The Best Vegan Sherbet Starts With A Special Type Of Oat Milk

Oat milk in sherbet may sound like an oxymoron. We know ice cream is made with milk, but isn't sherbet composed of ingredients that are a little icier? While it's true that sherbet isn't typically as rich and creamy as ice cream or gelato, you may be thinking of sorbet when you imagine a fruity, icy treat. The difference between sherbet and sorbet is that sorbet is made by combining fruit puree and water, while sherbet uses fruit, water, and dairy. 

Sorbet is vegan, while sherbet usually isn't. However, you'd be hard-pressed to find a food these days that doesn't have some sort of vegan alternative in the making — and sherbet is no exception. In fact, since the only animal product in sherbet is usually milk or cream, it's one of the easier foods to make plant-based. And while there are a plethora of vegan milks out there, from almond to coconut to pistachio, a pretty reputable ice cream maker recommends using oat milk for this dessert.

Use barista-loved oat milks to make sherbet

According to Tyler Malek, co-founder and ice cream maker at the massively popular Salt & Straw, oat milk is the ideal plant-based milk to use for the creamiest sherbet possible. In his recipe for boysenberry oat milk sherbet, which he shared with Food & Wine, Malek uses 2 cups of barista-style oat milk to make 2 pints of sherbet, which he credits for the dessert's extra-smooth consistency.

Malek recommends using one of two oat milks: Oatly Barista Edition or Planet Oat Extra Creamy oat milk. Planet Oat's extra creamy version offers more body than its regular oat milk and will "fluff your pancakes, thicken your soups, and delight your tastebuds." You may also see these milks used in coffee shop lattes, but they beat out other vegan milks when it comes to thick sherbet. This is largely due to the oats themselves — since they absorb more water than a pistachio would, for example, the liquid that gets strained out when making oat milk has a higher oat content. A pistachio milk, on the other hand, may have a higher water content.

You can also use oat milk to make ice cream, which plenty of vegan chefs and companies have done — including Planet Oat, who offers chocolate peanut butter, mint fudge swirl, and blueberry oat crumble flavors, among others. But, if you're a lover of fruity desserts, you may want to give oat milk-based sherbet a try.