How Long Does Unopened Ice Cream Last?


Blue Arrow
Blue Arrow
8-12 months (best quality)


Shelf Life Tips

  • How long does unopened ice cream last? The precise answer to that question depends to a large extent on storage conditions - keep ice cream frozen at all times.
  • How long does unopened ice cream last in the freezer? Unopened ice cream that has been kept constantly frozen at 0°F will maintain best quality for about 8 to 12 months in the freezer.
  • Is unopened ice cream safe to eat after the "expiration" date on the package? Yes, if properly stored - commercially packaged ice cream will typically carry a "Best By," "Best if Used By," Best Before, or "Best When Used By" date but this is not a safety date, it is the manufacturer's estimate of how long the ice cream will remain at peak quality.
  • How long will unopened ice cream remain safe to eat? Unopened ice cream that has been kept constantly frozen at 0°F will keep safe indefinitely, as long as it has been stored properly and the package is not damaged.
  • Storage time shown is for best quality only - after that, the unopened ice cream’s texture, color or flavor may change, but in most cases, it will still be safe to consume if it has been stored properly, the package is undamaged, and it has not been allowed to thaw out completely (see below).
  • How long does unopened ice cream last at room temperature? Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F; unopened ice cream should be discarded if left for more than 2 hours at room temperature.
  • Can you re-freeze ice cream that has melted or thawed out? If unopened ice cream thaws completely, discard it - do not refreeze, as harmful bacteria may develop.
  • How to tell if ice cream is bad? Ice cream that has been stored too long will typically develop ice crystals on the surface and the ice cream will lose its creamy texture; ice cream that develops an off odor or flavor should be discarded.

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