How to Freeze Dry Ice Cream? What Does It Taste Like?

How to Freeze Dry Ice Cream

Freeze-dried ice cream is a thing right now. Kids and adults love it because it is light and airy, and it melts once it touches the moth. Moreover, freeze-drying makes even the heaviest and milkiest ice cream light and fluffy, and the fruity ice creams taste even fruitier. So, how do you freeze dry ice cream, and what does it taste like?

The best way to freeze-dry ice cream is using a freeze-drying machine. Placing the ice cream in an air-tight container, then placing the container in a mini cooler, and placing the mini cooler in the freezer, covered with dry ice, could also do the trick. Another way is to put the ice cream on a tray and deep freeze it.

I immediately became a fan of freeze-dried ice cream after trying it. It isn’t that hard or complicated once you get it. Therefore, in the following paragraphs, I will share some useful tips on freezing-dry ice cream at home, how it tastes, and how long it is safe. 

How to Freeze Dry Ice Cream at Home?

Nothing can make freeze-dry ice cream as a freeze-dryer. However, besides using a freeze-drying machine, two other ways have proven almost as effective. 

Freeze drying ice cream using the freezer is a procedure, but it yields almost the same results as using a freeze dryer. 

Freeze drying ice cream sing the deep freezer is more straightforward than using the freezer; in fact, the procedure is the same, but it takes the longest for the process to complete. Nevertheless, it results in well freeze-dried ice cream. 

How to Freeze Dry Ice Cream Using a Freeze Drier? 

If you are freeze-drying popsicles, take them out of the packet and place them on the tray. If you are freeze-drying a block of boxed ice cream, take it out of the box, slice it into a few pieces, and place the pieces on the tray. 

Place the tray into the freeze-drying machine and follow the manual’s instructions. Each brand of freeze-drying machine has its properties and different settings. Therefore there isn’t one unified method of freeze-drying ice cream with a freeze dryer. 

However, the universal recommendation is to turn on the freeze drier and set the temperature at least 30 minutes before putting in the ice cream. Your freeze drier should be empty, and the only thing inside is the ice cream. It usually takes about 30 minutes to freeze dry ice cream, but make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific brand.

Freeze drying ice cream using a freeze dryer is very straightforward, and it brings the best results. 

How to Freeze Dry Ice Cream Using the Freezer? 

Even though the freeze-drying machine gives the best results, you can successfully freeze dry ice cream using the freezer. Although it involves more procedures than a freeze-drying machine, still it isn’t rocket science. 

For this method, you will need a bag of dried ice, a mini cooler, and freezer baggies. 

If you are freeze-drying popsicles, take them out of the packet, and if you are freeze-drying a boxed ice cream, take it out and slice it into a few pieces. Place the popsicles or the ice cream slices in a freezer baggie (one popsicle/ice cream slice per baggie) and place the baggies in a mini cooler. 

Next, place the mini cooler in the freezer and cover it with dry ice. The dry freezing process needs constant temperature, and even the slightest temperature change disrupts the process. Don’t touch the ice cream for at least 48 hours. Also, see that you don’t open and close the freezer during this time. 

How to Freeze Dry Ice Cream Using a Deep Freezer?

This method works similarly to a freeze-drying machine, but it takes significantly longer for the freeze-drying to be completed. Like with the previous two methods, here, too, take the ice cream popsicles out of the packet or the boxed ice cream block.

You will need a tray and parchment paper. 

You can freeze dry ice cream popsicles whole, but it is better to cut them in half. This dry freezing method works with smaller pieces of food. The same goes for the boxed ice cream; cutting it into smaller pieces works better. 

The next step is to place the ice cream pieces on a tray. Cover the tray with parchment paper, and make sure that there’s space between them. Don’t stick them together. 

Place the trays into the deep freezer, preferably at the bottom, and wait for at least 72 hours. You shouldn’t open the deep freezer during this time because each temperature change will disrupt the dry freezing process. 

How to Freeze Dry Ice Cream?

How to Freeze Dry Ice Cream Sandwiches?

Freeze-drying ice cream sandwiches are the same as freeze-drying regular ice cream. However, you need to cut them into at least three pieces to make sure they will freeze-dry properly. 

If you are using a freeze-drying machine, follow the instructions, but it usually doesn’t take more than 30 minutes. However, the precise time and manner are different for each brand and type of dry freezer, so there isn’t one unified. 

