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I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Whether you're indulging with your favorite pint from the store or a special homemade version, having the right scoop for the job is vital to creating well-rounded globs of the sweet treat and easily releasing them into your bowl without sticking.
The Zeroll 1020 Original Ice Cream Scoop reigns supreme with our testers because of its ease of scooping even the hardest of ice creams, and its high-quality, durable construction. For a budget-friendly option, consider the Spring Chef Ice Cream Scoop With Soft Grip Handle, which sports a comfortable soft-grip handle.
You might even use an ice cream scoop to dish out batter for cupcakes or cookies. It's a fairly basic tool but scoop size, handle design, and materials are all differentiating factors you should consider. We sent 8 popular models to a home tester so she could assess comfort, ease of use, and, of course, which produced the best-looking sundaes. Whichever confection is in your future, there's a scoop out there for you.
Here are the best ice cream scoops for the job.
Best Overall: Zeroll 1020 Original Ice Cream Scoop
Creates perfectly sized scoops
Slides through hard ice cream
Hand wash only
Hand can get cold if scooping multiple servings
You wouldn't know from looking at it, but the Zeroll Original ice cream scoop is actually an engineering wonder. The scoop itself is made of lightweight aluminum, but the handle is filled with heat-conductive, FDA-approved mineral oil. The internal liquid heats up from the warmth of your hand, making the scoop's metal slightly warm. The result is a scoop that feels comfortable to hold and slides smoothly through hard ice cream with minimal pressure required.
When we tested this in a home kitchen, it took no time at all to scoop tight, round balls of ice cream with the Zeroll. The ice cream easily slid into an awaiting bowl, especially during the first tests while our tester's hand was still warm. That ease of scooping hard ice cream, a sleek and balanced design, and perfectly sized servings put this scoop at the top of the list. Best of all, this is one solid piece, so there's no danger of parts breaking or loosening over time.
It should last a lifetime if it’s hand-washed as directed. The downside to the Zeroll scoop is that it is unable to tolerate temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, making it unable to go in the dishwasher.
Scoop Size: 2 ounces | Dimensions: 7.3 x 2.1 x 1.9 inches | Weight: 5.6 ounces | Material: Aluminum
"I wanted to use this scoop again and again while testing. It was comfortable and slid through the ice cream with ease."
Runner Up, Best Overall: Good Cook Smart Scoop Ice Cream Scoop
Hand wash only
This Good Cook Smart Ice Cream Scoop has a striking design and functions differently than other squeeze-style ice cream scoops. The scoop is made up of two pieces of cast aluminum—joined together with a screw— that are squeezed while scooping and then opened to release the ice cream into a bowl.
Our tester found it's incredibly easy to squeeze, feels sturdy and balanced, and the nonstick coating helps the ice cream release easier. The scoops of ice cream are a good size, well-rounded, and appetizing. It did take more pressure to test scoop ice cream with mix-ins but in the end, the servings were shaped exactly the same. And it's lightweight so it won't cause any wrist strain during an ice cream party. The downside of the Good Cook Smart Scoop is that it needs to be hand-washed to keep the finish intact.
Scoop Size: 3 ounces | Dimensions: 7.5 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches | Weight: 5.6 ounces | Material: Cast aluminum
"I enjoyed using this scoop and found it released ice cream easily and made well-rounded and good-sized scoops of ice cream."
Best Disher: Jenaluca Cookie Scoop Set
Can be used for doughs and melons
Need hand strength
One issue with ice cream scoops is that they're too large for other culinary uses like scooping cookie dough or melon balls for your cocktails. If you want a versatile tool, you're better off with a smaller disher-style scoop like the Jenaluca Cookie Scoop Set.
This set is great for gifting since it comes in a gray gift box with each of the three scoops arriving inside its own velvet drawstring bag. The largest scoop holds three tablespoons and would be the one most likely used for ice cream. While testing, the 18/8 stainless-steel dishers feel durable and comfortable to hold in either hand. The squeeze handle is easy to control and the sweeper mechanism is sturdy and produces nice tight balls, even with hard ice cream. Smooth ice cream released easily, but it took a couple of extra squeezes to release ice cream with mix-ins.
