Don't underestimate the power of a good ice cream scoop. Sure, it might not carry the same weight as a chef's knife or spatula in everyday cooking, but it has the ability to elevate your most treasured kitchen experiences (yes, I'm talking about dessert).
A good, high quality scoop can mean the difference between quickly and easily gliding through a fresh (or freezer-burned) pint, and straining your hand muscles trying to get something merely resembling a round scoop. Luckily, we did all that heavy lifting for you, testing 10 of the most popular ice cream scoops to see which one came out on top.
After hours of scooping (and snacking), we can proudly recommend the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop(available at Amazon for $15.95) as our top pick for its unmatched performance, and the Zeroll 1020 Original (available at Amazon) as a best upgrade pick for a slightly pricier option that's reminiscent of classic ice cream parlors.
Here are the best ice cream scoops we tested, ranked in order:
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop
Zeroll 1020 Original
Spring Chef Ice Cream Scoop with Soft Handle
Sumo Ice Cream Scoop
YasTant Ice Cream Scoop
Balci Ice Cream Scoop
Gorilla Grip Original Ice Cream Scooper
Farberware Professional Ice Cream Scoop
KitchenAid Gourmet Ice Cream Scoop
OXO Good Grips Classic Swipe Ice Cream Scoop
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop
This eight-ounce, sturdy scoop from OXO excelled at virtually every test we threw at it. It has a slightly weighted feel that translates into smooth scooping abilities, and its curved stainless steel head resulted in consistently round scoops that impressed us every time.
It required very little effort to glide right through even solid, straight-from-the-freezer ice cream—including old, freezer-burned pints. Plus, its comfortable non-slip handle meant it felt comfortable, was easy to hold, and never slipped out of my hands during testing (even during wet-hand tests).
This scoop is also made with high-quality, solid stainless steel material, so you can toss it right into the dishwasher after use without worrying about chipping or discoloration. If you're looking for a solid scoop choice that can evenly scoop anything from sorbet to cookie dough—and will probably last you in the long run—this is a safe bet.
The Zeroll is an upscale, designer option in this product category. It's been around since the 1930s, used by ice cream makers and food experts everywhere for its one-of-a-kind design. There's a heat-conductive liquid in the handle that moves heat from your hand to the scoop's head, resulting in even the hardest of pints being cut through like butter.
And in each of our tests, it didn't disappoint, producing some of the most round, uniform scoops we'd seen with minimal effort. We also rarely had an issue with the ice cream getting stuck to the scoop when it came time to dispense.
There are a few downsides that kicked this scoop from the Best Overall slot, though. First, it was the only scoop we tested that's not dishwasher-safe—and thanks to its unique design, hand washing this scoop with hot water means the entire thing gets pretty hot to the touch. And while we only used this scoop for a matter of weeks, it was hard to ignore that some Amazon reviewers reported discoloration after longtime use. (In some cases, it bled onto their hands, and even worse, the ice cream itself.)
Hi, I'm Monica, Reviewed's kitchen staff writer, and a big ice cream fan. Whether it's in the form of gelato, sorbet, or dairy-free alternatives—I haven't met an ice cream variety I didn't like.
Usually, my ice cream eating routine involves an intimate experience between myself, a spoon, and a pint. But there are definitely occasions—when hosting, usually—that call for having a good scoop on deck. And nothing is more pleasing to me than filling up a bowl or cone with perfectly round, spherical scoops that make the ice cream experience even better.
I performed a few different tests over the course of several days to really get a feel for each one of these scoops. First, I dug each of them into a fresh pint straight out of the freezer, placing each scoop into a bowl to see how easy they came off of the scoop. I then eyeball-measured scoop sizes and shapes that were released to see how they compared to each other.
I followed the same protocol with sorbet, cookie dough, and some freezer-burned ice cream I had sitting in the back of my fridge. Finally, I used each scoop at the bottom corners of the pints to see how well they worked in getting every last inch of ice cream without letting any go to waste.
While conducting these tests, I also took into consideration how the handles of each scoop felt after long use, whether they got cold while scooping, and whether they worked just as well if my hand was wet during use. Once I finished scooping, I washed them all according to package instructions to see whether any discoloration or chipping occurred after a few washes.
