How to Thaw Ice Cream

Rock-hard ice cream is the worst – it can’t be denied. Whether you’re just looking to have a bowl, or you need to use an entire container in a recipe, there’s nothing worse than rock-hard, frosty ice cream – completely unscoopable.

Depending on how much ice cream you need, there are multiple methods to use to thaw ice cream. Read on for tips on how to thaw ice cream for anything from a small bowl, to an entire container.

How to Thaw a Small Amount of Ice Cream

These methods are best used when thawing a small amount of ice cream.

Hot Water Method

If you don’t have a lot of time, and you’re just looking to scoop some ice cream quickly, you can easily thaw a small amount by dipping your scoop into hot water. 

If you’re serving multiple servings of ice cream, dip your scoop into hot water or run it under hot water for 30 or so seconds before scooping each serving. 

This method ensures that you only thaw a small amount of ice cream at a time. A metal scoop works best here, as heat transfers quickly.

Microwave Method

If you just want to thaw the top layer of ice cream to scoop out a single serving, without turning the entire container into a sticky, goopy mess, the microwave method is for you.

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Microwave the container of ice cream in 15-second intervals, checking to see if it’s softened enough for your liking. Don’t microwave your ice cream for more than 35 seconds, unless it’s ice cream soup you’re after!

Cutting Method

You read that right! Yes, if you cut your ice cream into smaller pieces, it’s easier to thaw.

This works best when you use a large chef’s knife. Run the knife under hot water for 30 seconds until the blade has picked up heat.

Cut into the ice cream, and cut a piece out that you’d like thawed further. Place that into a bowl, and let it sit out in the open for a minute or two. You should have perfectly thawed ice cream!

How to Thaw a Larger Amount of Ice Cream (Entire Container)

Whether you’re serving up ice cream at a party or using it to make an ice cream cake, these methods are the easiest ways to thaw a large amount of ice cream.

What not to do? Take your ice cream container out of the freezer and let it sit for a few minutes. This will just result in your edges going soft and goopy, and you still end up with a rock-hard center. Ice cream will usually melt entirely in 15 minutes, too. Not ideal.

Read on for better alternatives!

The Mixer Method

This method of thawing ice cream is a favorite because it results in an utterly delicious, smooth, and creamy texture. You will need a stand mixer for this method.

  1. Take your ice cream out of the freezer and let it sit out for around three minutes. You just want it to soften enough so you can take it out of the container.
  1. Put your ice cream in your stand mixer (make sure the mixer is fitted with the paddle attachment.) Mix your ice cream on medium until it has a smooth and creamy consistency. Don’t mix too long—it will get soupy!
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Tip: For best results, place your mixing bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes, or refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour before you mix your ice cream. This will help keep your ice cream cold and you won’t end up with ice cream soup.

If you’re working with a plain flavor of ice cream, this is a great way to mix in your favorite toppings. Oreos and M&Ms are great mix-ins. You can also mix in buttercream frosting and re-freeze later, making a cake batter flavor!

The Refrigerator Method

For a low-fuss, low-maintenance method of thawing ice cream, try the refrigerator method.

This involves sticking your ice cream container in the fridge for 10-30 minutes before you want to serve it. 

Smaller containers or ones that are less full will take less time to thaw in the fridge than larger containers.

With this method, your ice cream will still be cold, but it will be thawed enough to scoop with ease.

No matter the amount of ice cream you’re trying to thaw, these methods will work for when you’re trying to thaw any amount or flavor of ice cream. To avoid a trickier thaw, keep your freezer to as close to 0 degrees Fahrenheit as possible. Your ice cream won’t be as rock hard, that way!