When it comes to desserts, nothing says “summer” quite like ice cream. Cold, creamy, and satisfying, the quintessential sweet treat can’t help but conjure memories of childhood. But there’s no need to wait for the nostalgic jangle of an approaching ice cream truck to satisfy your cravings; with all the excellent, artisanal ice cream options available in stores these days, you’ll likely be more satisfied just serving yourself. With that in mind, we asked some of our favorite ice cream experts—Michael Palmer, CEO and owner of McConnell’s, Christina Seid, owner of Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, and Tyler Malek, co-founder of Salt & Straw—to share their go-to ice cream scoop. The overarching pick: Zeroll’s 1020 Original Ice Cream Scoop. Read on to find out why it’s the preferred gadget among pros and to get the scoop on a few other prime options.
Features to Keep in Mind
Solid vs. mechanical vs. heated
The simpler the scoop, the better. Mechanical ice cream scoops often break, while heated scoops are considered a hoax by many insiders. “Even if [heated scoops] did work, they’d just melt ice cream instead of properly scooping it,” says Malek. He also cautions against using a scoop with a pointy tip. “It can lead to major wrist injury when it twists out of control on you.”
Whether the handle is metal or rubber, the most important thing to keep in mind is a tight grip. “Make sure the handle fits nicely in your hand and doesn’t wiggle or twist,” says Malek.
Throwing a party? If you’re going to be scooping a lot, Palmer advises using a solid, single-piece cast aluminum scoop, like the Zeroll.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Zeroll 1020 Original Ice Cream Scoop
There was no debate among our experts over the superiority of this scoop, and with good reason. For starters, it’s been available since 1933, and the patented design featured a conductive fluid in the handle that warms to roll the ice cream, rather than compress it. While there are a lot of more intricate options out there—think: fancy triggers and creative shapes—the Zeroll “provides the perfect ergonomics and a sharp, even blade that cuts through the ice cream,” says Malek. What more could you want?
Best Value: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop
If you’ve got fidgety hands, the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Ice Cream scoop is the scoop for you. It features a pointed tip that easily scoops ice cream and flat edges designed to reach deep into the crevices of any container to collect every last bite. The comfortable, nonstick grip is easy to hold and helps position your hand for a tight grip with minimal effort and strain. Sturdy and heavy, this scoop gives you great leverage.
Best Design: Belle-V Ice Cream Scoop
With its angled head and unique shape, Belle-V’s Ice Cream Scoop is beautiful, durable, and highly functional. Made of hand-polished stainless steel, it has a weighted sculpted handle and spade-shaped leading edge to easily scoop and access tough-to-reach areas. Adds Palmer: “It’s great for showing off your scooping prowess at a post-COVID summer ice cream party.” Your guests are sure to be impressed.
Best Functionality: Midnight Scoop Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop
You can’t put a price on quality, and the Midnight Scoop allows you to utilize your arms and shoulders to ergonomically dig into the ice cream for maximum scoopage. The curved handle is specially designed to plow through ice cream, and the spear-shaped front is capable of piercing rock-hard surfaces. It’s no wonder, then, that this scoop was featured as one of Oprah’s favorite things.
Best Durability: Sur La Table Stainless-Steel Ice Cream Scoop
The Sur La Table Stainless-Steel Ice Cream Scoop is built to last, and frankly, we expect nothing less from the purveyor of luxury cookware. Made of sturdy stainless steel, the scoop comes equipped with a handy spring lever to serve up optimum-sized, picture-perfect portions every single time. It works wonders for ice cream, but can also be used for cookie dough, muffins, and meatballs. The possibilities are endless.
Ask the Experts
Why did my ice cream scoop turn black?
According to Palmer, this can happen when an aluminum scoop gets oxidized. “It’s just a superficial tarnish,” he says. “Take a clean dish towel with some vinegar or Bar Keepers Friend and your trusty scoop will look brand new in no time.” Malek assures us that the discoloration is totally common. “If anything, it proves that you’ve got some ice cream street cred,” he says.
What’s the best way to clean an ice cream scoop?
Because most scoops are either cast in aluminum or stainless steel, Malek recommends steering clear of the dishwasher. “I always hand-wash my scoops to ensure they’re not damaged and keep a nice long life,” he says. Both Seid and Palmer suggest cleaning with water and mild dish soap.
Every product is independently selected and vetted by editors. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.