Shelf Life

Does Ice Cream Go Bad?

Ever picked up an ice cream tub from the store only to discover it’s gone sour after a few days in your freezer?

We’ve all been there before and have wondered why this happened. Is it because of something you did wrong, or simply because ice cream spoils over time?

Let’s dive into answering the ever-looming question – does ice cream go bad?

A glimpse at facts about different types of ice creams from around the world. Find out ways to make your ice cream last longer. Also, discover if distilled water expires and how to store it properly.

That way, every bite will be as creamy and yummy as when you first opened it.

How Long Does Ice Cream Last in the Freezer?

How Long Does Ice Cream Last in the Freezer? | Epic Nutrition

Ice cream is a delicious treat that can be enjoyed all year round. But how long does it last in the freezer? This largely depends on the type of ice cream and the storage conditions.

Store-bought ice cream can last for up to three months in the freezer. Homemade ice cream usually only lasts two weeks. It does not have special ingredients that help keep it fresh.

When putting ice cream in the freezer, make sure to put it in a container that seals tightly. Keep the ice cream away from anything with a strong smell or taste. So it does not mix with your dessert.


When opened ice cream is stored in a freezer at 0 °F, it will stay fresh for 6 weeks. If it is not stored at the correct temperature, ice cream will spoil faster.

Once it has been opened, you should finish eating it within 7-10 days. This way, you can make sure that your ice cream stays as fresh and enjoyable as possible.


Unopened ice cream can stay good for up to three months. If it is kept in a freezer that is set to 0 °F. Remember to check the expiration date on your ice cream carton.

ConditionShelf Life
OpenedUpto 6 weeks
UnopenedUpto 3 months
Quick Info

How to Tell If Your Ice Cream Has Gone Bad?

Ice cream that has gone bad will have an off-putting odor and flavor. It may also look different, with a dull color and uneven consistency.

In some cases, ice cream may even start to separate or form clumps.

If you are in doubt about whether your ice cream is safe to eat, check the expiration date. If it has passed the recommended shelf life, you should discard it.

Ice Crystals

How to Tell If Your Ice Cream Has Gone Bad? | Epic Nutrition

If the surface of the ice cream has a layer of frost or ice crystals, it means that it was not stored at the right temperature. Ice cream should be kept in a freezer between at 0°F (or cooler) to maintain its creamy texture.

If you find yourself with an icy container of ice cream, don’t throw it out just yet! Wait 5-10 minutes before eating the ice cream.

If you see ice on your ice cream, it will go away. The inside of the ice cream will become softer and creamier. This makes the ice cream taste better.

Ice Cream’s Texture

When it comes to ice cream, the texture is key. If your ice cream has an odd grainy or crunchy texture then it may have gone bad.

It can happen when bacteria and other microorganisms start to grow in the ice cream.

If you notice a strange texture in your ice cream, it’s best to throw it out. It’s definitely not worth the risk of eating something that has spoiled.

Sniff Test

If your ice cream smells off or sour, it is a sign that the bacteria growth has started. This means that the ice cream should be discarded in the trash.

The sniff test is one of the best ways to tell if your ice cream has gone bad. If you smell something strange, it’s time to get rid of it.

Ice cream is a delicious treat, but make sure you store it correctly. Also, use it within the recommended time frame. That way, you can always enjoy a smooth and creamy ice cream.

How Does Ice Cream Go Bad in the Freezer?

The freezer can help keep food from going bad, but it cannot make the food last forever. Bacteria still grow in the freezer. But more slowly than if you did not put it in the freezer at all.

If you like ice cream and you are not vegan or allergic to dairy, remember that there are many different types of dairy in your ice cream. These can include condensed milk, cream, butter fat, and even eggs.

The ice cream is heated and frozen before it gets to stores. Even if you store the ice cream in a really cold place, bacteria will still grow in it.

Ice cream is like frozen milk that lasts longer. It is not something you try to keep for a very long time, like cheese.

How to Make Your Ice Cream Last Longer?

Here is the best way to store your ice cream.

In the Store:

  • Go to the grocery store or ice cream parlor last. This will make sure your ice cream doesn’t sit in a warm car while you do other things.
  • Check the temperature of your grocery store’s freezer. It should be 0°F (-18°C) or colder. If it is above 10°F (-12°C), the ice cream won’t be frozen enough and will feel soft. Tell the store manager if this happens.
  • When buying ice cream and frozen treats from an open-top freezer case, make sure to pick them from the bottom.
  • Keep the ice cream in a different part of your grocery cart. Or put it on top of all the other groceries.
  • When you are buying ice cream, ask for a freezer bag or extra paper bag to keep it cold. It will help your ice cream stay frozen until you get home.

At Home

  • Don’t let your ice cream melt and freeze again. If you do this too much, it can turn into big chunks that won’t taste good.
  • Your freezer should be set to a temperature between -5°F and 0°F. Ice cream is best served when it is between 6°F and 10°F.
  • Keep your ice cream in the main part of the freezer. Do not put it in the door. As it will get too hot when you keep opening and closing the door.
  • Make sure to close the lid tightly when you put ice cream in the freezer. If you open it, put plastic wrap on top or waxed paper before closing the lid again.
  • Put the ice cream back in the freezer quickly after scooping some out. To store for a long time, put it in a big freezer bag too. This will help reduce crystals from forming on your ice cream.
  • Don’t keep ice cream near food that is not covered. The smell of the food can get into the ice cream and make it taste bad.

Is Ice Cream Safe To Eat After The Expiration Date?

It is usually okay to eat ice cream expire. Make sure it does not have any signs of bad food like mold, smell, or bad taste.

