9 hacks to make ice cream taste better, according to experts

Store-bought ice cream can take gourmet if you store it well and spruce it up. Royalty-Free/Getty Images
    • Insider asked chefs and ice-cream developers how to make store-bought ice cream taste better.
    • Storing a carton of ice cream in the back of the freezer can help preserve its texture.
    • Soften your ice cream in the fridge, not on the counter or in the microwave.
    • You can make ice-cream sandwiches or mochi ice cream at home, too.
    • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

There’s nothing like a big scoop (or three) of ice cream to satisfy a raging sweet tooth.

To learn how to take the premade stuff to the next level at home, Insider asked chefs and ice-cream experts how to make store-bought ice cream taste even better.

Here are a few ways to make your favourite flavour taste homemade:

Store your ice cream away from foods with strong scents, like frozen fish and pizza.

Keep your ice cream out of the door, too. Diana Haronis / Contributor/Getty

Chef Aaron Butterworth, senior product developer at Dreyer’s Grand ice cream, told Insider that the way you store your ice cream can have a big impact on its flavour.

“Dairy products absorb smells easily, so try to store your ice cream away from items with strong scents, such as frozen fish or pizza,” she explained.

If you can’t avoid stashing your ice cream alongside smelly frozen foods, try wrapping the carton with a thin towel or plastic resealable bag before placing it in the freezer.

For the best texture possible, store your ice cream in the back of the freezer.

To avoid those pesky ice crystals, keep your ice cream toward the back of your freezer. Shutterstock

That icy, gritty texture ice cream can develop after sitting in the freezer for a few weeks is usually the result of it partially melting and refreezing.

Butterworth told Insider that you can preserve your ice cream’s smooth texture by keeping it in the coldest part of the freezer.

Store your ice cream all the way in the back and never in the side door,” said Butterworth. “That’s the warmest spot, so placing your container farther back will ensure that it doesn’t melt.”

Dip your ice cream scoop in warm water before serving.

Be mindful of how much water you use. Shutterstock

Scooping frozen ice cream can be a struggle, but don’t leave the carton out to thaw. Instead, dip your ice cream scoop or spoon in warm water.

“Dipping the scoop localizes the melting to the spot where the scoop touches the ice cream,” said Butterworth. “This is better than leaving the container out to soften, which can melt more of the product than necessary.”

But this method isn’t foolproof. Some pros have noted that wetting your scoop too much can cause certain parts of your ice cream to develop crystals faster in the freezer, so be mindful of how much water you put on the utensil.

Try to eat your ice cream in one sitting.

You may want to consider buying smaller portions of ice cream. iStock

When you remove ice cream from your freezer, it immediately starts to thaw. This changes the ice cream’s ice crystal structure. Putting the container back in the freezer stops the thawing process, but the crystals re-freeze in a different way. This changes the texture.

“Ice cream tastes best just after removing the freshness seal, so splitting and finishing a pint with your friends allows you to enjoy the best flavour,” said Butterworth.

If you need to put the container back in the freezer, she said, she recommends placing a piece of parchment paper on the surface of the ice cream to prevent freezer burn.

Use regular silverware to eat ice cream, not spoons made with wood or cornstarch.

Wooden spoons might taint the flavour of your dessert. Erin McDowell/Insider

Biodegradable, disposable utensils are popular, Butterworth said, but she said she recommends using metal silverware to eat ice cream.

“Spoons made of wood or cornstarch often have a subtle flavour that you can taste along with the ice cream,” he said. “For the best flavour, use regular silverware when eating ice cream.”

If you’re planning on serving ice cream at an outdoor event or picnic, pack a separate container in which to store the used spoons to avoid attracting bugs or making a sticky mess.

“Temper” ice cream in the fridge before serving it.

Never put your ice cream in the microwave. Royalty-free / Getty Images

Teresa Shurilla, pastry chef and program coordinator at the University of Hawai’i Maui College’s Culinary Arts program, told Insider that serving a big batch of ice cream is way easier and tastier if you “temper” it first.

“The proper way to ‘temper’ ice cream – which means getting it to the perfect temperature and texture – is to put it in the fridge for about 15 or 25 minutes, depending on the size of the carton,” said Shurilla.

Shurilla said ice cream should never be left on the counter to thaw or heated in the microwave, as this will cause the ice cream to become icy and grainy.

It’s also advisable to only temper the amount you intend to serve, as refreezing thawed ice cream can change its texture for the worse.

Serve your ice cream with fun mix-ins for added flavour and crunch.

Dried fruit can be a fun ice-cream topping. Royalty-Free/Getty Images

Using interesting mix-ins and toppings is an easy way to jazz up store-bought ice cream.

“I love adding diced mango or mango purée to vanilla or coconut ice cream,” said Shurilla. “You can also try diced pineapple tossed in li hing mui powder, which will add sweet, salty, and sour flavours to a simple bowl of vanilla ice cream.”

In addition to dried fruits, try tossing in chopped nuts, crushed cookies, bite-sized candies, or even bacon bits.

Make homemade ice-cream sandwiches.

You can use cookies as your base. Royalty-Free/Getty Images

A fun and portable way to enjoy a scoop of ice cream is to sandwich it between two tasty cookies.

“One of my favourite ways to transform store-bought ice cream is to serve it in a sandwich,” said Shurilla. “Try vanilla ice cream between two chocolate chip and macadamia-nut cookies.”

You can also press toppings like sprinkles or cookie crumbs around the sides of your ice cream sandwich to prevent dripping and add flavour.

For a special dessert, pair homemade mochi with store-bought ice cream.

Mochi ice cream is a Japanese-American confection. iStock / Getty Images Plus

Mochi is a Japanese rice-flour confection that has a glutinous, gummy texture. You can buy premade mochi ice cream in supermarkets, but it’s also possible to make your own at home with rice flour, water, and sugar.

“Make your own mochi and simply wrap it around vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry ice cream. It adds a nice, chewy texture,” said Shurilla.

Make bite-sized mochi ice cream by using about a tablespoon of ice cream per mochi ball, or wrap a full scoop for a decadent treat. Be sure to dust the outside of the mochi ice cream with rice flour to prevent sticking.

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