to the the US Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Their executives found that this Navy base received shipments of fresh dairy products due to its Caribbean location. They brought back an idea for churning and freezing dairy products that was popular in Cuba because of its easy access to natural ice. However, it took the end of World War II, a period of high sugar prices and the post-war emphasis on healthier living for ice cream to skyrocket in popularity.

Of course, a few people a few years back realized that the base for ice cream was more than just milk and sugar. Why not substitute ingredients for more complex flavors? Not only is less sugar required, but the texture is often creamier than ice cream.

With frozen yogurt, the history wasn't influenced as much my geography. It evolved as an alternative to ice cream. Since it is lower in fat than ice cream, it gained popularity in the 1970s with the weight-watching boomers. That's why it was originally associated with health food stores. However, in the 1980s, the rise of indulgent options based on richer ingredients led to a rise in popularity.

About Ice Cream

Ice cream is a sweet food item made from cream, milk, sugar or other flavorings and other additives such as fruit, nuts or candy, frozen while stirred or agitated to create a social dessert popular almost everywhere in the world. There are different types of ice cream. Dairy ice cream is made with cream, milk, and sugar.

Dairy ice cream has a high fat content, because of the addition of cream and milk. The best ice cream recipes use the best-quality ingredients so it is a delicious treat you can enjoy. You can use your imagination and create your own version of dairy ice cream or use premade mixes and flavorings. It is available in different consistencies from soft serve (similar to McNugget soft serve ice cream), to spoonable, and harder varieties that need to be used with a fork. The latter are usually consumed alone and are not used to top or mix with other items.

Ice cream is considered to be high in saturated fat and cholesterol, in addition to the levels of sugar.

Ice cream is made up of around 10 percent of saturated fats, which is the main source of cholesterol in the American diet.

Dairy products have been linked to different kinds of cancers. However, it is still undetermined that these products lead to cancer.

Many people new to a vegan diet use ice cream as a sweet treat, because it is easier to find than other vegan substitutes.

Types of Ice Cream

Like ice cream, the main thing that differentiates frozen yogurts from each other is the proportion of cream to milk.

Ice creams contain at least 10% milk fat and 20% total milk solids, whereas yogurts contain less than 10% milk fat and at least 20% total milk solids.

The most typical proportion that gives you the highest creaminess (and calories!) is a minimum of 16% milk fat and a minimum of 30% total milk solids.

The main difference between frozen yogurts and ice creams is the consistency.

Frozen yogurt is usually not churned as hard as ice cream during manufacturing. This gives it a slightly soft texture that is closer to that of soft serve.

What you are left with is a concoction that tastes more like fresh yogurt, but will be a bit softer than ice-cream. Due to its manufacturing process, a lot of air will also be mixed into it.

If you’re just looking to enjoy the pleasure of frozen desserts, you may not notice these differences. But if you’re looking for technical specifications, they will help you choose the right product.

About Froyo

Yogurt-based frozen desserts can be traced to Ancient China. Later, in the seventeenth century, Elizabeth Street in Edinburgh, Scotland, became the first known street to offer frozen yogurt. It was referred to as “frozen iced cream” back then.

While it’s long been the staple of a healthy summertime treat, over time, the frozen treat has evolved into something that rivals the best of ice creams.

But what’s the difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream?

Let’s take a look.

Yogurt is the cultured product of milk, which is what gives yogurt its unique taste. It can contain sugar and fruit or both.

Ice cream requires a minimum of 10% milk fat and doesn’t contain any yogurt cultures. Instead of sugar and fruit, vanilla and other flavoring agents are used to achieve the desired taste.

The dessert that elbowed its way into the yogurt-based desserts market is called frozen yogurt or energy food. The main difference between the two is that frozen yogurt is not as sweet as ice cream and may be consumed in considerably larger quantities than ice cream.

Moreover, it also contains considerably more probiotics.

The Key Differences between Frozen Yogurt and Ice Cream

In America, yogurt is a popular snack, with yogurt shops being common in major metropolitan areas. But one of the most popular yogurt-based frozen dessert recipes – frozen yogurt … is a bit different from ice cream. Frozen yogurt vs. ice cream … which one is healthier?

Frozen yogurt has similar qualities to ice cream. In most cases, the texture and flavor are very similar, with frozen yogurt being a little more subtle. Most people agree that the consistency is slightly less creamy, but the results more than make up for that.

