Ice cream is great during the hot summer months, but it can also help you feel warmer in winter as your body reacts sympathetically to the cold inside. Unfortunately, if that ice cream didn’t get to a freezer fast enough, it can leave you wondering why it has a grainy feel. You’d expect that milk and cream would be creamy. Is it the sugar? What’s going on inside that weirdly textured ice cream? Most importantly, is it safe to eat? Although humans have been making ice-cream for centuries. As far back as 618 to 97 A.D., King Tang of China had ‘cream ice’ for dessert. Surely we should have perfected it by now. I’ll explain what’s happening inside that grainy ice cream so you can avoid it in the future. With the right information and a good freezer, you should be able to keep your homemade ice creams just-right, so you always get a smooth scoop.
Why does my ice cream have a grainy texture? Your ice cream has a grainy texture because it melted and refroze. That odd mouth-feel comes from tiny ice crystals formed from the water in the cream as it became a liquid and then a solid again. Once your ice cream melts slightly, those crystals form and bond together, changing the mixture to a sandy or grainy consistency.
Can You Fix Grainy Ice Cream
You take a bite, and instantly your brain goes, ‘eww, why does my ice cream have a grainy texture?’ You could let it ruin your day or throw it away. Luckily, there are several ways to fix that grainy scoop, and I will detail them all below.
- Turn Your Ice Cream Into A Shake- One of the simplest solutions is to toss that ice cream in a blender. Add some milk or fruit juice and any cookie, frozen fruit, or candy you like, and blitz it up. Doing this will change the texture completely.
- Blend It Out- Rather than making a milkshake; you can opt to re-blend your ice cream and then freeze it again. Although this is time-consuming, it works great on freezer-burned frozen treats if you have the patience.
- Let It Melt A Little- Once your ice cream is slightly more puddle-like (about half thawed), you can either put it in the blender or toss it into a home ice cream maker to fix the texture. However, you will probably need to re-freeze.
- Make Your Own Ice Cream- You can make a batch of homemade ice cream in less than an hour with an ice cream machine. Moreover, you can take the ice cream you had, flavor match it, and toss in the grainy cream to bulk up a smaller batch. The result will be tasty and custom-made to your liking.
Make excellent ice cream with the Maxi Matic Electric Ice Cream Machine from Amazon. You can use this no-salt-needed machine for all your ice creams. With a 1.5 Quart capacity, you get plenty to save for later or share with family and friends. Plus, it makes gelato, frozen yogurt, and sorbet for those times when ice cream isn’t quite what you wanted, but you still need a frozen treat. Get your Maxi Matic by clicking here.
Is Grainy Ice Cream Bad
Grainy ice cream can be an unpleasant feeling in your mouth, but is it actually bad? It depends on why your ice cream has that grainy texture. For example, if you have a frozen dairy treat with crumbled cookies, then the texture is cookies, and perhaps you should choose a different flavor next time.
Grainy ice cream can be a result of freezer burn. That means the container allowed some evaporation, and ice crystals formed along the top. In this case, you can either eat the ice cream sooner or opt to get a better-sealed container next time. Some brands are more prone to this than others.
Homemade ice cream can get freezer burn easily. Make sure you choose a tightly-sealed container and try to fill it to the top with your creamy treat. Doing this will prevent air and moisture from escaping into the freezer.
Unfortunately, ice cream that has partially or fully thawed also becomes grainy. The water inside the cream from ice crystals faster than other parts of the dessert freeze. Then the ice crystals stick together, and you end up with grainy ice cream. Sadly, the texture isn’t the worst part of this problem.
Re-frozen ice cream is the perfect breeding ground for Listeria and E.Coli. The cold climate in your freezer won’t stop you from getting food poisoning from a re-frozen batch of ice cream. It’s best to throw it out if you have any doubts, and never eat re-frozen ice cream.
