Can you defrost and refreeze ice cream?

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “Can you defrost and refreeze ice cream?” We will also discuss the ill effects of refreezing ice cream and what are things possible to do with defrosted/melted ice cream.

Can you defrost and refreeze ice cream?

Yes, you can refreeze defrosted ice cream when the ice cream has been defrosted in the refrigerator and it has not been at room temperature for more than two hours. However, it is not recommended to defrost and refreeze ice cream as it is harmful and causes a lot of foodborne illnesses.

It is strictly prohibited to defrost/melt ice cream at room temperature as this might increase the growth of the bacteria faster and cause trouble to the human consuming it.

Why is it not recommended to defrost ice cream?

It is not recommended to defrost ice cream and refreeze it as it is harmful for the person consuming it later. Many food safety forums have even banned the refreezing of ice cream as there are potential bad effects of doing so.

The first concern is that of bacterial growth. Since ice cream is made out of milk and eggs, it is unsafe to consume it after keeping it out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours or when the ice cream is melted. 

The milk and eggs in the ice cream attract pathogenic bacteria like Listeria and Salmonella to grow which are the major food borne illness causing bacteria. They are deadly bacteria and can lead to severe digestive issues and can even be fatal.

These bacteria usually grow in the 40 to 140F, hence it is recommended not to keep ice cream outside for more than 30 minutes. These bacteria can grow in 20 minutes and it is harmful to consume it after melting or defrosting for a long period of time. 

Once the bacteria has started growing in the ice cream when kept for a long time outside, it is not recommended to put it back in the freezer or to refreeze it as the bacteria grown in the ice cream cannot be killed and stay in the ice cream forever.

Defrosting the ice cream again, only makes the situation even more complicated as the growth intensifies as there is already enough bacterial load in the ice cream. There might even be chances of the bacteria growing on the other food items in the freezer.

What happens to the texture of the ice cream when refrozen?

The texture of the ice cream is entirely lost when the ice cream is refrozen and then defrosted to consume again. The soft and luscious texture of the ice cream is not achievable and sometimes there might even be off flavors because of refreezing the ice cream once it is fully defrosted. 

The texture of the ice cream is lost completely because of two main reasons.

  • Air: It is air that gives ice cream the smooth texture as a lot of air is incorporated while the ice cream is churned and when the ice cream is melted and refrozen, all of the air is lost which makes the ice cream not so smooth anymore.
  • Ice crystals: When the ice cream freezes, tiny ice crystals are formed which give a nice texture to the ice cream, however when the ice cream is refrozen, the tiny ice crystals combine and it becomes crunchy, icy and difficult to scoop.

Based on the above reasons it is recommended not to refreeze ice cream and it is better to consume without refreezing. There are too many ill effects of eating refrozen ice cream and the whole idea of enjoying an ice cream is lost. 

Mouthfeel and texture are two of the main reasons for people to consume ice cream, when this is lost there is no use of consuming ice cream. The best is to use the ice cream for other purposes than consume it as ice cream. 

What is the shelf-life of ice cream in the freezer?

The shelf-life of the ice cream depends on the storage condition and the texture of the ice cream when it is stored. When a new pack of ice cream fresh from the supermarket is brought home, it can pop in the freezer right away and can be stored for an entire year.

What to do with melted ice cream?

The best way to use melted ice cream is to use them as substitutes on other dessert dishes or use it as milk replacement in coffee. The melted ice cream can be put in the coffee for enhanced taste or to make it more creamier. 

Melted ice cream can be used to make smoothies, instead of milk/yogurt, the melted ice cream can be used. It can also be used as a sauce on dessert like pies, fruit chips and cobblers. Melted ice cream tastes similar to a creme anglaise sauce.

Other FAQs about Ice Cream that you may be interested in.

Does ice cream go bad in the fridge?

Does ice cream go bad?

Does ice cream cake go bad?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Can you defrost and refreeze ice cream?” We have also discussed the ill effects of refreezing ice cream and what are things possible to do with defrosted/melted ice cream.

References

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.