Yogurt is a dairy product, as is ice cream. The main difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream is that frozen yogurt is served at a slightly warmer temperature. The change in temperature causes healthy, live bacteria to remain active. Without it, the yogurt would be much less healthy and have a much shorter shelf life.

That live bacteria is what gives frozen yogurt its healthy properties.

After fermentation, yogurt is also much more acidic and flavorful than plain yogurt.

The main difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream, however, is the sugar content. Ice cream has a lot more sugar than frozen yogurt, even the nonfat kind. There are often over 20 grams of sugar in one cup of ice cream, while you could have the same amount of frozen yogurt with only 5 grams.


The first difference you will notice when comparing frozen yogurt vs ice cream is their texture.

Frozen yogurt has a texture that is similar to firm-soft serve ice cream. It is more dense than soft serve ice cream, and there is a bit of chewiness to it as well.

Frozen yogurt is also thicker than ice cream.

Because of all these differences, the serving sizes for frozen yogurt are smaller than the serving sizes you would receive at an ice cream shop.

A serving of frozen yogurt is typically anywhere from ½ cup to 1 cup. On the other hand, an ice cream serving is usually 1 single scoop.


Unless you purchase flavored frozen yogurt, the taste of frozen yogurt is going to be very similar to the taste of ice cream. It is still going to be sweet, and there will still be a creaminess to it.

However, it is important to note that the flavors of ice cream vary in intensity more than the flavors of frozen yogurt. Ice cream has flavors that range from mild to very sweet.

On the other hand, frozen yogurt comes in a wider spectrum of flavors, ranging from very bland to very sweet. So the cost of a serving of frozen yogurt can easily be double the one of ice cream because of the difference in ingredients.


You might be wondering what makes frozen yogurt healthier than ice cream.


Frozen Yogurt vs. Ice Cream

While ice cream and frozen yogurt seem to be similar, they are in fact very different. Ice cream is generally made with milk, cream, sugar, and flavorings, but also may include eggs, gums and stabilizers. Frozen yogurt is made using a thickener instead of eggs and has a smoother taste and a higher protein content. There are some differences between the two, so let’s take a look at the fine print before we meet for a scoop.

Fat content: Ice cream can contain half to three-quarters of the daily recommended amount of fat in each serving. There are ways to reduce this, but at least a quarter of that is fat. Frozen yogurt, as a rule, contains a third less fat and is generally healthier for your body. It is one way you can still eat ice cream and know that you are doing your body good.

Protein: Ice cream doesn’t have a lot of protein, but frozen yogurt can contain 3 grams per serving. That is 15% of your recommended daily value! This not only helps satiate you, it also gives you a good source of protein.

Sugar: This is another area where ice cream does not win. It typically has twice the sugar that frozen yogurt does, so you get more of the sweet stuff when you choose frozen yogurt over ice cream.

Fat Content

Although frozen yogurt and ice cream are both frozen desserts, they are actually very different products. The difference is most visible in the fat content.

Ice cream is generally made with more fat than frozen yogurt, which means more calories. The exact fat content for ice cream and frozen yogurt depends on what is in the recipe.

Most frozen yogurt recipes have about 0.5”1% fat content. For most people, this makes them a better choice as a snack, as it satisfies their sweet tooth without adding too many extra calories. However, for those that really crave ice cream, this lower-fat version isn’t always satisfying.

When you combine sweet yogurt and fresh fruit, you end up with a tasty and healthier dessert option.

Probiotic Content

All ice creams and frozen yogurts are not the same. The main difference between ice cream and frozen yogurt is the amount of time they’re allowed to take form. This also has a direct impact on the amount of probiotics and the overall health benefits of the yogurt.

Ice cream can contain any amount of probiotic bacteria and other good bacteria. The bacteria content will depend on various factors such as the quality of the milk and ingredients used, and any bacteria that might have been added to the mix.

It is important that ice cream is allowed to take the form and solidify before it hits the grocery stores. This takes a few weeks or even months, depending on the churning time. During that time, even those ice cream makers that are trying to keep bacteria away, can’t do much. But as soon as you let the ice cream out of the freezer and then you start eating it, the bacteria content will drop significantly.

Frozen yogurt on the other hand is made using starter cultures. It’s mixed with live active yogurt. Then it’s cooled down quickly and then put into the machines to freeze. The process takes about a day depending on the company and the machine they use. The yogurt is then while frozen and is ready for sale. You get the soft creamy texture and the tanginess of the yogurt.

