Who microwaves ice cream? Wouldn’t that melt? Some might try to microwave or even bake ice cream for a few seconds or barely a minute. It’s to make it slightly softer and easier to scoop if frozen solid.
Have you ever thought of microwaving your ice cream? Me neither, but it’s apparently a thing. If your stored ice cream gets stored in the freezer for too long, it might end up frozen solid instead of soft and easy to scoop. One solution involves allowing the room temperature to thaw it out to a scoopable state.
The other solution involves microwaving the ice cream tub. So can you microwave ice cream? What about the ice cream plastic? Or how about the ice cream in?
Can You Microwave Ice Cream?
You can microwave the ice cream to slightly soften it. However, you risk ruining the dessert’s entire texture when push comes to shove. You also risk contaminating the ice cream with BPA in case you were to place its whole plastic tub inside for microwaving.
Never microwave ice cream while in a tin because most anything metal reacts negatively to microwave radiation, resulting in sparks or electrical arcing. For this reason, most people prefer to melt the ice cream by room temperature or use a heated scooper to scoop the ice cream.
To Microwave or Not to Microwave? That Is The Question!
If your ice cream scoops get too hard, you might be tempted to microwave them for a couple of seconds. This ruins their texture, according to experts. The ice cream gets less soft and more melted when all is said and done.
Even when melting ice cream at room temperature, you need to watch out against melting it all the way through. A soupy ice cream that gets refrozen in the freezer won’t have the same texture as the original soft ice cream you bought.
Microwave Ice Cream and You’ll Sacrifice the Texture
The handy trick of microwaving ice cream can permanently ruin its texture. Proceed at your own risk, use a microwave-safe container, set to medium or low power, and only microwave for 10 seconds (more on this below).
Also, microwave the ice cream scoops by batch to not ruin the texture of the whole tub of ice cream. You can also wet or warm up your scooper or spoon before scooping the ice cream to help you out while minding that this also ruins ice cream texture in the long run.
A Better Way to Soften Ice Cream
If you’re impatient about digging into your ice cream tub, you can instead put your ice cream inside your refrigerator for 30 minutes to soften it. The coldness of the fridge keeps the ice cream from melting all the way and ruining its delectable texture you can’t get back even when refreezing it.
The temperature difference between the cold air of the fridge and the ice cream offers a more moderate method of softening compared to using room temperature when leaving the tub on the counter. It should soften the ice cream from edge to edge.
The Microwave Serves as Your Worst Option
Using the microwave to soften your ice cream might be your worst option. It leads to the ice cream to develop soupy edges and a rock-hard center. You can avoid such an outcome by microwaving at 50 percent power instead of maximum power.
Most turntable microwaves penetrate only the outer ¼ or 1 inch of any food. As you decrease its power level it deceases the amount of time the appliance delivers microwave radiation, which allows heat more time to disperse away from the surface to the center.
How Long Should You Heat Up Ice Cream?
You can also heat up your frozen solid ice cream for thawing for 10 to 60 seconds. It depends on how powerful the microwave’s wattage is. A 700-watt microwave will take longer to soften ice cream compared to a 1-kilowatt microwave, for example.
Also, check the softness of the ice cream every 10 seconds to see if everything got sufficiently soft. You can even check the temperature—about 8°F should be ideal. You know you’ve done things correctly if you’re only left with melted ice cream around the edges of the microwave-safe container.
If you wish to get a perfect scoop from your Ben & Jerry’s, soften the dessert in the fridge. If you’re running out of time, then microwave away using these instructions.
Don’t Examine the Ice Cream Containers at the Grocery Store
If you wish to buy at the store quality ice cream you can soften later with your fridge or your microwave, you might give in to the temptation of squeezing the container to check the softness or texture of the ice cream without opening it.
Watch Out for Defrosted Store Ice Cream
You should examine your ice cream before placing it in your cart because grocery store freezers tend to get opened a lot or sometimes break down. This should then result in ice cream that might end up as not as soft as you want.
If the container of ice cream you’re buying already feels soft or is covered in frost, this is actually a bad thing instead of a good thing. This might mean they’ve already defrosted and the ice cream inside might have already melted and gotten refrozen again.
Lock the Lid Firmly Into Place
You don’t want ice crystals to form around or into your ice cream container. This results in a watered-down or gross taste. Even worse, if you have fish alongside your ice cream, the opened container of ice cream might stink of fish when you eat it!
Keep the lid of the container locked properly and tightly before returning your ice cream tub back into the freezer. You want to prevent freezer burn from happening as well. This changes the quality of your ice cream, making it taste less delicious than a freshly bought tub.
Things to Remember
You can microwave ice cream. However, microwaving ice cream so that frozen blocks of it can be scooped tends to permanently ruin its original texture when you first bought it. Like how melted ice cream that’s refrozen cannot capture the original feel of freshly bought ice cream.
Most people don’t mind though. If you do wish to melt ice cream, do it at your own risk and use a microwave-safe container to do so. Also, do it in single servings rather than ruin the whole ice cream tub.
- “A Better Way to Soften Ice Cream in the Microwave“, CooksIllustrated.com, Retrieved November 17, 2021
- Cheyenne Lentz, “11 common mistakes that are ruining your ice cream“, Insider.com, Retrieved Jun 12, 2020