Strawberry Gelato and Ask Chef Dennis


Strawberry Gelato

When I was in Italy, I just couldn’t get enough Gelato!  I don’t care what time it was, or how cold it was, it was always time for gelato, but when I’ve tried it in the states (with very few exceptions) it just didn’t taste right.   The flavor might have been there, but the texture was wrong, it was never quite right.

Over the years I have attempted to make my own, always blaming the fact that it didn’t come out right on my ice cream maker, because everyone knows you can’t make gelato in an ice cream maker…..sheeeesh   Well I finally broke down and bought a gelato maker, I researched it quite a bit and from what I read the best value for the dollar was the  DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato maker.

Gelato is made differently than Ice cream, it’s denser and creamier, and the flavors are more intense than regular ice cream. The reason for this is due to a very important ingredient – air. American ice cream can contain up to 50% air. This results in a lighter airier texture. However, when making gelato, air is prevented from blending into the mixture. This creates the denser and more intense flavors that gelato is so popularly known for.    Well at least that’s what the review said….

So now I had the right equipment, I should be able to make gelato like I had in Italy…..sigh.  The problem I now had was finding a good recipe, and trust me that was not an easy task!  There are quite a few recipes out there, but most of them use cream not milk, I know that’s wrong.   To keep the intensity of the flavors, traditional gelato is made using more milk than cream (not to say that you can’t add some cream) .  I also found recipes with eggs,  and I do love a good custard style ice cream, but this was Gelato folks, not ice cream…..sigh

Strawberry Gelato

Then by chance I stumble upon a fairly authentic recipe by Giuliano Hazan, it was getting rave reviews and if I couldn’t trust Giuliano who could I trust?   The recipe was simple and straight forward, no extra ingredients or work.  No custard to prepare, nothing to chill for 4 hours first, just me a food processor and my Gelato Maker.    Life was good!

I have to admit that the flavor was astounding, the preparation couldn’t have been easier, but it was more like a sorbet than gelato…… close!   Now I think it’s an easy fix, while the texture wasn’t bad I think the fact that it was made with mostly water, let ice crystals build up and it wasn’t as creamy as it should have been.   So next time I make gelato I will use the same recipe, except try using milk instead of water,  I’ll keep the cream at the same amount and see what happens.

Strawberry Gelato


4.9 from 8 reviews
Strawberry Gelato
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  1. Remove the stems and leaves from the strawberries and rinse in cold water.
  2. Place the strawberries, lemon juice and the sugar in a food processor and process until liquefied.
  3. Add the water and run the food processor until all the mixture is smooth.
  4. Whip the cream with a wire whisk until it begins to thicken slightly and becomes the consistency of buttermilk.
  5. Mix the cream and strawberry mixture in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  6. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions.
* try using milk instead of water for a creamier texture, using water the consistency is more like a sorbet.


Ask Chef Dennis


lately it seems the questions I get asked the most are about photography.  What camera should I use, what’s the best camera to use, what camera do you use?   My friend and blog designer Melissa from Eyes  Bigger Than My Stomach, said it best when I recently posted a review of camera’s that some bloggers were using , “The best camera for food photography is the one you own. It’s the person using the camera that makes the photo!!”   That certainly does make a lot of sense, and I have been advising friends that before they run out and spend a lot of money on a new camera, to make sure they’re getting the most out of the camera they already own.  Even with a point and shoot, you can get some great images, if you follow the rules you would for a DSLR.

1. Use a tripod!  I know you think you can hand hold the camera and it won’t shake, but using a tripod gives you more than just assurance that the camera is stable, it allows you to use a slower shutter speed, so you can get a better exposure or change the depth of field if that’s what you want.   (don’t forget to get a cable release too for your camera,  using a tripod is great but if you get shake when you push the shutter release it’s not doing you much good)

2.  Use available light when ever possible, learn to use light to your advantage.    Do you bounce light onto your images, do you diffuse light when its too strong?   So many questions about light, and I certainly don’t have all the answers.    The best book to jump start your photography is Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin, you can find it on Amazon for $16.   It’s a steal, pick it up before you buy a new camera!

