16 Creative Ways To Use Melted Ice Cream

Settling down after a hard day at the office, running around with the kids, or going through errands really necessitates a mental reprieve that can be fulfilled by only one thing: ice cream. But, when you inevitably get called to do something else and have to put your favorite pint of ice cream down, you'll have to face the unfortunate fate of a melted serving. The same can be said when you forget to unload one container after your grocery run and are left with a sloshing, less than appetizing bowl of custard. 

Your first inclination might be to pop your ice cream back in the freezer. You should think twice about refreezing melted ice cream because it will produce a dense cream with an icy consistency. Instead, you should repurpose it for some other culinary endeavor. As ice cream aficionados, we've played with the flavors and textures of melted ice cream to find applications that can elevate both the taste and texture of other dishes. Here are some of our favorites. 

1. Soak your French toast in it

French toast is a classic breakfast dish that always conveys comfort and deliciousness. Melted ice cream is the secret to a better French toast because it has tons of sweetness, flavor, and fatty qualities that will replace the ingredients already in the dish. And when you think about it, a custard-based ice cream already has the egg, cream, and vanilla found in a good French toast custard — so the swap is relatively easy. 

The type of ice cream you use for this ultimate kitchen hack is dependent on what's in your freezer. We recommend sticking to the creamy ice creams — like vanilla, chocolate, or maple — for this recipe rather than going with one with tons of chunks floating around in it. If you like the smooth texture of traditional French toast, swirl your choice of melted ice cream with egg before dredging your slices for up to thirty seconds. Or, for a crunchy crust, go for a light dip before popping your slice on the griddle.

2. Use it as a burger topping

Ice cream ... as a burger topping? It does seem a bit unconventional, but some chefs have proved that this sweet dessert can upgrade your burger patty tremendously. In 2012, the burger that won Perfect Burger, Juiciest Burger, and Consumer-Friendly Burger at the New York State Fair had a patty blend of beef and ice cream. The dessert kept the burger juicy and soft while it helped complement the pesto, tomato, and spinach topping.

You should give ice cream a chance as a burger topping because it can enhance your burger's umami and savory flavors and toppings. It's also particularly good at balancing out astringent and spicy toppings that would otherwise overwhelm the sandwich. Although it might seem unconventional, this ingredient could take your burger to the next level — you just have to put aside your reservations about a scoop of Rocky Road on top of your gameday sliders. 

3. Add it as a filling to your layer cake

We're always looking for simple yet elegant fillings for our layer cakes. Ice cream and fruit curd are a great combination for the inside of your cake because it's highly versatile and can be made with whatever fruit (and ice cream) you have in your kitchen. When the curd, which is made by cooking fruit juice, zest, eggs, butter, and sugar into a thick spread, is combined with melted ice cream, it resembles a soft sorbet popping with flavor and creamy elements. 

The combination you make for your cake depends on the flavors already in the sponge and the frosting. Pound cake can be lighted up with a lemon curd and vanilla ice cream mixture, while chocolate cake pops with a cherry and chocolate ice cream filling. The key to this simple filling is always to ensure your cake has thoroughly cooled before slathering it on, as a warm cake may cause the mixture to seep off the cake or seep down into the sponge. 

4. Make your egg nog extra creamy

We will be the first people to admit that we're not big fans of egg nog. But, combine the nutmeg beverage with leftover chocolate ice cream, and you may have a deal. Chocolate egg nog has a similar spice profile to the classic vanilla beverage but with a better depth of flavor. Alternatively, you can also swap out the regular milk in your homemade egg nog with chocolate milk to help add a stronger cocoa undertone. Or, add a swirl of chocolate syrup to the mixture for both sweetness and flavor. 

This recipe is booze-friendly, so a splash of rum, brandy, or bourbon is perfectly acceptable to spike your holiday beverage. You can also alter the flavors of the egg nog by swapping in extra cloves and cinnamon on top of the nutmeg. Top your ice-cream-infused eggnog with whipped cream and chocolate shavings and serve to your awaiting party guests. 

5. Substitute it for ingredients in your crème brûlée

There's a reason why folks often leave making crème brûlée up to the professionals. It's so difficult to get a silky smooth custard, let alone the quintessential torched topping. To make things easier on yourself, use your melted vanilla ice cream as a base for homemade crème brûlée. Both the vanilla ice cream and the custard are made with the same main ingredients — cream, sugar, and vanilla — so the swap is relatively easy. 

