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Homemade Rainbow Sherbet made with real fruit juices and purees is a bright, refreshing dessert that is even better than the sherbet you can get at the store! Serve it in a cone or a bowl, or add scoops of it to a punch bowl with soda and other fruit juices for a delicious, easy punch!
We think a scoop of this homemade rainbow sherbet is perfect with a White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie or one of our Double Glazed Lemon Cookies for a dessert that will impress and delight friends and family!
Homemade Rainbow Sherbet
When I was a kid, I LOVED rainbow sherbet. It was also so hard to choose between it and other flavors at the ice cream counter.
Sherbet is an unusual treat because it’s sort of a middle ground between a ice cream and a sorbet. You can find it in all sorts of standalone flavors, like lime, orange, raspberry, pineapple, and strawberry. But the rainbow version that is most often a combination of orange, raspberry, and lime, is our favorite.
While store-bought sherbet is good, it pales in comparison to this homemade version of rainbow sherbet that is made with REAL fruit juices and purees. The taste is out of this world and so fresh and inviting that you may never want to buy it from the store again!
This is a little more work than most ice cream recipes, but it’s not particularly hard or requires special talent. And the resulting rainbow sherbet definitely has that “wow” factor that delights kids and grown-ups alike! My sherbet-loving kids basically thought I was some kind of wizard for being able to make this at home.
Is it pronounced sherbert or sherbet?
As a kid, we always called it SHER-bert. It was only later as a teenager that I realized it was spelled without a second “r” and probably pronounced SHER-bet. According to this article from Merriam-Webster, either version is correct.
What is the difference between sherbet and sorbet?
Sorbet is a popular dairy-free frozen treat made from fruit juice or fruit puree and sugar. Sherbet is also made with fruit and sugar, but milk or cream is also added for a smoother, creamier taste and texture.
How to make rainbow sherbet
- Prep your flavoring ingredients. Juice the oranges and limes. Use a blender to puree the raspberries and sugar, then strain over a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Place each of these ingredients in the fridge to chill while making the base.
- Make the plain sherbet base. Combine milk and sugar in a bowl, whisking well to help the sugar dissolve. I’ve made this by heating this mixture on the stovetop long enough to dissolve the sugar, then cooling it, but that extra step adds quite a bit of time. If you decide to heat the mixture, it only takes about 5 minutes over medium heat for the sugar to dissolve, then chill it thoroughly in an ice bath or the fridge before churning.
- Churn the sherbet base until thick. Pour the cold milk and sugar base into the ice cream maker and let it churn until thick, about the consistency of soft serve. While it’s churning, stick 3 medium bowls and the container you plan to put the rainbow sherbet in into the freezer to get cold.
- Divide the base and make the orange sherbet flavor. When the base is thick, remove 2/3 of it to one of the chilled bowls and stick it right into the freezer. Add the orange juice (and zest, if using), and a drop of orange food coloring to the remaining 1/3 of the base in the freezer bowl and churn it another 3-5 minutes until thick. Immediately transfer the orange sherbet to the remaining empty bowl in the freezer, using a rubber spatula to remove as much of the sherbet from the sides of the ice cream maker bowl as possible. Don’t worry if a little remains on the sides of the bowl.
- Make the lime sherbet flavor. Transfer 1/3 of the remaining plain base back into the freezer bowl and add the lime juice (and zest, if using), and a drop of green food coloring . Churn this for 3-5 minutes until thick, then transfer it to the remaining chilled bowl and stick it into right into the freezer. It’s okay if there was a little orange sherbet left in the freezer bowl when freezing the lime flavor because it will mix right in and you will never even notice it, especially since the flavors will mingle when they are scooped and eaten anyway.
- Make the raspberry sherbet flavor. Repeat with the remaining 1/3 of the base mix and the chilled raspberry puree, churning until thick, another 3-5 minutes. By the end of this process, the freezer bowl won’t be as cold as when you started out and this last flavor might not be quite as frozen as the others. If that’s the case, just stick the whole bowl in the freezer for 30-40 minutes before proceeding. Or if you happen to have a second freezer bowl, you can always pull that out to churn the last flavor or two instead of doing them all in one bowl.
- Combine the flavors into one container. This is the fun part! Spoon a few large spoonfuls of each flavor at a time into a well-chilled freezer-safe container like a bread pan. You can use parchment paper to divide the pan into thirds for more distinct lines between each flavor, removing the paper once the pan is full. Or alternate each flavor and let them mix more like I did here. The soft-serve consistency of the sherbet will allow the different flavors to settle together while staying distinct from each other. Freeze immediately for 2-4 hours until firm enough to scoop.
Tips for rainbow sherbet
- Because there are no eggs in sherbet, it might get harder than other types of ice cream. If so, let it sit on the counter for 5 minutes or so before scooping to make things easier.
- You can this recipe for a batch of your favorite flavor or just do two flavors instead of three. Just adjust the measurements accordingly for the amount of mix-ins of any given flavor you need (i.e., you will need 3x the amount of lime juice if using this recipe to make an entire batch of lime sherbet, or 1.5x the amount of raspberries and orange juice if doing a batch of just orange raspberry sherbet, etc.)
- If you want even BIGGER fresh fruit flavor, I recommend adding lime zest and orange zest to their respective batches. Some people don’t like the added texture of the zest, but I love it and think it adds a wonderful element to the finished product as well as packing an even bigger punch of citrus flavor.
More ice cream recipes
- Lemon Ice Cream
- Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream
- Fresh Peach Ice Cream
- Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
- Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream
- Coconut Macadamia Nut Ice Cream
- Lemon Blueberry Sorbet
- Pineapple Sherbet
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (optional)
- Drop of orange food coloring
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon lime zest (optional)
- Drop of green food coloring
- 8 ounces raspberries (about 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen)
- Heat cream, milk, and sugar over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Chill well in the fridge or in an ice bath in a sealed container.
- Mean while, blend raspberries and 2 remaining tablespoons of sugar until smooth, then press through a fine mesh sieve to strain the seeds.
- When the sherbet base is thoroughly chilled, churn in an ice cream maker.
- Transfer 2/3 of the sherbet base to a bowl and stick it in the freezer. Add the orange juice and orange zest, if using, as well as a drop of orange food coloring to the remaining 1/3 of the sherbet base and churn to combine until about the consistency of soft-serve. This should only take a couple of additional minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stick in the freezer.
- Add 1/3 of the plain sherbet base back into the mixer (it's okay if some of the orange flavor is still present - they are all getting mixed together anyway in the end). Add lime juice and lime zest, if using, as well as a drop of green food coloring. Churn until the consistency of soft-serve, another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stick in the freezer.
- Return final 1/3 of the plain sherbet base to the mixer bowl along with the raspberry puree and churn until the consistency of soft serve.
- Take turns adding spoonfuls of each of flavor to a bread pan or other freezer-safe container, mixing them slightly, then transfer to the freezer for 4-6 hours until hardened.
For even more intense lime and orange flavor, you can mix in 1 tablespoon each of lime and orange zest into their respective batches. It adds a texture to the sherbet that some people might not love, but we actually really enjoy it and it definitely amplifies each flavor.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 389Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 33mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 3gSugar: 52gProtein: 3g