How to Ship Ice Cream

By Baillee Perkins
Jun 30, 2023
Learn how to ship ice cream with ShippingEasy!

Table of Contents: 

  1. Shipping with dry ice
  2. Shipping ice cream with USPS
  3. Shipping ice cream with UPS 
  4. Shipping ice cream with FedEx 
  5. Shipping ice cream with ShippingEasy
  6. Tips for shipping ice cream

Shipping ice cream comes with specific guidelines and restrictions from carriers. Reading through all of the information available is confusing and takes time from your small business, so we’ll take you through some of the materials needed including dry ice and the different carrier requirements. 

Materials Needed: 

Dry ice 

Plastic liner 

Insulated container 


Outer corrugated box

Polystyrene foam

Appropriate documentation 

Shipping with dry ice

Note: Package acceptance is at each carrier’s discretion, so we recommend reaching out to your carrier directly before shipping.

When it comes to shipping ice cream, dry ice is a necessity. Its composition keeps your frozen treats from becoming a melted mess. What exactly is it, and why do you need it?

What is dry ice?

Dry ice is carbon dioxide in a solid form. Its form makes it great for shipping frozen foods because instead of melting into water, it turns into a gas. Using dry ice is beneficial for shipping ice cream, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind: 

  • Use gloves when handling dry ice – its extremely cold temperature can burn your skin. 
  • Don’t tightly seal your shipment – the gas released as dry ice evaporates can lead your package to burst and cause damages to your product and carrier equipment. 

Where to find dry ice

Dry ice is commonly found within grocery stores, chain stores, and sometimes even gas stations. Companies like Airgas provide delivery options for dry ice to qualifying areas and have brick-and-mortar locations as well. For more information regarding those services, reach out to their customer support team. 

Dry ice shipping guidelines

USPS, UPS, and FedEx each have their own set of regulations when it comes to shipping dry ice, so we have outlined some of them below. If you have any additional questions, we recommend reaching out to the carrier directly through the customer service channels we’ve provided. 

We want to make shipping hazardous materials safe for everyone. Check out the tutorial from USPS.


  • Any shipments containing dry ice are required to have a Class 9 Dot label (example at the end of this section).
  • Dry ice can only be shipped domestically. 
  • The weight of the dry ice used in your shipments needs to be noted separately. The services available to you are dependent on the amount of dry ice in your shipment. 
  • Packages containing dry ice can’t be tightly sealed – As we mentioned earlier, dry ice turns to carbon dioxide, and gases expand, so without ventilation, packages can explode and cause damage. 
  • For more information and guidance, contact USPS Customer Support
Image source: FedEx

Example of a Class 9 Dot label for dry ice shipments 


Because dry ice shipments are not regulated for ground transport, simply process these shipments to/from the U.S. 48 contiguous states as you would any of your UPS® Ground shipments. Use the following information for U.S. Domestic Air Shipments:

  • For all diagnostic or medical treatment purposes packages shipped with dry ice (prepared under 49 CFR):
    • No Hazardous Material Agreement is required.
    • No Hazardous Material Shipping Papers are required.
    • No acceptance audit is performed and no Hazardous Material accessorial charges will be applied.
    • Process through the most current version of WorldShip or compatible software.
    • Mark the outer carton with:
      • The words “Dry Ice for Medical Purposes” or “Dry ice for Diagnostic Purposes.”
      • The amount of dry ice contained in the package.
      • No other paperwork is required.
    • Shippers may obtain “Dry Ice for Diagnostic or Medical Purposes” stickers (Item #011127) online or by calling 1-800-554-9964.
  • For non-medical, non-hazardous U.S. domestic air packages with 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds) or less of dry ice (prepared under 49 CFR):
    • No Hazardous Material Agreement is required.
    • No Hazardous Material Shipping Papers required.
    • No acceptance audit is performed, and no hazardous material accessorial charges will be applied.
    • Process through the most current version of WorldShip or compliant software.
    • Mark the outer carton with:
      • The words “Dry Ice” or “Carbon Dioxide, Solid.”
      • A description of the non-hazardous contents (e.g. food, meat).
    • The amount of the dry ice contained in the package (or a statement that there is 2.5 kg [5.5 pounds] or less in the package).
      No other paperwork is required for these packages.
  • For non-medical U.S. domestic packages with greater than 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds) of dry ice IATA or 49CFR regulations:
    • Process through the most current version of WorldShip, CampusShip or compliant software (see UPS Rate and Service Guide for dry ice accessorial fee).
    • An acceptance audit is performed.
    • Mark the outer carton with:
      • The words “Dry Ice” or “Carbon Dioxide, Solid” and “UN1845.”
      • The amount of dry ice contained in the package in KG.
    • Apply the Class 9 diamond hazard label (optional for 49CFR).

