10 Genius Ice Cream Hacks That Will Make Your Summer

From Coke floats to sandwich pops, these ice cream hacks are total game-changers.

From New Orleans' snowballs to Florida's frozen key lime pie slices, almost every Southern destination has its own signature frozen treat. But nothing quite hits the spot like a good, old-fashioned scoop of ice cream. No summer is complete without at least a couple of trips to the ice cream shop; most Southern towns have their own local favorites (or grocery stores stocked with Blue Bell, which might be just as good).

Here are a few tips and tricks to upgrade a traditional scoop. Get ready for the best summer yet: These ice cream hacks are about to change the game.

Buttermilk-Plum Ice Cream

Alison Miksch

Make Ice Cream Sandwiches

Sure, ice cream is great, but ice cream sandwiched between two cookies? Now that's what we're talking about. Don't fuss around with scoops—we have an easier technique to make picture-perfect ice cream sandwiches.

Run a serrated knife under hot tap water, then use it to slice horizontally into a pint. Make four slices, and then place each slice on a cookie. If that's not easy enough, try using a cookie cutter to perfectly portion the ice cream on each cookie. Get our complete recipe for Buckeye Ice Cream Sandwiches here or, if you're looking for something extra-unique, try our Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Scoop Like A Pro

Have you always wanted to achieve those picture-perfect ice cream scoops? With this simple hack, your scoops will be looking clean and beautiful. First, start off with the right equipment. A Zeroll Aluminum Scoop is the pick of one of our favorite ice cream parlors in the South—Leopold's Ice Cream in Savannah, Georgia. Luckily, you can shop this scoop online or you can order an engraved scoop right from Leopold's.

Now here's the trick that will seriously revolutionize your ice cream game. Simply run your scooper under hot tap water before scooping—this helps to create the cleanest scoop and soften ice cream that may have been sitting in the freezer for a little too long. To really finish it off, after you put your scoop in the bowl, run the scooper under hot water again and hold it against the top of the ice cream scoop for a few seconds, then release.

Pro tip: If you're hosting an ice cream social for a large group of people, try pre-scooping ice cream on a sheet pan and storing it in the freezer until the event. This easy trick will save your guests time and effort on the day of the party.

Make Your Own Ice Cream Pops

A summertime birthday is cause for celebration, and there's no better way to enjoy the weather than with a cool ice cream pop. Ice cream pops require slightly more temperature control than a regular scoop or milkshake, but the reward is oh-so-sweet. Make your own ice cream pops out of store-bought ice cream sandwiches. Simply cut the sandwiches in half vertically and insert a popsicle stick inside of either half of the sandwich. Then be sure to dip the ice cream in rainbow sprinkles for a super festive finish.

Make It A Coke Float

Forget milkshakes: A Coke float is the vintage frozen beverage that you need in your life. This drink has an extra-milky, slightly-tangy quality that will keep you coming back for more. We suggest adding a few salted peanuts on top for a quintessentially Southern touch. While you're at it, order some extra-wide straws to enjoy your nostalgic beverage in style—no clogged straws here.

Avoid Freezer Burn

To save your ice cream from freezer burn, store it as deep into the freezer as you can get, never in the door. The opening and closing will cause your ice cream to melt and refreeze, which ruins the texture of the ice cream. Another handy hack: Store your pint upside-down.

Plug The Cone

Every Southern grandma keeps a box of sugar cones in the pantry, turning any average scoop of ice cream into a whole experience. Cones can make quite the mess—but not with this handy trick. Drop a mini marshmallow into the bottom of your cone to prevent leakage.

Serve Your Ice Cream In Brownie Cups

One surefire way to upgrade your ice cream? Serve it in a brownie cup. Mix up a batch of brownie batter, portion it into a muffin tin, and bake as directed. After pulling the brownie cups out of the oven—before they cool completely—use the back of an ice cream scoop to make an indent in the center of each brownie cup. This will provide a spot for ice cream.

Salt Your Ice Cream

This one might sound out of the box, but hear us out. You already know about salting your watermelon. Why not salt your ice cream, too? Topping your scoop with just a pinch of sea salt brings out all the complex flavors of the ice cream, while also tempering any cloying sweetness. Be sure to use high-quality salt, like Maldon flaky salt. We're all about this sweet-and-savory combo—you can even take it a step further and make your own Sea Salt Ice Cream.

Make Your Own Magic Shell

If your childhood ice cream parlor specialized in soft-serve, you likely remember getting your cone dipped in chocolate, cherry, or peanut butter magic shell. Watching the surface harden in seconds right before your eyes is a magical experience—and one that you can recreate at home. The secret ingredient to help your magic shell harden instantly is coconut oil, which also gives the chocolate a glossy sheen. To make your own magic shell, melt 1 cup of dark chocolate with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Let it cool slightly before coating your scoop.

Go For Homemade—No Equipment Required

We're calling it now: Making homemade ice cream will be the activity of the summer. And with this handy hack, whipping up a batch of ice cream is easier than ever—no fancy equipment required. All you need to make your very own ice cream is a Ziploc bag, rock salt, and some elbow grease. Find our recipe and technique for Strawberry Ice Cream in a Bag here.

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