fresh ruby red grapefruit sherbet

Ahhh, the middle of February. The winter is really dragging on, and we’ve got at least 5 or 6 more weeks until the first spring chives and greens start popping up. Here at Brooklyn Supper headquarters we’re hunkered down, making the most of cabbage, jerusalem artichokes, winter carrots, beets, and squash. And while I really do love all these foods, by this time of year they’re, um, very familiar. And so I’ve been searching for a treat that would add some brightness to these snowy winter nights. Enter Ruby Red grapefruit sherbet.

With vibrant fresh-squeezed grapefruit flavor, this sherbet is absolutely delicious. Light and ultra tangy, homemade sherbet has an amazing depth of fragrant grapefruit flavor. Brian and I loved this recipe. In fact, it’s reserved a coveted place in my top 5 favorite flavors.
Of course I found the definitive recipe through Cooks Illustrated. Their simple approach yields a light, pliant sherbet. One bite and you’ll swear you can feel a summer breeze–if you can remember what that was like.

Since we’re using the zest here, try and track down organic grapefruits. This sherbet will also work wonderfully with lemon, lime, Meyer lemons or oranges.

Ruby Red Grapefruit Sherbet (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

2 tablespoons grapefruit zest (about 1 grapefruit worth)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons vodka
2/3 cup heavy cream

In a non-reactive bowl, whisk together the zest, sugar, and salt. Next add the grapefruit juice and water, and continue to whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the vodka, cover the mixture, and chill until it is very cold, about an hour.

Just before processing the sherbet, whip up the cream so that it forms soft peaks. Slowly pour the juice mixture into the cream, with the stream of juice hitting the side of the bowl so as not to deflate the airy cream. Stir together, gently spoon into your ice cream maker, and process normally. Chances are the mixture will remain fairly wet, even after processing. Gently spoon into containers and put them in the freezer to cure for at least 3 hours. Serve with a twist of zest and maybe a grapefruit wedge.


  1. says

    This looks really good and maybe it might be nice with yogurt instead of cream? I just picked up an ice cream maker at a garage sale so I’m going to start using it and this looks really nice and refreshing.

  2. says

    @kickpleat, The whipped cream lends a lot of lightness to the sherbet, but I think your could sub in yogurt if you used a lighter, strained variety (like skirr). The double tang would be fantastic.
    @Dana, Thanks! So glad to know I’m not the only winter ice cream maker.

  3. Kent says

    I tried this today – everyone loved it – perfect for a hot summer day.
    I picked this recipe because it used a bit of cream, different from a lot of the other sherbets which called for egg whites. The cream seemed more appealing.
    Also I added about 1/3tsp guar gum per quart of mix as an emulsifier, to make it smoother.
    (The usual rate is around 1tsp/qt.)
    Then I froze it in a Donvier ice cream maker which froze it quite well.

    Is that really the right photo above ? That one has more of a coffee color on all the screens I’ve viewed it on, whereas my sherbet turned out more the expected light pink.

    • Elizabeth says

      Hi Kent, Glad to hear you liked the recipe, and thanks for sharing your recipe modifications! My sherbet did turn out to be more of a tan/orange color as opposed to pink. I assume it has to do with the color of the grapefruits. The color of yours sounds gorgeous!


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