How to Keep Ice Cream Hard in the Freezer


Reaching into the freezer and pulling out a container of ice cream only to find it soft and mushy can be both frustrating and disappointing. It might also mean that your freezer's temperature settings are not correct and need to be adjusted. By performing a simple test, you can ensure that your freezer will be set at the temperature required to keep your ice cream hard, solid and ready to eat.

Things You'll Need

  • Refrigerator / freezer thermometer
  • Ice cream
  • Timer
  • Find the recommended freezer temperature for your unit. In order to keep ice cream hard and solid, your freezer must not exceed a temperature of 5 degrees Fahrenheit. The freezer should maintain a constant temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Open your freezer and read the thermometer inside your unit, or look at the setting. Adjust it as necessary so that the temperature is approximately 0 degrees Fahrenheit and no higher than 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Place an additional refrigerator or freezer thermometer in your freezer, ideally in the center of the freezer. Don't place it inside the door because food in the door undergoes the most fluctuations in temperature due to the opening and closing of the freezer.

  • Set a timer for anywhere between five and 10 minutes. After the time has expired, check the temperature reading on the thermometer. If the temperature is not between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit, adjust your freezer settings accordingly, and repeat the test until the temperature reads correctly.

  • Place a carton of ice cream in your freezer, checking its softness and consistency before placing it in the freezer. Wait anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, and check the ice cream's consistency for hardness. If your freezer setting has been adjusted correctly, your ice cream will remain hard and solid in the freezer.

Tips & Warnings

  • In order to keep your ice cream hard, do not store it in the door of your freezer. Food stored in the door is the most subject to temperature fluctuations because of repeated opening and closing of the freezer door.

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  • Photo Credit ice-cream image by Svetlana Kashkina from
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