What’s the difference between a creamsicle and a dreamsicle?

Creamsicles and dreamsicles are two similar frozen desserts, but they have some key differences. In this article, we’ll explore the history, ingredients, flavors, and textures of creamsicles versus dreamsicles to understand how they compare.

What is a creamsicle?

A creamsicle is a frozen dessert that consists of vanilla ice cream coated in a layer of orange sherbet. The name comes from the creamy vanilla center encased in the icy orange exterior. Creamsicles have a signature orange and cream swirled look when cut in half.

Creamsicles were first created in the 1920s and became popular when Popsicle released its branded version in the late 1960s. They are now mass-produced and sold by major ice cream companies under various brand names.

The main ingredients in creamsicles are:

  • Vanilla ice cream – made from cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. It provides the creamy white center.
  • Orange sherbet – made from sugar, milk, citrus juice, orange zest, and stabilizers. It provides the tangy orange coating.

So a creamsicle contains an ice cream interior enveloped by a sherbet exterior. The contrast of flavors and textures is the hallmark of a creamsicle.

What is a dreamsicle?

A dreamsicle is another frozen dessert consisting of vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet. However, unlike a creamsicle, the ice cream and sherbet are blended together into a creamy, smooth consistency rather than enrobed in distinct layers.

Dreamsicles were first created in the late 1920s by the Adohr Milk Farms dairy in Los Angeles, California. The name “dreamsicle” was chosen as a play on the creamy, dreamy, fantasy-like texture of the ice cream blend.

The main ingredients in dreamsicles are:

  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Orange sherbet

So while a creamsicle combines ice cream and sherbet in distinct layers, a dreamsicle blends them together into one unified frozen dessert. The result is a smooth, creamy texture infused throughout with bright, citrusy orange flavor.

Differences in ingredients

While creamsicles and dreamsicles both contain vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet, there can be some variation in specific ingredients between different brands and recipes:

Types of ice cream

  • Creamsicles often use rich French style ice cream, with higher fat content for a creamy texture.
  • Dreamsicles may use lighter ice milks or gelatos to facilitate blending with the sherbet.

Types of sherbet

  • Creamsicles tend to use a classic orange sherbet with a tangy citrus flavor.
  • Dreamsicles sometimes incorporate softer sorbets or orange creamy blends for a smoother mouthfeel.

Additional ingredients

  • Creamsicles generally just include ice cream, sherbet, and basic ingredients like milk, cream, and sugar.
  • Dreamsicles may incorporate extra ingredients like orange zest, vanilla extract, stabilizers, and emulsifiers to achieve a richer, creamier blended texture.

Differences in structure and texture

The biggest difference between creamsicles and dreamsicles is the structure:

  • Creamsicles have a two layered structure, with the ice cream in the middle enveloped by the exterior orange sherbet coating. This gives them a crispy outer shell and creamy inner center.
  • Dreamsicles are blended together into a homogeneous mixture. The ice cream and sherbet swirl smoothly together throughout the dessert.

This structural difference leads to a textural difference as well:

  • Creamsicles offer an exciting contrast of textures – the crunchy, cold sherbet shell, and the rich, velvety ice cream center.
  • Dreamsicles have a uniform creamy, smooth, whipped texture throughout. The ice cream and sherbet blend together for a lighter, airier mouthfeel.

Differences in flavor

While creamsicles and dreamsicles both combine orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream, the specific flavors can vary slightly:

  • Creamsicles offer a punchy burst of tangy orange initially from the sherbet, contrasted by the sweet creaminess of the vanilla ice cream center.
  • Dreamsicles have a more understated citrus orange tone that blends subtly with the vanilla ice cream for a creamy mellow orange flavor profile.

So creamsicles tend to have bolder, more dynamic orange and vanilla flavors, while dreamsicles feature a more homogenous orange cream taste.

