WebstaurantStore / Food Service Resources / Buying Guides / Types of Commercial Ice Cream Freezers

Types of Commercial Ice Cream Freezers

Whether you manage a popular ice cream franchise or run a family-owned creamery, there’s no doubt that ice cream serves as a staple dessert across the United States. Ice cream generates a very large revenue for businesses each year, so it’s important to keep your indulgent treats fresh and cold in an ice cream freezer that is best suited for your business. Read on to learn more about what we have to offer.

Ice Cream Basics

Carlisle CM101202 White 3 Gallon Coldmaster Ice Cream Cold Crock with Lid

Keeping your ice cream at safe holding temperatures is very important. Ice cream is perishable, and if not stored properly, is subject to adverse changes in both the texture and flavor. Your freezer should always remain below -20 degrees Fahrenheit, so that the ice cream is thoroughly frozen and hard to the touch. If your ice cream begins to slowly defrost, ice crystals will form, which leaves a crunchy consistency, and therefore, an unsatisfying experience for the customer.

When using an open/display freezer, always be sure to store your products below the freezer line. This may result in a freezer that doesn’t quite reach its storage capacity, but the products will remain colder, fresher, and tastier for guests.

Below is a chart to break down the differences between ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, and sorbet. Determining the differences between these products will help you decide what you'd like to sell, and therefore, what sort of freezer is best for you.

Open Shelf Life
Unopened Shelf Life
Butterfat Content
Ice Cream
  • Air is incorporated during the churning process to keep it lighter
  • Served at a colder temperature
  • Harder texture
1 - 2 months 2 - 3 months
  • Much more dense due to a slower churning process
  • Silkier and softer texture
  • Served at a slightly warmer temperature
2 weeks - 1 month 6 months
Frozen Yogurt (or Froyo)
  • More tart in flavor
  • Made with milk rather than cream, which lowers fat content
  • Contains active cultures which can help with digestive health
1 month 2 - 3 months
  • Low in calories and fat
  • Made by blending and freezing sweetened water with fruit puree
1 - 2 months 2 - 4 months

Freezer Types

Gelato cabinets and ice cream dipping cabinets are pretty common freezer choices, but they vary slightly. True gelato cabinets present gelato in trays in a display case, whereas ice cream is often displayed in tubs. Since gelato is served and stored at a warmer temperature, gelato cabinets are designed to accommodate this. If you serve ice cream out of a gelato cabinet or vice versa, you will probably find yourself serving your product at the wrong consistency. You don’t want to get a reputation for serving melted ice cream or hard-as-a-rock gelato, so it’s best to serve each item from their respective cabinets.

Since we offer such a wide variety of freezers, your initial search might seem a little overwhelming. The chart below breaks down our freezer selection to make sorting through them easier. Plus, you can look at the benefits and recommended uses to decide which one is the most appropriate for your location.

Usage Type
Recommended Uses
  • Glass top models show off flavors for customers to see
  • Self-serve and high volume units available
  • Variety of color options
  • Storage space included in some models
Display 3-39 containers Full-service or self-serve
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Sorbet shops
  • Creameries
  • Restaurants
  • Buffets
  • Cafeterias
  • Designed to hold multiple flavors at once
  • Clear lids offer excellent product visibility
  • Insulated to keep gelato, italian ice, and sorbet chilled
  • Some models offer additional storage space
Display 20-48 pans Full-service
  • Sorbet shops
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Italian restaurants
  • Increases impulse sales of frozen novelties (popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, etc.)
  • Angled, curved, or flat lid for easy customer access
  • Double glass doors to retain a cold interior temperature
  • Glass lid maximizes product visibility
Display 4-19 cu. ft. of space Self-serve
  • Convenience stores
  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Grocery stores
  • Snack shops
  • Perfect for back-of-house bulk storage
  • Insulated to keep products cold
Storage 5-20 cu. ft. of space Full-service or self-serve
  • Snack shops
  • Ice cream shops
  • Convenience stores
  • Cafes
  • Drop-in design allows you to store products at the counter so customers can order, pay, and receive their treats quickly
  • Saves space
  • Stainless steel construction helps retain cold temperatures and wipes clean easily
Storage 6-12 gallons Full-service
  • Ice cream shops
  • Concession stands
  • Snack shops
  • Puts finishing cold touch on commercial-sized containers of ice cream, frozen yogurt, or custard
  • Require less frequent cleaning and servicing
Hardening 20-43 containers N/A
  • Creameries
  • Ice cream parlors

Accessories and Specialty Products

So, you’ve decided on which commercial ice cream freezer is best for you. Now how about some accessories to enhance both you and your customers’ experience?

APW Wyott SFT-73 Self Contained Stainless Steel Drop-In Frost Top - 73 3/8 inch

Frost top and cold slab units:

Designed to provide a reliable cold work or display area, these frost tops and cold slabs prevent your ice cream from melting. Customers will delight in watching you mix their ice cream and toppings together! They fit easily into a countertop cutout and wipe clean with ease.

Refrigerated ice cream topping rails:

These combination units boast topping rails that are convenient for syrup jars and topping containers, while having either a dipping cabinet or storage base underneath. The topping rails are constructed of durable stainless steel, making them easy to clean after a busy night, and the unit features a flip-lid design, so you can scoop your ice cream and smother it with delicious toppings without having to walk to another station. These handy cabinets are perfect for nearly any ice cream parlor or restaurant.
Excellence Replacement Curved Glass Sneeze Guard for EDC-8C Ice Cream Freezer Dipping Cabinet

Sneeze guards:

You might not be able to escape the threat of germs and bacteria, but you can surely prevent them from contaminating your novelty ice cream treats. Sneeze guards are a great way to block external contaminants from tainting your ice cream.

Frost shields:

Nobody likes the taste of freezer-burnt ice cream! You can help prevent frost build-up by purchasing a frost shield for your freezer. These shields install quickly and easily into your unit and accumulate the frost that would otherwise form on your ice cream. Not only do frost shields help improve the taste of your ice cream, but they also save you money by preserving your ice cream and keeping it fresher longer.

Can holders / tub covers:

Can holders and tub covers will help organize your ice cream and keep things sanitary. During the hustle and bustle of a busy evening, ice cream slops and drips will inevitably occur. Tub covers and can holders can be removed at the end of a shift and wiped clean, keeping your freezer both hygienic and visually appealing for customers. Tub covers are designed to sit on top of ice cream containers, so make sure to check the size of your gallons and match them with coordinating covers.

Flavor tags:

Do you have an establishment where you make your ice cream from scratch? Use tags to brand your hand-crafted flavors. Tags are a great way to promote monthly feature flavors, or draw attention to nuts or other high-allergy products to protect the health of your customers.
Regency 7 1/8 inch Dipper Well Bowl and Faucet Set

Dipper wells:

A dipper well is used to keep your spades and dippers clean. By adding a dipper well to your ice cream freezer or cabinet, you’ll always have fresh water available to rinse your utensils between orders. We also offer dipper well parts and accessories.

What’s the difference between an ice cream dipper and spade?

An ice cream dipper is the same as a traditional scooper. You simply reach into your freezer and scoop out perfectly portioned amounts. A spade, on the other hand, comes in handy when your ice cream tub is running low. You can use the spade to scrape the sides of the container to retrieve excess ice cream, so none will go to waste. It also works well for packing ice cream.

Subscribe now for great deals and industry tips! Sign up for our mailing list to have weekly discounts and industry knowledge sent right to your inbox.

Food Service Resources

Guides, ingredient calculations, food management, and help!

Explore Resources
  • Visa
  • Discover
  • American Express
  • MasterCard
  • Paypal