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How To Tell If Ice Cream Has Gone Bad

Ice cream is a great treat no matter what time of year it is. It doesn’t usually last long and is gone by the time it expires.

In case you don’t finish it as fast as we do in our house it is important to know the traits of ice cream that have gone bad.

The most common sign of bad ice cream is tiny ice crystals inside the lid and on the ice cream itself.

Three scoops of chocolate ice cream in a bowl with a few blueberries, raspberries and a mint leaf sprig on top.

Tiny ice shards inside the container are the most obvious sign of spoiled ice cream. Also, look at the texture of the ice cream. If it looks icy or gooey then you want to discard it.

2 simple ways to tell if ice cream is bad

As crazy as it sounds some people don’t actually finish a container of ice cream before it goes bad. Or maybe it just got pushed into the back of your freezer.

Either way, you want to make sure that your ice cream has not gone bad if you think it has been on there a while.

Two really simple ways to tell if your ice cream has spoiled and both can be done by just taking a look at it.

Ice Crystals or Freezer Burn

Do you notice tiny ice shards on the ice cream or inside the lid? That’s freezer burn. While some scrape it off and continue to eat it, this affects its flavor and texture.

Instead of a creamy delight, you’re met with an icy taste and texture. According to the USDA, freezer burn doesn’t make food unsafe, but it can make it dry in spots and affect the taste.

Odd Texture

Fresh ice cream should feel smooth and creamy. If it’s gooey, slimy, or extra hard, it is better to throw it out. Consuming spoiled foods can risk foodborne illnesses.

Similar to ice cream, it’s essential to know when treats like popsicles have gone bad, ensuring you’re always consuming safe and tasty frozen delights.

What is freezer burn?

Freezer burn occurs when frozen food becomes dehydrated due to air exposure. It changes the quality, taste, and texture of the food.

When storing items in the freezer, always ensure that containers or bags are airtight to prevent moisture entry.

For optimal storage, keep your freezer at 0° Fahrenheit. This minimizes the chances of freezer burn and maintains the quality of your frozen treats.

How long does ice cream last In The Freezer

If you are storing your unopened ice cream correctly in the freezer it should last you about 2-3 months depending on the date on the package.

Once you have opened your ice cream and introduced it to air and things like your ice cream scoop you are allowing for bacteria to get in.

You want to make sure that you get it back into the freezer as soon as possible. Opened ice cream will last you about 1-2 months in the freezer.

Don’t store ice cream in the door of the freezer because it fluctuates in temperature every time the door is opened. A shelf towards the back is best for storing ice cream.

For those who love dairy treats, you might be interested in our guide on whether you can freeze sour cream, a frequently asked question among other home cooks.

Does Ice Cream Expire?

Absolutely, ice cream, like most food products, has an expiration date. This date indicates the suggested timeframe within which the ice cream should be consumed for optimal quality.

It’s essential to remember that while consuming ice cream post this date might not immediately make you ill, but the taste, texture, odor, and overall quality may be compromised.

Moreover, the risk of introducing harmful bacteria increases the longer it sits beyond its expiration. Always check the manufacturer’s date and store the ice cream appropriately to ensure you enjoy it at its best.


Did you know? According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the average American consumes about 23 pounds of ice cream each year, making the U.S. the top consumer of ice cream worldwide!

While ice cream is a delectable treat, it’s crucial to ensure it’s safe to eat. Look out for signs of spoilage, store it correctly, and you’ll always have a tasty dessert ready to enjoy!

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