What size is a normal ice cream scoop?

There are many factors that go into determining what size a “normal” ice cream scoop is. Some key considerations include the type and quantity of ice cream being served, the diameter of the scoop, and customary sizes used in commercial and home settings. While there is no universally accepted “normal” scoop size, some common sizes are #16 (4 ounces), #20 (2 ounces), and #30 (2/3 ounce). The larger #16 scoop is often used for single large scoops like at an ice cream shop, while the smaller #20 and #30 sizes are common for home use and controlling portion sizes. Commercial ice cream scoops are numerically sized, but typical home scoops don’t always follow this naming convention closely. Ultimately, the “normal” scoop size depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Scoop Sizes and Serving Styles

Ice cream can be served in many different styles, each requiring different scoop sizes:

Single Large Scoops

Ice cream shops often serve single large scoops in a cup or cone. The traditional scoop size for this ranges from #12 to #16, which yields 4-5 ounces of ice cream. The #16 scoop is one of the most common “standard” single serving sizes. The large portion highlights the premium ice cream and allows you to experience the full range of flavors and textures.

Double Scoops

Another popular ice cream shop serving style is the double scoop, with two rounds of ice cream stacked in a cup or cone. Here, a smaller #20 or #30 scoop is often used to keep the serving size reasonable. Two #20 scoops yields about 4 ounces total. The smaller scoops allow you to combine and experience multiple flavors.

Small Portions

For serving ice cream at home, smaller scoop sizes like #30 or #40 (2/3 to 1/2 ounce) are common. The diminutive portions allow better portion control and limit calories per serving. The small scoops also allow sampling of many different flavors when you serve an assortment. Popular brands like Zeroll make scoops targeted at home use in these sizes.

Large Quantities

When making milkshakes, ice cream floats, and banana splits, larger scoops like #8, #10 or #12 (6 to 8 ounces) are preferred. The bigger portions speed preparation of these larger recipes and ensure you get the right ice cream to milk ratio in shakes. Professional shops have large scoops reserved just for these applications.

Scoop Diameters

In addition to numerical sizing, ice cream scoops are available in different diameters. Wider scoops work better for scooping hard ice cream, while narrower ones are suited for soft serve. Here are some typical scoop diameters:

– #16 scoop = 1 3/4 inches
– #20 scoop = 1 1/2 inches
– #30 scoop = 1 1/4 inches
– #40 scoop = 1 inch

The diameter affects the curvature of the ice cream ball and how much fits in each scoop. Wider scoops have a shallower curvature and hold more. Narrower scoops dig deeper and produce more spherical orbs. Select a scoop width that matches the firmness of your ice cream to scoop it cleanly and efficiently.

Standard Commercial Scoop Sizes

Commercial ice cream shops order their scoops based on standard numerical sizing that corresponds to volume:

– #4 scoop = 16 ounces
– #6 scoop = 8 ounces
– #8 scoop = 6 ounces
– #10 scoop = 5 ounces
– #12 scoop = 4 ounces
– #16 scoop = 4 ounces
– #20 scoop = 2 ounces
– #30 scoop = 2/3 ounce
– #40 scoop = 1/2 ounce
– #50 scoop = 1/3 ounce

The most common single serving sizes are #16 (4oz), #20 (2oz), and #30 (2/3oz). The large #16 produces a substantial single scoop, while #20 and #30 are better for portion control. Commercial shops also use the medium #8 and #10 sizes for making milkshakes and floats.

Standard Scoop Sizes for Home Use

Home ice cream scoops don’t always follow the numerical system exactly, but common sizes include:

– 4 ounce scoop = 1/3 cup capacity
– 2 ounce scoop = 1/4 cup capacity
– 1 ounce scoop = 2 tablespoon capacity

Popular brands like OXO Good Grips, Cuisipro, and Zeroll make home scoops in these general sizes. The 4 ounce size works well for larger single servings. The 2 ounce scoop is great for portion control and serving kids. The 1 ounce child-sized scoop lets you give small treats to toddlers.

