Pink Grapefruit Granita Recipe

Prink grapefruit granita served in bowls.

The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Freeze: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 quart
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
210 Calories
0g Fat
54g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 210
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 54g 20%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 44g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 84mg 422%
Calcium 51mg 4%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 408mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Granita is a fruity frozen Italian dessert that's incredibly easy to make and ready to serve after a few hours in the freezer. Featuring pink grapefruit, this recipe is a perfect introduction to the light, refreshing treat that's ideal for summer dinners.

Granitas are made with a flavored liquid—often a fruit juice or purée—sweetened with sugar. It's the same base used for a sorbet, but granita is scraped with a fork as it freezes to create a flaky snowcone-like texture.

The pink grapefruit granita recipe is straightforward while adding a cool, tangy pop of flavor. The infused simple syrup uses fresh mint and lime, which are perfect pairings for freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. You can create other granitas the same way and make the flavor as simple or complex as you like. Lemon is the classic flavor, fruity combinations like strawberry-watermelon and blueberry-peach are fantastic, and herbs and aromatics give it a flavor boost. You can even indulge in chocolate granita or spike your granitas with a bit of alcohol. It's really hard to go wrong when customizing granita, so have fun with the experiments.

Depending on your freezer, granita can take three to six hours to freeze completely, and you can make it a few days in advance. Granita is eaten with a small spoon and best served in chilled dessert cups or stemware to ensure it stays icy cold. While it's fantastic as dessert, granita also makes a wonderful palate cleanser between courses and a cooling afternoon snack on hot days.

Pink Grapefruit Granita Recipe/Tester Image

"This granita is incredibly refreshing with a snow-like texture and bittersweet flavor from the grapefruit. The mint and lime are subtle flavors. I might increase them the next time I make this. I froze the mixture in a metal pan. It seemed to speed things up, as it was ready in just 2 1/2 hours." —Danielle Centoni

A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Lime-Mint Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves

  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime zest

For the Granita:

  • 4 to 5 large pink or ruby red grapefruit

  • 1/2 cup chilled water, optional

  • Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Steps to Make It

Make the Lime-Mint Simple Syrup

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making mint simple syrup.

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Reduce the heat to low, add the mint leaves and lime zest, and simmer for 5 minutes.

    Mint simple syrup in a sauce pan.

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  3. Remove from the heat, cover, and allow the syrup to steep and cool, 20 to 30 minutes.

    Mint simple syrup in a sauce pan.

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  4. Strain the syrup into a small bowl using a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the mint and lime. Set aside.

    Mint simple syrup in a bowl.

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

Make the Granita

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make pink grapefruit granita.

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  2. Juice enough grapefruit to produce 2 cups of juice. You can leave any pulp or strain it out if you prefer.

    Juiced fresh grapefruit in a cup.

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  3. Pour the grapefruit juice into a medium bowl, add 3/4 cup of the mint-lime syrup. Stir well, taste, and add more syrup to make it sweeter, if desired. If you'd like a milder flavor, stir in 1/4 cup of water, taste again, and add more if needed. This is your opportunity to perfect the granita's flavor, but make the liquid a little bold because it mellows a bit in the freezer.

    Grapefruit juice in a bowl.

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  4. Transfer the mixture to an 8- or 9-inch square metal baking pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 1 hour.

    Grapefruit juice mixture in a square metal baking pan.

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  5. Use a fork to scrape the frozen parts of the granita and mix it with portions that are still liquid.

    Repeat this process every hour until the granita is completely frozen. This may take 4 to 5 hours, or longer. The granita should have a flaky snow-like ice texture.

    A fork breaking up frozen pink grapefruit juice.

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  6. When ready to serve, fork the granita one last time to make it fluffy, then spoon it into frozen dessert cups, small bowls, or stemware. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint and serve immediately.

    Pink grapefruit granita in bowls.

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

Tips

  • You can make the simple syrup up to a week in advance. Once cool, pour it into a bottle with a tight seal and refrigerate until needed. After making the granita, top the syrup with soda or use it for a quick mojito if you have excess.
  • Granita freezes quicker in metal than glass. Shallow square baking pans are a perfect size because they're compact enough to fit in the freezer and ensure the liquid is about 1/2-inch deep, so it freezes evenly and is easier to fork.
  • Freezers can get quite full, but frozen items can be shifted around to create a flat space for the granita to rest and avoid spilling it while still liquid. Also, ensure the area is clean and keep the granita away from smelly foods like fish because it can pick up unwanted odors that will negatively affect the taste.

Recipe Variations

Granita is infinitely customizable, and there are many ways to change up the flavor by mixing and matching ingredients.

  • Use any citrus fruit you like, including lime, orange, and tangerine. Play with different lemon varieties for subtle variations, or try intriguing finds like yuzu juice.
  • While you can use plain simple syrup, it's a fantastic opportunity to add extra flavor with ingredients you don't necessarily want to eat. Infuse your syrups with fresh herbs like basil, lavender, lime leaves, rosemary, or shiso, or go with aromatics such as chili peppers, ginger, or lemongrass.
  • Spiked granita is fun for adults, but it won't freeze if you add too much alcohol. For every two cups of nonalcoholic liquid, keep liquors to 1/4 cup or so and wine at around 1/2 to 3/4 cup.
  • Try the pink grapefruit recipe with tequila for a paloma granita, or switch to gin for a greyhound granita. You can also put a granita spin on almost any cocktail, such as the mimosa's Champagne and orange juice. It's not limited to fruits, either: try vodka and coffee liqueur in an espresso martini granita.


How to Store

Granita can be kept in the freezer for up to a week. Scrape it into a freezer-safe container with a tight-fitting lid, and fluff with a fork before serving.

How do you make granita from whole fruits?

The pink grapefruit recipe relies on juice, but it's easy to make granita with whole fruits (e.g., berries, peaches, pineapple, watermelon) and use citrus juice as an accent. Prepare the fruits like usual (wash then remove inedible parts such as stems and skins) and cut them into chunks. Toss the fruit into a blender and turn it into a fruity purée with citrus, water, and sugar. A good formula to follow is four cups of cubed fruit, 1/4 cup of citrus juice, 1/4 cup of sugar or 3/4 cup of simple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Taste the blended mix and add more sweetener or citrus as needed.

Is Italian ice the same as granita?

In Italy, granita is the traditional icy dessert that many Americans refer to as Italian ice. Granita was likely introduced to the U.S. by Italian immigrants, so the fruity ice took on the name Italian ice. It also changed a bit over the years. Unlike granita's flaky ice crystals, American Italian ice tends to be smooth and more like sorbet. While slightly different, the three treats are fantastic dairy-free alternatives to ice cream.