Master-Bilt® Refrigeration News & Product Information
Ice Cream Equipment Guide
Article updated 5-5-22.
Ice cream equipment comes in a variety of sizes and functions from basic dipping cabinets to walk-in freezers. If you are planning to open an ice cream shop or add ice cream as a side item to your existing business, it pays to know something about equipment options and how different cabinets fit into your business layout and sales plan. With that in mind, we offer this ice cream equipment guide.
Ice Cream Dipping Cabinets
One of the most basic pieces of ice cream equipment is the dipping cabinet. These are used frequently in ice cream shops or self-serve buffet lines. Dipping cabinets typically accommodate 3-gallon containers and are available in a variety of sizes to suit your volume.
Things to look for include:
- Durable stainless steel tops to resist corrosion
- A floor drain with a garden hose fitting so when you wash it out, you can channel the water through a hose to your drain
- Anti-condensate heaters under the top cap to reduce condensation in high temp areas
- A cold wall evaporator with foamed-in-place refrigerant lines wrapped around the outside of the inner tub. Cold wall evaporators provide even temperature throughout with no air blowing across the ice cream which can lower product quality.
- Extra storage space beneath the display area
- A stainless steel exterior option for the most durable finish
- A dipper well option is important for rinsing scoops or other utensils. These usually come in a kit which allows you to hook up to a water source for fresh running water.
Ice Cream Topping Centers
These are the cabinets you see in traditional soda fountains with pumps and jars mounted above the dipping cabinet. Ideal for prep areas or sundae stations, their construction is the same as a standard dipping cabinet but with a raised rail that houses the jars and pumps.
Keep in mind…
- The type and number of pumps and jars can be customized, so they are not always included with the base cabinet
- Stainless steel exterior and dipper well options should also be available for these models
Ice Cream Dipping/Display Cabinets
Use these cabinets in retail settings to display all your flavors. The rear lid raises to allow store employees to dip ice cream for customers. There are several sizes of dipping/display cabinets available with different types of glass tops. For example, models with lowered front glass allow customers to get a better view of all the flavors available. Speaking of flavors, you should consider how many you want to display when selecting the cabinet size.
Other things to look for include:
- A model with rear air intake and discharge. This is important if you have special graphics you want to place on the front of the cabinet. Rear intake and discharge eliminates the need for a front grille and allows the maximum area for graphics.
- Standard wiper gaskets on the top and side of the lid to help keep out warm outside air as well as contaminants.
- Storage space beneath the display area to hold extra containers.
- Frost shields, which are flat pieces of metal that attach along the top of the inner sides of the cabinet. Frost collects on the shields which are easily removed, wiped off and put back in place. This option saves a lot of time (and potential cabinet damage) by eliminating the need to scrape frost off the cabinet interior.
- Can holder options which hold ice cream containers in place while employees scoop. The holders also come with lids to cover the ice cream and keep out contaminants.
- As with other dipping cabinets, a dipper well option should be available.
Depending on your sales volume, you may want to consider a walk-in freezer for storage. The extra storage space allows you to produce more product and keep on-hand as needed. Be sure to specify an adequate refrigeration system to maintain the low temperature required. Should you need assistance, your dealer or the manufacturer should be able to help pick out the right system.
Keep in mind:
- Consider a reinforced floor to support the extra weight of shelves and containers or if you are using carts or floor jacks.
- Optional electronic controllers add to the refrigeration system’s reliability and help ensure the consistent low temperature required.
- Optional shelving comes in very handy for efficient storage of containers.