Why doesn’t ice cream freeze solid in a refrigerator ‘s freezer?

We all know the frustration of reaching into the freezer for a pint of ice cream, only to find that it hasn’t frozen solid. Instead, it’s a soupy, melty mess that doesn’t even remotely resemble the creamy, scoopable goodness we were hoping for.

But why does this happen?

As an ice cream enthusiast, I’ve done some research and experimentation to get to the bottom of this problem.

Here’s what I’ve discovered about why ice cream doesn’t freeze solid in a refrigerator’s freezer.

In addition, if you’re interested in exploring more about freeze-dried ice cream or discovering other fascinating culinary creations, I recommend checking out my related post.

Why doesn’t ice cream freeze solid in a refrigerator’s freezer?

Ice cream doesn’t freeze solid in a refrigerator’s freezer because the temperature in a typical home refrigerator’s freezer is not low enough to freeze ice cream completely.

The ideal temperature for storing ice cream is between -10°F and 0°F (-23°C and -18°C), which is lower than the temperature typically maintained by a refrigerator’s freezer, which is around 0°F (-18°C).

Ice cream is a mixture of milk, cream, sugar, and other ingredients that are whipped and churned together.

During the freezing process, ice cream is slowly frozen to create small ice crystals, which give it a smooth and creamy texture.

If the temperature is too low, the ice crystals will become too large, making the ice cream icy and gritty in texture which will make you wonder “Why is my homemade ice cream icy?”

In a refrigerator’s freezer, the temperature is not low enough to freeze ice cream completely, but it is still cold enough to slow down the melting process of the ice cream.

This allows the ice cream to maintain its shape and texture while still remaining soft and scoopable.

However, if the ice cream is left in the freezer for an extended period of time or if the freezer temperature fluctuates, the ice cream can become freezer-burned, which can cause it to become icy and grainy in texture.

To prevent this from happening, it is recommended to store ice cream in the coldest part of the freezer, away from the door, and to consume it within a reasonable amount of time.

Why is my homemade ice cream not freezing?

Homemade ice cream can be more challenging to freeze than store-bought ice cream. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Fat content: Homemade ice cream recipes often contain a higher percentage of fat than store-bought ice cream. Fat has a higher freezing point than water, which means that a higher fat content can make it more difficult to freeze the mixture completely.
  • Mixing/churning: Proper mixing and churning is crucial to the freezing process of ice cream. If the mixture is not mixed thoroughly, it can result in uneven freezing and a grainy texture. Additionally, if the mixture is over-churned, it can become too hard and difficult to scoop.

What to do if ice cream doesn’t freeze in the freezer

If you’re having trouble getting your ice cream to freeze properly in the freezer, here are a few troubleshooting tips:

  • Check the temperature of the freezer: Make sure that your freezer is set to the coldest temperature possible (usually around 0°F). If it’s not, adjust the temperature and give it some time to get cold before trying to freeze your ice cream again.
  • Use a shallow container: A shallow container will help your ice cream freeze more quickly and evenly. This will also help to prevent ice crystals from forming in the mixture.
  • Stir the mixture before freezing: Make sure that your ice cream mixture is well-mixed and homogeneous before you put it in the freezer. This will help to ensure even freezing and prevent ice crystals from forming.

Why does ice cream become grainy or icy when it is not frozen properly?

Ice crystals can form in the mixture when it is not frozen at the correct temperature, resulting in a grainy or icy texture.

Can I still eat ice cream that hasn’t frozen properly?

While it may not be the desired texture, ice cream that hasn’t frozen properly is still safe to eat. However, the taste and texture may not be as enjoyable as properly frozen ice cream.

Can I put ice cream in the deep freeze?

Yes, a deep freeze can be used to freeze ice cream, but it is important to monitor the temperature to ensure that it doesn’t become too cold and affect the texture of the ice cream.

The ideal temperature for freezing ice cream is around -18°C, and the deep freeze should be set to this temperature or slightly warmer to prevent the ice cream from becoming too hard or developing ice crystals.


Ice cream is a complex mixture of ingredients that affects its freezing point, and the temperature in a refrigerator’s freezer is not always low enough to freeze ice cream completely.

Factors such as water content and fat content can also affect the freezing process, and improper mixing or churning can lead to grainy or icy textures.

However, there are solutions to troubleshoot ice cream freezing problems, such as checking the temperature of the freezer, using a shallow container, and stirring the mixture before freezing.

Additionally, making homemade ice cream can be a fun and rewarding experience, and experimenting with different recipes and techniques can help create the perfect texture and flavor.

Don’t let a less-than-perfectly-frozen ice cream ruin your dessert experience – with a little troubleshooting and experimentation, you can enjoy a delicious scoop of your favorite frozen treat.

Leave a Comment