How does ice cream stay soft in the freezer instead of becoming totally solid?


By soft I mean still scoopable and not rock hard.

In: 515

Fat freezes at a lower temperature than water. The fat doesn’t fully freeze solid at regular freezer temps. It just becomes harder.

While at lower temps (dip-n-dots come to mind). It takes on a harder texture until it is warmed by the mouth.

When the ice cream is created, it gets frozen quite slowly to prevent it from getting too solid. When you eat some of the ice cream, and parts of it (in the edges) melt, those parts will be rock solid when frozen because they freeze too fast.

When water freezes it creates crystals that are hard. An ice cube is like 1 solid crystal. Ice cream is a mix of water and fats and gets churned as it freezes which means those ice crystals don’t grow very large so you have a creamy, fatty mix with millions of tiny ice crystals rather than 1 big ice crystal like an ice cube.

There are also a lot of air trapped in there to make it even softer.

High quality ice cream usually has less air and is way harder.

EDIT: I just wanna add that the sugar content also helps.

Ice cream often has additives, such as corn syrup or carrageenan that prevent it from getting icy or frozen solid.
Also, it’s flash frozen, which keeps it from being icy