For a three-ingredient crème brûlée recipe, whisk the melted ice cream with your egg yolks to give it a thick and creamy consistency. Then, bake it in a bain marie (water bath) until the dessert is the consistency of Jell-O. From there, you can add sugar to the top of the ramekins and toast with a torch. 

Vanilla ice cream is the classic flavor for this dessert, but there's no reason you couldn't explore other flavors. After all, we'd be the first to volunteer to sample a pumpkin crème brûlée. 

6. Combine it with boxed cake mix for a sturdy, flavorful sponge

We're always looking for new ways to upgrade boxed cake mix: one of the most versatile tools in our pantries. One of the best ways is to add melted ice cream to your boxed cake mix. When the melted ice cream is blended with the eggs, it brings out a super fatty consistency that will keep the cake mix moist and soft as it bakes. 

This hack is a great way to dispose of the low-quality ice cream you have in your fridge, regardless of flavor. You'll need about two full cups of ice cream (melted, not frozen) per standard box of cake mix. Cheaper ice cream brands tend to have a lot of air whipped into them, so you'll have to use more of a Hood ice cream than a Ben and Jerry's. You can also play with your cake mix and ice cream flavors. For example, red velvet can get a terrific boost from chocolate ice cream, while funfetti plays well with sweet cream vanilla. 

7. Turn it into easy fudge

Everyone loves eating fudge, but not as many people like making this tricky confection. But did you know you only need two ingredients to make an easy (but just as sweet) variation on the nostalgic classic? 

You can turn melted ice cream into quick fudge by adding melted semisweet chocolate chips to a bowl and mixing them together. Once the ingredients are well combined, pop them into a lined tray and allow the candy to harden at room temperature for several hours. Depending on your preferences, you can also add pieces of nuts, marshmallows, or chocolate into the candy before it sets for a bit of crunch. 

You'll want to select an ice cream that pairs well with chocolate for this recipe — which is a wider variety than you may think. You can try your hand at mint chocolate chip fudge by swirling in your favorite mint ice cream or stick to a fruity variety like strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry. 

8. Pour it into your coffee

We're not talking about coffee ice cream as a flavor. Rather, this hack is specific to adding a scoop of your favorite not-so-frozen delight to your cup of coffee in the morning. Unlike ice, adding melted ice cream won't dilute the flavor of your coffee. It also makes up for the cream and sugar you would have to add to your beverage. This affogato-like beverage will change how you think of your favorite iced or hot beverage. 

There's also a secret for making a no-mess afogatto. Instead of scooping your ice cream into a separate cup and pouring your shot over it, you can make your affogato in a pint of ice cream. Place the pint, with your desired amount of ice cream leftover in it, under your espresso machine and pour a shot. Although you would think to only use vanilla ice cream (or gelato) for this hack, pints with chunks like brownies, chocolate chips, or cookie dough can also add more texture to your beverage. 

9. Complement your hot chocolate

A hot chocolate is our go-to beverage on a cold winter day. But we guarantee you'll leave your boring hot chocolate behind when you hear this ice cream hack. Adding ice cream to your hot chocolate will make your beverage extra creamy and help temper your beverage so that it's cool enough to sip on. Mix your melted ice cream with your cocoa powder and dilute with a splash of steamed milk as needed. 

This method of making hot chocolate is just begging you to experiment with flavors. Vanilla is always a solid bet, while dark chocolate is bound to make your beverage much richer. But venturing into the world of cookies and cream, peanut butter, coffee, butter pecan, and hazelnut can also change the profile of your beverage tremendously. You can also play with these ice cream flavors by adding extra extracts or flavorings. Add a drop or two of peppermint oil to the cup with your melted mint chocolate chip ice cream for a mint hot cocoa. 

10. Glaze your grilled peaches with it

Grilled peaches are a delicious summertime dessert recipe. The fruits are bursting with bright flavor, while the char provides the perfect caramel undertone to these stone fruits. Ice cream is a perfectly cool contrast to grilled peaches because it soaks up the juices and provides a smooth, creamy mouthfeel that will take your dessert to the next level. 

To make your grilled peaches at home, toss your peach halves (pits removed) in lemon juice and honey before placing them on the grill. The sweetener will boost the caramelization without adding too much extra sugar to overpower the fruit's flavor. Once you remove your peaches from the heat, spoon your melted ice cream on top with any extra toppings, like nuts or caramel sauce, and dig in. While you may not get the same temperature contrast as using frozen hard ice cream, you'll still get the boost of creamy flavor that we love. 

