Can You Microwave Ice Cream?

Ice cream is a favorite dessert all around the world. However, once it has been stored in the freezer for some time, it can become difficult to scoop. This is especially frustrating if you don’t have a bunch of extra time to spend waiting for your ice cream to gradually thaw. Is melting your ice cream in the microwave the solution?

Microwaving your ice cream can be a great way to soften your ice cream. However, it can alter the texture of your ice cream and make it difficult to refreeze. You also run the risk of over-melting your ice cream.

The most important thing to keep in mind when heating your ice cream is to do it very slowly. This will help prevent you from over-melting your ice cream and creating ice cream soup.

What Happens if You Microwave Ice Cream?

If you microwave ice cream, you will melt the ice cream into its liquid form. However, it will also permanently alter the texture of the ice cream.

When you are making ice cream, an important part of the process is whipping the ice cream as it freezes. This helps to incorporate air bubbles into the ice cream and gives the dessert its signature fluffy texture. If this process were not followed, the liquid would freeze into one giant block of ice and would be difficult to eat when frozen.

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When you melt ice cream in a microwave, you are also removing these bubbles. If you want to refreeze the ice cream after you have melted it, you won’t be able to without creating a giant ice cube. 

If you are planning on refreezing your ice cream after thawing it, it is better to use a different method to thaw your ice cream such as cutting the ice cream. 

Is It Ok to Soften Ice Cream in the Microwave?

If you are planning on eating your ice cream right away, it is okay to soften the ice cream in the microwave. Just make sure to only heat your ice cream long enough to soften it. It is very easy to overdo the softening process in the microwave since it is difficult to control the temperature.

To avoid over-melting your ice cream you should microwave it in short, ten second bursts. Between every burst check your ice cream to see if it has reached your ideal texture.

You will also want to use a microwave-safe container to avoid toxic chemicals leaching into your ice cream. Never use a paper ice cream cup in the microwave as they can easily catch fire and cause damage to your microwave.

How long should you microwave ice cream?

The length of time that you should soften your ice cream will depend on the wattage of your microwave and how much ice cream you need to soften. 

The following estimates are based on an 800-watt microwave. If your microwave has a higher or lower wattage you will want to adjust the times accordingly. 

  • 1 scoop = 10 seconds
  • 1 pint = 20 seconds
  • 1 quart = 30 seconds
  • 1 gallon = 1 minute
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No matter how much time you’ll need to soften your ice cream, you should always microwave it in 10-second bursts. Doing this will help to prevent you from overheating your ice cream. Remember, once you have melted ice cream in the microwave it can be extremely difficult to refreeze it to the same texture.

Tips to Soften Ice Cream in a Microwave

Here are several tips to help you soften ice cream in the microwave:

  • Don’t overheat your ice cream
    • Only heat until the edges are soft enough to scoop
  • Microwave in smaller containers
    • Large containers are more difficult to heat evenly
  • Cover leftovers with wax paper to refreeze
    • Helps to prevent crystallization
  • Use only 50% power to heat your ice cream

Best Way to Soften Ice Cream in a Microwave

The best way to soften ice cream in a microwave is to first portion out a scoop into a small, microwave-safe bowl. This will allow the ice cream to heat more evenly. You should also only heat your ice cream in short bursts to prevent it from heating excessively.

It is also a good idea to place your bowl of ice cream on top of a small plate. That way, if you have your ice cream melts and runs over the sides of the bowl you won’t have a giant mess in your microwave.  


If your ice cream is rock hard and difficult to eat, putting it in the microwave for a few seconds could be the solution. All you’ll need to do is place a small bowl of ice cream in the microwave and heat it for ten second intervals. You will want to keep heating the ice cream until it has reached your preferred consistency. 

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The one downside to softening ice cream in the microwave is that you permanently change the texture of the ice cream. Ice cream that has been melted in the microwave will never refreeze correctly since the air bubbles have been removed.