While gelato simply means ‘frozen’ and refers to all types of ice cream in Italian cuisine, it is considered a frozen dessert in English.
The difference? It has a lower percentage of butterfat (6-9%) than its counterparts.
Also, gelato is more airy, flavorful, and richer than your regular ice cream, which makes it a great dessert for any type of meal.
So, you can enjoy gelato with pretty much any cuisine.
Gelato contains water, butterfat, lactose, air, milk, sugar, cream, egg yolks, and flavoring.
If you plan to serve gelato for dinner and are wondering what to serve with gelato, you’d want to give this post a read.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Gelato?
Gelato makes a great dessert on its own- but why stop there? There are many ways you can enhance this item using foods that complement it.
If you’ve decided to keep your main course light and want to have a full-fledged dessert, we’ve got some great side dish recommendations.
Gelato is airy, light, and flavorful.
So, you can opt for sides that have more substance.
Give it a nice crunch by adding graham crackers, sourdough waffles, an apple pie, and so on.
You can also add a nice contrast and density to the fluffy ice cream by serving croissants, oatmeal raisin cookies, and lemon bars, to name a few.
Check out these side dishes for gelato that are to die for.
You’ll never have to worry about what to serve with gelato again.
What to Serve with Gelato? 10 BEST Side Dishes
1 – Italian-Style Croissant
Have you ever tasted paradise in the form of an ice cream sandwich? In Sicily, it’s particularly divine.
The classic summer treat is called brioche con gelato.
Think half a croissant filled to overflowing with creamy scoops of delicious gelato.
If that doesn’t sound like heaven enough for “a spoonful (or three)” of joy, try the variation which uses bomboloni – sugar-coated doughnuts crammed full with even more mouthwatering sweetness.
Don’t worry if your sweet tooth can’t decide between them; nobody will judge you here.
2 – Apple Pie
If you thought gelato and fruits alone were a perfect combination, wait until you add the sweet-tart taste of apple pie.
While the richness of an apple pie brings you back to the kitchen with mom or grandma, gelato adds a subtle flavor that elevates its taste without overpowering it.
The different textures also give your tastebuds something to enjoy.
There’s the crunchy shell, smooth filling, and cool gelato.
It’s a great way to end any meal on a sweet note, whether at home or out with friends.
Serving apple pie with some refreshing gelato will surely leave everyone satisfied and definitely happy.
3 – Sourdough Waffle
Enjoying the classic combination of warm and creamy is something that people of all ages can appreciate.
And sourdough waffle with gelato serves as the perfect example.
The waffle’s soft buttery texture pairs well with creamy Italian gelato.
Furthermore, the slight tanginess from the sourdough combines exquisitely with bursts of fruity sweetness from the gelato, creating an unparalleled taste like no other.
Hence, it is not a surprise that more and more people are experimenting and elevating their dessert game by serving sourdough waffles with gelato for a delightful treat.
4 – Peanut Butter
Serving peanut butter with gelato is a classic combination.
It’s like a breath of saltiness interrupting the sweetness of gelato.
Vanilla has always been a favorite when it comes to ice cream, so it makes sense that its use in gelato takes it to another level.
Pair that with a dollop of peanut butter, and you get an indulgent treat that cannot be beaten.
Whether you opt for a simple scoop served in a bowl or layered in a cup or cone, this pairing will reignite your love affair with dessert.
5 – Graham Crackers
Craving something sweet with a hint of salt? Look no further than Italian gelato and some tasty graham crackers.
The perfect marriage between the sweetness of gelato, especially if you go for a chocolate flavor, and the mild crunchiness of grahams is sure to hit all your tastebuds.
This heavenly combination can be enjoyed as an afternoon snack or part of an evening feast.
And let’s not forget; it’s also incredibly simple to whip up.
Put your twist on it by adding an extra sprinkle of cinnamon, more chocolate chips, or nuts; the possibilities are endless.
6 – Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Ice cream and cookies make the perfect pair, and so do cookies and gelato.