11. Use it to make a mousse

Mousse is the creamy, pudding-like dessert that most people only get to eat at fancy restaurants. But with melted chocolate ice cream, you can make an easier mousse at home. You'll only need to gather a few ingredients, including melted ice cream, heavy cream, and cocoa powder. Some recipes will also call for egg whites for stabilization, but it is still an optional ingredient. Dissolve the cocoa powder, or chocolate pieces, in the ice cream before folding in the whipped heavy cream. It's critical to get the heavy cream at the perfect texture, so it gives the mousse a light mouthfeel. 

After the ingredients are combined, allow the mousse to set in the fridge for a few hours before scooping it into serving dishes. Besides eating your mousse straight from the container, you can also use it as icing for cupcakes or filling for your layer cakes. 

12. Make the creamiest apple pie ever

"Creamy" is probably not a word that comes to mind when you think of apple pie. But with this unexpected ice cream hack, you can have soft, creamy, flavorful apple pie in no time. Add ½ cup of melted ice cream to a bowl with 2 ½ pounds of apple slices, cinnamon, lemon juice, and sugar. Allow the mixture to sit for about an hour to allow the apples to soften up and absorb the cream before you pour the entire mixture into your pie shell and bake. Like other more liquid pies, you'll also need to give this pie a few hours to rest on the counter after baking to allow the filling to set. 

The most common type of ice cream for this pie is the agreeable vanilla, but you can also add a scoop of melted maple walnut or salted caramel instead. The resulting pie will be soft and full-bodied with notes of ice cream. 

13. Swap it for crème anglaise

You never need to make crème anglaise at home, especially if you have this easy swap. Instead of making this creamy custard with egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla beans, swap it out with a similarly-flavored vanilla ice cream. 

Ina Garten shortcut cake sauce is made with one ingredient: melted ice cream. Instead of having to worry about an overly fussy custard sauce that always seems to scramble if you look at it the wrong way, Garten leaves a good pint of vanilla cream out on her counter before she starts cooking. Then, once the ice cream is melted, she spoons it over her cake slices, fruit crisps, or fresh fruit slices and serves them to her guests. As the Barefoot Contessa explains in a video she posted on her Instagram page, "Vanilla ice cream is essentially crème anglaise that's been frozen." 

14. Add more flavor to your favorite cookie recipe

Cookies are yet another baked good that can benefit from a dollop of melted ice cream. To ensure that your ratios stay correct and your cookies don't come out too soggy or too dense, substitute some of the egg and the butter out in the recipe for your melted ice cream. Since you're making this substitution, you should also err on the side of full-fat ice cream rather than a light or reduced-fat variety. This will give your cookies an unctuous bite and carry the flavor of whatever ice cream flavor you select. Vanilla is a safe bet, while salted caramel, dark chocolate, and brownie batter can totally change the cookie game. 

Mix your melted ice cream; some frozen chunks are permissible with the wet ingredients. It's critical to allow your dough to rest for about 30 minutes before shaping your cookies so that the ice cream can permeate the flour and flavor your dough.

15. Try the TikTok-famous ice cream bread

Sometimes, we have to take hacks and advice from TikTok with a grain of salt. But this secret ingredient recommendation for homemade bread has changed how we make sweet loaves forever. Ice cream that has been allowed to melt at room temperature on the counter rather than in a pot on the stovetop makes for the ideal bread consistency. 

You can make this bread recipe at home with only two ingredients: melted ice cream and self-rising flour. It's essential to use self-rising flour rather than plain flour for this recipe because the former contains leavening agents already, which will give your bread the perfect rise. To avoid overactivating the leavening agents and making the gluten in the flour too tough, always mix sparingly and avoid letting the bread sit for too long on the counter before baking. This bread is the perfect sweet start to your morning or for a special occasion. 

16. Use it as a binder for bread pudding

Oh bread pudding, how we love you so. This delicious dessert is the perfect vessel for leftover stale bread and the pint of ice cream you forgot about on the counter. Most bread pudding recipes are made with custard with copious amounts of cream, but you can just substitute this dairy with melted ice cream. Mix the custard with eggs and sugar before pouring it on top of your bread cubes and baking the entire dish until solid. 

Vanilla ice cream is our go-to because you can still pour a boozy caramel sauce on top without having to worry about the flavor of the base too much. But rum raisin ice cream, maple walnut, and salted caramel are all excellent additions as well that will elevate your bread pudding. You can also take a piece of advice from Ina Garten and top your bread pudding with ice cream, too.