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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. You might even use an ice 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. 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: Midnight Scoop Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop
Comfortable, ergonomic handle
How many ice cream scoops are designed by aerospace engineers? This one was! Made without any weak points or moving parts and with a swooping ergonomic handle, this is simply the best-engineered scoop you’ll find. It also looks elegant and, well, high-end. Perfect for people who take their ice cream seriously. The magic in this scoop is that instead of requiring you to use your wrist to push, pull, poke, and pry the ice cream out of the container, this is designed so that you use your arm and shoulder muscles. It’s just as much work, but since you’re using stronger muscles, it requires less effort.
While this is certainly an expensive scoop, many reviewers say it's worth the price: it is nearly indestructible, so you’ll never need to buy another cheap scoop again.
Scoop size: 3 ounces | Dimensions: 2.5 x 8.5 x 2.5 inches | Weight: 10.9 ounces | Material: Stainless steel
Best Budget: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop
Made of sturdy stainless steel
Pointed tip and flat sides
Scooping ice cream isn’t like serving caviar, so maybe you don’t need the fanciest or most expensive ice cream scoop on the planet when you’re dishing out the ice cream and cake for a birthday. This is made from durable stainless steel and has a comfortable black soft-grip handle that’s easy to hold and easy to use. The pointed tip makes the first dig into the ice cream, paving the way for the rest of the scoop. The flat side edges let you snug up to the sides and corners of ice cream containers to get the last bits out, so you won’t waste a bit. When you’re done scooping, this is dishwasher safe, right along with the rest of the dishes, so it will be ready for you to use the next day. Reviewers give it high marks for its durability and ease of use, though a few older customers say it is a bit too heavy for them.
Scoop size: 1.6 ounces | Dimensions: 8.25 x 1.75 x 1 inches | Weight: 8.8 ounces | Material: Stainless steel head, soft-grip handle
Best Multi-Size Set: Jenaluca Cookie Scoop Set
Easy to use and clean
Great as gifts
This set of three scoops gives you three different sizes, so you’ll always have the size you need, whether you’re cooking or serving. The largest scoop is 3 tablespoons for serving ice cream or dishing batter for cupcakes and muffins. The medium scoop is 1 1/2 tablespoons, which would make adorable little scoops for kids or for serving sample sizes of multiple flavors. You’ll also reach for it for batter for mini cupcakes and muffins and for portioning cookie dough. At just 2 teaspoons, the smallest scoop might not be used often for ice cream, but you could use it for portioning sauces for your ice cream or for making melon balls, scooping cookie dough, or portioning truffles.
The trigger for these is incorporated in the handle, so you just squeeze to release the food. Made from stainless steel, these are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. They come in a box and are nestled into velvet bags, so they’re easy to give as a gift. Reviewers rave about how well-designed and well-crafted the scoops are.
Scoop size: 2 teaspoons, 1.5 tablespoons, 3 tablespoons | Material: Stainless steel
Best Heated: Zeroll 1012 Original Ice Cream Scooper
Melts ice cream slightly as you scoop
Easy to use
Sturdy and comfortable to hold
Not dishwasher safe
This ice cream scoop is practically a part of kitchen history. First designed in 1935, this has a special liquid in the handle that absorbs the heat of your hand and transfers it to the head of the scoop so it melts the ice cream slightly as you scoop. If your hands are chilly or your ice cream is super-cold, you can dip the whole scoop in warm water to heat things up even better. Many reviewers praise this heating feature, saying they were able to scoop perfect balls despite their ice cream being frozen solid.