Ice cream is normally stored in the freezer, it means bacteria cannot grow quickly in it.

Ice cream can go bad. If it melts and then freezes again, mold can grow on it. You should not eat ice cream that has gone bad.

If you eat bad ice cream, you may get a stomach ache. Some people can have worse symptoms, so it’s important to know what spoiled ice cream looks like.

Problems & Solutions With Bad Ice Cream

Melted Then Refreeze Ice Cream

Problems & Solutions With Bad Ice Cream | Epic Nutrition

Ice cream can get too soft if it melts and then is frozen again. This makes it taste and feel different, and it won’t be as tasty.

Sometimes ice cream gets too warm. This happens when it is left out for a long time and then put back in the freezer.

Make sure to check the temperature of the freezer and make sure ice cream isn’t kept out too long before you put it away again.

The solution to this problem is simple: don’t buy melted, refrozen ice cream! Pay attention to the expiration date on products.

Bacterial Contamination

Bacterial contamination is another problem with bad ice cream. It can happen if it’s left out too long, or if it was made with contaminated milk or ingredients.

Contaminated ice cream can cause serious illness.

To avoid this, make sure you buy ice cream from reliable sources and check the expiration date before buying. Also, store ice cream correctly and never leave it out for a long time.

Freezer Burn

Freezer Burn Ice Cream | Epic Nutrition

Freezer burn is yet another problem with bad ice cream. This happens when it’s left in the freezer for too long, or if it was not stored properly.

The solution is to store your ice cream correctly and make sure you don’t leave it out of the freezer for too long. If you notice any discoloration on the ice cream, don’t eat it.

Also, make sure you buy good quality ice cream. Also, the freezer temperature is correct. This will help you keep your ice cream from getting freezer burn.

Ice cream that has freezer burn will have lots of tiny pieces of ice on it. You might also see these tiny crystals on other food like fruit.

It happens when the freezer is not very efficient, needs to be cleaned, or has too much food in it.

Freezer-burned ice cream is not bad for you. It just doesn’t taste as good. You can take off the top layer of crystals, then eat the rest.

Tips For Making Homemade Ice Cream

Making ice cream at home is a fun and enjoyable activity. You can make it with only a few ingredients.

Here are 8 tips for making the perfect batch of homemade ice cream:

1. Start With High-Quality Ingredients

Use butter, cream, and other dairy products that are of good quality. Mix them together to create flavors that are unique.

You can try different kinds of sugar. Examples are organic cane sugar and coconut sugar.

2. Choose the Right Tools

An ice cream maker is important if you want to make your own ice cream. There are different sizes and types to choose from. Pick the one that works best for you.

Also, make sure to have a large bowl and a good whisk for mixing the ingredients.

3. Follow the Recipe

It is important to follow the recipe for ice cream exactly. If you don’t, it might not taste good.

4. Don’t Overmix

After you add all the ingredients to the bowl, mix them together carefully with a whisk or spoon. Avoid overmixing as this can cause your ice cream to become too icy.

5. Chill Before Churning

Before you put the mixture into an ice cream maker, keep it in the fridge for 24 hours. This will make sure it is cold enough to turn into ice cream.

6. Monitor the Churning

Watch the ice cream while it is being made. If you see big chunks of things that are not mixed in, turn off the machine and stir them in yourself.

7. Add Mix-Ins After Churning

After the ice cream is done churning, add in things like nuts, chocolate chips, and anything else you want. This will help make sure that the mix-ins are spread out.

8. Enjoy Immediately or Freeze

If you want to eat your homemade ice cream right away, scoop it into separate dishes. Then, put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Now, you can enjoy it.

If you want to keep your ice cream, put it in a container that is closed tightly. You can store it in the freezer for up to four weeks.

Tips For Making Homemade Ice Cream | Epic Nutrition

Making ice cream at home can be a lot of fun. It will make you feel good when you are done and everyone can enjoy the tasty treat!


Can you eat ice cream 2 years out of date?

No, the ice cream will not stay fresh forever. If you open it, it will only stay fresh for about 6 weeks. If you don’t open it, the ice cream can stay fresh for 3 months.

Is ice cream worse than chips?

Potato chips may not have sugar, but they have more calories and fat than a serving of vanilla bean or chocolate ice cream.

What is the healthiest dessert and why?

Berries and Cream

Berries taste sweet and are full of juice. They also have few calories and special nutrients that can help keep your heart healthy. They also have lots of antioxidants and fiber in them.

What is the most unhealthy cake?

Carrot cake has healthy things like carrots and nuts, but it also has a lot of fat and sugar.

How unhealthy is cake?

Everyone knows that cake has a lot of sugar.

The American Heart Association reports that women should only have 100 calories of added sugar each day and men should only have 150 calories of added sugar each day.

Final Thoughts

Ice cream is a delicious treat. But you have to remember that it does not stay good forever in the freezer, whether it is homemade or store-bought.

Store-bought ice cream usually has a date when it will go bad. Homemade ice cream will usually only stay good for 6 weeks.

After the time on the package has passed, check to see if your ice cream is still good. If it smells sour, or there are lumps or crystals in it, then it is not safe to eat and you should throw it away.

Put your ice cream in the freezer as soon as you get it from the store. Make sure to keep air out of the containers so they won’t spoil.

With a little bit of care and attention, your delicious treat can stay tasty for much longer!

Dr. Renata Micha

Meet Dr. Renata Micha, a wellness and nutrition expert passionate about helping people live healthier lives through good nutrition. With a diverse academic background in human nutrition and dietetics, she holds a Ph.D. and has worked in various institutes across the US.

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