If you can’t use available light, get a good light source, I use Lowell Ego, you can find them on Amazon, and you can even build your own much less expensive version, Click Here to find out how.

The hardest question to answer is what to buy when you finally decide to get a new camera….now that’s a hard question, and I think the biggest part of that question is what do you want to spend.  People ask me why I bought a Canon 7d, its very simple, I couldn’t afford a 5D Mark II….lol,  you know what they say about boys and their toys….sigh

But seriously the 7d is a great camera and I’m very happy with it, but could I do the same thing with a less expensive camera if I followed all the rules?  Absolutely.    I have been using canon’s since my move to the digital age and think any one of their models you choose will make a big impact on your imagery.   Think about used camera’s too!  You remember the part about boys and their toys, right?  Well look for camera clubs, meet up groups and see if anyone just bought a new camera, chances are they are selling their old one.  It’s a good place to start, and  If you have any independent camera shops check them out too!

The last piece of advice I will give about photography is to use some type of software to correct any issues in your images.  Try the Adobe site, you can try any of their photo software programs for free for 30 days.    There are some good free programs as well, they may not have all the bells and whistles but most will take care of most issues.

That’s it for today my friends, the old chef needs to get to bed, work has finally calmed down, my fiscal year is closed, my printer is working again, and I start my classes this week.  Keep your fingers crossed, I could use a week without problems….sigh

While I’m thinking about it are any of you going to the foodbuzz festival in San Francisco, It looks like I will be going and hope to see some of you there, so let me know if your planning on attending.

Till next time!


  1. Thank you! I always had a general idea, but I never knew exactly what made gelato, well, gelato. Thanks for this post and for reminding me of Italy.

  2. Hi there Chef Dennis! GREAT information! I remember the gelato in Sicily – it was amazing! I think my favorite had roasted espresso beans in it. I could only find it in the Piazza across from St. Agatha’s Cathedral in Catania. It was amazing!

  3. This looks so good. Sadly I’ve never had a true gelato so I’m not sure I’d know the difference in taste. One day I’ll get to try the real deal. I am happy to know the gelato machine works well. I was scoping it out online one day. Haven’t pulled the trigger yet though. I always appreciate the advice you offer here. I’d be lost without your “ask Chef Dennis” series. I am still using my yucky kodak easyshare. It’s the nicer model but it’s still ancient and not up to snuff. But I am determined to learn to use it well before I invest in a nicer camera. I have to say I loved my Bro’s Rebel when he visited. But I’ve also eyed the Nikon one The Pioneer Woman recommends. I want to go to the camera store one day when I have some free time (falls down laughing) and try them all out. See how they feel as well as function. Like buying a drill, if it doesn’t feel right I don’t want it. Lol! You should see how much research I put into picking my sander, if it’s any indication of the camera buying process this could take awhile. See, us girls like toys too. Lol! I wish I was going to the foodbuzz thing. Take lots of pics!!

  4. I’ve actually made a pair of lightboxes from and while they do shed light on the subject, I also have a few complaints…

    If you’re going to make these, you’ll probably need 3-4 otherwise you get bad shadows depending on how you angle the lights. The size of these boxes is cumbersome if you have limited workspace – I often struggle to get enough light into my photograph without actually having the box in the photo. Also, while the mesh has a structural role it also absorbs a lot of the light from the bulbs. I even used a twin socket adapter within and my photos still came out very dark.

    I’ve recently been working with compact fluorescent bulbs screwed into clamp lights. It works really well in the lighting department, and the clamps make the lights versatile as far as location. The only downside is the glare I get from reflective surfaces like plates, but I suppose I could build something out of dowel rods and tissue papers to diffuse the light.

  5. It looked so good I almost licked my laptop’s screen!

  6. Something I still need to try! My daughter lived in Italy for 3 years and always raved about how much more flavorful Gelato is than American ice creams.