What You Should Know About Buying Ice Cream Scoops
Lever Or No Lever?
There are a lot of variables to consider including size, material, price, and whether or not it has a lever. In our experience, that decision really depends on which scoop we're talking about.
In some cases, the inclusion of a lever can take a scoop from good to great, aiding the dispensing process and assuring that scoops get dropped in the optimal shape without getting broken along the way. It's especially useful when working with something like cookie dough, which is prone to stick to a scoop even more than ice cream.
But these benefits are only true if a lever is made well and actually does assist in the scooping process. During testing, we noticed certain levers getting stuck often as we pressed them, which had me believe they might have been better without that added feature.
We recommend looking into the mechanism behind the lever in a scoop. Those with a spring incorporated tend to be more user-friendly than those without, which require you to manually move the lever back and forth, and oftentimes get stuck. On the other hand, opting for a lever-less scoop with an appropriately curved head means you might not even need a lever to get your balls of ice cream easily dispensed.
What's The Best Temperature To Scoop Ice Cream?
We know it can feel impossible to wait for that instant satisfaction when your ice cream craving hits, but experts say you shouldn't try to scoop immediately after pulling a pint out of the freezer.
That's because most freezers are set around 0°F, and ice cream's high butterfat content makes it way too hard to scoop at that temperature. (Even our top scoop picks took some elbow grease to scoop at this temp.) Plus, flavor is also impacted based on temperature; that mocha chip and cookie dough just won't taste the same when they're still fully frozen.
It's recommended that you let your pint get up to between five and 10 degrees Fahrenheit before you start the scooping process (or whenever you notice it's starting to soften when you touch it). To make this waiting game even longer, experts also advise letting this temperature come down slowly in the fridge (for about 15 minutes). That's because letting it sit on your countertop means it's more likely to melt unevenly, especially around the edges. Trust us—the results are so worth the wait.
Pro Tips For Scooping
In addition to making sure your pint is at the right temperature for scooping, there are a few other tricks to get the most out of your ice cream experience.
If you're a regular at ice cream shops, it's likely that you've seen some places keep their scoops in a tub of water in between uses. And yes, part of this reason is to clean any residual ice cream off before the next use—but it also helps warm the head to make gliding through tubs easier.
Plus, this trick makes releasing the ice cream much easier, as it's less likely to get stuck on the scoop when transferring to a cup or cone. So it might not be a bad idea to give yours a little rinse beforehand.
When it comes to the actual scooping, try to keep your pint leveled and flat (to avoid future patches of freezer burn). Then, aim to scoop in a clockwise motion around the circle of the pint until a spherical shape of ice cream appears, rather than digging into it like you would a bowl of mac and cheese, for example. It might even be best to twirl the pint as you scoop to make the process less strenuous.
Other Ice Cream Scoops We Tested
Spring Chef Ice Cream Scoop with Soft Handle
This highly rated scoop is popular on sites like Amazon for its heavy-duty composition, comfortable rubber ergonomic handle, and a uniquely curved head that glides easily into even fully frozen ice cream. If you're looking for a scoop that gets the job done—and don't care about things like consistently round, pretty-looking scoops—this could be the tool for you.
Scooping all kinds of ice cream and sorbet was easy with the Spring Chef, but the resulting scoops were less like scoops and more like pieces, in that they didn't have any specific form. Consequently, this scoop also isn't great for scooping things like cookie dough, since you won't end up getting traditionally shaped cookies out of it either. That said, its unique shape makes it ideal for getting stubborn remnants out of pint corners.
If you're looking for a scoop that'll bring some color to your summer gatherings, look no further than the Sumo.
This UK-born product comes in five vibrant colors and has a pointed tip made of stainless steel that's built to dig right into your pint, regardless of how frozen it is. And, in that respect, it delivered: The uniquely shaped head made it easy to dig into even our freezer-burned pints, and the BPA-free rubber handle made the whole process comfortable. But getting the scoops dispensed from the handle was a different story; we found the ice cream got stuck frequently.
Also, while the pointed head made digging into pints easy, it made getting round scoops a lot almost impossible. If scoop shapes aren't on your priority list, though, this is a solid scoop choice.
