My Blood Orange Sorbet is a deliciously sweet, tart, and frosty dessert, perfect for cleansing your palette after a heavy meal. Make this simple, 4-ingredient, naturally dairy-free sorbet in winter, when blood oranges are in season — you’ll be so glad you did!
A new year is upon us, which means many of us are in a healthier eating mindset. But, for someone like me, who believes dessert is an essential meal of the day, the idea of going cold turkey on treats is never going to happen. Enter my lip-smacking blood orange sorbetto recipe.
Simply made with just a handful of ingredients, this delectable frozen dessert is a welcome departure from all the heaviness of the holidays. It’s light and bright, bursting with juicy, raspberry-tinged citrus flavor. It’s also made without any refined sugar, relying solely on the sweetness of honey and the fruit itself, so you can dig in without any guilt.
Calvin and I are downright obsessed with this ruby-hued sorbet, especially during the snuggly months. Serve a scoop after heavy winter favorites like New England-style clam chowder in a bread bowl, creamy boursin pasta, or meatloaf with cheesy mashed potatoes — the tongue-tingling acidity it brings to the table helps to cut through all the dairy richness like a hot knife through butter.
⭐ Why You’ll Love This Blood Orange Sorbet Recipe
- Deliciously Simple - All you need are 5 ingredients (including water) and about 5-10 minutes of active prep time to make this frosty blood orange recipe.
- Sunshiny Flavor - I’ve always loved the fact that zesty citrus fruits are in season during the coldest months of the year. It’s like the universe knows we need a reminder of warmer days to come! Each bite of this sorbet blood orange deliciousness tastes like a frozen ray of sunshine.
- Effortlessly Elegant - If you tell your friends you made a batch of sorbet, their jaws are prone to hit the floor in awe of your kitchen prowess. Serve a scoop in a pretty coupe glass with a sprig of mint and an extra drizzle of Lillet for your next dinner party and soak up all the admiration. They don’t have to know how easy it is to make!
As promised, you only need a handful of ingredients to make this bright and lightly boozy sorbet. Here’s what to grab:
- Warm Water - If possible, start with filtered water for the best taste.
- Honey - The floral sweetness of honey combined with its invert sugar-like properties make it the perfect sweetener for our sorbet recipe.
- Blood Orange Juice + Zest - Fresh is always best, and that’s never more true than with citrus. Grab a bag or two of these beauties while you can — there’s no shortage of ways to put them to good use.
- Lime Juice - Again, bottled citrus juice can’t hold a candle to the real stuff in terms of taste. To get the most juice from your fruit, give it a firm roll on the countertop for about 10-15 seconds before slicing it open.
- Floral Liqueur - My personal favorite here is Lillet, though St. Germaine would also be lovely.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
⏲️ Substitutions & Variations
As much as I love this copycat recipe for Ciao Bella blood orange sorbetto, there are plenty of ways for you to make it your own. Need to make some ingredient swaps or dietary adaptations? Here are some of my favorite variations:
- Vegan Sorbet - Skip the honey in favor of another liquid sweetener like agave nectar or corn syrup to make this a completely plant-based dessert.
- Booze-Free - Adding a bit of liqueur serves a dual purpose: giving the sorbet an additional layer of flavor complexity while also helping to prevent it from freezing solid. If you don’t want to add the liqueur, simply freeze the sorbet for a shorter period to keep it scoopable, or be prepared to let it sit at room temp for about 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Different Citrus - Can’t get your hands on blood oranges, but have a boatload of Cara Cara oranges or sweet tangerines? Not to worry! Use whichever variety of orange you happen to have on hand, and taste the mixture before freezing to adjust the sweetness as needed. Trust me: clementine sorbet is every bit as lovely and refreshing as blood orange!
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!
📖 How to Make Blood Orange Sorbet: Step-by-Step Instructions
This fresh-tasting frozen treat comes together in just a few simple steps. Here’s how:
Step 1: Warm your water and honey in a saucepan until your honey has dissolved. Then add remaining ingredients and mix.
