When you want ice cream, you want it now. There’s no waiting for the carton to thaw a little, or for the chocolate shell topping to harden. You want to dig in and start enjoying that creamy deliciousness as soon as possible. That’s why it can be so disheartening to discover that your tried-and-true ice cream scooper has kicked the dust. Or, even worse, you may find that you can’t find yours anywhere!
While we aren’t above grabbing a tablespoon and taking matters into your own hands, it pays to be prepared with the right kitchen utensils. Today, we’re sharing the ultimate guide on how to find the best ice cream scoop sets, so you never have to go without your favorite treat.
What Is an Ice Cream Scoop Set?
As its name implies, an ice cream scoop set is simply a set of different ice cream scoops! Usually, these consist of individually small, medium, and large scoops that are ideal for a variety of applications.
While most are round in shape, others take on more of a spade-like appearance. Spade-shaped scoopers are great for removing ice cream from the sides of a container. In addition, they’re also perfect for smooth surfaces, such as applying icing or whipped cream to a chilled dessert.
Why Do You Need an Ice Cream Scoop Set?
It’s no secret that you could fill your kitchen drawer with a plethora of different gadgets and appliances. Especially if your shelf or counter space is at a premium, you may wonder if you need an ice cream scoop set. The answer is “yes” but not just for the obvious reasons. This utensil is surprisingly versatile and can pull double or even triple duty in the heart of your home.
First, an ice cream scoop is ideal for moving ice cream from the carton to your bowl. This special spoon is strategically designed to form the ice cream into a smooth, semi-rounded ball shape. This helps it fit neatly into a cone or dish, so you can add as many layers as you want!
While you may already know about this usage, consider all of the other ways that you can use an ice cream scoop set. With the right one, you can:
- Portion batter out for muffins or cupcakes
- Portion batter for pancakes
- Scoop out raw cookie dough
- Form perfect meatballs
- Form melon balls
- Apply icing to cupcakes
- Festively display butter and cream cheese
This tool is also handy outside of the kitchen! When you find a great ice cream scoop, go ahead and buy two. Then, leave one in the garage or shed for potting plants. It’s ideal for transferring potting soil into a planter without creating a huge mess. You can also use it to scoop out flower seeds to make sure they’re all planted at the same depth.
One more unexpected way to use an ice cream scoop? Stash one in your beach bag! It’s a great addition to your plastic buckets and shovels and makes sand play that much more fun. Kids can learn hand/eye coordination and improve their dexterity as they create fun new shapes by the shore. For a more in-depth guide on all of the fun and unique ways, you can use an ice cream scoop, check out this post.
How to Find the Best Ice Cream Scoop Sets: Features to Look For
When you start shopping for the best ice cream scoop sets, you may be surprised to find that there are quite a few different kinds on the market. It can be a little confusing to sort through the various options, so it pays to know which features you want to prioritize.
Below, we’ve created a helpful list of some of the top qualities that the best-performing scoops usually share.
Stainless Steel vs Plastic
First, take a look at the scoop’s primary material. Is it stainless steel or plastic? Food-grade stainless steel or heavy-grade aluminum are your best bets, as they do the best job of keeping the ice cream frozen. Plus, these materials will not rust or corrode when washed in the dishwasher. The entire scooper does not need to be made of steel, but the actual scoop mechanism should be.
While plastic scoopers are lightweight and usually less expensive, they’re nowhere near as durable. Not only will they immediately begin thawing the ice cream as soon as you use them, but most also come with specific washing instructions that make maintenance a little more challenging. For instance, you may only be able to hand wash yours or place it on the top rack of your dishwasher.
Over time, plastic scoops can also bend, deform, or even break altogether. Their coating can also flake off.
Though you might pay a little more for a stainless steel scooper, this is one investment that will deliver an impressive return for years to come. A solid one can last you a lifetime of birthday parties, midnight snacks, and after-school treats!
Ergonomic Handle Design
If you’re just scooping ice cream or making muffins for your family, then you might not think too much about the handle of your scooper. However, this will become a much bigger issue if you’re serving a crowd! The intricacy of the scoop motion can quickly tire out your fingers and wrist.
That’s why it’s important to consider the design of the handle you purchase, especially if you enjoy throwing large get-togethers. While the scoop part of your appliance should be stainless steel if possible, most plastic handles are designed to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. It’s also worth checking to see if the handle is designed for both right-handed and left-handed users.
You can also find higher-end models with cushioned grips for extra relief. These are great at protecting your hands from stress, and can also keep them from getting too cold!
When your grandmother was scooping ice cream, it’s unlikely that she had the luxury of a trigger mechanism that would easily pop the sweet cream out with one motion. Instead, she may have grabbed an extra spoon or used the back of a second scooper to release it into the bowl.
Now, most modern ice cream scoop sets come equipped with squeezable triggers that take the legwork out of the chore. These models are usually called “portion scoops” or “dishers”. When you squeeze the trigger on the handle, it moves a thin piece of metal in the scoop. This pushes the ice cream out in a uniform shape, allowing it to slide easily into your bowl.
While this can be a great feature, keep in mind that quality and durability matter. Some lower-end portion scoops will require multiple squeezes to release the material, which can stress your hand and damage the shape of the ice cream. They can also wedge against the frozen treat and get off track. As such, these are better suited for portioning out softer materials, such as pancake batter or cookie dough.
Before making a purchase, take a close look at the specific diameters of each scoop offered in the set you’re eyeing. Most manufacturers will list these dimensions in their item descriptions, along with the volume that each scoop can hold.