After you place the ice cream sandwiches in the baggies, transfer the baggies into a mini cooler and place the mini cooler in the freezer. Cover the mini cooler with dry ice and leave it there for at least 48 hours. If you use the freezer, don’t place more than two pieces into the freezer baggies, as they will stick together and won’t freeze-dry as they should. 

Make sure you don’t disrupt the process by opening and closing the freezer. 

If you use the deep freezer, leave space between the ice cream sandwich pieces, and cover the tray with parchment paper. Place the tray at the bottom of the deep freezer, if possible, and leave it there for at least 78 hours. 

Don’t open and close the freezer during this time so that you don’t cause temperature changes. 

Freeze drying regular ice cream, and freeze-drying ice cream sandwiches are more or less the same. The only difference is that you need to cut the ice cream sandwiches into smaller pieces than regular ice cream pieces. Whereas popsicle ice cream can be placed intact in the freezer and halved in the deep freezer, you must cut ice cream sandwiches into at least three pieces. 

Faux Freeze-Dried Ice Cream

You can dehydrate ice cream, but it isn’t as good and as effective as freeze-drying it. Moreover, you have to make the mixture and not dehydrate a ready-made ice cream. 

Whip two egg whites to make meringue and add crème of tartar to the egg mixture. Add sugar to the mixture and other flavors of your preference. Mix further until you reach a shaving cream consistency. 

Scoop the meringue with an ice cream scooper, place the scoops on a parchment-covered tray, and place it in the oven. Set the temperature to low and let it dehydrate for about an hour. 

You can also do this using a dehydrator. Follow the settings for your dehydrator’s brand. 

The result will be dehydrated “ice cream,” but since it is likely to contain fats, the fats won’t melt or evaporate so that it won’t be as dry as freeze-dried. Also, the ice cream flavor won’t be as intensive as when it is freeze-dried because there will still be water molecules inside the meringue.

What Does Freeze-Dried Ice Cream Taste Like?

Taste-wise, freeze-dried ice cream tastes more intensive than non-freeze dried. The freeze-drying process intensifies the taste. Since the water is extracted from the ice cream, there’s nothing to tone down its flavors. 

Therefore, whether your freeze-dried ice cream is chocolate-flavored, vanilla, or strawberries, you can expect a taste bomb.

Freeze-drying is a process that doesn’t freeze the ice cream but removes the water from it. As a result, the composition of the ice cream changes because air pockets are formed where the water used to be. 

Texture-wise, freeze-dried ice cream is fluffier and lighter than its non -freeze-dried counterpart. However, the freeze-drying process makes the ice cream more fragile, melting once you taste it. 

Some even describe freeze-dried ice cream as cotton candy. Since the freeze-drying process creates air bubbles inside the ice cream, it is very light and airy. However, freeze-dried ice cream loses elasticity and is easy to break or blend, making it a perfect addition to another dessert.

Can You Rehydrate Freeze-Dried Ice Cream?

The best thing about freeze-dried ice cream is that you don’t need to rehydrate it, but if you have to, you can place it in water and stir until it is back to its previous state. However, you rehydrate freeze-dried ice cream only if you need to use it as an ingredient in some dessert. 

The whole point of freeze-drying ice cream is to have ice cream as a light, crunchy and tasty snack, so there is no need to rehydrate it and have it as it previously was. 

What Is the Shelf Life of Freeze-Dried Ice Cream?

The shelf life of freeze-dried ice cream is up to three years. The freeze-drying process dehydrates the ice cream, which means there’s no water to trigger a chemical reaction that would make it go bad. Also, freeze-dried ice cream doesn’t melt. 

Freeze-dried ice cream doesn’t require refrigeration in those three years and can be stored safely in your pantry. It is essential to store your freeze-dried ice cream in an air-tight container to prevent contact with the air because it will absorb moisture from its surroundings, making it go bad before its shelf life expires. 

You should also store the freeze-dried ice cream in a dry room, where there’s little to no moisture. The dry ambient air combined with the air-tight container will make sure you have a crunchy ice cream snack for a long time. 

  • Laura is the owner of Julie's Cafe Bakery. She started this blog with her grandma Julie who introduced her to the amazing world of cooking. She likes to experiment with different flavors, and her favorite flavors combo is chicken with coconut milk, curry and peanuts!