How to Scoop Ice Cream Like a Pro

Get it parlor-perfect, every time.

Eating ice cream is easy. But getting it out of the carton in nice round scoops? Not so much. Need to polish up on your skills? Follow these five techniques and you’ll wind up with the ice cream of your dreams every time.


Store it smart

Photo by Danny Kim

Ice cream stays freshest in the back of your freezer where the temperature is typically the coldest and most consistent—not on the door, where it fluctuates each time you open the door. Those changes can lead to partial melting, causing icy crystals to form, damaging the ice cream’s texture and making it more difficult to get a clean scoop.


Time it right

For smooth scooping—and less of an bicep workout—remove your ice cream from the freezer about 3 minutes before scooping and let it soften slightly at room temperature. But don’t forget the clock! Leave your ice cream out for more than five minutes, and you risk it turning soupy.


Get in hot water

Take a page out of your local scoop shop’s playbook, and always keep a bowl or plastic container of hot water within reach. Dipping the scooper between each scoop will warm up and moisten the ice cream just enough to prevent it from sticking.


Make an “s” shape

To form a perfectly round ball of ice cream, try to make an “s” motion while you scoop. The swiveling action should be slow and continuous; turn your wrist smoothly as you go.



Now it’s time to put those skills to use. (Yes, it’s a tough job.) For inspiration, check out our recipes for salted caramel, blueberry muffin and easy cookies n' cream ice cream, or try some of our store-bought favorites.