Grapefruit & Honey Sorbet Is the Sweet-Tart Treat You Need This Week

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If you are looking for an elegant and light dessert to tickle your taste buds this week, you just found it.

Vertical image of a glass of pink sorbet with another with a spoon in the background, and two halves of a ruby red grapefruit in soft focus in the background on a white cloth against a mottled blue backdrop, printed with white and salmon-colored text.

When it comes to dessert, I personally love something that is tart, sweet, and tangy, all in one mouthful.

Particularly at this time of year when citrus is in season, adding it to recipes is like a bright light at the end of the dark winter tunnel that we have been dwelling in.

Vertical overhead shot of two halves of a ruby red grapefruit with yellow rind and two glass dishes of pink sorbet topped with candied giner, on a white cloth with a spoon and more of the garnish strewn across a brown table.

When I think of sorbet, I always think of a fancy dinner I went to when I was about five years old.

This was when my father was a big-time sales guy, so he would always have an annual appreciation dinner party for his top clients.

At that age, I was finally deemed “well-behaved” – at least well-behaved enough to make it through a fancy dinner – so I attended. I was in my fanciest dress, sitting next to my mom.

A glass dessert dish filled with a pink homemade fruit sorbet with chopped candied ginger sprinkled on top, with another identical dish in soft focus in the background, and two halves of a ruby red grapefruit with two spoons on a white cloth, on top of a brown table with crystallized ginger root strewn across it, on a watercolor blue background.

After the first course that I barely touched, a small bowl of what looked like ice cream was put in front of me. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world.

I mean, there was ice cream in front of me. During dinner. Before I had to finish all my vegetables. I was in heaven.

Of course, when I got the spoon to my mouth, the flavor was not what I expected. Instead, it was light and fruity.

This was a totally new experience for me, and the smooth texture just melted in my mouth like nothing else ever had before.

Overhead vertical shot of two glass dishes of pink fruit sorbet with candied ginger garnish, with more ginger, two ruby red grapefruit halves, and two spoons on a white cloth, on top of a brown wood surface.

Everyone at the table was so enamored with how much I was enjoying myself, they started passing me their sorbet just to see my eyes light up.

I am pretty sure my mom gave each of them a death stare each time they did. Getting through the rest of the night with a tantrum-throwing child coming down from a sugar high isn’t anyone’s idea of a nice way to end an evening…

Vertical image of two glass dessert dishes filled with pink sorbet with candied ginger on top, on a white cloth on top of a brown wood surface, with scattered crystallized ginger, two halves of a ruby red grapefruit, and a white cloth, against a mottled blue and white backdrop.

I never got to experience another dinner like that after my father changed career paths, but I will always remember it as the night when I fell in love with sorbet.

This particular sorbet recipe is one of my all-time favorites. If you love grapefruit or any kind of citrus, trust me when I say it’ll soon become your favorite as well.

The balance in this creamy and fruity sorbet is one that is ideally centered between sweet and tart. You get the full flavor of the citrus fruit, mixed in with honey for sweetness and vanilla extract for added smoothness.

Vertical overhead shot of two glass cups of pink homemade sorbet with candied ginger garnish, on a white cloth with two cut halves of a red grapefruit and a spoon, with scattered ginger on a brown table.

You can make it in whatever ice cream maker you have, and once you taste that first spoonful, you’ll feel like you are floating on a cloud of citrus happiness.

It will brighten up anyone’s day, and it serves as a delightful way to cleanse your palate at the end of, or even during, a fantastic meal.

Garnished with the spice of crystallized ginger, it’s an elegant, sweet treat that you won’t stop raving about.

Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables, available on Amazon

This recipe is adapted from Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables.

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Overhead closely cropped shot of two scoops of pink sorbet in a clear glass dish with crystallized ginger garnish, with two halves of a ruby red grapefruit in soft focus on a white cloth background.

Grapefruit & Honey Sorbet


  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1.5 Quarts 1x

Description

The ideal combination of sweet and tart in this grapefruit and honey sorbet is exactly what your taste buds need this week.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 large grapefruit (about 1 pound each), room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp grapefruit zest
  • 2/33/4 cup honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Instructions

  1. Peel and segment the grapefruit, removing all pith and seeds. Blend in a food processor or high-speed blender until very smooth.
  2. Add grapefruit zest, honey, salt, and vanilla and process until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  3. After the mixture is chilled, pour it into your ice cream maker. Make the sorbet according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer mixture to a freezer-safe container and freeze until it reaches the texture you prefer.
  4. Scoop into bowls and top with crystallized ginger before serving.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Ripe by Cheryl Sternman Rule.

  • Category: Sorbet
  • Method: Freezer, No Cook
  • Cuisine: Frozen Desserts

Keywords: sorbet, grapefruit, citrus, honey, ginger, candied ginger

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients

If they are chilled, allow the grapefruit to reach room temperature. I left mine out on the counter the night before I started the recipe.

