What is an Ice Cream Freezer: Definition & Types

What is an Ice Cream Freezer: Definition & Types

February 9, 2023

If ice cream and frozen desserts play a key role in your commercial food business, you must serve such indulgent treats so your customers can enjoy them to the fullest. 

Believe it or not, ice cream is perishable and requires careful treatment. Expose your ice-cold desserts to temperatures that are too high and the body, texture, and flavor characteristics of your frozen treats are going to change. 

Ice cream, in particular, if improperly handled or stored will be affected, and generally not in a good way. 

If you’re looking at storage options for your ice cream and other frozen desserts, this guide will help you find the best one for your requirements. 

What is an Ice Cream Freezer?

Ice cream freezer is a generic term used to cover various types of commercial freezers that are designed for storing ice cream and similar frozen items such as sorbets, gelato, and frozen yogurt. 

They are similar to commercial freezers but maintain more precise temperatures When you store your ice cream at the ideal temperature, it will never be compromised in terms of taste, consistency, or taste. It will always be smooth.

What Temperatures Should the Ice Cream Freezer Be?

The ideal temperature in an ice cream freezer should range between -12 and -24 degrees Celsius or between 10.4 and 11.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you can maintain these temperatures, your ice cream will stay solid and frozen. It also stops ice crystals from forming along the freezer line. These ruin the creamy smooth texture your customers love. 

How do Commercial Ice Cream Freezers Work?

Ice cream freezers are very adept at keeping your icy items in the best condition. These cooling cabinets keep cold snacks and other perishable items, such as ice cream, at the perfect temperature. 

What Types of Commercial Ice Cream Freezers Are Out There?

Commercial freezers typically fall into one of three categories: 

  • Display or “novelty” freezers

  • Dipping freezers 

  • Chest or upright freezers

Within these categories, there are further types. Let’s examine the most popular.  

Glass Top Ice Cream Display or “Novelty” Freezers

  • With the items on display, it increases impulse sales of ice cream sandwiches and frozen novelties such as popsicles, for example

  • Customers can access the items easily because of the flat lids

  • Products are more visible

  • Usage type: Display

  • Capacity: Between 4 and 19 cubic feet of space

  • Service: Self-service

  • Best for: Convenience store, cafeteria business, ice cream shop, and retail store

One Sliding Door Novelty/Ice Cream Freezers

  • Customers can access the products and frozen novelties easily

  • The best solution if space is limited

  • They can fit close to cash tills which increases the chances of impulse purchases

  • Compact and lightweight

  • An ice cream display could include a built-in lock

  • Usage type: Display

  • Capacity: Between 4 and 10 cubic feet of space

  • Service: Self-service

  • Best for: concession stands, ice cream shops, small stores, and cafes

Two Sliding Door Novelty/Ice Cream Freezers

  • Food products are easy to access via the sliding glass doors

  • Maximum usage of space for a busy restaurant

  • Energy efficient

  • Casters allow you to move them around depending on your needs

  • Usage type: Display

  • Capacity: Between 5 and 20 cubic feet of space

  • Service: Self-service

  • Best for: sorbet or ice cream shops, snack shops, ice cream shops, cafes, and local stores

Ice Cream Dipping Cabinet Freezer

  • An ice cream dipping cabinet freezer has a glass top that shows off the different ice cream flavors

  • High-volume and self-service units are available

  • Available in a range of colors

  • Some models will also include storage space

  • Usage type: Display and storage

  • Capacity: Between 3 and 19 containers of ice cream

  • Service: Full or self-serve

  • Best for: buffets, cafeteria business, and ice cream shops

Ice Cream Gelato Dipping Cabinet Freezer

  • Can hold a variety of flavors

  • Sorbet, Italian ice, and gelato are kept perfectly chilled because of the insulation

  • Additional storage space is an option for some models

  • Products are visible because of the clear lids

  • Usage type: Display

  • Capacity: Between 20 and 48 pans or containers

  • Service: Full

  • Best for: Italian ice restaurants, sorbet shops, and gelato shops

Special Considerations for Gelato

If you’re planning to display and serve gelato, the optimum temperature is 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Gelato display freezers also require good cold airflow. The cold air ensures that the gelato maintains the correct temperature. Unlike ice cream, you would display gelato in a rectangular pan, typically heaped. 

If you are going to sell gelato and ice cream, you’ll need to invest in two separate display freezers. 

Dipping Freezers vs. Display Freezers - Which one is Better?

Each of these ice cream freezer types has specific benefits. 

Dipping freezers, for example, are for holding large tubs of ice cream or trays of gelato. The tubs and trays can display hand-packed or single-serve ice cream that you’ve freshly prepared for your customers. 