  7. I totally love gelato and particularly the strawberry flavor. You know, the Indian version of gelato is kulfi. Very rich and creamy and traditionally made without any air. If you ask me, totally decadent. As for the photography, it’s true that you can produce good images with just a P&S. I personally don’t own any fancy gears (D-SLR, tripod), but I sure wish I had an SLR for better quality images. Btw, buzzed!

  8. I don’t know how you can make frozen treats look good! I’m not even close to there yet. I LOVE gelato. In fact, I don’t even mind that this is strawberry flavored! I have to try this at my house. I think everyone will be a huge fan.

    I’m off to find that book. I need some “help” with my lack of photography skills. I know that your advice has helped me in huge amounts. When I gave in and used a tripod I was amazed at how much clearer my photos turned out. 🙂

    Thank you for all that you do for the food community, Dennis. I hope you are having a good week!

  9. Mmmm your strawberry gelato looks amazing and I always LOVE when you share your tips and tricks with photography! 🙂

  10. Gelato is the best! I love how rich and creamy it is compared to ice cream just like you said. I think that gelato is much more friendly to the hips too, I have no real justification for that haha…just that I like it more so that is what I tell myself when I eat it ;-). Your gelato looks fantastic Chef! The color is amazing and I am sure the texture is amazing

  11. Great tips! And this gelato sounds wonderful. I love it and sounds very simple to make!

  12. Nice tips and links here in regards to photography-much appreciated. Also, your strawberry gelato looks amazing.

  13. If I wasn’t allergic to strawberries I would jump on this like a cat on a mouse.

  14. I always think of my childhood visits to Budapest; the Hungarians also make a gelato-like ice cream that was just wild with flavour. Unbelievable flavour that no North American ice cream could even come close to. Strawberry was my favourite. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  15. Your gelato looks delicious!! I am sure it tastes as good as it looks. I would love to make this recipe.

  16. The texture of real gelato just can’t be beat. But if you wanted to keep the sorbet thing going, this recipe looks like it would be delicious with a nice German Reisling instead of the water…

  17. Dennis, this looks so good, I have never made gelato before but now I seriously want to try it. I am pinning this right on Pinterest…thanks so much!

  18. That looks wonderful! And how could you go wrong with a recipe of Giuliano’s? (As an aside, the only chocolate ice cream I ever bother making is from a recipe of Marcella’s. It’s the only one I need.)

  19. What a beautiful gelato….gorgeous color! And thank you so much for sharing your photography tips. I’m going to look into your light source since the weather is eventually going to force me to shoot more indoors! Great post!

  20. Great advice on cameras Dennis. Thank you! I know I need a new camera as well as time to gain more skill.

    As for the gelato, I have tried Gelato once and for some reason I keep returning to ice cream instead. I have this weird idea that gelato won’t be as flavorful…. I soooo need to try this because looking at it, I think it will prove me wrong.

  21. Three scoops for me please! Maybe that is asking too much, how about just two. Not looking forward to winter and shooting without natural light, sigh. Hope you have a great week.

  22. Mmmmmm… Delish. I love gelato. yours looks fantastic. I like your tips. I am your new follower. 🙂

  23. I love reading about other peoples experiments and persistence. The joy is always in the the journey, and some destinations are pretty damn sweet too!


  24. The gelato looks wonderful! And your photos are great too 🙂

  25. These are some very helpful tips! I have a great tripod but am sometimes to lazy to use it, I really need to change that.

    I’ll be at Foodbuzz, hope I get to meet you:-)

  26. Now you have me wanting to get a gelato maker!! Thanks so much for your helpful tips. I just got the Plate to Pixel book for my birthday and have been reading it. So much to learn!!

  27. Oh I loved having GELATO every single day when we were in Rome! I’m so glad to see this recipe. Must try this one. Hope I can make it as good as the one in this photo! Thanks for sharing, Chef Dennis!

