How Long Does Ice Cream Last in the Freezer?

May 27, 2023 4 min read

How Long Does Ice Cream Last in the Freezer?

Hi there,

We’ve been thinking that with all these good new True Scoops recipes you’re trying out, we might need to teach you the best way to store ice cream in your home freezer.

You’re one of those people aren’t you? The ones who shove food in the freezer, and expect to defrost it years later, finding it fresh and good as new. We hope not! Freezers are MAGICAL, don’t get us wrong. We make ice cream for crying out loud. But don’t think for one second that your food, even ice cream (yup, even ice cream!) will last forever in there at optimum quality. Your perfectly creamy, delicious ice cream is subject to crunchy, icy freezer burn, and spoilage. Even though most ice cream is ultimately pasteurized, you’re still dealing with dairy, and that bacteria is determined to be present if your ice cream has been opened, melted, and refrozen. 

So how long is too long before your ice cream gets freezer burn and loses its creamy texture? And how do you know if a batch is not safe to eat anymore? Let’s break it down.

How Long Does Ice Cream Last In the freezer?

If stored well, ice cream in an airtight container lasts the longest when frozen, usually one to two months. This is because the freezing temperature slows the growth of bacteria and keeps it from becoming rancid too quickly.

Freezer burn is a whole other thing. This can happen fast, if too much air gets into the container. Ice evaporates. As the moisture leaves the ice cream and combines with warmer ambient air, it re-freezes on the surface of the ice cream, creating a winter wonderland of crystals that indicate freezer burn. I know you know what we’re talking about. It gets icy, crunchy and unappealing. Air is not your friend when it comes to freezer burn.

How Can You Tell If Ice Cream Has Gone Bad?

Much like with milk, you can recognize spoiled ice cream on sight. The containers may start to bulge or leak, and the ice cream itself will lose its smooth creamy texture and original color. It can become grainy and have chunks of ice crystals in it. You might also notice a dulling of the color it once was. 

Hopefully, these signs are apparent, saving you from a taste-test, because spoiled ice cream tastes sour and slimy or may have an odor! In some cases, it might just taste a bit off or different from what the flavor tasted like when the batch was fresher. If you notice changes like this in texture, smell or taste, don’t eat it. It could make you sick.

Is It Safe to Eat Freezer-Burned Ice Cream?

On the other hand, freezer burned ice cream is completely safe to eat. Freezer burn doesn’t mean that the ice cream is spoiled, but it does alter the texture and taste of it. You may not get sick, but you will find yourself crunching through some icy, stale-tasting dessert. If you find some ice crystals on top of your ice cream, simply scrape as much of them off or consider tossing it in the blender with milk to make a milkshake. 

What's The Best Way To Store Ice Cream?

  • Keep ice cream frozen below 0 until serving. Check your freezers setting and make sure it’s on the coldest option. 
  • Keep your freezer organized! Proper air flow will ensure that your ice cream (and food!) will freeze quickly and evenly. 
  • Store ice cream at the back of the freezer. If it’s closer to the door, it’s more susceptible to freezer burn every time you open the freezer and let warm air come in.
  • Your ice cream will last longest in an air-tight container like a zip-top bag, where you can squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing. 
  • In a pint, or other type of sturdy container, for extra protection, you can press down and cover the ice cream's surface with plastic wrap or parchment paper before putting on the lid.
  • To keep the whole pint from defrosting when you’re serving, try cutting a paper pint, slicing the ice cream. It would be so much faster than scooping, and removes the pocket of air between the lid and the lower level of the ice cream that’s left in the container. The lid should still fit over the shortened cylindrical container.
  • Here’s a wild card, store ice cream upside down! This can help protect the surface from exposure.

We know it’s crazy to imagine that anyone could resist finishing their ice cream long enough to let it go bad. Two months? Ha! How about two minutes! But if you do find yourself stocking up on different flavors, creating a stockpile in there, please be careful. 

We want you happy and healthy forever, so we have created new purposeful packaging launching June 5th! These pint containers come with the True Scoops Ice Cream mix tucked right inside, and are freezable and food safe to use. This way you don't have to dig around in the typically disastrous Tupperware cabinet or use glass! Just pick your base flavor, choosing from vanilla bean, chocolate, or strawberry, follow the instructions, and then pour the mixture back into the container! Pop the lid on, write your flavor name, and freeze for 4-6 hours or until firm. And once you're done devouring, simply toss out that pint container, grab a new one, and get ready to whip up your next batch!

Hope to meet you on the blog again soon!  


Shelly & Kelly 

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