Could you please tell me how to soften ice cream? —L.G., Wiscasset, Maine Ice cream is often softened before being used in recipes or when it is too hard to scoop for eating. To soften in the refrigerator, transfer ice cream from the freezer to the refrigerator 20-30 minutes before using. Or let it stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Hard ice cream can also be softened in the microwave at 30% power for about 30 seconds.