25 Gelato Flavors You Need To Try

Creamy, dreamy, and utterly addictive, here are 25 gelato flavors to satisfy your sweet tooth

When it comes to Italian delicacies, a cone of gelato is just as iconic as a bowl of pasta. If you think you can get by ordering your favorite ice cream flavor the next time you find yourself in a gelateria, though, you’ve got it all wrong. Gelato has a totally different texture than ice cream, complemented best by different types of flavors. 


Though the two desserts have a similar composition – milk, sugar, and cream – the ratio of milk to cream differs, as well as the way they’re churned. Gelato, with its higher milk content, is meant to be churned very slowly, resulting in less air bubbles and a rich, dense texture. While there are tons of weird ice cream flavors out there, it’s best to stick to the basics with gelato. Still, sticking to the basics is by no means boring or any less delicious. So, what flavors will best bring out gelato’s famed creamy texture?

Gelato #25: Fior di latte

gelato scoop

Want to know if you’re getting gelato from a tourist trap? Order a cup of fior di latte. This flavor is a great litmus test for whether or not a gelateria values quality over quantity. It’s made from dairy, starch, sugar – and nothing else. Fior di latte’s simplicity is what makes it so refined (and delicious). It makes for a perfect dessert to elevate your dining experience.

Its value is found in its simplicity – there’s no added flavor for it to hide behind. If the gelateria serves high-quality gelato, then this won’t be an issue. Expect deliciousness. But if all you see in the gelateria’s windows are brightly-colored, wild flavors piled two stories high, you might want to look elsewhere.

Gelato #24: Hazelnut

Gianduia, or hazlenut, is a popular traditional gelato flavor.

This is a smooth, nutty gelato flavor that’s bound to be a smash hit with diehard Nutella fans. It pairs especially well with chocolate, so feel free to drizzle some chocolate syrup over it, or sprinkle it with chocolate chips. 

Or, simply enjoy it on its own! It definitely holds up.

Gelato #23: Pumpkin

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream in a Bowl

Pumpkin-flavored gelato is a delicious fall treat that’ll pair well with your favorite classic autumn recipes. It also can serve as the base for more complex gelato flavors, if you’re taking a crack at making your own. 

For those who are craving something sweet, a pumpkin pie flavored gelato might be your best bet. If you’re looking for something with a kick to it, look no further than pumpkin spice. Either way, pumpkin gelato is a great choice.

Gelato #22: Coffee

Coffee gelato

If you can’t get out of bed without a fresh cup of coffee, then coffee-flavored gelato – made with actual coffee grounds – is your new best friend. It’s relatively easy to make at home, but you need to watch out. It tastes like a rich, creamy cup of coffee and is probably more addictive than caffeine.

Gelato #21: Kahlua

Kahlua cocktail

Want to finish your night with a dessert drink but don’t want to get wasted? Kahlua-flavored gelato will satisfy your cravings, hangover free. This Mexican coffee liqueur isn’t just for cocktails.


While you won’t find this flavor at every gelateria, it can be found at certain places. Il Laboratorio del Gelato, an NYC-based restaurant wholesaler and retailer, carries a Kahlua flavor.

Gelato #20: Zabaglione

Zabaglione dessert decorated with a strawberry and sprinkled with powdered sugar and balsamic vinegar. A bit of copy space in the corners.

This gelato flavor is based off of a traditional Italian custard made with eggs, sugar, and a sweet wine, usually Marsala. Talk about a perfect wine pairing. As a sort of riff off of old tradition, people now use zabaglione flavor for a tasty gelato. 

Two desserts in one? Now that’s hard to beat.

Gelato #19: Amarena

Amarena gelato

Amarena-flavored gelato involves a plain base (usually fior di latte) with Italian amarena cherries added on top. Amarena flavoring and syrup is also added to the base, giving it a sweet and tangy flavor. It’s still relatively simple, but with a nice, fruity kick.

Gelato #18: Stracciatella

Stracciatella gelato

As is the case with most delicious gelato flavors, stracciatella has fior di latte as its base. What makes it special, though, is its texture. 

Legend has it that, in 1962, a man named Enrico Panatttoni decided to crumble bits of chocolate into gelato, birthing the now-classic stracciatella flavor. It’s that extra crunch of chocolate that makes it ultra-popular, and a gelato flavor worth your money.

Gelato #17: Toasted almond

Toasted almond gelato

This gelato flavor is pretty self-explanatory. Almonds are toasted and crushed to give the gelato a stronger flavor. The crushed almonds are then spread throughout, lending it a bit of texture. 

It’s worth noting that the sugar in this particular type of gelato can be swapped out for honey, which might complement the nutty flavor more.

Gelato #16: Buontalenti

Traveling as a couple. Two cones of Italian ice cream on the city background

Like a bit of mystery? Try Buontalenti gelato. It’s one of the few gelato flavors with secret ingredients. You can only find it in Florence, where the now-famous flavor was created in the 16th century by architect Bernardo Buontalenti in honor of the Medicis.

 
Buontalenti – the man, not the dessert – used dessert wine, lemons, and oranges to flavor this special type of gelato, though nobody knows which ingredients have been added or taken away today. If you want to taste it for yourself, and see if you can guess which secret ingredients have been added, head to Gelateria Badiani in Florence. After winning a competition to recreate it in the 60s, they officially trademarked Buontalenti gelato.

