The Real Difference Between Frozen Custard and Ice Cream

Ask for ice cream at popular Midwest fast-food chain Culver's and you might get a funny look. Ask for a scoop of frozen custard at your local Dairy Queen and you'll leave the employees scratching their heads. There's a big variety of frozen treats (ranging from gelato, soft serve, and frozen yogurt) and today we are exploring two favorites and asking what's the difference between frozen custard and ice cream and can the terms be interchangeable?

All About Ice Cream

We all scream for homemade ice cream! While the ice cream recipe has been around for centuries, the frozen dessert didn't get its start in the American diet until the 1700s. In fact, George Washington once spent $200 on all of the ice cream he consumed in the summer of 1790. Up until the 1800s, the sweet treat was only available to the elite due to the high price, and it wasn't until a Baltimore milk dealer named Jacob Fussell started the first manufactured ice cream in 1851 that the summer day favorite became widely available.

The Start of Frozen Custard

Compared to ice cream, frozen custard is a relatively new invention comparatively speaking. One of the first commercialized products of frozen custard took place in Coney Island, NY, in 1919 when two ice cream vendors, Archie, and Elton Kohr realized that adding egg yolks to ice cream created a smoother texture and mouthfeel. During that first weekend, the custard stand sold over 18,460 cones.

What's the Difference Between Frozen Custard and Ice Cream?

The key difference between custard and ice cream is the milkfat and how much egg yolk is added into the dessert. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration requires frozen custard to contain at least 10 percent milkfat and 1.4 percent egg yolk solids. A smaller percentage of eggs and you've got yourself some ice cream.

Our suggestion: pit frozen custard vs. ice cream against each other to taste the differences. Turns out the real winner will always be you.

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