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Does Ice Cream Go Bad?

Ice Cream

Who doesn’t love ice cream, right? It’s a sweet and creamy treat that’s hard to resist. Best of all, there are a variety of flavors and toppings to customize this treat and make it your own.

A simple scoop or two of strawberry ice cream on a cone, maybe a bowl of rich chocolate goodness with extra crunchy toppings, or some thick vanilla ice cream to top off a warm apple pie straight from the oven.

You simply can’t go wrong with ice cream if you want to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Whether you’ve just bought some at the store or you made your very own homemade tub of ice cream, you definitely want to store it properly and not let this delicious treat go to waste.

To find out how long ice cream lasts, how to store it properly, and how to tell if its gone bad, keep reading!

How Long Does Ice Cream Last in the Freezer?

I know, I know. We all love our ice cream, but unfortunately it does eventually go bad. So if you have a tub of ice cream in the back of the freezer, there are a few key things you’ll need to check for before digging in.

So how long will your ice cream last in the freezer? Well, it depends on a few things like how you’re storing it and whether you’ve already opened it.

Typically, an unopened tub of ice cream is safe to eat for 3 to 4 months. After that, you’ll need to throw it away!

For optimal taste and quality, it’s recommended that you eat it within 2 months and store at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

If it has already been opened, you have about one month to finish it… but that won’t be a problem right? I know it won’t be for me!

If you’ve made an ice cream cake or have mixed in other ingredients like eggs, cream, or butter, it will spoil much faster. Be sure to consume ice cream cake within a week.

Scooping Ice Cream

How to Store Ice Cream

It’s very important that your ice cream is stored properly… always in the freezer!

Even so, some areas of the freezer are more prone to changes in temperature so be sure to store your ice cream at the very back. Never put ice cream on the freezer door as this is the part that is always exposed to higher temperatures.

The best temperature to store it in is 0° Fahrenheit.

If you need to take it out and get a few scoops, make sure to put it back in the freezer right away. Leaving your ice cream in room temperature for more than a few minutes will cause it to thaw and spoil faster.

You also can’t refreeze melted ice cream because harmful bacteria may have developed. If a tub of ice cream has been left out for an hour or longer, you have to discard it!

When putting an already opened tub of ice cream back in the freezer, it’s best to put plastic wrap on top of the ice cream before putting the lid back on. This will prevent ice crystals from forming.

Ice crystals will not only make your ice cream less creamy, but they can also cause it to spoil much sooner. And we don’t want that!

How to Tell If Ice Cream Has Gone Bad

If you’re not sure how long your ice cream has been in the freezer, here’s how to tell if its gone bad.

First, if you see ice crystals on the surface of the ice cream, this is a sign that it is no longer safe to eat.

Also, if the ice cream previously melted and was refrozen, it’s also not safe to eat. If the surface looks too smooth that’s a telltale sign that it has melted and refrozen.

Lastly and the most obvious way to tell if ice cream has gone bad is the smell! It will have a strong odor that definitely won’t be appetizing. If that’s the case, throw it out immediately. Also check to see if the color has changed.

What is Freezer Burn?

The main thing that causes ice cream and many other food products to spoil even when frozen is something called freezer burn. This happens when moisture seeps into your ice cream, evaporates, and forms ice on the surface.

These ice crystals are the main signs of freezer burn and one of the main things you’ll need to prevent to keep your ice cream at optimal quality.

Ice Cream Cones

How to Prevent Freezer Burn

Here are some tips to avoid freezer burn and keep your ice cream sweet, creamy, and as tasty as ever.

  1. Always store your ice cream at 0° Fahrenheit or below. The colder your temperature, the better your chances of avoiding freezer burn.
  2. Keep your ice cream at the very back of your freezer! This is because some areas of the freezer will be prone to fluctuations in temperature like the freezer door. Make sure your prized tub of ice cream is in the coolest spot, where the temperature is cool and constant.
  3. There will be times when you need to take out the tub to get yourself a scoop and the ice cream could become partially melted. If you can, remove the parts that are melted before returning the tub in the freezer. Remember, melted and refrozen ice cream is more prone to bacteria so it’s important to keep the tub fully frozen at all times.
  4. Cover your ice cream with plastic before putting the tub’s lid back on to prevent air exposure. For extra protection, you can also place the tub in an airtight plastic bag.
  5. EAT YOUR ICE CREAM IN ONE GO! This is the easiest, tastiest, surest way to prevent freezer burn… when there isn’t any more ice cream left to put in the freezer! So go ahead and indulge on that sweet, creamy goodness and if that’s a little too sinful for you, sharing is caring!

Does Ice Cream Go Bad?


  • Ice Cream


  • Yes. An unopened tub of ice cream has a shelf-life of 3-4 months, but it’s best eaten within 2. Once opened, its shelf-life decreases to 1 month.
  • Homemade ice cream made with eggs, cream, and/or butter must be consumed within 1 week.
  • For best results, store ice cream in a freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t refreeze melted ice cream.
  • Throw out the eat ice cream once you see ice crystals on the surface. You’ll also know it’s spoilt if it emits a foul smell.
Does Ice Cream Go Bad?

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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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