When it comes to frozen desserts — whether it’s ice cream, custard, gelato, froyo…whatever — we’re equal opportunity. But when it comes to how they’re made, not all frozen desserts are created equal. So, with a little help from our friends at TLC*, we put together a know-it-all guide to help you navigate the world of frozen treats like a pro. And in true Chicago Food Planet style, we’re also hooking you up with the deets on where you can score some of Chicago’s finest scoops. Pretty cool, right? (See what we did there?)

Photo by Spablab via Flickr

Photo from Spablab via Flickr


Ice Cream

“By United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards, a food labeled “ice cream” should have at least 20 percent milk solids and 10 percent milk fat by weight. Premium brands are fattier, typically 14 to 18 percent. Both milk and cream are used. Sweeteners account for another 15 percent or so.”

Get your fix at:

Margie’s Candies

1960 N. Western and 1813 W. Montrose

iCream (one of the stops on our Bucktown/Wicker Park tour!)

1537 N. Milwaukee

Original Rainbow Cone

9233 S. Western

Bobtail Ice Cream Company

2951 N. Broadway



“A touch of egg yolk is what distinguishes frozen custard from commercial ice cream. Legally, custard only has to contain 1.4 percent egg yolk by weight, but some brands have more. The lecithin in the yolk is a natural emulsifier, imparting a richer, creamier texture.”

Get your fix at:


1658 W. Belmont

Lickity Split

6056 N. Broadway



“Gelato hails from Italy, and its name is simply the Italian word for “frozen.” Gelato traditionally is made using mostly or entirely milk. Having little or no cream reduces fat while intensifying flavors. Gelato’s melt-in-the-mouth creaminess comes from sheer density: It’s churned with relatively little added air.”

Get your fix at:

Black Dog Gelato

859 N. Damen and 1955 W. Belmont


3241 N. Broadway, 2324 W. Giddings, 2009 W. Roscoe



“Frozen yogurt blends yogurt (milk fermented with yogurt cultures) with an ice cream base of milk, cream and sweetener. The resulting dessert is both sweet and tangy, cold and creamy. If made with live cultures, frozen yogurt promotes digestive health by encouraging the growth of “friendly” bacteria in the intestinal tract.”

Get your fix at:

Forever Yogurt

Many Chicago locations — see site for details

Starfruit Cafe

Many Chicago locations — see site for details


Which frozen treat do you prefer and where’s your favorite place to enjoy it? Let us know in the comments section below — we’d love to hear from you!


*All frozen factoids sourced from TLC — we only wish we were that smart in real life.


Chicago Food Planet offers a variety of awesome walking food tours in Chicago

Savor Chinatown with a full immersion into the culinary & ethnic pageantry at five authentic, mouthwatering restaurants

Tour Length3 hours
Cost$80 Adult | $50 Adolescent | Free Child (6 & Under)
Tour Distance1.3 Miles

Chicago's only tour that takes you to the hot local spots featured on the hit TV show THE BEAR

Tour Length3.5 hours
Cost$129.00 Adult
Tour Distance9 miles
NeighborhoodsRiver North, West Loop and Logan Square.
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