Everyone enjoys something cold on a hot summer day. When restaurants, shops, concession stands, hotels, and convenience stores offer cold, sweet treats during the summer months, they are guaranteed to increase their revenue. Here we discuss some menu options and the equipment used to make them.

1) Ice Cream

Ice Cream

Ice cream comes in practically any flavor and can be served in a variety of ways. What makes ice cream, well, ice cream, is its mixture of ice, milk or cream, and sugar. It must contain 10%-16% butterfat to be ice cream and not another type of frozen dessert.

It can be served between two wafers as ice cream sandwiches, inserts inside of cakes or bars, topped with syrups and nuts for a sundae. Options of how to serve it seem endless. It can be used to make Baked Alaska (ice cream and cake topped with meringue), ice cream sodas, or floats (soft drinks or carbonated water served with ice cream or a mixture of flavored syrups), and fried ice cream. Fried ice cream is ice cream that has been frozen hard, breaded or coated, and then quickly deep-fried.

Ice Cream

It can also be served inside waffles shaped like cones or tacos.

To make the above desserts in large quantities, we recommend commercial ice cream machines, waffle cone makers, soda dispensers, and pan rails to keep toppings chilled.

2) Custard


Custard is like ice cream, consisting mostly of the same ingredients, with one key difference. Custard contains egg yolks. It has ice, milk or cream, sugar, just like ice cream, but must contain egg yolks. Ice cream has little to no egg in it, but custard contains 1.4% egg yolk and 10% milkfat by weight.

The process of making custard is unique as well. Less air is allowed into the mixture, therefore, giving it a denser and creamier texture.

To achieve this creamy, dense mouthfeel, one will need to purchase a frozen custard machine.

3) Soft Serve

Soft Serve

This phrase is commonly interchangeable with soft serve. However, they are different. Soft serve is made of cream, ice, and sugar but contains more air. Thanks to the mixing process, more air is allowed into the mixture for a lighter, smoother product. It isn’t nearly as dense as custard. It contains significantly less milkfat – just 3% to 6%.

4) Frozen Yogurt

Frozen Yogurt

More than just yogurt frozen, this treat contains cream, ice, and sugar. Cultured milk can be used instead of yogurt if preferred. It is a lighter, healthier alternative to ice cream. Frozen fruit, nuts, and candies can be used to give it a more tart or sweet taste. It must be dispensed from a machine.

We sell soft serve and frozen yogurt machines from Stoelting and Spaceman. They are ideal for making either dessert, providing more options for your menu.

5) Gelato


Also made of ice, milk, cream, and sugar, Gelato has the addition of fruit, nut butter, and/or fresh herbs. Originating in Italy, it is typically prepared with bold flavors and in eye-catching colors. What separates it from other frozen desserts, besides its boldness, is the percentage of each ingredient. It contains no more than 8% butterfat, a maximum of 16% sugar, and consists of 25% to 30% air. This gives it a denser, heartier taste than traditional ice cream.

To serve Gelato at your foodservice establishment, special holding cabinets will be required. Gelato is held at higher temperatures than traditional ice cream-style desserts. It is held at exactly 15 degrees Fahrenheit while ice cream is held at 0.

6) Sorbet, Sherbert, and Shebert


Sherbert and Shebert are the same, but sorbet contains no dairy. This is the first treat mentioned that excludes dairy making it an ideal sugary, cool treat for those who prefer an alternative diet. Both contain frozen fruit puree or juice, water, and sugar. Sherbert or shebert has the addition of milk or milk products for a creamier and slightly heavier taste. Both, however, are light compared to ice cream.

Sherbert, for example, contains a mere 1% to 2% butterfat, adding to its sense of lightness.

They can be stored in ice cream display cases and can be made in batch freezers.

7) Affogato


Technically a twist on traditional ice cream, we have included it as a separate dessert or drink because it contains coffee! It’s the ideal way for customers to cool off and still get a caffeine fix. Make these with a coffee maker and ice cream machine.

8) Semifreddo


Unlike the above desserts, it is a mixture of frozen mousse and syrups for flavoring. Other ingredients can be mixed in to add texture.

9) Icebox Cake

Icebox Cake

Made with cream, this cool dessert contains fruit, nuts, and wafers. It is essentially a cake that is refrigerated or chilled. All you need for this is baking equipment and a commercial refrigerator.

10) Snow Cones

Snow Cones

Snow cones (or sno cones) and shaved ice are finely crushed ice covered in syrup. The ice should be arranged in the desired shape before the syrup is poured over it. The syrups typically come in bright colors. The difference between shaved ice and snow cones is only the size of the ice. We sell several sno cone machines.

11) Italian Ice

Italian Ice

Another frozen dessert originating in Italy, Italian ice is essentially ice with a fruit-based syrup poured over it. Like sno cones or shaved ice, Italian ice is in a separate category because it must contain a fruit flavor either from syrup or fruit puree. Sugar is added and water is used. Dairy- and fat-free is ideal for the health-conscious or those who choose alternative diets.

12) Slushies


Another brightly colored dessert, slushies contains freezing water and syrup for flavoring. The syrup is poured atop the freezing water at room temperature or warmer. Uniquely, as the syrup cools and mixes with the freezing water, ice crystals are formed. This produces slushies' infamous texture and crystallized appearance.

Slushies are often called granita as well. Technically speaking, however, granita has flakier ice and is sometimes served with wine. Slushies or granita may contain carbonated or alcoholic ingredients.

Equipment made for slushies and granita is the most efficient way to make them for customers.

13) Milkshakes and Malts


We wrote a blog about the differences between milkshakes and malts. Their similarities are that they both are frozen drinks created by mixing ice cream, milk, and some sort of flavoring. What separates them is that malts contain alcohol.

Milkshakes contain 2% to 7% butterfat. The variance comes from the amount of ice cream used to make the blend. Traditionally flavorings are syrups, peanut butter, fruit, or candies.

Commercial drink blenders are ideal for low-volume operations.

14) Smoothies


Another healthy alternative to some of these sweeter treats, smoothies contain less sugar than the above treats. They are made of milk (or milk alternatives), coconut water, yogurt, fruit juice, or water with fruit, protein powders, or specialty mixes. Frozen or fresh fruits can be used as well as fruit purees to give smoothies a sweet, fruity taste.

Commercial drink blenders are the best choice for creating smoothies. See smoothie recipes here.

15) Smoothie Bowls

Smoothie Bowls

Essentially a smoothie in a bowl, they are made to be thick instead of drinkable. They have thicker toppings such as chia seeds, cut-up fruit (instead of blended), and granola.

Acai bowls are essentially smoothie bowls except with acai berries mixed in to create a frozen puree. It traces its origins back to Brazil where acai berries are produced. Acai berries must be pulped, and flash-frozen before use unless an acai puree is used instead.

Acai bowls can be topped with chia seeds, cut fruit, granola, and all the same ingredients you would top a smoothie bowl with. For a convenient place to store toppings, consider purchasing a food prep table or pan rail.

16) Frozen Desserts

Frozen Desserts

Similar to icebox cakes, you can place practically any dessert in the freezer to offer a frozen, cool variety. Frozen pies, cakes, dough bites, and more are potential customer favorites. Just use your imagination. Some desserts, such as cookies, may not have the proper texture for it, but you are free to experiment as you wish.

Contact us to ask about the commercial refrigerators and freezers we have in stock.


Call: 888.778.4815

Email: sales@deqonline.com