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Sweeten up summer with easy-to-make sorbet at home

All you need is some fresh fruit and sweetener.

Three images of a small ice cream maker; scoops of yellow sorbet; and an ice cream scoop. Credit: Getty Images / Roxiller / Cuisinart / Oxo

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When the weather gets so hot and sticky that even a pint of ice cream sounds too heavy, we tend to opt for sorbet. Light, refreshing, and often made with the best seasonal fruit, sorbet is a no-brainer poolside treat. And it's even better when you make it yourself.

Now, don't get intimidated: Homemade sorbet only requires a few ingredients, and it comes together especially fast in a good ice cream machine. All you need are the right ingredients and a few tips and tricks to be sure your results are creamy, light, and good enough to serve to guests.

Here's how to make sorbet in your ice cream maker.

Grab the best ingredients

Close up of a cup of strawberry sorbet surrounded by strawberries.
Credit: Getty Images / Iuliia_n / Reviewed

Remember that certain fruits will illicit creamier results than others.

Just like in any recipe, a homemade sorbet is only as good as its ingredients. Take advantage of the season's best produce by stocking up on high-quality fruit from your local farmer's market or grocery store before getting started. Obviously, the most ripe and flavorful fruits will result in the best tasting sorbet.

When fruit shopping, keep in mind that certain fruits will yield creamier results than others. High-viscosity options like berries and stone fruits will result in a creamier sorbet texture than fruits with thinner juice yields, like melons and citrus.

Add a little sweetness

After good fruit, the second most important sorbet ingredient is sweetener. Sugar is the glue that holds sorbet together, and including the right amount will give you the best sorbet consistency (more on that later). Some recipes will suggest adding sugar in the form of simple syrup, but be aware that adding water into your mix could dilute the sorbet's natural flavor—even if it is easier to mix.

Corn syrup is another ingredient to consider. When it's incorporated, sorbet becomes much less icy, with a creamier consistency that can otherwise be hard to achieve. You can either choose to swap out a quarter of the sweetener you're already using with corn syrup, or use it as a sugar replacement altogether (but go easy, you probably won't even need as much).

Get the ratio right

The sugar-to-fruit ratio in sorbet is a delicate balance. Add too much sugar and the texture may not freeze well; add too little and it might be icy. A solid standard to follow when making sorbet is one cup of sugar to every four cups of fruit.

Of course, this is just a guiding recommendation; it can (and should!) be tweaked according to specific recipes. For example, a lime sorbet will need more added sweetener than a ripe mango sorbet to achieve the right flavor. Let your taste buds be your guide here.

Use high-quality equipment

A person makes ice cream at home with an appliance.
Credit: Getty Images / Grandbrothers / Reviewed

Make sure to use high-quality ingredients when you craft the perfect sorbet.

Okay, you've got your fruit and your sweetener ready to go; now you need your tools.

Typically, one of the first steps in sorbet-making is pureeing fresh, cut fruit. This can be done with a blender, food processor, or immersion blender. Just be sure there are no leftover chunks before handing it over to your ice cream maker, straining any seeds along the way.

If you tend to make frozen treats often, a good ice cream maker is a worthy investment. After trying out 10 of the most popular ice cream machines, we crowned the Cuisinart ICE-21 as the best pick.

It's easy to use, reasonably priced, and works quickly and efficiently. To make sorbet with it, simply create your fruit-and-sugar mixture, chill it, and let the machine do the rest. Just don't forget to freeze the canister beforehand.

Another great (and easy) option for making sorbet is with the Ninja Creami. We love this machine for its simple interface and ability to turn virtually any fruit into a creamy masterpiece. It's more of an investment, but it can also handle everything from ice cream to smoothie bowls, gelato, and milkshakes.

When it comes to making sorbet with the Creami, there's even less prep work involved. Just freeze your liquid mixture beforehand (even canned fruit works here!), lock the freezing container into the machine, and press the appropriate button. In minutes, your creamy (no pun intended) treat will be ready to dig into—with the right ice cream scoop, of course.

Recipes to follow

Need to get the juices flowing on sorbet ideas? Whether you're looking for a classic flavor, like this simple raspberry sorbet from Cuisinart, or something a little more unique, like this avocado lime sorbet from Ninja Test Kitchen (pro tip: avocado is a great thickening agent!), there are endless options. You can even go the savory route, with in-season tomatoes as the main character.

But experimenting with flavor combinations on your own—while daunting—might give you the most indulgent, satisfying results. So don't be afraid to think outside the box when embarking on your homemade sorbet adventure.

Get the Cuisinart ICE-21 for $70 on Amazon

Get the Ninja Creami for $200 on Amazon

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