Our tester did find that the scoops take some hand strength to squeeze and release, which gives a lot of control when serving, but might not be suitable for children or elderly people. These versatile, dishwasher-safe scoops come with a lifetime guarantee, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to use them for a variety of purposes.
Scoop Size: 2 teaspoons, 1.5 tablespoons, 3 tablespoons | Dimensions: 78 x 2.5 x 1 inches | Weight: 4.75 ounces | Material: 18/8 stainless steel
"I liked these more than I thought I would. These scoops create tightly round, attractive balls of ice cream and are easy to use."
Best Large Scoop: Vollrath 4-Ounce Stainless Steel Disher
Long handle makes it easy to get all the ice cream
Big scoop size
Long handle makes it a little clunky
Sometimes, you want more than a little ice cream and one of these jumbo scoops is all you need for a serving of ice cream, which means less scooping and more eating!
The Vollrath 4-Ounce Stainless Steel Disher is a disher-style scoop with an exceptionally long 9.56-inch plastic handle. Our tester found this wasn’t the most comfortable to hold while scooping and using the trigger. But it was especially useful for getting the ice cream at the bottom of the container. The resulting 4-ounce scoops are large and attractively round. During tests, the sweeping piece was sturdy and didn’t break with hard ice cream, and worked even well with ice cream that had a lot of mix-ins. This dishwasher-safe scoop is very versatile and would work well for batters and doughs, especially if you're making extra-large cookies.
Scoop Size: 4 ounces | Dimensions: 9.56 x 3.8 x 1.06 inches | Weight: 8.8 ounces | Material: Stainless steel scoop, plastic handle
Best Spade: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ice Cream Spade
Efficient at scooping large amounts
Hard to control serving size
Ice cream spades are usually seen in gelato stores, but you should really give one a chance over the traditional scoop. The Good Grips Stainless Steel Ice Cream Spade has a paddle that is slightly curved and slides through hard ice cream, or ice cream with mix-ins, easily. The spade is great for scooping large portions, as well as transferring homemade ice cream from the ice cream maker to a freezer-safe container or pint.
Our tester found it comfortable to hold, balanced, and doesn't cause any wrist strain when used. Plus, the non-slip handle ensures a firm, comfortable grip and keeps your hand from getting cold while using. With no moving parts, this scoop is sturdy and durable, and, as an added bonus, is dishwasher safe. This type of scoop isn’t the best for scooping small portions or for making ice cream cones since it can scoop a lot and it's hard to control the serving size and appearance.
Scoop Size: 4 ounces | Dimensions: 9 x 2.5 x 1 inches | Weight: 7.4 ounces | Material: Stainless steel
Most Ergonomic: Spring Chef Ice Cream Scoop With Soft Grip Handle
The Spring Chef Ice Cream Scoop has an ergonomic, comfortable rubber handle that comes in twelve different colors (our tester got the purple one). The handle also boasts a notch at the bottom for lifting off frozen lids, similar to a bottle opener. No more cold fingers!
This scoop is made from zinc alloy—it's also available in stainless steel—and the 3-ounce scooper creates medium-sized scoops that easily release from the scoop with minimal effort. Our tester found the curved handle very comfortable to hold and kept her hand warm while scooping. Though one of the heavier scoops, it felt comfortable and didn’t cause any wrist strain while using, even with a hard ice cream that included mix-ins.
When our tester was done, the zinc alloy scoop came out of the dishwasher as shiny as it went in, but the handle looked duller with some residue. This slight discoloration didn’t affect the comfort of the handle, though.
Scoop Size: 3 ounces | Dimensions: 7.75 x 1.8 x 1.25 | Weight: 7.4 ounces | Material: Zinc alloy
How We Tested
After extensive research on a variety of ice cream scoops, we sent eight top models to our experienced home tester to evaluate them with store-bought pints. She used them to scoop various ice creams—both smooth and with mix-ins—and then rated each one on design, performance, durability, and overall value.
