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How Long Does Ice Cream Last? Does Ice Cream Go Bad?

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Ice cream as a snack or even dessert does not always last long enough for expiration worries to creep in.

For this reason, most people are always completely ignorant of the not-so-common knowledge that even this delicious treat goes bad.

Picture this, you are on your normal daily routine, and out of nowhere, you remember the tub of ice cream that you have been procrastinating having for ages.

You rush to your freezer psyched to satisfy your tingling taste buds only to be met by disappointment once you open the lid.

Bad ice cream is not only a financial loss but taking it increases your risk of food-borne illnesses.

This begs the question that everyone deserves an answer to; how long does ice cream last?

What’s Ice Cream?

whats ice cream

Ice cream is a frozen dairy food that is sweetened.

The dairy could be milk or cream and the flavorings are diverse ranging from chocolate and strawberry to vanilla.

It is mostly taken as a dessert or a snack and can be taken anywhere either as scoops in a cup or a cone.

Ice cream has become common in every household and has warmed its way into people’s hearts.

This cannot be the case if it did not come with a ton of benefits.

Some of the benefits of ice cream according to Hindustan Times include;.

  • It is an instant energy boost.
  • It is a great source of minerals like calcium vitamin A and D and phosphorous.
  • It stimulates the brain and improves mental health.
  • It is an excellent source of protein.
  • The fresh fruits that are added to ice cream add a load of antioxidants to the body.

How Long Does Ice Cream Last? Does Ice Cream Go Bad?

how long does ice cream last does ice cream go bad

If you were wondering if ice cream goes bad the answer is yes, ice cream does go bad.

Putting it in the freezer is mostly to keep it in ice form and does not do a lot in maintaining its freshness.

It will go bad after a certain period of time depending on the environment it was kept in.

The most common places where ice cream is stored are in the freezer.

While the answer to the first question depends on the type of ice cream, the answer to the second question is yes. Ice cream will eventually spoil, but it will take a while.

The shelf life of ice cream depends on a number of factors, including the type of ice cream and the storage conditions.

The first factor is temperature. Ice cream needs to be stored at a temperature of 40 degrees or below in order to maintain its quality.

If it’s stored at a higher temperature, the ice cream will start to melt and will become runny and less flavorful.

The second factor is humidity. Ice cream needs to be stored in a humid environment in order to stay creamy and avoid becoming dry and crumbly.

If the humidity is too low, the ice cream will start to lose its texture and flavor.

The third factor is light. Ice cream should be stored in a dark place in order to avoid becoming discolored.

Exposure to light can cause the ice cream to become yellow or brown in color, and it will also start to lose its flavor.

Most store-bought ice creams have a shelf life of about two months; sometimes, they can last up to 3 months with proper storage.

After that, the ice cream will start to spoil and develop bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

Homemade ice cream, on the other hand, can last for up to 2 weeks if stored in the freezer.

However, it’s important to note that homemade ice cream will not taste as good after it’s been frozen for that long.

How to Tell if Ice Cream is Bad?

how to tell if ice cream is bad

Ice cream rarely lasts long enough to even reach halfway its expiry date.

Most of the time a tub is rendered empty within a week or two of its purchase.

However, concerns might be raised when you buy it in bulk or you forget one was ever inside your freezer.

In this case, it is important to know the signs that indicate that ice cream has gone bad and is no longer fit to eat.

The most common signs include;.

  • Tiny ice shards on the inside of the lid and top of the ice cream, also known as freezer burn. These are moisture that has escaped into the container and frozen hence reducing the quality. Some people choose to scrape the ice crystals away but it is not guaranteed that the whole ice cream is not contaminated. .
  • A change in texture to a gooey or slimy feel. Normal ice cream should be creamy. Slimy ice cream is an indicator that a bacteria has contaminated it.
  • When the outside of the container is sticky. This is most common if the ice cream has reached its expiry date. .
  • When it releases a musty odor that generates when the ingredients became moldy and the cold temperature inhibits the growth of the mold.
  • When it is past its expiry date. .


Ice cream, just like any other food, has an expiration date after which it is considered inedible.

If not stored well however it can go bad earlier than expected.

Freezer burn is the most common sign that it is time to throw away your ice cream.

This wastage can be avoided by purchasing the right amount of your favorite ice cream treat so that it does not sit that long in the freezer.

In the case that you forget about one and only find it later, ensure it shows no signs of going bad before eating it.

How Long Does Ice Cream Last? Does Ice Cream Go Bad?

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Shelf Life


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  • Ice cream

  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags

  • Labels and markers


  • Ice cream shelf life
  • Most commercially made ice creams have a shelf life of about 2-4 months.
  • However, if it is kept in the freezer properly, it can last for up to 6 months.
  • Homemade ice cream tends to spoil faster than store-bought ice cream, so it has a shorter shelf life of about 1-2 weeks.

Recipe Video


  • Make sure to label your container with the content and date.
  • Store the container in a cool, dark place, like a pantry or fridge.
  • If you freeze the product, thaw it in the fridge before using. Always check for signs of spoilage before using.

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