When you first pick up the YasTant scoop, you might be surprised by its lightweight, extra thin build. Especially in comparison to some of the others on this list, a 3-ounce scoop could feel measly (and it was, in fact, lighter than the others…by a lot).
But don't let its skimpy first impression turn you away; the YasTant is a workhorse when it comes to scooping anything from sorbet to hard ice cream to thick cookie dough. It has a slightly sharp edge that glides through ice cream easily (without running a risk of nicking your finger). And the lever makes it easy to dispense perfectly round scoops that are reminiscent of a classic ice cream shop experience.
It's also easy to clean, made of stainless steel, and good to toss in the dishwasher after use. It may not last you a lifetime—a few long-term Amazon reviewers claim it snapped or bent after a while, and we noticed some minor rusting around the spring and weld points after only a handful of uses. But if you're looking for a well-performing scoop and aren't fussy about longevity, this is a solid choice.
Similar to the Sumo, the Balci scoop has a chiseled, stainless steel head with a comfy rubber grip that makes tough-to-scoop ice cream easier to tackle. It's also the heaviest scoop of the bunch, weighing in at 8.5 ounces. Because of that—and the fact that it was a bit longer than the other scoops—using this scoop was a clunkier experience, especially for folks who have smaller-than-average hands (ahem, me). I found my hand cramping by the end of my testing for this reason.
That said, if you don't mind a little extra weight in your scoop, this is a great way to dig into hard-to-scoop frozen ice cream and get into those pesky corners. Just keep in mind that your scoops won't be perfectly round.
My first impression of this scoop was how top-heavy it felt compared to the others. While the head is made of high-quality (and heavy) zinc alloy metal, it doesn't run all the way through the handle, which feels like a hard plastic material. The handle was also not as comfortable to hold as its rubber competitors, even though the description says it's an ergonomic handle design. It also felt much more slippery during wet-handed tests.
The shape of the head, however, made it highly capable of producing perfectly round scoops, although this was more difficult with frozen, dense ice cream than it was with something like soft sorbet. It also struggled in our freezer-burned tests.
I had trouble using this scoop for a few reasons. First, I found it way too long to fit in my hand and into a small pint comfortably, and it often felt awkward to use because of its build. The head of the scoop is also an unusual shape, with a flat edge and pointed corner—meant to ease the scooping process when it comes to hard pints and corners. But instead, I found the design difficult to use and almost impossible to create round scoops with.
Instead, most resulting scoops were larger than usual and hollow, with no real uniformity. And, as you might imagine, it was practically useless when it came to scooping cookie dough. One upside to the shape is it performed very well when it came to grabbing leftovers in corners.
This was another scoop I struggled with due to its build. The long, hard plastic handle made it difficult for me to successfully and comfortably scoop ice cream. There was no easy way to get a strong enough grip that made for easy scooping—especially when I tried using it with a damp hand.
It wasn't impossible to get round scoops (with a little extra effort), but typically the scoops were not consistent. Ice cream also frequently got stuck on the handle, which sometimes resulted in semi-formed scoops getting plopped out of their shape.
Scooping into soft cookie dough wasn't as difficult, but the head's shape and stickiness made the scoops uneven and the process inconvenient.
I was surprised to see how poorly this scoop performed, especially considering the fact that its sibling took home the crown on this list. (I also challenged my assumptions that adding a lever to any scoop would make its ease of use even better; I was wrong). The lever on this scoop was difficult to use; it wasn't built with a spring that automatically snaps it back into place. Instead, I had to manually move the lever back and forth with use, and it had a tendency to get stuck.
The build of the scoop itself doesn't exactly make up for the lever's shortcomings. The head didn't feel as sturdy as the other stainless steel ones on this list, and digging into even fresh hard ice cream was a challenge. The strictly circular build of the scoop didn't make it easy to dig into corners or even a fresh pint.
One upside? It performed well with our cookie dough test (as long as you like your cookies on the bigger side).
Monica is Reviewed's senior Kitchen & Cooking staff writer. A graduate of Emerson College, she's had her work published in The Boston Globe, Culture Cheese Magazine, Modern Luxury, and more. In her spare time, you can find her making coffee, flipping through magazines, or falling down a TikTok rabbit hole.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.