With so many varieties to choose from, oatmeal raisin is always a delightful go-to.
The complementing textures between the soft, chewy cookies and creamy gelato is heavenly.
And, bonus, it makes for an easy dessert.
The sweetness of the raisins helps to balance out the tartness of some tangy gelato varieties and creates a balanced bite.
This sweet snack is perfect for any time of day too.
It can be a decadent dessert after a meal or a yummy midday pick-me-up when you need something sweet.
7 – German Chocolate Cake
Sweet tooths, beware.
Our amazing combination of velvety-smooth gelato and classic German chocolate cake is sure to put a smile on your face.
This dessert duo will tantalize all the senses, featuring rich, decadent cocoa flavors paired with coconut-pecan frosting.
The beauty of this combination is that it takes two classic desserts and elevates them to an unmistakably divine level.
Ideal for any occasion, from special celebrations to just wanting an extra indulgent treat, this scrumptious combo won’t disappoint.
8 – Caramel Tart
Caramel and gelato go together like water and boat.
Take it up a notch with caramel tarts, which add an extra layer of texture and flavor to the mix.
You can go for classic salted caramel or be daring and try unique flavor combinations like chocolate-dipped hazelnut caramel.
The caramel tart provides a rich buttery flavor, and its deliciously crunchy texture pairs perfectly with creamy gelato in classic flavors such as chocolate, coconut, and vanilla.
9 – New York Cheesecake
New York cheesecake and gelato; talk about a match made in heaven.
The creaminess of homemade, freshly churned Italian gelato beautifully complements the richness of traditional New York-style cheesecake.
Now that’s what you call indulgence at its finest.
Whether served together as a showstopping dessert or separately as two unique desserts, these classic treats pair perfectly to thrill your taste buds.
Both cultures have treasured their luscious desserts for generations, and this delicious combination will make you realize why they are undisputed culinary superstars.
So, next time when it comes to deciding on which after-dinner treat to pick, give this modern twist a try.
10 – Lemon Bars
Last but not least, we have something citrusy special for you- lemon bars and gelato.
The tartness of lemon combined with the sweetness of Italian gelato couldn’t get better than this.
These two treats go beautifully together, providing a burst of flavor that will take you away to a tropical paradise.
Better yet, choosing a minty-flavored gelato adds a refreshing twist that will make your taste buds dance.
Lemon bars are among the most underrated desserts, but with this combination, you’re sure to be won over by its deliciousness.
You’re in for a sweet, indulgent treat when you serve gelato for dessert- or any time.
Take it up a notch by adding sides to it; you won’t regret it.
We’ve listed the top ten side dishes for gelato to the best of our understanding.
Try them all to enjoy exciting and refreshing tastes every time you make or buy gelato.
Don’t fret about adding your flare to the dessert by experimenting with different foods.
Regardless of the cuisine you’re working with, you won’t go wrong with anything if you understand and maintain the flavor and texture profile of the gelato you’re using.
What to Serve with Gelato? 10 BEST Side Dishes
- Italian-Style Croissant
- Apple Pie
- Sourdough Waffle
- Peanut Butter
- Graham Crackers
- Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
- German Chocolate Cake
- Caramel Tart
- New York Cheesecake
- Lemon Bars
- Pick your favorite recipe from the article.
- Organize your ingredients and utensils.
- Follow the detailed instructions in the recipe to make your side dish.
- Prepare and serve for delicious meal!
Andrew Gray is a seasoned food writer and blogger with a wealth of experience in the restaurant and catering industries. With a passion for all things delicious, Andrew has honed his culinary expertise through his work as a personal chef and caterer.
His love for food led him to venture into food writing, where he has contributed to various online publications, sharing his knowledge and insights on the culinary world. As the proud owner of AmericasRestaurant.com, Andrew covers a wide range of topics, including recipes, restaurant reviews, product recommendations, and culinary tips.
Through his website, he aims to inspire and educate fellow food enthusiasts, offering a comprehensive resource for all things food-related.