Why is the Ice Cream Grainy at Sonic
Making ice cream at home is tons of fun and always better than store-bought, but sometimes you just want to go out for a treat. Sonic ice cream is great, but sometimes you’ll still find yourself wondering why it has a grainy texture. Don’t worry. They’re not refreezing it, and it’s safe to eat.
According to Find Any Answer, “Sandy” texture in (Sonic), ice cream is a result of Lactose sugar crystallization. Lactose is not a very soluble sugar, so if the ice cream is poorly formulated or if the product is heat-shocked repeatedly – lactose crystals may form. Ice crystals that are too large will melt away in your mouth.”
What Helps Ice Cream Keep a Smooth Creamy Texture
Sometimes the grainy texture in your ice cream is more about the consistency. When you make ice cream at home, and the texture is grainy, it’s normal to wonder why. However, it’s more important to tweak the recipe to get the smooth, creamy treat you want.
Originally egg was used to emulsify ice cream, but you may not be comfortable with raw eggs in your home cooking. That’s okay. You can still get a great texture with other tricks. The smoothness comes from the cream. Evenly distributing the fats in your frozen treat will give a nice and consistent mouth-feel.
You can try switching out the paddles or string mechanism for a more whisk-like shape. Alternately, you can add the sugar to your cream before it goes in the machine and blend or whisk it yourself to get a smooth distribution. Plus, this will prevent any sandy texture because your sugar is fully dissolved.
Too-watery ice cream becomes grainy when you freeze it. This is often the case when you use milk instead of cream. Try adding some cream powder, not powdered creamer, but actual whole dairy cream powder. Otherwise, you may want to add fruit or some other textured ingredient to help stir things as the machine goes around. Adding a few strawberries or some cookie bits does more than giving your dessert a new flavor. Those small pieces knock around while it’s processing and help whip up your ice cream.
I recommend a Hamilton Beach 68330N Automatic Ice Cream Maker when you want to DIY your own flavors. This well-known and trusted brand in kitchen appliances can help you make delicious frozen yogurt, custard, sorbet, gelato, and sherbet with more than twenty recipes included. The easy-lock lid holds everything in place with no mess to worry about, plus you can make up to four quarts. That’s enough for a party. Learn all about it on Amazon when you click here.
What Can I Add to Homemade Ice Cream to Prevent It From Freezing Solid
When the grainy texture in your homemade ice cream comes from freezer burn and the dessert freezes solid, there are a couple of options for preventing the problem in the future. You could always turn the freezer down a notch or two, but that’s iffy at best.
You can also put the whole container of ice cream in a freezer bag. The trick here is to get all the air out of the bag. This provides some insulation and allows your ice cream to stay scoopable. However, those who want to add an ingredient to prevent hard freezing will probably need alcohol. Just a little bit of vodka or another alcohol will help raise your ice cream’s freezing point. Be careful not to overdo it unless you want a dessert that gets you tipsy.
The Nostalgia Electric Bucket Ice Cream Maker looks like a classic wooden pail, but it’s really a cleverly disguised ice cream machine. The see-through lids help you keep an eye on everything to get perfectly blended ice cream every time. The powerful electric motor does all the hard work while the motor lock keeps it in place. All you need to do is serve and enjoy. See the excellent Amazon reviews right here.
Grainy ice cream is seldom about the ingredients used. So long as your sugar blends into the cream, that texture results from ‘user error’ after it’s made. Whether it didn’t quite stay solid in the delivery truck, a grocery freezer went out, or you didn’t get your homemade dessert in the freezer on time, it’s frustrating.
Fortunately, you can make outstanding frozen desserts at home and keep them the right texture. You need to make sure they freeze right away and stay that way. Please don’t leave a freezer door open longer than the few seconds it takes to grab something you need. Moreover, you need to store and eat the ice cream before losing moisture or getting freezer burn.
If your ice cream consistently gets grainy, you may need to turn your freezer temperature down or have it serviced. However, with TLC and attention to detail, you can have smooth, sweet treats available year-round, with no weird consistency issues.