Is Dairy Queen’s Treat Really Ice Cream? 


Hey there, who here loves ice cream more than me? If you’re anything like me, you probably adore the creamy goodness of ice cream, especially on those scorching summer days. Have you ever wondered if Dairy Queen’s soft serve is made with real ice cream? I sure did! So, let’s dive into the delightful world of Dairy Queen and see what’s the scoop!

I must admit, I was a bit surprised when I found out that not all Dairy Queen treats are classified as ice cream. Say what? But don’t worry, there’s a reason behind it, and it all comes down to something called “soft serve.”

When you walk into a Dairy Queen, you’re met with an array of delicious options, from sundaes to blizzards. But did you know that many of these options are actually made with what’s known as “soft serve” instead of traditional ice cream? Soft serve is a delightful and smooth concoction, but it has a few differences that set it apart from ice cream.

The main difference lies in the ingredients. Traditional ice cream usually contains milk, cream, sugar, and sometimes egg yolks. Soft serve, on the other hand, might not contain the same amount of milkfat. Instead of having a minimum of 10% milkfat, soft serve can have around 3-6% milkfat, which gives it that characteristic light and airy texture.

Did you know that the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has some pretty specific rules about what can be officially called “ice cream”? They’ve laid down the law that any dessert trying to claim the title of “ice cream” must have a butterfat or milkfat content of at least 10%. Yep, it’s all about that creamy fat content that gives ice cream its luscious texture and taste.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. In the past, Dairy Queen’s soft serve fell under the label of “ice milk,” which wasn’t quite the same as full-fledged ice cream. But then, the FDA decided to do some reshuffling. They waved goodbye to the “ice milk” category and introduced three new categories: “reduced-fat,” “light,” and “low-fat” ice cream. This meant companies like Dairy Queen needed to decide which of these categories their treats fit into.

Fast forward to today, and Dairy Queen’s soft serve finds itself in the “reduced-fat” ice cream category. And if you’re curious about their shake mix, that’s rocking the title of “low-fat” ice cream. But, let’s set the record straight here – this doesn’t mean that you’re about to dive into a dessert that’s almost 95% fat-free. Nope, these new categories are all about letting us know the percentage of butterfat in these treats.


Dairy Queen’s soft serve sets itself apart from “ice cream” in more than one way. If you’ve ever treated yourself to a Blizzard, you’ve surely felt the difference – it’s super soft and flexible, unlike your regular ice cream. Wonder why? Well, let me share the scoop! 

When it comes to soft serve, there’s a bit of air in the mix, which makes it extra creamy when it freezes. Think about it like fluffing up a pillow – it adds that special texture we all know and love.

Oh, and here’s another tidbit – the temperature of soft serve hangs out in a different zone compared to regular ice cream. Not to mention, there are these nifty things called emulsifiers. They’re like the glue that keeps everything together in the soft serve, making sure all the ingredients play nicely in the freezing process. It’s like teamwork for your taste buds!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Does this mean Dairy Queen’s soft serve isn’t as good as traditional ice cream? Not at all! It’s just a different experience. Some people might even prefer the lighter taste and smoother texture of soft serve, especially on a hot day when you want something refreshing.

So, the answer to the question “Is Dairy Queen’s treat real ice cream?” is a bit more complex than a simple yes or no. While their soft serve doesn’t meet the strict criteria set by the FDA for traditional ice cream, it doesn’t mean it’s any less delicious. Dairy Queen’s soft serve is a unique and delightful dessert that offers a distinct taste and texture that many people love.

The next time you’re at Dairy Queen and you’re debating between a sundae, a blizzard, or a cone of soft serve, remember that while it might not technically be called ice cream, it’s still a wonderful treat that’s worth savoring. Enjoy your Dairy Queen experience, and relish every cool and creamy bite!