If you’re in the market for a new ice cream scoop then check out this guide. It’s jam packed with scoop reviews, how-tos and more.
Serious ice cream eaters, like me, need the right tools for the job. Scooping ice cream can be an arduous task and using a dessert spoon makes it that much harder. What you really need in a quality ice cream scoop. This ice cream scoop guide will give you everything you need to know when it comes to the art of scooping ice cream.
Who is this guide for?
If ice cream is a part of your life then this guide is well worth the read. From at-home ice cream lovers through to ice cream business owners, the difference between a good and bad scoop can be wasted time, money and a lot of frustration. So grab a bowl of your favourite ice cream, get comfy and enjoy this article.
Fast Fact: Alfred L. Cralle from Virginia invented the scoop in 1897. He was an inventor and businessman in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Why use an ice cream scoop?
You have a normal dessert spoon, what’s wrong with that? Well, there are a few reasons why you should choose an ice cream scoop over any other tool:
- You won’t end up with a bent spoon if you scoop hard ice cream.
- A scoop will produce a much nicer to look at, rounder ball of ice cream.
- Some scoops have handy release mechanisms so that your dessert falls effortlessly into the bowl.
Types of ice cream scoops
There are a range of scoops on the market – some much better than others. The problem with some scoops is they suffer from over design. A good scoop should:
- have a sharp edge for easily cutting into harded ice cream.
- have a well shaped, round head to create a perfect circle of ice cream.
- be comfortable, especially if it’s for a business where its being used all day.
- be easy to clean.
#1 The Dipper
Let’s start with my favourite ice cream scoop, the dipper. It looks unassuming; the plain looking cousin of the fancy mechanical release scoop. But looks can be deceiving. This scoop should be renamed “the beast” cause there’s nothing it can’t handle. It makes easy work of even the nastiest, iciest homemade ice cream!
What’s good about the dipper?
- This scoop is light and super comfortable to hold
- It’s uber sturdy and won’t break on you when you need it most
- Easy to clean
- Creates perfect round balls of ice cream
#2 Melon baller
Not strictly an ice cream scoop, but very handy for impressing your dinner guests. With this baller you can scoop very small balls of ice cream and easily pop them on the dessert plate using the release mechanism. These work well with another larger scoop so that you have various sized ice cream balls.
#3 Mechanical release scoop
This ice cream scoop is a beautiful looking piece of equipment. The one I have is from New Zealand and has a retro look to it. The biggest benefit of this tool is the release scoop. For many plain ice creams like vanilla or chocolate you can get by without it; however, for a super sticky type of ice cream it is really useful for getting the ice cream onto your cone or plate (without the use of fingers).
If I was going to find fault with this type of scoop, it’s that it isn’t as robust as the dipper. Make sure the ice cream is the right texture (not too hard) before scooping.
What’s good about the mechanical release scoop?
- It looks pretty cool on the table
- It has a large scoop head for dishing up massive serves of ice cream
- The release mechanism allows you to release even the stickiest of ice creams easily. There’s no need to use your fingers to get it onto the plate.
Trigger Ice Cream Scoop
Similar to the mechanical release, this scoop offers another method for easily releasing the ice cream onto the cone. I have found these scoops are less prone to breakage than the mechanical release.
What’s good about the trigger scoop?
- The release mechanism allows you to release ice creams easily.
- A robust scoop that will stand the test of time.
These come in a variety of shapes but basically serve the same purpose. They are designed for commercial gelato shops and allow the scooper to sculpt the ice cream on a cone rather than scooping a round ball. For all you domestic scoopers this isn’t the right tool for you. It is meant for large commercial trays of gelato, not a 1L tub.
A few ice cream scoops in action
How to save some money
Ice cream scoops can be expensive and I understand why some shy away from buying one. After all, a dessert spoon while not perfect, does an ok job. If you love a bargain then forget the retail stores and take a trip down to your local Op Shop. These places are the final resting spot for a fantastic range of scoops, usually for just $1.
Want a scoop with a little pizazz? Visit some local antique stores – here you can discover some really cool scoops from 50 or more years ago. The fact they’re so old is usually testament to the fact they won’t break easily! You can also search online for antique sites as shipping is cheap for something this small.
Basic ice cream scooping techniques
I’d like to cover a few different techniques which are commonly used is dessert bars and the more up-market restaurants. But why not use them at home and impress your family and friends with your skills?
Ok, so most people understand the basic scooping action, or do they? You’ll want to scoop in an S Shape through the top of the tub first then along the sides. Many will scoop one massive hole in the centre but that’s a rookie error. Ice cream melts from the outside in so you want to make sure you’re scooping evenly.
Be sure to run the scoop under warm water before and then shaking off any excess water before starting. This will make your job a lot easier.
If you’ve ever watched Masterchef, or pretty much any cooking competition show, you’ll have seen a quenelle. It’s a lovely way to add some class to presenting your ice cream on the plate. This takes a little practice but once you have the technique sorted, it will really improve your dessert plating. It’s important that your ice cream has the right consistency, otherwise you’re going to struggle. It can’t be too hard, but if the ice cream gets soft and sludgy it won’t hold its shape on the plate.
You’re going to need to choose two spoons which are the same size and, basically, pass the ice cream from one spoon to the next until it creates an oval shape with three curving sides. Check out the video for a demonstration.
A rocher is a similar technique to a quenelle only it uses one spoon and creates a smoother, egg-shaped mound of ice cream. In theory, it’s a simple technique, but don’t be fooled. Creating a rocher is harder than it looks and getting it all right takes practice. Be sure to dip the spoon in warm water first. It needs to be warm, but not too warm as it will melt the ice cream. The ice cream should be like slightly firm butter in texture.
Dip the spoon vertically into the ice cream tub, scoop to the right then scoop back to the left to create your rocher. You can use this technique on other foods too like mashed potato. It’s best to watch the video to work out the technique.
Best Ice Cream Brands
This is where you’ll find my reviews of the biggest brand ice cream scoops on the market. It’s a little bare at the moment but I’ll be adding more over the next few weeks so stay tuned!
Zyliss Ice Cream Scoop
I hope you enjoyed my ice cream scoop guide. It seems like there is a lot of information online that is focused on selling a specific product so I hope this provides a more unbiased piece of content. Ice cream scoops can be quite expensive so take a few minutes to work out what you want need. If you’re just going to be at home, scooping mostly economy ice cream from a tub then I think it’s hard to beat the dipper for it’s durability and awesome looking perfect circles of ice cream.
I’m going to revisit this page occasionally to keep it fresh and up to date with the latest information. If you think something should be added please let me know by going to my contact page and sending a message or reach out to one of my social media pages.
Disclosure: Nathan Teague is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com