Who here thinks that ice cream still is the best dessert ever regardless of season and occasion? If you agree with us, then may be it is time for you to consider getting yourself an ice cream maker.
While it is more convenient to buy ready-made ice creams at the local grocery store, the organic and healthier ones would usually cost you and this eventually puts a dent on someone’s wallet. So what do you think can you do about this sweet tooth of yours? Get an ice cream maker and start exploring the wonderful world of ice cream making.
How Ice Cream Makers Work
Ice cream makers come in different types that there is surely one type that would best suit your needs and preferences. If you still think that making your own ice cream is hard, you are severely mistaken. This simple device is probably the most fun and one of the best ingenious inventions in the kitchen. How cool would it be to make healthy and delicious ice cream right at your very own kitchen with your children?
Best part is how ice cream makers open up a whole new world of possibilities. Have you ever dreamed of mixing different flavors and wonder how it would taste? With this simple device, you can explore and experiment on different flavors and tastes you want. You can also make soft serve ice cream like the ones your kids cannot go home without every single trip to the mall or some healthy yogurt.
To properly discuss how ice cream makers work, let us take a look at the different types of ice cream makers and discuss what they are suitable for. Through this, you will have a better idea on which one suits your needs the best.
Traditional/Bucket Type Ice Cream Maker
This is very first type to have been invented. It is actually made up of two buckets – the outer bowl and the inner bowl. The outer bowl is the one to be filled with ice and rock salt while the inner bowl is the one with the hand-crank or electric mechanism to mix all the ingredients that would constitute the delectable ice cream you are about to make.
Now the thing with this old model is that you have to spend more time monitoring it because the ice in the outer bowl needs to be changed as it melts. If you are wondering what the rock salt is for, it is known to decrease the ice’s freezing point to prevent it from melting easier.
As the ice melts, its combination with the salt draws heat from the ice cream mixture which ultimately freezes the liquid mixture into the ice cream consistency.
Today, this bucket type ice cream maker is still available in the market and they are known to be the most affordable ones. If you plan on making large batches of ice cream, this would be suitable for you. However, you have to be willing to drain the outer bowl every now and then and put some new ice and rock salt.
There are also two subtypes of bucket ice cream maker. There is the type that comes with hand-operated paddles which are known to require more effort and the other one that features motorized paddles which is of course, the obvious choice for everyone today unless you need some arm exercise with the paddling.
Freezer Bowl/Pre-Frozen Ice Cream Maker
If you have one or two kids and you simply want to make healthy and delicious ice cream for them from time to time, then this freezer bowl or pre-frozen ice cream maker will do you good.
Basically, this type features a double-walled canister what has a gel coolant. The canister needs to be placed in the freezer for at least 24 hours prior to use. After which, one can place all the ingredients inside the frozen canister and switch the ice cream maker on.
The paddling mechanism produces a swirling motion which agitates the mixture which then freezes automatically upon contact with the canister sides. Through continues paddling, the mixture slowly becomes solid to achieve an ice cream consistency.
For most parents, this type is the most practical and still a convenient one to get. It does not cost much and would not take too much of your time yet produce the same great results. Best part is that it is so easy to operate that you can even ask your kids to participate in the ice cream making process without having to fear that they will do something crazy or hurt themselves.
This is not suggested for large families as the canister is usually not that big (just enough to be put on any ordinary refrigerator freezer) so in order to make multiple batches, you would have to put the canister back at the freezer again for 24 hours before making another one or you can buy a couple of canisters and put them at the freezer altogether.
You might have seen extremely affordable ice cream makers today that are portable and kid friendly. Those are battery operated and can be taken anywhere though it still requires a pre-frozen bowl. They are easy to use but since they are only battery operated, they do not produce the same consistency as that of electric models.
Compressor/Fully Automatic Ice Cream Maker
Now if you want the best features of all the types of ice cream makers and you have the budget for it, go for the fully automatic ice cream maker. Basically, this is a hands-free small kitchen appliance that acts like a mini-freezer with a built-in freezing mechanism and therefore, eliminates the need for a pre-frozen bowl.
This actually works like magic. Pour in all the ingredients inside the machine, turn it on, wait for approximately 20-30 minutes, and your ice cream is ready to be served to everyone. Yes, it is that easy and fuss free. Imagine putting all the ingredients in before you start preparing and cooking food and after you are done cooking, your ice cream is ready as well.
This is just great whether you have a small or large family. You can even use it for backyard parties. Examples of compressor ice cream makers are Cuisinart ICE-100 and the Whynter ICM-200LS.
Portable Ice Cream Makers
You have probably heard of the ice cream ball that is said to be perfect for camping adventures or beach outings. Basically, this type does look like a ball. You simply add all the ingredients inside the ball and have the kids shake and roll it for as long as they can until the desired ice cream consistency is reached.
Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker
Yes you can also opt to serve your kids the soft serve ice cream that they always have to get with every trip to the mall. Best part is you can definitely save more by doing this right at the comfort of your own home. This is especially recommended for those who favor sherbet, frozen yogurts, and sorbet rather than ice cream consistency.
Famous and absolutely likeable features of this type though are the pourable dispenser and cone holder which makes this type even more convenient that it already is. Most gel canisters can actually produce soft-serve ice cream, sherbet, and sorbet which make them multifunctional.
