Before kicking off your National Ice Cream Day celebrations next month, you might want to know that the ideal ice cream serving temperature is actually colder than you ever imagined. Most freezer manufacturers suggest setting your freezer temperature anywhere from zero degrees Fahrenheit to 32 degrees, but it turns out that our favorite frozen treat is actually best served much chillier. (Here’s what your favorite ice cream flavor says about your personality.)
“When ice cream is exposed to fluctuations in temperature, it becomes subject to adverse changes in texture and flavor,” explains Jon Oldroyd, senior director of research and development at Blue Bunny Ice Cream. “Ice cream should be stored at as cold a temperature as possible—0 degrees Fahrenheit or less in a grocery store or a home freezer. The ideal serving temperature for most packaged, scoopable ice cream is 5–10 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Many frozen dessert experts agree that it may be time to turn the temperature settings on our freezers down a few degrees to best satisfy our summer cravings. “The proper temperature to eat ice cream is definitely 5–10 degrees Fahrenheit, but when it comes to storage it has to be much lower,” says Michael Friedlander, the founder of one of New York City’s most popular ice cream destinations, Holey Cream. “The flavor is best when it never gets a chance to melt, because melting and refreezing causes crystallization, and that’s the dreaded freezer burn flavor everyone hates.”
If you’re wondering exactly how to scoop extra cold pints and half gallons, it turns out you need to invest in the right equipment.
“You know what most people don’t know? All the ice cream shops use scoops with anti-freeze built right into the handle,” shares Michael. “But if you’re at home and plan to eat it right away, don’t be shy about popping a pint in the microwave for just a few seconds to loosen it.”
Ever wonder: What’s the difference between ice cream and gelato?