Is Dairy Queen Ice Cream Real? (All You Need to Know)

Dairy Queen’s soft serve is a classic treat loved by many all over the globe. The signature curly “Q” top on DQ has become iconic in the fast-food industry.

But when ordering a Dairy Queen cone, are you really getting ice cream? This article will tell you all you need to know about DQ’s famous soft serve!

Is Dairy Queen Ice Cream Real In [currentyear]?

Dairy Queen soft-serve cannot legally be referred to as ice cream because it contains only 5% milkfat as of [currentyear]. The FDA requires that ice cream have at least 10% milkfat. Rather than using the term “low-fat” or “reduced-fat” ice cream, Dairy Queen uses the term “soft serve.” Dairy Queen soft-serve contains real milk and sugar ingredients.

Keep reading to find out the story behind Dairy Queen’s soft serve and what it contains!

Is Dairy Queen Ice Cream Really Ice Milk?

According to Dairy Queen’s official website, the FDA used to categorize DQ soft serve as “ice milk” due to its lower fat content.

However, this category was eliminated for companies to market their frozen dairy products as reduced-fat or low-fat ice cream.

Therefore, this is the category that Dairy Queen’s soft serve currently falls into. While it used to be called ice milk, this is no longer the case, despite the recipe remaining the same.

Did Dairy Queen Change Its Ice Cream?

Dairy Queen’s soft serve recipe has not changed since its invention in 1938. That said, the famous soft serve is what started the company and made it famous.

Moreover, it is still made with milk and milkfat from cows, an animal that the founder of Dairy Queen, J.F. McCullough, used to call “the queen of the dairy business.”

Additionally, this sparked the idea for the name of the company.

Is Dairy Queen Actually Dairy?

Dairy Queen has always used real dairy in its products. For example, the first ingredients in its soft serve are milkfat and nonfat milk. Also, Dairy Queen uses real milk in its milkshakes.

Thankfully, we don’t have to wonder whether the company that named its entire business after dairy products actually uses real dairy in its recipes.

What Kind Of Ice Cream Does Dairy Queen Have?

What Kind Of Ice Cream Does Dairy Queen Have?

Dairy Queen’s leading ice cream product is its famous soft serve. With that, Dairy Queen uses this ice cream to make Blizzards, milkshakes, malts, sundaes, and more.

Additionally, you can order the soft serve as a classic cone, and many franchise locations offer dipped cone options, such as Chocolate or Fruity Blast.

Further, classic DQ treats always have that iconic curly “Q” top that has been perfected over the years by soft-serve machine operators.

Also, though the soft serve is what Dairy Queen uses in its Blizzards, sundaes, cones, milkshakes, and even DQ Cakes, another kind of ice cream is now offered.

For example, the new ice cream comes in the form of a Non-Dairy Dilly Bar.

With that, these are sold in boxes at participating DQ locations and are made with coconut cream and coated in a chocolate topping.

Is Soft Serve Ice Cream Real Ice Cream?

Soft serve ice cream is as real as typical slow churn, scoopable ice cream.

Often, soft serve contains less fat than FDA categorized “ice cream” to maintain a better consistency at optimal soft-serve temperature.

Most soft serve recipes, including Dairy Queen’s, use milk, milk fat, and sugar to make the frozen dairy product, just like regular ice cream.

However, the main difference between soft serve and hard ice cream is how each is made and served.

For example, soft-serve ice cream is usually kept at a temperature of about 21 degrees Fahrenheit, while hard ice cream is typically kept at about 10 degrees.

Also, another difference between the two is that soft serve has more air added to it when frozen, allowing it to have that soft and fluffy quality.

What Is Dairy Queen Soft Serve Made Of?

Dairy Queen’s soft serve ingredients are as follows:

  • Milkfat And nonfat milk
  • Sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Whey
  • Mono And Diglycerides
  • Artificial flavor
  • Guar gum
  • Polysorbate 80
  • Carrageenan
  • Vitamin A palmitate

Moreover, the Mono and Diglycerides are emulsifiers that help the soft serve maintain its consistency. Also, they help oil and water blend, so all the ingredients remain mixed.

On top of that, Guar gum is used as a thickener and stabilizer and is another ingredient that allows the soft serve to have the right thick consistency.

That said, a visible example of this is the curly top on all of DQ’s classic treats.

What Is A Dairy Queen Blizzard Made Of?

Dairy Queen Blizzards are made with soft serve mixed with toppings and add-ins of your choice.

For example, the famous Oreo Cookie Blizzard is made with soft serve and Oreo cookie pieces.

Still, there is often the option to include other ingredients, like additional candy, sweets, or flavored drizzled toppings and fudge.

To learn more, you can also read our related posts on whether or not Dairy Queen has smoothies, if Dairy Queen has breakfast, and also if Dairy Queen has coffee.


The FDA does not categorize Dairy Queen soft serve as ice cream due to its lower fat content. Instead, the FDA refers to it as low-fat or reduced-fat ice cream.

Therefore, Dairy Queen simply refers to its famous frozen dairy product as soft serve to avoid false-advertising allegations and legal trouble.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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