Cool off from the inside out with granita — refreshing Italian-style fruit ices you can make without having to turn on an ice cream machine. (Those things can be so noisy!) We'll tell you what granita is, how it's different from sorbet, and share top granita recipes that showcase summer fruit at its ripest.

Granita: What it is and how to make it.

What is granita?

Granita is a frozen dessert usually made with water, sugar, and fresh fruit, fruit juices, or other flavorings. It gets its name from the grainy texture of the ice crystals that form as you freeze the mixture and scrape it with a fork. The ice crystals quickly melt in your mouth, flooding your taste buds with fruity flavor.

How do you make granita?

You make granita by blending and freezing the recipe ingredients, then stirring and scraping the mixture at intervals while it freezes.

How is granita different from sorbet?

Granita has a coarse texture because of its crumbly ice crystals, while sorbet is churned in an ice cream machine, resulting in smooth, finely grained ice crystals.

8 Gorgeous Granita Recipes to Try

If you can wield a fork, you can make this beautiful strawberry ice. In Italy, this style of fruit ice is called "granita" because the texture resembles finely crushed granite. But don't let the name fool you; grainy granita ice crystals instantly melt in your mouth, releasing all that strawberry goodness. Ready to dive in? Let Chef John show you how easy it is to make granita.

Watch the video:

Fresh ginger and zesty citrus get together to make a fruit ice that'll wake up your mouth. If you need to, you can pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve before freezing to remove the ginger bits.

Citrus-Ginger Granita
Photo by Buckwheat Queen

With this recipe, you have a choice of either putting the frozen fruit puree in your food processor to make a smoothly textured sorbet, or scrape it with a fork to make granita.

Raspberry Sorbet or Granita

Fresh blackberries and simple syrup give this fruit ice a texture that's slushier than you'd expect in a granita. And what's this about black pepper? Give it a try and see how it perks up your palate. Can you make this with other berries? Of course!

Black Pepper Blackberry Slush
Photo by Baking Nana

Think of this as frozen lemonade you can eat with a spoon. Splash in a little limoncello liqueur if you want to make an adults-only version.

This 4-ingredient granita is only a teensy bit boozy, and you can use an inexpensive sparkling wine instead of pricey Champagne to make it. Serving idea: Spoon the granita into hollowed out lime halves and dot with dried currents to resemble mini watermelons. You clever thing.

Watermelon Granita
Photo by Meredith

Dried hibiscus flowers are boiled with water and sugar to make a simple syrup, then combined with fresh grapefruit juice, fresh mint, and pomegranate seeds. The recipe lets you choose between churning this in an ice cream machine or freezing and stirring it like a classic granita.

hibiscus granita
Photo by Buckwheat Queen

Fresh apricots and sparkling Prosecco go into this lovely, fruity granita. Top with juicy pomegranate seeds before serving.

apricot and sparkling wine granita
Photo by Buckwheat Queen

More Refreshing Summer Ideas

• These no-bake summer desserts won't heat up your kitchen.

• Check out 7 top-rated ice cream pies that are totally worth the brain freeze.

• Kick back with our entire collection of frozen dessert recipes.