Gelato #15: Crema fiorentina

Woman eating gelato

Another Florentine classic, this gelato requires no secret ingredients. Chestnut honey, amaretti cookies and/or almond liqueur are added to a base of – you guessed it – fior di latte. The cookies are usually crushed before being added to the gelato, adding a bit of crunch.

Gelato #14: Licorice

Black licorice

Sorry, Twizzlers fans – this gelato flavor isn’t for you. Originating from Calabria, the largest producer of licorice in Italy, this gelato incorporates soft or powdered black licorice into a plain base, resulting in a purplish color. Even though it’s big in Calabria, it can be found in other regions.

Gelato #13: Torrone

baker praparing Artisanal nougat

“Torrone” is the Italian word for nougat, a crunchy or chewy confection that contains nuts, and is made with sugar and egg whites. This flavor, which can also swap out sugar with honey, incorporates chopped nougats into its recipe. Torrone gelato can also be flavored with caramelized almonds.

Gelato #12: Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate gelato

This isn’t your average chocolate ice cream. Gelato’s natural inclination towards intense flavor matched with the bittersweet taste of dark chocolate is a killer combo. If you’re the type to buy a bar of 80% dark chocolate – or even higher – order a “cioccolato extranoir” the next time you find yourself in a gelateria.

Gelato #11: Crema reggina

Crema reggina gelato

Add this gelato flavor to your list of happy accidents. Apparently, an Italian chef accidentally used too much rum in a custard, resulting in this rum-flavored gelato.

 
Along with rum, the prime ingredient, crema reggina also contains candied fruits, chocolate, Italian liqueur, and carob.

Gelato #10: Crema del re

Gelato flavors

Yet another gelato with secret ingredients, crema del re can only be found at the Mokambo gelateria in Ruvo di Puglia, a town in southern Italy. Other than some standard ingredients – sugar, milk, eggs, and vanilla – the public knows nothing about how this gelato is made. 

So, if you find yourself in southern Italy, head to Ruvo di Puglia for a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Gelato #9: Lemon

Lemon gelato

Not to be mistaken with lemon sorbet, a lemon gelato offers a creamier option than its fruitier counterpart. It’s made the same as any other gelato, with lemon juice – or limoncello, if you want to shake things up – added for flavor.

Gelato #8: Mascarpone

Whipped mascarpone cheese

Mascarpone gelato gets its flavor (and its name) from a type of Italian cream cheese. Mascarpone cheese has a light texture and mild flavor that lends itself well to desserts, and is famously used in tiramisu. It’s only natural, then, that it should be turned into a delicious gelato flavor. If you’re a fan of tiramisu or cream cheese frosting, this gelato will be an absolute delight.

Gelato #7: Raw cashew

Cashews

Here us out. If you’ve tried cashew butter, you know just how creamy and delicious cashew-flavored items can be. Now imagine just how delicious that’d taste in a gelato – not too salty, super rich, with just a hint of sweetness. Even if you’re not a fan of the other nutty gelato flavors, raw cashew is worth giving a try.

Gelato #6: Red bean

Red bean paste

Red bean gelato isn’t a traditional Italian flavor, but is well-worth the taste. The red beans are sweetened and crushed before being mixed in, the way they are for many east Asian desserts. This fusion of popular Asian cuisine with the obviously Italian gelato makes for a unique dessert that’ll linger on your tastebuds.

Gelato #5: Rice

Rice pudding

This popular Italian gelato flavor might seem weird to outsiders at first glance, but it’s not just rice. The flavor is more akin to rice pudding, with pieces of cooked rice usually scattered throughout. For obvious reasons, rice gelato will taste best to people who already like rice pudding.

Gelato #4: Puffo

Puffo gelato

Puffo gelato is a wild card. The name doesn’t actually come from the gelato’s flavor, but from its bright blue color, with “puffo” being the Italian word for “Smurf.” 

The flavor is actually completely dependent on the gelateria you order it from. Sure, you could ask, but we think all the fun is in the surprise.

Gelato #3: Chili chocolate

funny creative concept of unstable wafer cone with scoop of chocolate ice cream and burning red chilli pepper on wooden background, concept of spicy food.

If you’re a fan of hot pepper jelly or chili chocolate bars, this gelato flavor will be an instant favorite. Its smooth combination of sweet and spicy flavors makes for a tasty treat. With milk or dark chocolate gelato as its base and a little kick of chili pepper, chili chocolate gelato is a flavor infusion we stand by.

Gelato #2: Chestnut honey

chestnuts honey in glass jar – closeup

Though it’s often used as an ingredient in other gelato flavors, chestnut honey can stand on its own. It’s not as sweet as you’d typically expect honey to be. It’s actually a little bitter, though not so much that it’s overpowering. 

The specific taste depends on where the honey is imported from, but it’s still ideal for those who aren’t in the mood for an overly sweet dessert.

Gelato #1: Pistachio

Pistachio gelato

Buyer, beware: pistachio gelato can be really different from pistachio ice cream. Leave your expectations at the door. 

Quality gelato tastes a lot like the food that its flavor is based off of. So, while pistachio gelato may be a bit saltier and nuttier than you might’ve initially expected, it’s definitely worth trying, for the uniqueness, if nothing else.

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