Step 2: Chill the mixture in the fridge overnight in an airtight container.
Step 3: Churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the maker's instructions - this should take 10 minutes!
Step 4: Scoop into some chilled serving bowls and enjoy with a fresh slice of blood orange!
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Select the Best Citrus. The quality of your blood oranges is key to a delicious sorbet. Look for oranges that are heavy for their size, indicating juiciness, and have a distinctively citrusy aroma.
- Balance Sweetness & Tartness. Citrus can vary widely in terms of sweetness. Taste the juice before adding your honey. You might need to adjust the quantity of sweetener based on how sweet or tart your oranges are.
- Strain the Juice. For a smoother sorbet, run the blood orange juice through a mesh sieve to remove any pulp and seeds. This will give your sorbet a more refined texture.
- Add a Splash of Alcohol. A small amount of alcohol helps lower the freezing point, which contributes to a softer sorbet. If you don't have fancy options like Lillet or St. Germaine, more common options like vodka or Triple Sec will totally do the trick.
- Freeze the Mixture Properly. If you have an ice cream maker, use it. If not, place the mixture in a shallow dish and freeze, stirring every 30 minutes to break up ice crystals.
- Garnish Wisely. Serve your sorbet with a fresh mint leaf, a twist of orange zest, or a dried orange slice to add a touch of elegance and a burst of aroma.
💭 Recipe FAQs
What’s the difference between sherbet and sorbet?
It all comes down to dairy. Sorbet is always dairy-free (though not necessarily vegan), whereas sherbet typically has milk or cream added to give it a bit of richness. Sherbet is still lighter than ice cream and doesn’t include eggs, rather has a more tart, fruit-forward flavor.
What’s the difference between blood orange vs naval orange?
These citrusy cousins each have their own charms. The big star of the show with blood oranges is their color – they have a gorgeous deep red, almost maroon flesh, thanks to a pigment called anthocyanin. They're a bit smaller than navel oranges, and they have a unique flavor, kind of like a regular orange but less acidic and with a hint of raspberry.
Navel oranges are the ones you probably see in your mind's eye when someone says "orange." They're larger, have that classic orange color inside, and are super sweet and juicy. They're named for that cute little 'navel' on the bottom, which is actually a second, tiny fruit.
What goes well with blood orange sorbet?
Pairing blood orange sorbet with complementary flavors can elevate this delightful treat to a new level of deliciousness! Blood orange mimosas, blood orange chocolate cake or a blood orange pisco sour are perfect picks!
Consider drizzling a simple syrup, made in a small saucepan over medium heat, infused with regular orange peel and a touch of lemon juice, to add depth and a citrusy zing. Or, serve the sorbet at room temperature in a glass bowl, garnished with thin strips of orange peel or candied orange for a visually appealing and tasty bite!
How should I store it?
This homemade blood orange sorbet should be kept in an airtight freezer-safe container in the coldest part of your freezer (not in the door!). To help prevent crystallization from occurring, place a piece of parchment paper directly on top of the sorbet, pressing to make contact. It should be consumed within 2 weeks for the best flavor.
More Blood Orange Recipes You’ll Love
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Blood Orange Sorbet
- ¾ cup Warm Water
- ¼ cup Honey
- Lime juice from ½ a lime
- 1 ¾ cups Blood orange juice + zest of two blood oranges
- 2 tablespoons Floral Liqueur, such as Lillet
- Warm your water and honey in a saucepan until your honey has dissolved.¾ cup Warm Water, ¼ cup Honey
- Mix in the zest, lime juice, blood orange juice, and floral liqueur, stirring well to combine.Lime juice from ½ a lime, 1 ¾ cups Blood orange juice + zest of two blood oranges, 2 tablespoons Floral Liqueur
- Chill in the fridge overnight, then churn in your ice cream maker until your sorbet has thickened and enjoy!