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January 11, 2023

How to make perfect quality artisanal gelato: a few tips to stun customers

How to make perfect quality artisanal gelato

How to make some perfect quality artisanal gelato is a secret that artisans and professionals handed down throughout generations. By the way, there is no such a thing as a single, ultimate recipe: any real gelato master has perfectioned its own.

On the other hand, to make a great artisanal product there are some basic requirements that any of them needs to keep in mind. 

Gelato is by definition a quality dessert, that clearly sets apart from its lower profile cousin: ice cream. As we have already explained in detail in this article, they indeed have several key differences.

Gelato is produced more or less from the same ingredients as regular ice cream, but the churning process is longer and slower in order to prevent crystallization from taking place. Gelato has also a lower fat content than ice cream, it is served at a warmer temperature, and it generally contains more air. This results in a softer and more velvety texture compared to traditional ice creams.

That said, every artisanal gelato is different from any other, and its quality may vary significantly.

In this blog post we will now dig into the key tips and best practices to make and recognize a pro artisanal gelato.

Key tips and best practices to make an outstanding artisanal gelato

1) The selection of ingredients and flavors is crucial

The first best practice you always need to be careful about is the selection of the ingredients. As intuitive as it might be, for many gelato shops around this is not as obvious as it may seem. Because, as a matter of fact, there are several options available to make gelato.


Many gelato producers commonly choose to start from powders or pre-made mixes, for example. These solutions have the advantage of being cheaper, ready made and easily standardizable. On the other hand, flavors and textures are way poorer when compared to those coming from fresh ingredients.


As refined as your gelato making techniques might be, cheap ingredients can’t grant you the same outcome you would have by selecting better ones. Fruit, chocolate chips, nuts: the higher their quality, the tastier your final product will be. Additionally, the better you know each ingredient, the better you will be able to blend them up. Cleaning, maturity, treatments are all elements to be considered for each of them.


An expert who knows how to make a perfect quality gelato can also recognize one just by taking a look at it. You can spot fresh ingredients by their color, for example: if colors don’t look natural enough, you can guess that colorants have been used. And a great gelato doesn’t need any added colorant.


Last but not least, be careful about the amount and type of fats and sugar you use.
Gelato has a lower fat and sugar content compared to ice cream. Natural fats coming from dairy and nuts are fine, but processed ones like hydrogenated fats melt at a higher temperature. As a consequence, they coat your tongue anesthetizing the taste buds.


Same thing goes for sugar. If you feel thirsty after eating gelato, that means they added too much sugar.

2) Texture is a matter of chemistry

The second key element that requires your attention is texture. An outstanding artisanal gelato stands out for its creaminess, which must magnify all the nuances of every flavor.

Texture is also the reflection of gelato’s quality. When in a shop the gelato pops out 2-3 centimeters over its tub in the display case, that’s a terrible sign. It looks artificial, chemical, and most likely it really is.

Mounds of gelato are in fact a reliable indicator of bad texture. That’s because that gelato is most likely made by using stabilizers, preservatives and a huge amount of hydrogenated fats. 99% of the time, bad texture overlaps with poor flavor.

Moreover, making fresh gelato daily is always a good practice. Artisanal products deteriorate quickly, and you can’t serve them after 2-3 days. Aged gelato loses its creaminess and smoothness. And the same thing applies to gelato stored at a too low temperature: if you set it wrong, your customers will feel ice crystals on their tongue.

Last but not least, carefully mull over the toppings you want to use. If your product intends to be a gourmet treat and already tastes great, you might not want to overpower its flavors with too aggressive sugary toppings. Find the ones that complement the flavors, adding them a twist instead of covering it up.

3) Process

Finally here it comes the proper making of gelato. The process to make artisanal gelato is key for the final outcome, and may vary depending on each recipe.

As we have already pointed out, it’s the process itself that even distinguishes gelato from ice cream. The first one requires a longer and slower churning process that reduces the amount of air incorporated in the mix, thus giving the product a smoother and tastier result.

But there are several processes to make gelato, and they all lead to different level outcomes. 

The best one we always recommend is the hot process, which includes pasteurization. This thermal process heats the mix up to 185°F, and then cools it until around 40°F. This thermal shock destroys all the pathogenic bacteria, and ensures the perfect blend of gelato’s molecules.

Unfortunately, not all the gelato makers do actually pasteurize their ingredients. Many of them prefer to opt for cold processes.

These can be used by freezing and blending the speedy powders (for the lowest quality gelato) or the fresh ingredients, which might be an acceptable compromise for decent quality. We recommend these solutions only when the place is located in some highly trafficked area that forces you to favor speed over excellence.

A third halfway solution is using a thermal shock process diverse from pasteurization, such as those you can obtain with an all-in-one gelato machine. The resulting gelato is still lower quality if compared to pasteurized ones, but still above average.

How to improve the quality of your artisanal gelato?

If you’re striving for quality and you want to improve your gelato making skills, you are among the ones that most likely will make their shop achieve success.

Gelato has been gaining huge popularity in North America since the mid-2000s. The number of shops selling gelato has increased dramatically over this time period, especially in large cities such as Los Angeles, Boston and New York City.

That’s surely good news, but as we always say, that means stronger competition.

Nowadays, to stand out in an ocean of competitors, a bigger effort is needed. But the ones who manage to offer an artisanal gelato capable of stunning their customers, they will always get the success they deserve.

That’s why this year we’re launching our brand new high-end gelato training classes.

If you feel ready to give a boost to your (even future) gelato business, don’t miss this game changing opportunity.

Check our upcoming courses here and sign up for the next one before your competitors do!

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