For instance, a small scoop will usually have a diameter of fewer than 1.5 inches, while a medium one is around two inches. Large ones can be 2.5 inches or greater. Volume-wise, look at the number of ounces that can fit into each scoop. Most standard sets will feature the following dimensions:
- Small: 1.58 inches, 0.75 ounces, 1.46 tablespoons
- Middle: 1.97 inches, 1.33 ounces, 2.6 tablespoons
- Large: 2.48 inches, 2.67 ounces, 5.2 tablespoons
Think about the different ways that you plan to use your scoop set. If you see yourself reaching for it when it’s time to ice breakfast muffins or pour Saturday morning pancakes, then you’ll need a set that includes one large enough for those tasks. On the other hand, if you need an extra set for a smaller-scale job such as melon balling or decorative butter displays, then smaller scoops may fit the bill.
When examining the scoop itself, look for sharp but rounded edges that will cut through ice cream with ease.
While it’s not a feature offered in every scoop set, check to see if the one you’re considering includes any type of internal defrosting fluid. Many spade-shaped scoopers will boast this feature, which helps to soften the ice cream as you maneuver it.
Usually advertised as “anti-freeze” scoopers, these are great at preventing stubborn ice cream from clinging to the inside of your scoop. Not only does this affect the shape of the ball that forms, but it can also create a sticky, unwelcome mess.
When you use these scoopers, the liquid becomes activated by the heat in your hand. Then, that same heat travels to the main part of the scoop, where it helps you create beautiful spheres of ice cream with minimal effort.
Handle Color and Pattern
This is more of an aesthetic consideration, but take a look at the colors and patterns available on the scooper handles. If you plan to display your collection in your kitchen, then look for ones that will coordinate with the colors you’ve already incorporated into the space. While they don’t have to match perfectly, it can be visually appealing to choose tones that complement one another, such as blue and orange.
You can even find ones decked out in fun patterns, such as farmhouse-inspired red and white plaid or retro florals. While these designs will not affect the performance of the scoop set, they can make them more fun to use. They also look great at parties.
Maintenance and Clean-Up
When the party is over and the guests have all gone home, you don’t want to be stuck hand-washing sticky, hardened ice cream out of a finicky scoop. For that reason, read the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions before making a purchase.
The best sets are those that you can throw in the dishwasher and feel confident that they’ll come out sparkling.
3 Top Options for Ice Cream Scoop Sets
Below, we’re sharing three of our top picks for ice cream scoop sets. You can easily find all of these on Amazon, which means you should start planning your next backyard ice cream social as soon as possible! Use the features above to create a shortlist of the qualities that you want in your next set, and compare them against the options we’re providing.
Like the Apexstone set, the Tuilful Ice Cream Scoop Set also includes three scoops in a small, middle, and large size. The diameter and volume dimensions are similar to a standard size, but with a few variations as follows:
- Small: 1.5 inches, 0.8 ounces, 1.2 tablespoons
- Middle: 1.9 inches, 1.4 ounces, 2.6 tablespoons
- Large: 2.3 inches, 2.4 ounces, 4 tablespoons
These scoopers are made of 18/8 stainless steel that won’t pit or rust, even with frequent dishwasher use. Each one features steel, trigger-release mechanism with a 2-millimeter diameter spring.
One of the perks of shopping for this brand is that you can choose to buy the whole set, or just the medium scooper if that’s all that you need! This can help you save room in the kitchen.
In recent years, the CHEE MONG Amazon storefront has become synonymous with high-end kitchen gear. From silicone popsicle molds to lemon squeezers, this brand offers it all. The CHEE MONG Ice Cream Scoop Set is a welcome addition, and sure to become a new household favorite.
Also made of 18/8 stainless steel, the small, middle, and large scoops in this set follow standard dimensions. Each scoop features a bright and colorful plastic handle that will not slip. The small handle is purple, the middle handle is red, and the large handle is green. The manufacturer recommends submerging your scooper in hot water for two minutes before using it to make serving and cleanup a cinch.
We wanted to include at least one set of ice cream scoopers on this list that didn’t include a trigger-release design. The AOMGD Ice Cream Scoop Set features three different scoops, all made of one, continuous piece of metal. This means there isn’t a separate plastic handle or any other component.
Instead of three differently-sized scoopers, this set includes pieces that are designed around the same dimensions. The handle is five inches long, while the spoon ball is two inches long and 1.8 inches across. In all, each scooper is seven inches long.
Comprised of top-grade aluminum, these scoopers also feature an anti-freeze and non-stick coating to help ice cream easily release and keep you comfortable while serving. While this does improve its durability and ease of use, it means that you’ll need to hand-wash the set. However, this task is easy without any extra compartments or mechanisms to clean around.
Other key features to note include a cylindrical comfort handle, as well as the collection’s tricolor color scheme. The full set includes one silver scooper, one black scooper, and one gray scooper.
Stay Cool With These Ice Cream Scoop Sets
Every well-stocked kitchen needs a great ice cream scoop. Beyond the delectable frozen stuff, this gadget is also great at maneuvering all kinds of foods and snacks, from breakfast treats to dinner meatballs.
Now that you know how to find the best ice cream scoop sets, you’re ready to buy one that fits your lifestyle and your needs. As you browse your options, be sure to understand what’s included and how each scoop works. Once find the right ones, there’s no limit to what you can bake, make, and create at home!
For more helpful cookware and serve ware buying advice, feel free to check out more of our informative guides.