Is Gelato Halal?

Gelato, a frozen dessert from Italy, has captured the hearts and taste buds of many around the world. But is it halal to consume? Find out from our HalalSG friends!
by Ustazah Farzana Afiqah Binte Roslee 2024-06-26 • 7 min read
Ustazah Farzana spent 10 years in Madrasah Alsagoff Al-Arabiah before pursuing her Diploma in Islamic Studies at Pergas. She also took up Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition at Nanyang Polytechnic and completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Food and Human Nutrition from Newcastle University (SIT). As a food enthusiast, she enjoys exploring new food technologies while learning about the history and culture of food in communities.
2024-06-26 • 7 min read

You are walking under the scorching hot sun, with sweat trickling down your back. Your parched throat has been longing for something cold and sweet - and right there next to you is a shop selling gelato. 

It looks like ice cream, but it does not sound like it. You wonder if it is halal to eat?

Is Gelato Halal?,

What is Gelato?

Gelato, the delightful frozen dessert that hails from Italy, has captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world. Often mistaken for ice cream, gelato possesses its own unique characteristics that set it apart. It originated in Florence1, Italy, and was initially a treat reserved for royalty and the elite. Over time, gelato became more accessible and evolved into the beloved dessert we know today.

Gelat Florence Italy, Is Gelato Halal?A popular spot for tourists and locals alike while enjoying a cone of gelato, is overlooking the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, Italy. 

Read: Tips & Tricks to Find Halal Food Overseas

Gelato vs Ice Cream

One of the key distinctions between gelato and traditional ice cream lies in its composition. 

Gelato is made with a higher proportion of milk to cream compared to ice cream, resulting in a lower fat content. The process of making gelato also involves churning it at a slower speed than ice cream, resulting in a smoother, denser texture that sets it apart from its creamier counterpart.

Halal Considerations

The halal status of gelato lies on the ingredients used in its preparation. In its simplest form, gelato consists of milk, cream, sugar, and natural flavourings – in some traditional recipes, egg yolks are added too. These base ingredients are generally considered halal. However, the presence of additional ingredients such as artificial flavourings, colourings, and emulsifiers, require us to exercise our discretion.

It is always best if the gelato is certified halal by the recognised authority, as this ensures that the ingredients used in the gelato, as well as the production process, meets halal standards.

However, if not, it is important to verify that the flavourings and any additional ingredients used do not contain any alcohol and/or from non-halal animal sources.


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Check, Ask and Decide

When in doubt, you can always check by asking the shop owner on the ingredients used if you are unsure. Pro-tips on the suggested questions to ask:

1.    “Is the gelato suitable for vegetarians?”
2.    “Is there any alcohol used in the gelato?

Once you are convinced by the responses, you can confidently make an informed decision whether to consume or not. 

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Bonus: Make Your Own Gelato!

If you are feeling adventurous, why not try your hand at making your own artisanal gelato? This way, you can ensure that all the ingredients are halal and enjoy it anytime you crave for something cool and sweet.

You will need:

-    4 medium egg yolks
-    150g of granulated sugar
-    350ml of whole milk
-    250ml of heavy cream
-    A little grated lemon zest or vanilla extract or any other flavour of your choice

Steps to make your own gelato:

1.    First, whip the egg yolks with the sugar at maximum speed for about 5 minutes, until you have a soft fluffy cream. 
2.    Meanwhile, pour the milk into a saucepan and bring it almost to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes. 
3.    In a separate saucepan, transfer the egg and sugar fluffy cream mixture and pour in the hot milk slowly while mixing them together. 
4.    Add the flavour of your choice, before putting it back on the heat and cook for another 5 minutes. 
5.    Turn off the heat and add the cold heavy cream. Mix well.

If you have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into the machine, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You can then enjoy the yummy treat straight away.

If you do not have any gelato or ice cream maker, you can transfer the mixture into a gelato container and place it in the freezer for about 5 hours. But you would need to mix the gelato every 30 minutes on low speed for 30 seconds. This ensures that you break the frozen surface and not create ice crystals and have a creamy result. It is a bit more laborious, but you will definitely have an exquisite authentic Italian Gelato! 

Remember to say Bismillah (All praises be to Allah) before you eat!

Read: What is halal?

1 WhyGelato? Because It Has a Long History of Being Delicious.

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