Things To Consider When Purchasing an Ice Cream Maker
Now that you know the basic types of ice cream makers, you are now equipped with the essential knowledge to better choose which one to get for your home. However, there still are a few things that we would like you to consider and think about before making that final decision.
Pure Family or for Party Use
If you have a small family, then you can choose the smaller and more affordable basic ones. Now if you have quite a large family and plan to use the ice cream maker for your family gatherings as well, experts say choose a classic device which can produce about four to six quarts at a single batch.
Do remember also that the canister gel and compressor types can normally produce just one to two quarts. However, this should not be a problem with the compressor type as you can continuously make batches of ice cream in no time as we have discussed above. Don’t forget to try out different recipes as well. There are so many great tasting ice cream flavors.
Ease of Cleaning
Yes it is a joy to have been able to make your very own ice cream at home but cleaning may not be as much fun. As expected, traditional types are harder to clean because of the many parts.
With electronic or the fully automatic compressor types, cleaning is much easier because the parts can be easily detached. If you are lucky, you might even come across one that has dishwasher safe parts which basically means fuss-free cleaning in no time.
Always look for your money’s worth. Check what the ice cream maker parts are made of especially the paddle since this is the part that is most susceptible to wear and tear. Experts advise against flexible plastic components since they tend to break easily and creating a great ice cream consistency needs a lot of work and activity.
Go for parts that are hard, solid, and durable. If you are going for either the gel canisters or the traditional types, you might want to choose one with a see-through lid in order for you to keep an eye if the desert is ready.
Another thing to remember here is to always choose aluminum if you must since it transmit cold more quickly.
This is a tricky part. You might want a bigger ice cream maker for your parties but upon checking, you actually have no space left in your kitchen. Keep in mind that there are ice cream makers that are extremely heavy which will make transportation from the cabinet to the countertop difficult.
Check your countertop and kitchen storage areas first and foremost before deciding on the size of the desert maker to buy.
Some Worthy Ice Making Tips
Ice cream making is without a doubt a fun thing to do in the kitchen. But if you are serious about this and really wants to please everyone in the household, you might want to try these tips.
- Put gel canisters at the farthest back of the freezer since it is the coldest part.
- Shake gel canisters before putting ingredients in. If it sounds sloshy, then it is not ready yet.
- Cool your ice cream ingredients beforehand. This is said to make the ice cream freeze more quickly.
- Best temperature for a great ice cream consistency is 38 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Do not remove the gel canisters from the freezer until all the ingredients are ready.
- The key ingredients you have to remember by heart are 9-12% milk solids and 10-16% milk fat.
- You can store the homemade ice cream overnight for best results.
- When storing, make sure to put the homemade ice cream in shallow freezer containers.
- Never add more sugar than the recipe calls for. Ice cream tends to be sweeter during the freezing process.
- Try out different recipes! There are so many flavors to make so try out a lot of recipes and let us know your favorite!
The Best Ice Cream Maker Brands
You are almost perfectly ready to go get your dream ice cream maker. We have one last thing to discuss with you and that would be the best ice cream maker brands based on real customer ratings and satisfaction score. With this last part, there is no way your ice cream maker shopping can go wrong.
Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt & Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker
The Cuisinart ICE-21 is actually the #1 bestselling ice cream maker in Amazon today with close to 2,000 raving reviews by real customers who have purchased it. It has got a large and solid mixing paddle that can produce your favorite frozen desserts in about 20 minutes or even less.
This can produce 1 to 1-1/2 quarts of ice cream and has a double insulated freezer bowl which totally eliminates the need for ice. It also has a transparent lid which is another plus point.
Nostalgia Electrics ICMP400BLUE 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker
With an almost perfect 4.5-star rating at Amazon after close to 600 customer reviews, this ice cream maker is absolutely affordable yet offers a large capacity of 4 quarts.
Package includes a plastic bucket and plastic dasher. It basically works like the traditional ice cream maker but the electric motor does the churning to achieve the perfect consistency.
Hamilton Beach 68830N 4-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker
This is yet another affordable but large capacity ice cream maker that consumers prefer. It is able to produce about 4 quarts of ice cream in as quickly as 20 to 40 minutes. It is absolutely affordable yet features a fully automatic operation.
This can make ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, and even gelato. Package comes with an easy-lock lid and user manual with 20 recipes included.
Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker
Made from stainless steel, this desert maker looks elegant and classy while having the great capability to produce healthy and delicious desserts. This 1-1/2 quart capacity bowl can freeze up to 3 quarts of ice cream or sorbet per hour. It works fully automatic which means you just have to pour in the ingredients and press the button.
This also features a timer for different frozen dessert confections. Package includes housing, bowl, and a paddle made of stainless steel as well.
Donvier 837409W 1-Quart Ice Cream Maker
Now if manual paddling is your thing, you might want to check this affordable ice cream maker from Donvier that does not need any ice or rock salt to produce frozen desserts. It can make up to 1 quart of ice cream and has an aluminum freezer bowl for faster freezing and easy cleaning. Package comes with recipes.
This buying guide is a great starting point to an informed purchase, and we hope that it points you to the perfect ice cream maker for your budget and your needs.
If you’re looking for a yogurt maker, then read our special buying guide for yogurt maker machines!