I used ruby red grapefruit for their sweetness and color, but other varieties like oro blanco can be used if you prefer.

Overhead shot of a small square dish of candied ginger, a wooden salt cellar, two small glass bowls of honey and vanilla extract, and three whole grapefruit, on a brown and beige wood surface with horizontal stripes.

Note that the white varieties are generally more tart, so you’ll want to use the higher amount of honey indicated in the ingredients list to balance the flavor of these.

Zest enough of the grapefruit with your favorite microplane or zester to get 1 tablespoon total.

Chop enough crystallized ginger to get a total of 1/4 cup. If you like, you can even make your own at home with our recipe.

Measure out the honey, salt, and vanilla extract as listed on the ingredients list.

Step 2 – Make Base

Overhead shot of a clear plastic blender canister with ruby red grapefruit segments at the bottom, on a brown and beige surface with vertical stripes, with a black power cord to the right.

Peel and segment the grapefruit. Remove all pith, membranes, and seeds.

Vertical overhead image of a clear plastic countertop blender pitcher with a frothy pink blended fruit mixture at the bottom, with a black power cord to the right, on a brown wood surface.

Add the fruit segments to a food processor or high-speed blender until smooth.

Horizontal overhead shot of a plastic countertop blender pitcher with a frothy pink fruit mixture at the bottom with honey drizzled on top, with a black power cord, on a brown and beige wood surface with vertical stripes.

Add zest, honey, salt, and vanilla to the grapefruit. Process until combined.

Step 3 – Chill Base

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Step 4 – Churn

Add the chilled sorbet base to your ice cream maker.

Overhead shot of a pink homemade fruit sorbet being churned in a white plastic ice cream maker, on a wood surface with vertical stripes.

Make the sorbet according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Step 5 – Freeze

Place sorbet mixture into a freezer-safe, airtight container.

Overhead shot of a blended pink grapefruit mixture in a large, square, plastic container on a beige and brown wood surface with vertical stripes.

Freeze until it attains your desired texture. I chilled mine for about 4 hours.

Set on the counter to defrost for about 20 minutes before scooping into bowls, and top with chopped ginger candy. Serve immediately.

What Makes Sorbet So Magical?

There’s a very serious science behind the art of making sorbet. It’s made of three important ingredients – sugar, fruit, and air. Since there is no fat, the science of combining all the ingredients is a very important one.

When you add too much or too little of one thing, you can end up with a sloppy mess that never freezes. Alternatively, you could end up with something that will never melt, crystallizing into solid cubes rather than frosty and delicate crystals.

This recipe is a delicious and uncomplicated one to start with, but if you want to learn all about sorbet and how to master the art of making it, check out our sorbet science article for all the details you’ll need.

Overhead shot of a glass dessert dish of two scoops of pink sorbet topped with chopped crystallized ginger, with another identical dish to the right, with two spoons and two halves of ruby red grapefruit on a white cloth.

For more delightful sorbet recipes, here are some of our favorites:

Have you ever tried to make sorbet before? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe once you try it.

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on June 12, 2012. Last updated: March 4, 2019 at 11:31 am.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

14 thoughts on “Grapefruit & Honey Sorbet Is the Sweet-Tart Treat You Need This Week”

  1. I make a grapefruit and ginger drink (like a lemonade) and sometimes add honey instead of sugar. It’s my absolute favorite.
    The book sounds so amazing, too bad I initially thought you were reading N.Slater’s…
    I should try your sorbet!

  2. I’ve been obsessed with Nigel Slater’s book Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard, but I keep seeing this cookbook and really want to check it out. It looks beautiful! And so does this sorbet – honey + grapefruit sounds perfect and refreshing.

  3. I just checked this out from the library. All the recipes looked amazing. We made the honeydew fruit salad and that was good. I know I’m going to have to own it someday.

  4. remember that raw diet thing i did a few weeks ago? grapefruit was in the picture and the smoothies we would make that had said fruit were usually my least favorite. however, the one time i thought to add honey, it did wonders for the flavor.

    does this cookbook have savory recipes too? i just purchased the food matters cookbook by mark bittman, because i know our csa stash will be chock-full of goodies this summer and i don’t know where to begin with preparing them…

    • Good question and yes! Name the fruit or vegetable, and it’s in there, along with a recipe, including soups and crostini and stuffed chard and on and on (so in other words, LOTS of savory). There might even be more savory than not. I love it because it highlights each ingredient on its own, with info and ideas and a recipe.

  5. I really want to get her book now, you’ve definitely convinced me!

    This sorbet sounds so delicious. My father absolutely loves grapefruit and sorbets in general. With the two combined…it’d be his perfect dessert. I’m visiting him for Father’s Day this weekend, and am thinking about bringing it for him. It looks incredible!

  6. So, aside from this cookbook, what other cookbooks have you used the most to help you cook through your CSA stash? Any other recommendations? This one looks like a gem.

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