When the hot weather hits, there’s nothing more refreshing than cold ice cream. However, the sugary snack can pose all kinds of problems, whether it’s difficult to scoop or melts all down our arms. With that in mind, we’ve compiled this list of 20 hacks that’ll make indulging your sweet tooth with a frozen treat easier than ever.
20. Peanut butter plug
While eating ice cream is always a treat, its tendency to melt can be a problem. The thawing process is particularly troublesome when enjoying the food from a cone, as often the wafer is no match for the sticky, liquefied substance. As a result, it can often end up dripping from the bottom, leaving all kinds of mess in its wake.
To prevent ice cream seeping from the bottom of your cone, peanut butter can provide the perfect plug. Simply scoop a little into the bottom of the wafer before adding your frozen treat on top. When the ice cream does melt, the peanut butter will create a seal, making sticky hands and forearms a thing of the past.
19. Prevent leaking with marshmallows
Sticky arms really are the bane of any ice cream lover’s life, but you don’t have to live with leaking cones. In fact, there are a number of ways to prevent sticky messes and make your snack more delicious. And one of them involves using marshmallows to build a kind of dam at the base of your cone.
To try out this ice cream hack, simply stuff some small marshmallows at the bottom of your cone. When the cold treat starts to melt, any drips will be caught by the fluffy, sugary pillows of goodness. The best part of this trick is the novel taste you’ll get with your final mouthful.
18. Store correctly
Storing your ice cream correctly could make a huge difference to its texture and taste. So while you might think placing it in your freezer door is a good way to be able to reach it easily, that’s actually the warmest place in the appliance. As a result, ice cream will be more prone to melting and refreezing, which can lead to it becoming unpleasantly hard.
Instead, the best place to keep ice cream is the rear of the freezer, which is the coolest bit of the appliance. That way, the treat should stay fully frozen until you come to enjoy it. Just make sure, though, that you return any remaining ice cream to the same spot to prevent freezer burn. Alternatively, you could just eat it all in one go.
17. Instant soft scoop
One problem that ice cream fans face is waiting for their snack to thaw slightly so that they can scoop it out of the tub with ease. That delay can feel like forever when all you really want to do is pick up a spoon and dig in. Thankfully, though, this clever trick will make those wasted moments a thing of the past.
To keep your ice cream softer, place the carton in a Ziploc bag and squeeze all of the air out before you seal it. The plastic will help to prevent freezer burn. And, as an added bonus, the next time you reach for your delicious gelato you should be able to enjoy it right away – even straight from the container if you prefer.
16. Pre-prepared party portions
For many people, a party just wouldn’t be a party without ice cream. However, trying to serve multiple portions of the frozen snack in front of a waiting crowd can be a headache. First, you have to wait for it to melt slightly so that you can scoop it out, and then you have to ensure you’re giving everyone an equal amount.
To save yourself one job on party day, why not prepare your ice cream portions the night before? Simply use a cupcake tin and some paper liners to hold individual scoops. When you’ve done this, pop them back into the freezer and leave them there until it’s time to enjoy. All that’s left for you to do then is pass them out to hungry guests.
15. Make edible ice cream bowls
What could be better than eating ice cream from a bowl that you can also eat? These tasty receptacles are relatively easy to make as well, and you can decorate them however you like. All you need are some balloons, chocolate and perhaps some rainbow sprinkles to add a touch of color.
To make an edible ice cream bowl, inflate a small balloon to your desired size and place it into the melted chocolate so that it forms a sturdy layer around the bottom. After that, you can add sprinkles or other embellishments. Then transfer the balloon onto a sheet of baking paper and place it in the freezer for ten minutes or so. When it’s hardened, you can burst the balloon and fill the concave container with your favorite scoop.
14. Use melted ice cream to bake with
Once your ice cream has fully defrosted, refreezing the substance could lead to undesirable freezer burn. Fortunately, though, that doesn’t mean that your melted gelato is totally unusable. So before you throw it in the garbage, why not consider making it into a deliciously sweet loaf?
Believe it or not, when mixed with self-raising flour, melted ice cream can form the basis of a delicious bread. Simply scoop the mixture into a lined loaf tin and bake in the oven at 350° F for 35 minutes. The batter will rise as it cooks, turning golden brown in the process. When it’s ready, slice it up and serve warm, preferably with a scoop of gelato.
13. Pipe onto cakes
Why choose between ice cream and cupcakes when you can combine the two? A quirky way to use gelato is to pipe it onto baked goods in place of regular frosting. Not only do the results look great, but it’s also bound to taste delicious as well. What’s more, the trick couldn’t be easier to pull off.
To create a frozen frosting, simply spoon an ice cream of your choice into a piping bag and squeeze onto your undecorated cupcakes. If they’re freshly baked, wait for them to cool before decorating, otherwise the gelato will just slide right off. Once you have the hang of things, you can experiment with different flavors to make a combination all of your own.
12. Sharing made simple
If you and a pal find yourselves reaching for the only tub left, why not just split it – literally? Instead of wasting your time carefully trying to scoop the ice cream out into two equal portions, though, just take a sharp knife and chop the container in half lengthways. It’ll save energy and any arguments about who got the most.
Aside from ensuring fairly equal portions, cutting the tub in half will also form two bowl-like receptacles. And you can use these to eat your ice cream from, giving you instant gratification and saving on the washing up. This hack is so ingenious that it’s amazing we haven’t all been doing it for years.