Note: When the contents inside a package with dry ice are hazardous materials, please follow normal UPS Hazardous Materials procedures for that commodity in preparing your shipment. For assistance, please call the UPS Hazardous Materials Support Center at 1-800-554-9964, or visit our online Hazardous Materials Guide.


  • Not all FedEx locations can accept dry ice shipments. If your location doesn’t allow for dry ice shipments, your package will have to be given to FedEx directly via scheduled pickup. 
  • Similar to USPS, all dry ice shipments must have Class 9 Dot labels. 
  • Dry ice shipments can be shipped internationally but require additional labeling and information found on their website
  • FedEx offers cooling supplies for dry ice shipments 
  • According to their website, FedEx provides specific support for these types of packages: 

For more information and comprehensive guidelines, contact the FedEx Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials Hotline at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339; press “81” or say “dangerous goods,” then press “4” for the next available dangerous goods agent.

In addition to dry ice shipping requirements, USPS, UPS, and FedEx have other regulations for shipping ice cream. 

Shipping ice cream with USPS

Note: Package acceptance is at each carrier’s discretion, so we recommend reaching out to your carrier directly before shipping.

Much like with food and other perishable items, your shipment needs to be clearly marked as perishable on the package itself. Shipping with dry ice and ice cream also requires special documentation. For your shipment to be shipped through USPS, three copies of the Declaration for Dangerous Goods must be included, with one copy being attached to the front of your shipment in a plastic pouch. 

This is an example of a Declaration of Dangerous Goods. Image Source: USPS


One of the biggest things to remember when shipping ice cream with USPS is they offer no refrigeration services with their shipping, so shipping frozen items comes at your own risk. Plan ahead when preparing your shipment to include any USPS holidays and Sundays because your shipment won’t be delivered during those time frames. Lastly, packages with leaks or odors aren’t able to be shipped with USPS and won’t be accepted. 

Shipping ice cream with UPS

UPS requires all perishable items to be marked as perishable on the shipment itself. UPS also recommends the following: 

Shipping ice cream with FedEx

As with USPS and UPS, FedEx suggests preparing your shipment for 30-40 hours of transit and shipping your packages early in the week because of FedEx holidays and other non-delivery days. FedEx also recommends the following: 

  • Packaging shipments in a way where they will be secure if the shipment moves in transit
  • Having a foam container on the inside of your package that is at least 1.5” thick to avoid any leaks 
  • Using a FedEx overnight service such as FedEx First Overnight®, FedEx Priority Overnight®, or FedEx Standard Overnight® to cut down on your shipment’s travel time 


FedEx vehicles don’t have refrigeration, so your shipment will need to be packaged for different temperatures. In addition, polystyrene foam can’t be used on the outside of your shipment unless your business has been given permission by FedEx. For more information on FedEx limitations, reach out to FedEx directly

Shipping ice cream with ShippingEasy

Orders with specialty items are easily sent through ShippingEasy with features like Order Notes and Shipping Presets. Order Notes can be made internally to remind you and your team an order has specific packaging needs, Shipping Presets are saved packaging types, easily selected on your Ready to Ship page. Together, these tools help you effortlessly package specialty orders. 

Learn about shipping other perishable items with our How to Ship Food with USPS blog! 

Learn more

Tips for packing ice cream

  • Use heavy, corrugated cardboard outer boxes to avoid any leaks 
  • Plan for your shipment to be in transit for 30-40 hours
  • Let your customer know in advance dry ice will be used in their packaging and to be careful while handling it. 
  • Tape over address labels to avoid any smearing/illegible address
  • Test your packaging before sending to confirm there are no leaks 
  • Include the customer’s address and phone number on both the inside and outside of your package 
  • Keep your packaging well-ventilated to avoid any package ruptures 
  • Follow carrier guidelines and reach out directly with any questions you may have
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Baillee Perkins

Baillee Perkins is a writer of shipping by day and pop culture by night, so her Google search history is an actual nightmare.

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