Sherbert vs. Sherbet: What’s the Difference?

Dessert is wonderful. Everyone loves dessert. Humans love it so much that we have invented an incredible variety of food items to eat for dessert. One such delicious food item is made by blending fruit juice with cream and sugar before freezing it.

But how is the word for this food spelled? Is it sherbet, or sherbert? Many writers aren’t sure how this word should be spelled. Whether the food itself should be eaten has never been seriously questioned.

What is the Difference Between Shertbert and Sherbet?

In this post, I will compare sherbert vs. sherbet. I will outline which is the correct spelling and why. I will also reveal a useful mnemonic that can help you decide whether to choose sherbert or sherbet for dessert, and in your writing.

When to Use Sherbet

sherbert versus sherbetWhat does sherbet mean? Sherbet is the correct spelling of this word. A sherbet is a frozen dessert food similar to ice cream, but with fruit juice as its main ingredient. The following sentences are examples of the use of sherbet in a sentence.

  • Becca’s favorite food at the store is rainbow sherbet.
  • Sorbet and sherbet differ in that sorbet is frozen fruit juice and sugar, while sherbet adds dairy cream or egg whites to the recipe.
  • I set out to make something more like a sherbet, a mango lassi ice. –The New York Times

When to Use Sherbert

Definition of sherbet definition and definition of sherbert definitionWhat does sherbert mean? Sherbert is a common misspelling of sherbet. It is never correct.

Sherbert is derived from the way some English speakers pronounce the word sherbet out loud—with an extra R in the second syllable. As this mispronunciation became commonplace, it was followed by the misspelling of sherbet as sherbert. Written English came to reflect the way that English is actually used by speakers in the real world.

Though it can be fascinating to trace the paths of errors back to their origins, sherbert is not an accepted word in either American or British English.

It is still sherbet in all contexts of the word.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define sherbet and define sherbertHere is a helpful trick for you to remember sherbet vs. sherbert in your writing.

  • Sherbet is the correct spelling for this fruit-based dessert.
  • Sherbert is an error.

If you were writing fiction, and you wanted your writing to portray how some speakers actually pronounce the English language, mistakes and all, you could use sherbert to enhance your dialogue. For other situations, especially in academic and professional writing, choose sherbet instead.

You can remember that sherbet is the correct spelling of this word by noticing its similarity with sorbet, both on the menu. Each is a fruit-based dessert item, and each is only spelled with one R. This trick should make it easy to remember the correct spelling of sherbet, but possibly difficult to eat a sensible diet low in sugar.


Is it sherbert of sherbet? Sherbet is a frozen dessert food made from fruit juice, cream, and sugar. It is sometimes misspelled as sherbert.

You can remember that sherbet is the correct way to spell this word if you remember that its close cousin, sorbet, also lacks a second R.

Now you will always know whether to choose sherbet or sherbert in you writing. As an added bonus, you will also sound sophisticated and knowledgeable when ordering delicious fruit-based desserts with your friends.