Differences in appearance

Visually, creamsicles and dreamsicles look quite distinct:

  • Creamsicles have a two-tone appearance featuring a creamy white center encased in an outer orange coating. When sliced, they showcase distinctive stripes of white and orange.
  • Dreamsicles appear homogenous in color, like a creamy orange blur. When sliced, no distinct stripes are visible since the orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream are blended together.

So creamsicles have a striking two-tone look, while dreamsicles feature a uniform orange hue.

Nutrition comparison

Here is a nutritional comparison between creamsicles and dreamsicles:

Nutrition Facts Creamsicle Dreamsicle
Calories 80 100
Total Fat 2g 3g
Saturated Fat 1.5g 2g
Total Carbohydrates 17g 22g
Sugar 16g 20g
Protein 1g 2g
Calcium 72mg 104mg

As the table shows, dreamsicles tend to be a bit higher in calories, fat, carbs, and sugar compared to creamsicles. However, both are still relatively low calorie frozen dessert options.

Cost comparison

Creamsicles and dreamsicles are typically available for similar price points at grocery stores and ice cream shops. On average:

  • Individual creamsicles or dreamsicles may cost $1 – $3 each.
  • A box of creamsicle or dreamsicle bars at the store is usually $3 – $6.
  • Some high-end ice cream shops may charge up to $5 or more for specialty creamsicle dishes and milkshakes.

However, you can also easily make both creamsicle and dreamsicle recipes at home for less than $2 total for a batch.

Ease of preparation

In terms of ease of preparation:

  • Creamsicles require a bit more work, as you must prepare the ice cream and sherbet separately then assemble them in layers.
  • Dreamsicles are simpler to make since you just blend together the ingredients into one mixture.

Ready-made creamsicles and dreamsicles you buy in stores are obviously the most convenient options.


Both creamsicles and dreamsicles have been popular frozen treats for decades. However, creamsicles seem to have a slight edge in mainstream popularity:

  • Creamsicles have long been a mainstay ice cream novelty, available everywhere from ice cream trucks to grocery store freezers.
  • Dreamsicles are still well-known but may have more of a nostalgic following among adults who remember them from childhood.

However, dreamsicles have been gaining ground more recently as orange creamsicle flavors and combinations have surged in popularity.

Uses in desserts

Both creamsicle and dreamsicle flavors can be adapted into all kinds of desserts:

Creamsicle flavored desserts

  • Milkshakes
  • Smoothies
  • Ice cream cakes
  • Popsicles
  • Cheesecakes
  • Cookies
  • Creamsicle floats

Dreamsicle flavored desserts

  • Cupcakes
  • Mousse
  • Tiramisu
  • Trifles
  • Puddings
  • Parfaits
  • Dreamsicle floats

The swirled look of creamsicles also makes them ideal for layered desserts, while the blended texture of dreamsicles lends itself well to smooth, creamy desserts.

Which is better?

The verdict on creamsicles vs dreamsicles comes down largely to personal preference:

  • Creamsicles are perfect if you love contrasting textures and flavors – the crunch of the sherbet paired with the luxurious ice cream center.
  • Dreamsicles appeal most to those who prefer a more uniform, blended consistency with a lighter orange cream flavor.

Creamsicles offer more visual flair in their appearance, while dreamsicles provide nostalgic comfort food appeal. Both frozen treats have their ardent fans and evoke fun summertime vibes.


When it comes to creamsicles vs. dreamsicles, the main differences come down to structure and flavor. Creamsicles feature a two-layer encased structure with bolder orange and vanilla flavors. Dreamsicles have a blended, uniform texture with a creamy mellow orange taste. Fans of dynamic textures and contrasting flavors may prefer creamsicles, while those wanting a smooth, creamy mouthfeel and muted citrus tones may enjoy dreamsicles more. Of course, ice cream lovers appreciate both these classic frozen desserts for their nostalgia-inducing sweetness on hot summer days.

So next time you’re craving a refreshing creamsicle or dreamsicle dessert, consider whether you want an exciting flavor contrast or a perfectly homogenized orange cream blend. Either way, you can’t go wrong with these iconic frozen treats!

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