Sugar Content

Frozen yogurt has a lower sugar content than ice cream. According to the guidelines set for labeling frozen treats in the United States, the two products can have the same amount of sugars, but the ratio of those sugars changes dramatically. For example, while vanilla ice cream has 15 grams of sugar per serving, frozen yogurt only has 12 grams, and that difference is a big deal.

Ice cream has several types of sugars mixed in. Ugali sugar makes up about one-third of the sugar content of vanilla ice cream, and brown sugar is another big proportion. Both of these sugars are added to improve the feeling of smoothness that people expect when they lick ice cream off their spoons.

Frozen yogurt also has a somewhat rich taste, but it’s not smooth. To smooth down the yogurt taste, there is much more milk in frozen yogurt. Milk alone is also an important sugar in frozen yogurt, and it is much different from milk flavor (a combination of milk sugar, milk fat, and moisture) in ice cream.

The amount of sugar in milk makes up about half of the total sugar in frozen yogurt, but it’s not added sugar. Sugar in milk is natural sugar, and it acts differently in your body than added sugar.

Calorie Content

The primary difference between frozen yogurt and ice cream is the main ingredient. Frozen yogurt has tartaric acid, which causes it to have a tangy flavor like regular yogurt. This acid also causes the yogurt to thicken. The protein in frozen yogurt is much like yogurt, but less.

Ice cream contains cream, which is a milk product that has high carbs but low protein. Ice cream also has more sugar than frozen yogurt.

The difference in calories between ice cream and frozen yogurt is more significant than you might think. It’s only natural that you’d think of the creamy, sweet frozen yogurt as the healthier option. However, frozen yogurt actually contains more calories.

The delicious dessert contains about 30% more calories than its frozen cousin. On average, a cup of frozen yogurt contains 250 calories, while the average ice cream serving has about 300 calories. You might find the ingredients reason enough to choose frozen yogurt over ice cream, regardless of the calorie count.

When you eat yogurt, you get the benefit of two beneficial ingredients: calcium and probiotics. Calcium is an essential mineral for bone formation and strength. It also aids in cell growth, muscle contractions, regulating blood pressure and heart rate, and nerve signaling. Probiotics are essential for proper digestion.

Air Content

Part of the difference between ice cream and frozen yogurt is the air content. In ice cream, the higher the air content, the better, and conversely, the lower, the worse.

Ice cream has an air content of 12% to 18%, while frozen yogurt only has 8% to 11%. This is because the amount of air you add to the mixture can help lower the freezing point of the product.

This is important because the colder it freezes, the harder the consistency will be. The optimum temperature depends on the composition of the product. There is a delicate balance between creating the most appealing texture and the one that is easier to work with.

Ice cream is believed to have been invented in China in 206 BC although another theory puts its creation at the height of the Roman Empire in Italy around 400 BC. The first ice cream recipe was published in Italy in 1664.

The ice cream recipe that finally made it to the United States was presented by a French chef during the winter at the White House in 1790.

The ice cream on the market was exactly like the one that was first produced back then. It was simply frozen cream and sugar that was churned until the mixture had the desired consistency.

Health Benefits of Frozen Yogurt vs. Ice Cream

Are you wondering what the differences are between ice cream and frozen yogurt? If so, then you’re in the right place. We’re going to give you a comprehensive rundown of the important differences, as well as provide you with some tips on how to choose the ideal dessert or frozen treat.

So, what foods do you typically turn to when you want to cool down? Do you head straight to the froyo shop? Or do you go for the ice cream? If you’ve been wondering about the difference between the two frozen treats, fear not, because we’ve got answers.

We’ll begin with ice cream. This type of dessert is often frozen, sometimes containing a fair amount of fat. It’s creamy, packed full of flavor, and can come in a variety of different types and flavors.

On the contrary, froyo (i.e., frozen yogurt) is less creamy compared to ice cream, and it’s often tart. Often, froyo contains less fat, too. Moreover, it contains more protein than ice cream.


Frozen Yogurt uses probiotic bacteria to give it that tangy flavor. This yogurt is pasteurized but has a live culture in it. It has less sugar than ice cream.

It is often sold with a content of live and active cultures and a type of probiotic to make it healthier for the digestive tract. There is also less fat because there is no cream in frozen yogurt.

The difference between ice cream and frozen yogurt could be one of science or just semantics, but the two are very different. For better health, it is best to choose frozen yogurt over ice cream.

That’s why it is recommended to choose frozen yogurt over ice cream if you can.