You’ve had this ice cream in your freezer for a while and you’re not sure if it’s still good.
It can be tough to tell if ice cream has gone bad or not, especially if you don’t eat it all the time. Sometimes the ice cream will start to smell funny, but other times there might not be any obvious signs.
Check out our guide on how to tell if ice cream has gone bad. We’ll help you learn how to look for signs that your ice cream is no longer safe to eat, as well as tips on how to store your ice cream so it lasts longer.
Does Ice Cream Go Bad?
As with all dairy products, ice cream can spoil. When ice cream thaws, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, which can make you sick if you consume it. As such, you need to be sure to throw away bad ice cream as soon as you think it’s expired.
Proteins within this sweet treat make it ideal for the growth of bacteria. All milk products have the same problem. While you can return this guilty pleasure to the freezer to prevent further bacterial growth, cold temperatures will not kill the microbes already present.
Whenever you want a scoop of ice cream, you’ll need to get the tub out of the freezer, and it will quickly be affected by the outside temperature. Usually, you have to allow the ice cream to melt a little just to get it out. When this occurs, the chance of bacteria exposure increases.
The biggest health issue is with products that have been frozen and unfrozen several times over. This is why you shouldn’t take your ice cream out too often. Generally, it’s safest to eat all the ice cream at once.
The best way to circumvent potential health hazards is by keeping the product in its original container and avoiding temperature fluctuations. As long as you apply these food safety techniques, you will prolong its shelf life.
Safety Tips for Buying and Transporting Ice Cream
Perhaps the most common mistake regarding ice cream safety is buying a product that is already expired. Another common problem is that the substance thaws on the way home.
Whenever you buy ice cream, there will be an expiration date printed on the cardboard packaging. This sweet treat should remain frozen from store to home. If you notice the container is soft or sticky, this is a sure sign it has thawed.
To prevent bacterial growth during transportation, make sure that your frozen desserts are placed in a double bag, which should help prevent thawing. Some people go as far as to bring an insulated cooler. While this might seem excessive, it will provide optimal storage conditions for transportation.
Whether it’s a store product or some ice cream you made yourself, make sure to protect it during transport. This fantastic dessert is simply too good to waste!
How Long Does Ice Cream Last In The Freezer?
Even if you keep it in a freezer, ice cream will go bad if you keep it in there long enough. It’s nice to have a backup for your sweet tooth but make sure to use it within its expiration date.
From the moment you put an unopened ice cream container in a freezer, typical ice cream lasts for up to 4 months, assuming it hasn’t thawed. If exposed to warm temperatures, its expiration date will be pushed forward several weeks.
Commercial ice cream makers recommend you store ice cream at 0 degrees F or below and consume it in 2 months or less.
The shelf life of an opened product will be significantly reduced. You will have to use it within a month to reduce the risk of illness.
Ice cream cake is a special kind of ice cream concoction. This sweet treat is mixed with eggs and has a rather creamy texture, which is why it expires more quickly than normal ice cream. You don’t want to store homemade ice cream cake for more than a week.
How To Store Ice Cream
Storing ice cream properly will not only protect this treat but will ensure it has an optimal taste. No matter what, make sure you always store ice cream in the freezer.
Always remember that freezers don’t have a constant temperature in all areas. Certain areas might experience fluctuations. Because of that, it’s best to keep your frozen treats in the back.
Keeping ice cream close to the door is the worst thing you can do because this is where the temperature is the highest. As you will often open the doors, your ice cream will constantly be exposed to temperature changes.
Needless to say, whenever you take a scoop of ice cream, you must return the box of opened ice cream to the freezer as soon as possible. Forgetting to close the doors could spell disaster because ice cream exposed to room temperature can spoil rather quickly.
You should also avoid letting ice cream thaw and refreeze multiple times since this will cause potential bacteria to grow.
Frozen desserts are generally safe to eat after their expiration date, but they might not taste as great as they did when they were first made. Frozen ice cream can last for up to four months in the freezer, but it will start to lose its flavor and the ice cream’s quality after two months.
To avoid health hazards, keep your ice cream in its original container, and don’t let it thaw and refreeze multiple times.
Telltale Signs Of Expired Ice Cream
There are a few signs you need to look for that indicate when the ice cream has gone bad. If there is a layer of tiny ice crystals on top of the ice cream, it’s safe to assume you dealing with freezer-burned ice cream.
You can also tell if a product has gone bad by the smell. Ice cream typically has a neutral smell due to its high water content. But, if the smell has noticeably changed to a point where ice cream is no longer appealing, you should throw the expired ice cream in the garbage.
The color change is another telltale sign that you have some expired ice cream.
Can Ice Cream Get Freezer Burn?
Freezer burn is a term that refers to frozen food going bad despite being in a freezer. This phenomenon occurs due to excess moisture that appears within the creamy texture of expired ice cream. When this happens, you will notice ice crystals on the surface.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prevent freezer burn:
- Make sure your ice cream is always stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less
- Store your ice cream near the back of the freezer
- Always return your ice cream to the freezer quickly after serving
- Airtight bags and plastic wrap can help add overall protection
- Eat all the ice cream within a week to avoid repeated freeze and thaw cycles
Does Ice Cream Go Bad FAQ
Is freezer-burned ice cream safe to eat?
Yes, freezer-burned ice cream is safe to eat. It will just taste a bit stale or dry. The best way to prevent freezer burn is to make sure that your ice cream is stored in an airtight container and that the temperature in your freezer is set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
Is it dangerous to eat expired ice cream?
It depends on the ice cream. Generally speaking, if ice cream has been frozen and then thawed, it’s best to eat it within a few days. After that, the quality and safety of the ice cream may start to decline.
Expired ice cream can cause food poisoning because bacteria can grow quickly in a high-sugar, high-fat environment. The specific symptoms will depend on the type of bacteria that is present, but they can range from mild nausea and vomiting to more serious conditions like meningitis.
So if you have any old ice cream in your freezer, it’s best to throw it out and buy a new tub!
Can ice cream grow mold?
Yes, it’s possible for ice cream to grow mold. The sugar and dairy content in ice cream can provide an excellent environment for mold to grow.
Most people don’t even think about ice cream going bad. We are often too excited when indulging ourselves in this creamy pleasure to think about the downside.
Still, food-borne illness is a real threat, which can make you sick for days. So, either store your own ice cream properly or go ahead and eat it all at once!
We hope you found this article helpful in answering the question, “does ice cream go bad?” For more articles, recipes, and kitchen tips, feel free to check out the other great content on the Savvy Kitchen website.