Factors in Choosing Scoop Size

Consider these factors when selecting an ice cream scoop size for your needs:

Desired Portion Size

Do you want to serve large single scoops or smaller portion controlled amounts? Larger scoops like #12-#16 produce substantial servings for ice cream shops. Smaller #20-#40 sizes are great for home use and limiting calories.

Type of Dessert

The scoop size should suit the end recipe. For milkshakes, larger #8-#12 scoops quickly fill the cup. For individual snacks, the #16 or #20 scoop serves well. For a la mode, try a small #30 or #40 scoop.

Firmness of Ice Cream

Wider scoops are needed to efficiently dig into and release hard, frozen ice cream. Narrower scoops work well for soft serve. Match the width to the ice cream consistency.

Hand Size

Consider the diameter of the grip to find a size that fits comfortably in the hand for daily scooping. Larger #8-#12 scoops have bigger handles, while #30 and under have petite grips.

Scooping Mechanism

Some scoops have ant-freeze liquid cores or specialized surfaces to help release ice cream. Factor in any special features needed to scoop your frozen dessert.

Examples of Recommended Scoop Sizes

Here are some examples of which scoop sizes work well for different applications:

Ice Cream Shop Single Scoops

Use a #12, #16, or #20 scoop (4 to 2 ounces). The #16 is a common single serve size.

Two Scoop Ice Cream Cone

Use a #20 or #30 scoop (2 or 2/3 oz). This keeps the serving reasonable with two scoops.

Milkshakes and Ice Cream Floats

Use a #8 or #10 scoop (6 to 5 ounces). The larger portions speed filling and get the right ice cream-to-milk proportions.

Home Single Serving Bowl

Use a #30 or #40 scoop (2/3 to 1/2 ounce). The small size helps limit calories per serving.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Use a #40 or #50 scoop (1/2 to 1/3 ounce). Scoop small rounds to fit inside the cookies.

Single Topping Scoop

Use a #50 or #60 scoop (1/3 to 1/4 ounce). Top sundaes and baked treats without overdoing portions.

Children’s Servings

Use a #60 scoop (1/4 ounce). This gives a taste without excessive calories and sugar.

Popular Brands and Scoop Options

Here are some top rated ice cream scoop brands and the variety of sizes they offer:

Zeroll Original Ice Cream Scoop
– 1 oz, 2 oz, 4 oz

Features heat conductive liquid in the handle to keep scoops warms and improve release. Offered in both single portion and larger sizes.

OXO Good Grips Solid Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop
– 1/2 oz, 1 oz, 1.5 oz

A high quality solid scoop available in popular home sizes. The 1 ounce is good for small servings.

Midnight Scoop – Ice Cream Scoop with Release Lever
– #20, #40

This brand features a spring loaded lever to help release sticky ice cream. Good for homes and portion control.

SUMO Heavy Duty Commercial Ice Cream Scoop
– #6, #8, #10, #12, #20, #30

Made of stainless steel with ergonomic grip. Generous sizing selection ideal for commercial shops.

Cuisipro Ice Cream Scoop
– 4 oz, 1.5 oz

Cuisipro is known for quality kitchen tools. They offer two sizes good for home use and controlling portions.

Key Scoop Features to Consider

Beyond just size, also consider these key features when selecting an ice cream scoop:

– Material – Stainless steel, aluminum and plastic are common options. Stainless offers the greatest durability in commercial settings.

– Coating – Some scoops have anti-stick coatings or are Teflon coated to improve release. Useful for scooping sticky and soft ice cream consistently.

– Ergonomic Handle – A grip with thumb rests and leverage can make repeated scooping more comfortable and less tiring.

– Release Aids – Many scoops have liquid cores or levers to help ice cream release easier from the tool. Useful in commercial settings.

– Dishwasher Safe – For easy cleaning, opt for a scoop that can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Not all models are dishwasher safe.


While there is some variability, a #16 (4oz) scoop is considered a standard single serving size in commercial shops. For home use, smaller portion sizes like 1-2 ounces are common. The “normal” scoop depends on your specific ice cream serving needs. Consider the serving style, ice cream consistency, recipe sizes, and portion control to select the right scoop size and features for you. From big ice cream parlors to small freezer treats, there is a scoop size designed to dish out your frozen dessert.

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