Italian ice is a frozen or semi-frozen sweetened treat made with fruit (often from concentrates, juices, or purées) or other natural or artificial food flavorings.[1][2] Italian ice is similar to sorbet and snow cones, but differs from American-style sorbet in that it does not contain dairy or egg ingredients.[1] It was introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants and is derived from the Sicilian granita, a similar and related Italian dessert.[3] Common flavors include lemon, cherry, and other fruits.

Italian ice
Italian ice.jpg
Italian ice in a paper cup
Place of originItaly
Main ingredientsWater, fruit (concentrate, juice or purée)

Finely granulated flavored ice is known as water ice in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia metropolitan area, including South Jersey. Like Italian ice, water ice is similarly derived from granita brought to Philadelphia by Italian immigrants, and has been described as a "variation on the more broadly-accepted Italian ice."[4]


Except when made from fruit or fruit juice, Italian ice is defined in US law as a food of minimal nutritional value.[5]

See alsoEdit

  • Granita, a Sicilian preparation made of partially frozen water, flavorings, and sometimes sugar
  • Shaved ice, a class of related but distinct desserts
  • Slushy, a frozen drink made from flavored ice, similar to granitas


  1. ^ a b U.S. Food and Drug Administration, CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. Accessed 9 June 2011.
  2. ^ "What's in the Ice Cream Aisle?". International Dairy Foods Association. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  3. ^ Bienenstock, David (August 20, 2015). "The Best Italian Ice Is Frozen in Time". Munchies. Vice Media. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  4. ^ Von Bergen, Jane M. "What water ice teaches us about the world". Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value". Appendix B of 7 CFR Part 210. Food and Nutrition Service, United States Department of Agriculture. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 2017-08-04.