How Long Does Ice Cream Take To Freeze Or Melt?

Knowing how long your frozen items can be out of the freezer can be tricky. Do you want to serve ice cream at a dinner party or event and don't know how long it can sit out in the open? Are you also wondering how long ice cream takes to freeze?

Lucky for you, we've done extensive research into this question and have the answers for you.

Generally, ice cream will take between 15-20 minutes to melt and roughly an hour to freeze. Of course, these timeframes will depend on the size of your ice cream, temperature, and freezer conditions, so everyone will be slightly different. Regardless of the portion, it's best to keep ice cream frozen unless you plan on eating it right away.

As we begin, we will cover all things ice cream and discuss how long it takes to melt and freeze. Whether you have a special occasion planned that involves this delicious frozen dessert or are simply curious, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive right into this post!

Variety of ice cream scoops in cones with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, How Long Does Ice Cream Take To Freeze Or Melt?

Will Ice Cream Melt If I Take It Out Of The Freezer?

Variety of ice cream and sorbet. Containers with ice cream top view.

Yes, ice cream tends to melt rather quickly once it leaves the freezer. As we mentioned above, you can typically expect your frozen dessert to melt within 20 minutes of being served, so this is pretty fast.

Again, this isn't always the case. Depending on the amount of ice cream you have and the climate around you, melting could happen much sooner.

On the other hand, if it's freezing outside and you suddenly want to eat ice cream, you could have it last for 30 plus minutes. Furthermore, the ingredients in your ice cream will also affect its melt time, so many things come into play here.

Should You Eat Ice Cream Right Away?

Yes! It's always good to eat ice cream after it leaves your freezer. You'll want to consume ice cream ASAP because your dessert starts liquifying the second it isn't in below zero temperatures.

Ice cream will lose its flavor and become watered down as it melts, which isn't ideal. Your ice cream can also become very thick, like a heavy cream as it melts, so unless you want that to happen, try to consume your dessert within 15-20 minutes.

Can You Re-Freeze Ice Cream If It Melts?

As long as your ice cream is kept cold, it is safe to re-freeze it. Considering how fast melting happens, putting a bowl of ice cream back into the freezer can be good.

However, according to Praline's Own Made, it's only safe to re-freeze and eat ice cream that slightly melted and has been kept cold, so keep that in mind. They also cover how melted ice cream can become a breeding ground for bacteria, specifically Listeria.

So if you're out in the sun and notice your ice cream has melted, we don't recommend putting it back into the freezer and eating it later.

How Long Does It Take For Ice Cream To Freeze?

If you're making homemade ice cream, expect its freeze time to be between three and four hours. If you need to re-freeze ice cream, this timeline is closer to one hour.

As we covered earlier, the size of your ice cream will affect its freezing period. For example, a bowl of ice cream could freeze within 45 minutes if it's toward the back of your freezer.

On the other hand, a pint or multiple pints of ice cream could take four hours to become frozen. Regardless of size, it's best to keep your freezer closed while freezing ice cream so it stays as cold as possible.

How Do You Freeze Ice Cream Quickly?

A good way to freeze ice cream quickly is to use a cold base for those in a rush. That essentially means chilling your ingredients in the fridge before making the ice cream.

Furthermore, The Spruce Eats claims that adding a dash of alcohol to your ice cream base can help keep the texture softer, ultimately helping it freeze faster.

You can also try refrigerating your ice cream's ingredients overnight before making it, so there are a few ways to speed things up.

Can You Put Ice Cream In The Refrigerator?

Close up of scoop of vanilla ice cream

A good way to let your ice cream soften before serving it is to place it in the fridge. Of course, you don't want to do this overnight, but 5-10 minutes before eating your ice cream will be fine.

Depending on how thick an ice cream is, likely, you won't be able to eat it straight out of your freezer. Instead, you need to have it soften a bit before serving/consuming.

Cook's Illustrated recommends the refrigerator over the counter, which lessens the chances of bacteria forming and growing on your dessert. Remember, it's best to have ice cream either cold or eaten, so the time in between needs to be brief.

How Long Does It Take For Ice Cream To Melt In The Fridge?

Generally, you can expect ice cream to melt in the refrigerator after about 30-45 minutes. Again, this depends on your dessert's size, recipe, and location, so everyone is different.

As we said, some ice creams aren't soft enough to serve right out of the freezer, so the fridge can be a good transitional spot. However, you don't want to overdo this.

Letting your ice cream melt inside your refrigerator can be dangerous. Bacteria will grow and multiply on your ice cream as it rises in temperature, regardless of location.

Why Is My Ice Cream Melting In The Freezer?

If you notice your ice cream not staying frozen in the freezer, this is for a few reasons. First, where is your ice cream located? If it's inside your appliance's door, this could explain the melting.

Considering that a freezer door won't be as cold as the inside chamber, avoid storing your ice cream there. Furthermore, your freezer may not be cold enough.

Ice cream needs to be kept at zero degrees or lower to stay frozen, so this is important. Even having your appliance at five or ten degrees could cause melting, so the closer to zero, the better.

According to Samsung, another reason for melting ice cream is that it keeps thawing and re-freezing. This could be because you take it out while serving but wait too long to return your ice cream to the freezer.

What Temperature Should A Freezer Be For Ice Cream?

Ideally, you want to keep your freezer between negative 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit for ice cream. The closer to zero, the better, so if you can get below there, your ice cream will appreciate it.

Of course, that's not to say your ice cream will melt if your freezer is set at zero or even one degree, but there is a higher chance of that happening. Remember, each time you open the freezer, its temperature rises, becoming a problem over time.

When it comes to location, you want to keep ice cream towards the middle/back of your freezer, as this is usually the coldest part. Depending on your freezer, you might want to have your ice cream in the far back, although it will get pretty hard the colder its internal temperature.

What Is The Best Way To Store Ice Cream?

Full of bucket container ice creams flavors and ice cubes in freezer.

The best way to store ice cream is to place it in the central part of the freezer. As we said, keeping ice cream inside your appliance's door will lead to melting.

Additionally, you want to make sure your ice cream is in a sealed, air-tight container. Doing this will keep your ice cream from getting freezer burned, which can cause a loss in flavor.

It's also a good habit to avoid leaving your freezer open for long periods, as this can be detrimental to ice cream and other frozen goods inside.

How Long Will Ice Cream Last In The Freezer?

As long as your freezer is zero degrees or lower, ice cream should last about 3-4 months. According to Still Tasty, ice cream will maintain its quality for months when kept at zero degrees.

Again, if you can get your appliance colder, we recommend it. Your ice cream's ingredients also play a role in its shelf life, so not all flavors will age the same.

To Wrap It Up

Vanilla, Chocolate and Pistachio Ice Cream

Whether you're an avid ice cream eater or like it for special occasions, it is essential to know how to store it. We found that ice cream takes between 15 and 20 minutes to melt and between one and four hours to freeze.

Of course, your desserts melt/freeze time will depend on various things, like its size, ingredients, and internal temperature. On top of that, ice cream can become unsafe to eat if it melts and sits in above freezing climates, so keep that in mind.

Regardless, make sure to eat ice cream shortly after serving it, and don't forget to store it towards the middle of your freezer.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related kitchen posts below!

Why Does My Freezer Have Frost All Of A Sudden? [And How To Fix It?]

What Is The Best Container For Homemade Ice Cream?

At What Temperature Should An Ice Maker Be On?

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