I’ve Used This $25 OXO Tool for More than Two Decades — Here’s Why I’ve Never Strayed from It

published May 4, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Pumpkin ice cream in bowl.
Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

Coming from a family of dessert-lovers, I’ve scooped gallons and gallons of ice cream over the years. My dad eats ice cream several times a week, and whenever I’m in town, I’m often pressed into baking a pie just so he can eat it with ice cream. Meanwhile, my sister’s family has a passion for homemade ice cream sundaes, and I make my own sorbet with berries, rhubarb, and herbs harvested from my garden (although I’m a sucker for stracciatella gelato, too).

Needless to say, I’ve tried many styles of ice cream scoops while serving frozen desserts from the kitchens of family and friends. But every time, I come back to the one I’ve owned for more than 20 years: the OXO Steel Lever Ice Cream Scoop.

What’s So Great About the OXO Steel Lever Ice Cream Scoop?

The OXO Steel Lever Ice Cream Scoop is made almost entirely of sturdy stainless steel, forming perfect scoops from a softer, freshly churned ice cream or a rock-hard frozen block. The sturdy stainless steel head cuts smoothly into ice cream, gelato, frozen custard or yogurt, or even dairy-free sorbet. Its shape gathers the frozen dessert into an evenly rounded mound in one quick circuit around a container.

Credit: Julie Laing

The handle has a rubber padding around the sides, making it comfortable to hold even when serving ice cream by the gallon for a party. I own a few other OXO tools with this handle type, including a zester, that have sadly been discontinued. Even though the company has abandoned this handle design elsewhere, it must keep making this ice cream scoop because it’s just so comfortable and ergonomic.

The ice cream scoop’s effectiveness absolutely shines with its lever system. Once the ice cream curls into a perfect mound, it releases swiftly with one press of the scoop’s popup lever located conveniently right where your thumb would naturally fall. No hacking, excessive shaking, or sticking fingers or a spoon into the ice cream to release the dessert (or, worse, make a crater in a perfectly rounded scoop).

I find that with a softer ice cream, a bit tends to stick to the lever, but that just gives the next scoop an early head start. I don’t even bother dipping the scoop in hot water between scoops — a trick that may make things smoother, but is easy to overdo and can create unwanted ice crystals instead.

Credit: Julie Laing

To help scoop perfect balls of ice cream consistently, I’ll let a container sit out of the freezer for just a couple of minutes, until the sides give slightly when squeezed. Then I start scooping by circling around the edge of the round or square container and gradually work toward the center. With this OXO scoop, I find it equally effective when doing a swiveling motion that creates an S shape in the ice cream or drawing a straight line in gelato as I work from one end of an oblong container to the other. Once a scoop is formed, it stays in place until I release it neatly in a bowl, on a slice of pie, or in a cone using the popup lever.

After 20 years of use, the lever still works as effectively as it did the first time I pressed it, never needing maintenance or repair. The scoop is dishwasher-safe, but I hand-wash mine, which may be adding to its longevity. I don’t plan on replacing my OXO Steel Lever Ice Cream Scoop anytime soon, and in fact, I expect to use it for a few more decades to come.

Buy: OXO Steel Ice Cream Scoop, $24.99