  28. The gelato looks soooo delicious! Admittedly a good gelato is my vice. Love the photography tips too!

  29. I’m not a huge ice cream fan, but that being said, I’m VERY eager to try the gelato on our upcoming trip to Italy!! I am a big fan of the full flavors that you describe, and I’m eager to experience the texture. I love the fruit here, the strawberry is one of my favorite flavors, and the idea of the intense flavor is very appealing, more fruit, less… well, less fake flavor that I find in the store here.

    I so with I was going to meet with you all at the Foodbuzz Festival! I promised myself last year that I would attend this year, but I guess it will have to be next year. Congratulations on the award nominations, Dennis! So well deserved!!!

  30. I also remember the gelato in Italy. Heck, I remember everything about Italy and miss it immensely. I sorry that the recipe didn’t end up as hoped, but it is incredibly gorgeous. I’m curious to hear how it turns out once you substitute milk for the water. Cheers, my friend.

  31. Oooh… gelato! What memories this brings back from living in Bologna. My favorite place was Gelatauro. Thanks for the tips on photography as well.

  32. lovely strawberry ice cream chef!
    tq for sharing the recipe and tq for the photography suggestion 🙂

  33. Refreshing! So refreshing! Your gelato looks perfect D! 🙂

  34. I never fail to learn something when I visit — and I never fail to salivate either! Love gelato! Bravo, Chef Dennis!

  35. I so agree, anytime is gelato time while in Italy. I have never come across anything close to it in North America. I also had excellent gelato in Athens once which surprised me. I learned a lot here about what makes gelato a gelatoo…never researched it. Keep at it until it is perfect, that just means you have to eat more almost gelato 😉

  36. I ate coffee gelato all over Italy, but my attempts at home have been less than stellar. Now I know the reason….I need a gelato maker! It may be on my Christmas list 🙂 Great advice as always, both on gelato and photography. Hope you have some time to relax this weekend~

  37. lovely gelato post! that first pic is so cuddly! loved that air-no air trivia! gosh, you really have so much gelato!

  38. Hi Dennis. Love the fact that you have put a great deal of effort nto tracking down an authentic repipe. You mention in your blurb that it should use milk not cream, but the recipe you have chosen has cream no milk? Also you suggest that milk instead of water may be better. Did you actually try this yet? A little confusing. Appreciate your thoughts. Cheers and thanks.

    • hi Fred

      what I meant about the cream is not using all cream, its still good to have some cream in this recipe if you are using water. Yes I have made this using milk instead of water and it does improve the texture, it is my preferred method now. And by using all milk I have eliminated the cream altogether for most of my flavors. I have a few other types flavors of Gelato on my blog, if your’e looking for more ideas.
      Thanks for stopping by and for asking about the recipe

  39. Cecilio Lecusay says:

    The recipe for this Gelato specify 2 Tablespoon of lemon Juice but what to do with it is omitted in the instructions. Where to put the lemon juice is the question

  40. The strawberry flavor is fantastic. I used water since I didn’t see the note, so my “gelato” is closer to a sorbet. If you really want a gelato, use milk as said in the note.

  41. This is a wonderful recipe. Neither my husband or I really care for strawberry ice cream, so I’m not sure why we tried it. It was so great, I have made it 5 times now!

  42. Simple and quite delicious. Thanks!

  43. Five stars: This is a fantastic recipe – I’ve made it a number of times and everyone loves it. Thank you for sharing it!

  44. Kristin says:

    Will this still work in a traditional ice cream maker (cuisenart)? I realize the consistency won’t be quite the same, but I looked into Gelato makers, and the portions they make are just not enough to satisfy my family of five. In addition, my freezer wouldn’t be at the right temperature to store said gelato anyway. I have shied away from strawberry recipies for fear they wouldn’t freeze. My strawberry and cream (ice cream) recipe has the berries added in at the end for this reason. Would love to emulate the delicious berry gelato I enjoyed in Rome. Thankfully we have an authentic Italian born/trained gelato maker who owns a shop in our city, so I still get to enjoy good gelato.


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