Display freezers or novelty freezers are for holding pre-packed tubs of ice cream. You might also choose to display frozen items, ice cream sandwiches or popsicles.

Whether a dipping freezer or display freezer is best depends on what you plan to display, store, and offer your customers. 

Ice Cream Chest Freezes

  • An ice cream chest freezer is insulated to keep products cold

  • They are useful for storing back-of-house bulk frozen goods

  • Usage type: Storage

  • Capacity: Between 5 and 20 cubic feet of space

  • Service: Full-service or self-serve

  • Best for: ice cream shops, snack shops, cafeteria business, and convenience stores

Upright Reach-In Freezers

  • Designed for the storage of your frozen foods and desserts

  • A versatile piece of kitchen equipment

  • Swing doors stay open while products are loaded and unloaded

  • Available in one, two, and three-door models

  • Usage type: Storage

  • Capacity: Between 5 and 20 cubic feet of space

  • Service: Full-serve or self-serve

  • Best for: snack shops, ice cream shops, convenience stores, and cafes

Blast Freezing Units for Ice Cream Hardening

  • Designed to harden ice cream faster than a normal storage freezer

  • By freezing your ice cream fast, it minimizes the size of ice crystals formed

  • The outside of ice cream can be hardened in around 25 minutes

  • Reduction in energy costs

  • Usage type: Storage

  • Capacity: Up to 96 pans when full

  • Service: example: Full-serve or self-service

  • Best for: Ice cream shops, cafes, gelato shops,and restaurant business

What are Some Important Ice Cream Freezer Accessories

Once you’ve decided on the commercial ice cream freezer that’s best for you it’s time to consider the accessories. Choose the right ones and it will enhance the ice cream experience for you and your customers. 

Frost Top and Cold Slab Units

This accessory fits easily into a countertop. It’s easy to wipe clean and provides a cold work surface or display area. A frost top and cold slab will stop your ice cream from melting and your customers will enjoy watching you mix their chosen ice cream and additional toppings. 

Refrigerated Ice Cream Topping Rails

Topping rails are the perfect accessory for a busy restaurant or ice cream parlor. The stainless steel rails are easy to clean after a busy night of creating delicious desserts. Underneath the topping rails, you might find a dipping cabinet or storage base. While there’s plenty of room on top for topping containers and syrup jars. 

Sneeze Guards

A sneeze guard blocks external contaminants from spoiling the ice cream you serve in your ice cream parlor. 

Frost Shields

 Freezer-burnt ice cream isn’t the tastiest of treats but you can reduce frost build-up with a frost shield. Install a frost shield quickly and easily. The shield accumulates the frost rather than it forming on your ice cream. 

A frost shield helps improve your ice cream’s taste and save you money by keeping your ice cream fresh for longer. 

Can Holders / Tub Covers:

Tub covers and can holders will help you keep your ice cream organized and sanitary. Remove them at the end of the day and quickly wipe them clean. 

Tub covers sit on top of the ice cream container so check the size before making your purchase.

Flavor Tags

Are you a champion in making ice cream from scratch? Use tags to promote the different flavors and monthly feature flavors. You can also use them to highlight nuts and other high-allergy products. 

Dipper Wells

You use a dipper well for keeping your dippers and spades clean. A dipper well ensures your freezer or cabinet always has fresh water available. 

What are the Important Factors When Choosing a Commercial Ice Cream Freezer?

If you want the best commercial ice cream freezers for your establishment, there are essential factors you must consider. 


Ideally, you want your commercial ice freezer to have sufficient capacity for your busiest days. Consider the number of flavors you want to display. Think about how many people will be using trowels or scoops to take the frozen products out of the containers. Are the containers going to be round or square, this also makes a considerable difference.  


Energy efficiency is a big consideration for any commercial kitchen. Look for a model that has an Energy Conservation Mode. This helps lower the power used by your freezer. 

Temperature Control

Certain freezers have temperature ranges that allow you to micromanage how your frozen treats are stored. Look for a model with a wide range of thermostat control. This will allow you to precisely change the temperature over time. 


As you can see, there is a wide range of ice cream freezers to choose from. Now you know what to look for and what’s available, you’re in the best position for finding the best commercial ice cream freezer for your needs. Ideally you want one that keeps ice cream stored at the perfect temperature.  


1. What's the difference between an ice cream freezer and a regular freezer?

Commercial ice cream freezers are better equipped for keeping your icy goods in the best shape. They will be safely stored at the best temperature so your customers never have to compromise on taste, flavor, and texture.