Satellite cells (SCs) are muscle stem cells capable of regenerating injured muscle. The study of their functional potential depends on the availability of methods for the isolation and expansion of pure SCs with preserved myogenic properties after serial passages in vitro. Here, we describe the ice-cold treatment (ICT) method, which is a simple, economical and efficient method for the isolation and in vitro expansion of highly pure mouse and human SCs. It involves a brief (15-30 min) incubation on ice (0 °C) of a dish containing a heterogeneous mix of adherent muscle mononuclear cells, which leads to the detachment of only the SCs, and gives rise to cultures of superior purity compared to other commonly used isolation methods. The ICT method doubles up as a gentle passaging technique, allowing SC expansion over extended periods of time without compromising their proliferation and differentiation potential. Moreover, SCs isolated and expanded using the ICT method are capable of regenerating injured muscle in vivo. The ICT method involves minimal cell manipulation, does not require any expertise or expensive reagents, it is fast, and highly reproducible, and greatly reduces the number of animals or human biopsies required in order to obtain sufficient number of SCs. The cost-effectiveness, accessibility and technical simplicity of this method, as well as its remarkable efficiency, will no doubt accelerate SC basic and translational research bringing their therapeutic use closer to the clinic.