For Scoopable Ice Cream All The Time, Reach For A Plastic Bag

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The moment you remember that quart of ice cream sitting in your freezer is one of unbridled joy. When a case of the sweet tooth comes along, it is always the perfect cure. That is unless the ice cream inside is rock solid and/or completely freezer-burnt. Depending on how quickly you tend to spoon through the ice cream container, you may run into this issue with store-bought ice cream often, making it seem like an unworthy purchase to begin with.


Waiting for that ice cream to soften up is not the most unbearable pain, but it certainly would be nice if there were a way to guarantee that it would be perfectly soft and scoopable every time you pull it out of the freezer. It turns out there is a tool that can help, and it is likely something you have in your kitchen drawer already: a plastic freezer bag.

The pure genius of a plastic bag

Enclosing the container in a gallon-sized zip-top bag is an easy and effective way to keep the ice cream fresh and scoop-ready. The ideal temperature for scooping is between 6 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit, but most freezers hover a bit below that at about 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The plastic bag provides a bit of insulation (an air envelope, if you will) that is effective enough to keep the ice cream in the sweet spot of still frozen, but not rock hard. One savvy TikTok user shared this simple freezer bag hack in a video.



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The video mentions an important step: squeezing the air out of the bag before closing it. Limiting the air immediately around the ice cream carton is the key to ensuring that the bag remains an air-tight and contained environment. In the words of the big-name ice cream brand Ben and Jerry’s, “air exposure is ice cream’s worst enemy.” 

What to remember when using a plastic bag

Though the ice cream bag hack is straightforward, there are a few other things to keep in mind. A freezer bag is essentially a resealable plastic bag with a freezer-safe label. These bags differ from cheaper resealable bags because they contain an additive that makes them pliable (and even reusable!) in the frigid climate. Even if you do not use a bonafide freezer bag be sure to at least look for a “freezer-safe” label. If you plan on keeping your ice cream container in the freezer for longer than a few weeks, freezer-safe bags are a wise investment.


It is also helpful to remember that not every kind of ice cream will keep as well, freezer-bag or not. The creamy difference between gelato and ice cream means a difference in how easily it will scoop, and the same difference goes for non-dairy frozen desserts. 

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