Rainbow sherbet is a colorful and fun frozen treat! The classic combination of orange, lime and raspberry is fruity and refreshing.

Rainbow Sherbet

What’s a more nostalgic treat than rainbow sherbet? The electric green, magenta and bright orange hues transport us right back to childhood, licking dribbles off our sticky fingers. Turns out, it’s a fun project to make at home: and tastes infinitely better than the store-bought stuff. Here’s a bit more about the stuff and how to make it at home!

What is rainbow sherbet?

Rainbow sherbet is a creamy frozen dessert that layers three or more different flavors, traditionally orange, lime and raspberry. It was invented in the 1950s in Pennsylvania, after an ice cream company employee invented a way to fill a carton with three different flavors of sherbet at once (source).

Sherbet is made of blended fruit, sugar, and cream or milk, then churned like ice cream to make its signature frosty texture. It’s like a lighter version of ice cream: sherbet 1 to 2% milkfat, whereas ice cream has at least 10% milkfat. 

Most rainbow sherbet has a mix of bright orange, pink, and green sherbet to match the orange, raspberry and lime flavors. But there are variations: the Baskin Robbins variety features pineapple, orange and raspberry.

Rainbow Sherbet

Tips for making rainbow sherbet

Homemade sherbet is easy to make and has a pure, fruity and creamy flavor. It’s well worth making it over opting for store-bought! However, making rainbow sherbet at home is a bit of a project because you have to make three separate sorbet flavors. You’ll also need an ice cream maker. Here are a few notes on the process:

  • Make the orange, lime and raspberry sherbet recipes separately. Freeze each one until ready to serve. See each recipe for the ingredient lists.
  • If you have an ice cream maker with a freezer insert, plan to complete this over 3 days. Why? You’ll need to re-freeze the base overnight after making each sherbet flavor. But if you’ve got a different type of ice cream maker, you may be able to handle churning the three flavors back to back.
  • Fill a loaf pan with alternating scoops of each color of sherbet, starting with a layer in the bottom of about 6 dollops. Then add another layer on top, and another until the container is filled. Resist the urge to stir. Smooth out the top with a spoon.
  • Freeze. Place the container in the freezer and freeze for at least 1 hour to allow it to harden to a scoopable texture.
Rainbow Sherbet

Serving suggestions

Rainbow sherbet makes a beautifully bright, frosty puree that has so much flavor, you might fall out of your chair. We served it to guests who were incredibly impressed, and of course our 5 year ol was in love. Here are a few notes on serving this rainbow sherbet:

  • Rainbow sherbet tastes best the day it’s made. But it lasts up to 1 week frozen. Make sure to
  • Don’t want to make 3 flavors over 3 days? We get that. To us, it was a fun challenge. Doesn’t feel doable? Pick one of the three flavors and try just one!
Rainbow Sherbet

More sherbet recipes

Each one of the sherbet flavors in rainbow sherbet is worth making on its own! Try these tasty flavors separately if you’re not ready for the effort involved in the swirl:

This rainbow sherbet recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Rainbow Sherbet


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: N/A
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 minute
  • Yield: 2 quarts (10 to 12) 1x

Description

Rainbow sherbet is a colorful and fun frozen treat! The classic combination of orange, lime and raspberry is fruity and refreshing.


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Make the orange, lime and raspberry sherbet recipes separately and freeze until ready to assemble. If you have an ice cream maker with a freezer insert, plan to complete this over 3 days (you’ll need to re-freeze the base overnight after each sherbet flavor). Other types of ice cream makers can handle churning the three flavors back to back.
  2. If you’ve made your sherbet in advance, allow it to sit out at room temperature for about 15 minutes to make it easy to scoop. (If it’s freshly churned, skip this step.)
  3. Fill a loaf pan with alternating scoops of each color of sherbet, starting with a layer in the bottom of about 6 dollops (see the photos above). Then add another layer on top, and another until the container is filled. Resist the urge to stir. Smooth out the top with a spoon.
  4. Place in the freezer and freeze for at least 1 hour to allow it to harden to a scoopable texture (or 2 hours if working with freshly churned sherbet). Store frozen for up to 1 week: allow it to stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving to make it easy to scoop.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Frozen
  • Cuisine: Dessert
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Rainbow sherbet

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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