ice cream maker guru

How Long Does Ice Cream Last?

Craving for a scoop of everyone’s favorite frozen dessert can last for days, but how long does ice cream last? Despite the belief that bacteria don’t grow at 0°F, ice cream doesn’t last forever. 

If you’ve ever stood in front of the freezer in your pajamas, wondering if the ice cream tub at the back is still safe to eat, you need to read on!

how long does ice cream last

Can Ice Cream Go Bad? The Harsh Reality!

We know! How we wish ice cream can last forever, but unfortunately, ice cream can go bad despite being stored at freezing temperatures. Lots of food can actually last long if they are kept unopened and frozen. It’s a shame that ice cream didn’t make the list. 

Typically, ice cream only has a “best before” date and not a “use by” date. Still, it can quickly go bad if it’s been thawed and refrozen. 

It might also lose its freshness after its best before date. You can safely eat it, but there is no guarantee that it will taste as good.

How Long Does Ice Cream Last?

Ice cream can still be fresh long after its best before date. If you store it unopened in a freezer at 0°F, it can last up to three months past its indicated date. Once it’s opened, you should finish it in two or three weeks. 

Here are some variations of our favorite ice cream dessert and how long do they last when kept frozen:

Ice Cream Cake

Ice cream cake has a shorter lifespan and will only be good to eat for about a week. The same timeframe applies if you’re making your own. 


If you decide to freeze milkshakes, you should do this for no longer than 2 months. The ice cream in it might start to form crystals around the 1-month mark. Whereafter, it gets risky to consume. 

It is not recommended to make large quantities of milkshakes, only to to freeze it a long time after. This is because once the milkshake is thawed, you should consume the whole batch to ensure its quality. 

Ice Cream Sandwiches

When stored properly, ice cream sandwiches and bars can still taste their best after 3 months of freezing. After this, the ice cream can go bad.

How Can You Tell If Ice Cream Has Expired?

It’s easy to tell if ice cream has expired just by simply looking at it. The most common sign is tiny ice splinters on top of the ice cream and inside its container. 

When these first appear, you can still scrap them away and eat the remaining ice cream, but you should discard it once the ice cream has reached a gooey or icy texture. 

Can You Eat Expired Ice Cream?

You can safely eat ice cream after its best before date has lapsed if it hasn’t been opened yet.

Ice cream usually goes bad because it thaws a bit every time you take it out of the freezer. Once it melts and gets refrozen, there’s already a risk for bacteria growth. 

If you’ve never opened the container before, the ice cream can still be good to eat up to three months past its best before date. It might just taste a little off by this time since some of the flavor might already be lost.

The Risks of Eating Expired Ice Cream

If you eat ice cream after it has gone bad, you’re at risk of getting food-borne illnesses. Symptoms of these include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Vomiting

The most common bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses from spoiled ice cream are Salmonella, Listeria, and E-coli.

To avoid this, it’s best to not eat ice cream when you suspect that it’s off, even when it’s still in its use by period. 

Things to Do With Melted Ice Cream

Since ice cream can go bad much quicker when refrozen after it has started to melt, it’s best if you make something else rather than refreezing it.

If you’re not sure what ice cream recipes you can make for your family and friends, here are some easy-to-make ideas you can try:

Vanilla Sauce

Making vanilla sauce from melted ice cream is the easiest thing you’ll ever do. You can either use the cold, melted ice cream as is and simply whisk in some extra vanilla flavoring to taste, or heat the mixture up for a warm sauce. This sauce tastes fantastic over pound cakes and bread pudding!

Ice Cream Mug Cake

A simple way to get rid of melted ice cream is using it in an instant cake! The simplicity of this two-ingredient ice cream mug cake will blow your mind:


  • 1 cup melted ice cream
  • ½ cup self-raising flour


  1. Combine the ice cream and flour well in a microwaveable cup.
  2. Depending on your microwaves’ strength, cook it on medium-high for 3 ½ minutes.
  3. If the cake puffs over the mug and a fork come out clean from the center, it’s ready to eat!

You can serve your ice cream mug cake with an extra scoop of ice cream, more melted ice cream dripped over, or any other sauce and toppings you like. 

Ice Cream French Toast

If you have some melted ice cream on hand, you can create this breakfast classic without the eggs! Vanilla, caramel, and even chocolate ice cream make a great egg substitute for the classic French toast.

To make this, just simply dip your bread in the ice cream before fryingit’s as easy as that!

You can also enhance the ice cream flavor by serving your french toast with strawberries, blueberries, or a vanilla or chocolate sauce as toppings. Yum!

ice cream french toast

Ice Cream Fudge

This ice cream fudge recipe requires only two ingredients, and we swear, it’s dangerously delicious!

If you have 1 – 2 cups of melted ice cream, mix it with 24 ounces of melted chocolate chips. After pouring the mixture into a greased pan, all that’s left to do is let it set. You can leave it at room temperature for four hours or in the freezer for at least one. 

Once the fudge has set, it can last approximately two weeks in an airtight container at room temperature, but it’s still best to store it in the fridge.

ice cream fudge

Can’t decide which home ice cream maker you should buy? Check out our latest comparison of the Cuisinart ICE-21 vs ICE-30 Ice Cream Makers! 

The Last Bit

Melted ice cream doesn’t always equal a mess. You can try recreating many ice cream recipes besides refreezing and risking bacterial growth eventually. Every time it thaws and refreezes, the ice cream can go bad.  

It’s always best to know how long does ice cream last so you may avoid eating it after it has spoiled and prevent any risk of getting sick.