Refreshing Sorbets and Granitas

Beat the heat with these sorbet and granita recipes

Lighter than ice cream but just as flavorful and refreshing, sorbets and granitas are the perfect escape from summer heat. From fruity granitas to boozy cocktail granitas to creamy sorbets, we’ve collected our favorite recipes to enjoy all summer long.

A granita is a frozen treat that’s easy to make at home. By scraping a liquid mixture as it freezes, you produce a crystalline structure that is light and airy. In Sicily, locals like to use sweetened espresso to make granita. For something fruity and effervescent, try our vanilla-grapefruit granita made with grapefruit juice and soda. Our creamy rhubarb granita is colored and sweetened with strawberries.

Granitas are often a family-friendly dessert, but we love making adult-only granitas inspired by cocktails. A mint julep is already served over crushed ice, so a granita just takes it one step further. For an intense digestif, look to our citrusy, bitter Fernet and coke granita. For the wine lover, white wine and sherry are both great bases for this frozen treat.

For a frozen dessert with a smoother, richer texture than a granita, try sorbet. Our raspberry sorbet is a simple dessert sweetened with sugar and brightened with lemon juice. What really makes it is adding whole raspberries at the very end of the churning to give it a chunky texture. While most sorbets are dairy-free, our lime juice-inflected cream cheese sorbet is a rich variation.

Find these desserts and more in our collection of sorbet and granita recipes.

Cactus Ice Granita

Like okra, cactus leaves have a gelatinous interior that lends a creamy mouthfeel to this lightly spicy, sweet-tart granita. Get the recipe for Cactus Ice Granita »

Lemon Granita

Like a frozen lemonade, this refreshing dessert is achieved with little more than lemon juice, sugar, and time. Get the recipe for Lemon Granita »

Almond Granita

Nutty, sweet almonds are used four ways in this super-simple frozen dessert. Get the recipe for Almond Granita »

Coffee Granita

This refreshing Italian dessert is made with nothing more than brewed espresso and sugar. Get the recipe for Coffee Granita »

Plum, White Chocolate, and Tarragon Parfait

The overt sweetness of white chocolate is tamed here by the addition of tart Greek yogurt. Chef John Karangis of Union Square Events serves it as a bed for juicy roasted plums and a sweet, anise-tinged tarragon white wine granita—it’s an elegant way to end a summer dinner. Get the recipe for Plum, White Chocolate, and Tarragon Parfait »

Granita di Caffe

In the hot, dry summers in Sicily, an icy slush of strong espresso and simple syrup is the perfect refresher. It’s often served as a parfait layered with rich, lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Mint Julep Granita

This recipe takes the crushed ice classic a step further, into dessert territory.

Cream Cheese Sorbet

No extra dairy is added to the cream cheese in this tangy, sweet dessert, making it a bit lighter than traditional ice creams.

Fernet and Coke Granita

Inspired by the Argentine pairing, an intense cola and licorice-flavored granita is the perfect digestif.

Grapefruit Campari Granita

Sweet and peach-hued, the winning combination of ruby red grapefruit juice and bitter Campari becomes even more refreshing when frozen. We like to enjoy this granita as a pre-dinner treat.
Fragrant vanilla enhances the taste of this refreshing, slushy dessert.

Raspberry Sorbet

Add whole raspberries to this sorbet at the last moment of churning to create a chunky texture.

Sherry Cardamom Granita

Delicately sweet and lightly spiced, a sherry-based granita makes a refreshing palate cleanser.

Rhubarb Granita

Tart rhubarb granita gets a boost of sweetness and brilliant color from fresh strawberries.

Wasabi Granita

Wasabi—a zesty cousin of horseradish—adds a palate-cleansing herbaceousness and a slight tingle of heat to this lightly sweet, refreshing shaved ice dessert.

White Wine Granita

A slightly fruity white wine works best here—we like to use Chardonnay, but any full-bodied white will do, including Champagne.

Tart Red Cherry Granita

The granular texture adds an interesting dimension to this icy, tangy confection.