Other Options We Tested
- OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop: A former pick of ours, the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop felt sturdy and durable but caused slight wrist strain when scooping hard ice cream. It took a medium amount of pressure to scoop the ice cream, no matter whether the ice cream had mix-ins or not. At 8.8 ounces, it's heavier than the other medium-sized scoops and weighted towards the scoop. Our tester found releasing ice cream from the scoop was more difficult than with other similar scoops, resulting in servings that looked less appealing.
- OXO Good Grips Trigger Ice Cream Scoop: Another former pick, the OXO Good Grips Trigger Ice Cream Scoop is a lightweight disher-style that was balanced and comfortable to hold, and created medium-sized, attractive scoops. During testing, scooping ice cream with mix-ins didn’t require more arm strength but did take a couple of extra pushes of the trigger to release. The downside to this scoop is that it needs to be used on ice cream that has been softened. The sweeper came unattached when used on ice cream right out of the freezer. Thankfully, it was easy to put back in place but could be frustrating or lead to breakage.
What to Look for When Buying an Ice Cream Scoop
The basic ice cream scoop design is two parts: a handle and a scoop at the top. The scoop itself comes in two main designs: a curved head that scrapes through ice cream, curling it into a ball shape, or a portion scoop that packs the cream into a ball. Typically, a part of the scoop is narrowed to make it easier to slice into hard ice cream. Portion scoops, also called dishers, generally have some kind of mechanical release because the ice cream is packed in. Mechanical releases are typically a curved narrow band that runs inside the scoop releasing the ice cream. Some scoops also have a small lever that can be pushed to flick the ice cream out of the portioner.
The single-piece ice cream scoop, even though it has no mechanical release, is typically favored by ice cream shops because there are no parts that can gum up with repeated use. Ice cream can then be loosened with heat, either by dipping the scoop in warm water—as many ice cream shops do—or through the conduction of heat from the handle to the scoop.
While the scoop itself is the most important part of the ice cream scoop, the handle design also varies. A basic one-piece scoop will be made from the same material as the bowl of the scoop. Others may have a rubber coating for comfort or an ergonomic grip. If a single-piece scoop has conducting liquid to soften the ice cream, however, any coating for comfort would interfere with the heat transference.
For mechanical scoops, the handle can also be where the release is. The release is typically a lever that is operated with the thumb or, in some models, squeezing the handle itself. These are typically designed to be done one-handed.
Most ice cream scoops are made out of some kind of metal, typically aluminum or stainless steel, with a rubber or plastic handle, either coated or as a separate piece. Both stainless steel and aluminum scoops are capable of cutting through hard ice cream and offer similar advantages. Plastic scoops are less common and also not recommended: plastic will neither last as long nor cut through ice cream as well as a metal scoop or bowl.
How much is a typical scoop of ice cream?
On average, a scoop of ice cream is 1/2 cup, but it depends on who is doing the scooping, what their methods are, and what size scoop is used. A scoop with a 1/2-cup bowl can easily create a 1-cup ball of ice cream.
What is the best way to scoop ice cream?
Scooping depends in part on the type of scoop used. If you're using a round scoop, it should be used at an angle, scooping in an s-shape in the tub of ice cream, then following around the outside of the tub to even off the top of the tub for the next scoop. Spade-style scoops are generally pushed into and across the top of the ice cream. Dipping the scoop into hot water can help get the scoop through hard ice cream, but it can also leave a bit of water behind in the ice cream tub where it will turn into ice. It may be better to leave the ice cream out of the freezer for a few minutes to let it soften enough to be easy to scoop.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Cookbook author Donna Currie is a writer and product tester for The Spruce Eats. An avowed "kitchen geek," she's compiled detailed roundups on various kitchen gadgets to make your life easier in the kitchen. Highlights include the best garlic presses, top cookie tools, and the best cookbook stands.
Our tester Rachel Knecht scooped ice cream for hours to find which ice cream scoop creates the most appetizing sundaes.