Paleo Lemon Granita (Italian Ice)

paleo-lemon-italian-granitaYou’re never too old for a lemon Italian Ice on a hot summer day. Remember that refreshing sweet sugar hitting your mouth from a tiny little spoon. Oh man, to this day Luigi’s Italian Ice still makes me smile. Reading the ingredients on these frozen treats does not make me smile. Corn syrup, sugar, xantham gum, and “natural flavor”? Why can’t it just be sugar, water, and lemons? It can. But it’s not the kind of Italian Ice you’re thinking of.

The difference between the Italian Ice in the store is that it actually it is more similar to sorbet than granita. Granita refers to a specific kind of Italian ice. It differs mostly by the process in which it’s made. This process (shown below in the directions) gives the frozen treat a fluffier and more ‘ice’ texture. A sophisticated paleo snow cone, if you will.

Now this may look like just regular ice, right? WRONG. I’m talking paleo lemon granita here – none of this artificial coloring stuff. The ingredients below are simple.


  • Juice from 5 lemons
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup granulated coconut sugar


  1. Create a simple syrup with your sugar and water by heating it in a small saucepan. Once the sugar is dissolved add lemon juice.
  2. Add the liquid to a shallow gratin or baking dish. Place on a level shelf in the freezer. Every 30 minutes, scrape the sides of the frozen mixture with a fork. Do this for about 3 hours until all the liquid crystallizes.
  3. To serve, divide the granita up into a few chilled glasses. Add berries for contrasting sweet and tangy flavor.


What’s the difference between Sorbetto and Granita?

Sorbet (Sorbetto). Sherbet. Italian Ice. Granita. What the heck is the difference?

Generally speaking the concept of Italian Ice and Granita is kind of the same thing. Some people refer to Italian Ice as the umbrella encompassing all sugar fruit ices. In fact, Italian ice is actually more similar to Sorbet than it is to granita. Granita is a bit more coarse in texture. It all has to do with how you make it.


SORBET AND GRANITA have are similar in their ingredients. Both are made from just fruit and sugar (and most likely water too). The texture, however, is where they differ. Granita is flaky and fluffy. That’s because granita gets scraped with a fork as it freezes. Sorbet is smooth and soft. That’s because sorbet is churned in an ice cream maker.

SHERBET (or as I pronounce it, Sherbert. haha) is just fruit, cream, and sugar. GELATO is just milk, some cream, and sugar.

4 thoughts on “Paleo Lemon Granita (Italian Ice)

    1. Mangia Paleo Post author

      Thank you for the feedback! It’s always tricky using unbleached sweeteners because it alters the color. You can always add some beet juice and raspberries for a fruity version with the lemon.

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