How to Scoop Ice Cream Like a Pro

Get it parlor-perfect, every time.

Ice Cream Scoops
Photo: Danny Kim

Eating ice cream is easy, but getting it out of the carton in nice round scoops? Not so much. Polish your skills by following these five techniques, and you'll wind up with the ice cream of your dreams every time.

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Store it smart.

Ice Cream Scoops
Danny Kim

Ice cream stays freshest in the back of your freezer where temperature is typically the coldest and most consistent—not on the door, where it fluctuates each time you open it. Temperature changes can lead to partial melting, causing icy crystals to form, which damages ice cream's texture and makes it harder to get a clean scoop.

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Time it right.

For smooth scooping—and less of a bicep workout—remove 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.

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Get in hot water.

Take a page out of your local scoop shop's playbook, and set a bowl or plastic container of hot water within reach. Dipping the scooper between each scoop warms up and moistens the ice cream just enough to prevent it from sticking.

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Make an "s" shape.

To form a perfectly round ball of ice cream, create an "s" motion while you scoop. Make a slow and continuous swiveling action, turning your wrist smoothly as you go.

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Now put those skills to use. (Yes, it's a tough job.) For inspiration, check out our two-ingredient ice cream recipe, as well recipes for Chocolate chip ice cream, Easy cookies 'n' cream ice cream, and Mexican "fried" ice cream; or try some of our store-bought favorites.

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