11. Mason jar ice cream
If you want to get your homemade ice cream fix but don’t wish to splash out on a fancy machine, you can always just use a mason jar instead. To make a simple but delicious gelato all you have to do is add cream, sugar and vanilla extract to the container, shake well and place in the freezer.
When the ice cream mixture freezes it’ll take on the familiar smooth consistency we know and love. You can then add sauces or sprinkles straight to the jar before tucking in. Alternatively, you could experiment with extra ingredients prior to the freezing process and perhaps even create a unique flavor of your own.
10. Clean up Nutella and peanut butter jars
It’s particularly tricky to remove sticky substances such as Nutella and peanut butter from their containers. So, you might be happy to learn that you can eliminate all traces of the spreads from their jars and create a tasty snack in the process. What’s more, all you need is a trusty dollop of ice cream.
To make Nutella and peanut butter waste a thing of the past, just place some ice cream into an almost-empty jar. Mix it in well, and the last traces of the spread will gel with the gelato, creating an awesome flavor combination and leaving you with a container that should be much easier to clean.
9. Scoop from the outside in
Getting ice cream out of the tub can be quite the work-out when all you’re after is a quick sugar fix. Nonetheless, you can avoid all the hard work by scooping from the outside and working your way towards the center. By doing so, you can easily retrieve your gelato without it getting the better of your muscles.
It turns out that ice cream is easier to scoop from the outside of the container as it’s not as cold as in the center. As a result, it’s slightly softer and therefore easier to delve into. So by working from the edges of your tub inwards, you can spend less time serving your ice cream and more time enjoying it.
8. Trim down your tub
If you’re the kind of person who takes more than one sitting to eat a tub of ice cream, then this trick is for you. Whenever you take a portion from the container, cut down the edges so that there’s less empty space inside. Doing so will prevent ice crystals from being created and causing freezer burn.
Cardboard ice cream containers are fairly easy to cut and then replace the lid. However, it may be simpler just to transfer leftovers to smaller cartons as you work your way through your gelato. There isn’t so much air in tighter spaces, so doing so has much the same results as trimming the packaging.
7. Cut with a hot knife
If you’re an ice cream enthusiast, then you might already be aware that you can buy heated scoops that promise to glide right through the frozen favorite. However, before you rush out to purchase yet another kitchen gadget, get a load of this nifty trick to make ice cream serving as easy as can be.
When it comes to serving ice cream fresh from the freezer, place a knife in warm water for a few minutes first in order to heat the blade up. That way, the warm utensil will cut through the treat with minimal effort. The same trick can be used on scoops as well if you have one lurking in your drawers.
6. Prevent dripping popsicles
When temperatures soar, you have to eat ice cream popsicles pretty quickly to avoid them dripping and making a mess. This can be particularly challenging for little ones, who can often end up with their snack all over their faces and hands as they struggle with the melting process.
Thankfully, there’s a relatively easy way to catch dripping ice pops, saving us from sticky hands and arms. Simply make a hole in the bottom of a foil or paper cupcake liner and poke your popsicle stick through it. The makeshift tray will catch any wayward drops and hold them there, meaning you can stay cool and clean.
5. Prevent freezer burn with plastic wrap
When ice cream encounters air, then freezer burn occurs. As a result, ice crystals may appear on the surface of the gelato, which ruins its smooth texture. But fortunately there’s a quick and easy way to prevent this from happening, and all you need is a little bit of plastic wrap.
Before you place the lid back on your ice cream tub, firstly cover the top with a piece of Saran Wrap. This plastic will seal the container and keep ice crystals at bay. If you prefer, parchment paper should also work in the same way, meaning your gelato tastes just as good each time that you reach for it.
4. Store away from smelly foods
To ensure your ice cream always tastes its best, be sure to put it apart from strong-smelling foods in your freezer. These may include items such as meat and fish. That’s because ice cream readily soaks up other scents, which can alter its flavor profile in ways that can be quite unpleasant.
Aaron Beth Butterworth is a product innovator at Dreyer’s Ice Cream. And in 2019 she told the Insider website why smelly foods should be kept away from ice cream. She said, “Dairy tends to absorb smells easily, so we always want to try to store product away from very strong scented things.”
3. Easy ice cream sandwiches
Ice cream on its own is pretty much perfect, but it can be made even better when wedged between two freshly baked cookies to form a sandwich. These classic snacks mix the creamy goodness of gelato with the perfect crunch of cookies to form what is for some an unbeatable combination.
The good news is that ice cream sandwiches are easy to make at home. Just slice your ice cream carton – including the cardboard – into four even parts to create rounds. After that just place the delicious discs in between two cookies of your choice and remove the packaging before digging in.
2. Prevent sticky messes
Most kids seem to love ice cream. However, many appear unable to enjoy the snack without leaving a trail of melted mess in their wake. This sticky residue can be the bane of parents’ lives, covering little arms and legs and ruining surfaces across the home. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Before you give your little ones an ice cream to enjoy, consider making a DIY drip tray. This can be easily done by cutting an opening in the center of a paper plate and placing the cone within it. Amazingly, this hack takes hardly any time and will likely save you a heap of washing down the line.
1. Store your ice cream upside down
Storing open, half-empty ice cream containers can lead to unwanted freezer burn. This produces crystals of ice on the surface when moisture in the food evaporates before refreezing. However, there’s a super simple way to prevent this from happening.
When you come to place your half-eaten carton of ice cream back inside the freezer, simply flip it over so that it’s upside down. This will cause the contents to slide down towards the lid, limiting the air it’s exposed to and therefore reducing the risk of freezer burn. So when you return to it, there should be no ice crystals at all.