There are no moving parts to break, so this should last many years if it’s cared for properly. This should be washed by hand and should not be subjected to heat over 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Scoop size: 3 ounces | Dimensions: 7.3 x 2.1 x 1.9 inches | Weight: 5.6 ounces | Material: Aluminum
Best with Trigger: OXO Good Grips Trigger Ice Cream Scoop
Comfortable, non-slip handle
Works well with batter
May not be sturdy enough for very hard ice cream
Trigger scoops operate by pushing the food out straight of the bowl of the scooper, so it’s fast and easy to use. This one is perfect for large (2 1/4 inch), round scoops of ice cream. It's stainless steel with a comfortable non-slip handle, so your hand won't hurt even if you're in charge of scooping the ice cream for the entire family. It works well cutting through hard ice cream but can also be used to scoop batter. Reviewers are impressed with its sharpness but warn to leave it out of the reach of children for that same reason. It's also dishwasher safe for convenience, although many recommend hand washing for longevity.
Scoop size: 2.25 inches | Dimensions: 8.13 x 3.13 x .75 inches | Weight: 6.5 ounces | Material: Stainless steel scoop, soft-grip handle
Best for Cupcakes: Vollrath 4-Ounce Stainless Steel Disher
Easy to squeeze trigger
Simple to use
May have difficulty with very hard ice cream
Scoops of this style are in use in cafeterias and diners every single day. Sure, they’re great for portioning ice cream, but they’re also great for portioning batter for muffins and cupcakes and for serving foods like rice or mashed potatoes. The side trigger is easy to squeeze, and the wiper inside the scoop sweeps the bowl clean, so you’ll be sure that every cupcake or muffin is the same size and no batter is left behind.
This scoop is a size 8, which holds 4 ounces (1/2 cup) but the same style is available in a range of sizes from 6 (5 1/3 ounces) to 40 (4/5 of an ounce) and each has a different colored handle so you can easily tell them apart in a drawer. The handle is molded in one piece so it will stay secure, and it has grooves that make it easy to hold onto. For easy cleaning, this is dishwasher safe, and it is NSF certified for commercial use.
Reviewers love the large scoop size and how easy it is to grip and use.
Scoop size: 4 ounces | Dimensions: 9.56 x 3.8 x 1.06 inches | Weight: 8.8 ounces | Material: Aluminum, soft-grip handle
Best for Lefties: Good Cook Smart Scoop Ice Cream Scoop
Suitable for left- and right-hand users
Makes nice, round scoops
Not dishwasher safe
Just when you think you’ve seen every possible style of ice cream scoop, you look again and see something a little bit different. When it comes to scooping, this is much like all the other ice cream scoops you’ve used, except that you need to gently squeeze the handle while you scoop. When it’s time to serve, you simply release the handle, and the bowl splits apart to serve the ice cream neatly. This is made from heavy-duty cast aluminum and has a nonstick finish to help the ice cream slide out and make cleaning easier. Because this doesn’t have a side trigger or sweeping mechanism inside the bowl, and all sides are tapered for easy entry into the ice cream, this can be used either right- or left-handed. This should only be washed by hand.
Scoop size: 3 ounces | Dimensions: 11.75 x 1.6 x 4.6 inches | Weight: 5.6 ounces | Material: Aluminum
Best Square: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ice Cream Spade
Handle is easy to grip and won't get cold
Great for scooping large quantities
While ice cream scoops are popular, ice cream spades, with their square heads, are often used in ice cream parlors. Instead of dipping into the ice cream and pushing the scoop to the side or toward the scooper to create a ball of ice cream, a spade digs into the ice cream and is pushed through the ice cream. Some ice cream fans think the spade is easier to use while others just like the serving style. It can also be used to pack ice cream into containers. This one has a comfortable grip that won’t get cold and is dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
Dimensions: 2.6 inches x 3.7 inches | Weight: 7.4 ounces | Material: Stainless steel head, soft-grip handle
The Midnight Scoop Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop (view at Amazon) takes the top spot because of its elegant yet ergonomic design and its sturdy, nearly indestructible construction. If you prefer a trigger-style scoop, go for the OXO Good Grips Trigger Ice Cream Scoop (view at Amazon). It has a non-slip handle and also works well with batter.
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.
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