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Can't master the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker

Got a new appliance for my birthday, but Im getting milkshakes instead of ice cream. Im freezing the freezer cup overnight; leaving the mixer bowl in there too. Even put the airtight plastic final presentation bowl in the freezer...and one day later I still have milkshakes. Any tips or insights?

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  1. Your freezer may not be cold enough, your base may be too warm when you put it in the freezer bowl, or your base may have too much sugar/alcohol in it to freeze properly. You can get a thermometer to check your freezer temp, it should be around zero degrees Fahrenheit. I usually chill my base at least six hours or overnight in the fridge to make sure it's well chilled before trying to churn in the ice cream maker. The closer to the warm side of freezing you can get it the better. If you post your base recipe someone may be able to see if there are problems with the ratios that may be preventing freezing.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Coogles

      my problem is that the book says it should take 20 minutes to churn, but my ice cream is done churning (soft serve to medium) at about 12 minutes. My freezer is/was set at -5 degrees F. I have, as of today, set it at O degrees F. I think it does not have enough air turned in. I use the Cuisinart and I also use the Kitchen Aid attachment. The Kitchen-Aid starts the clicking-tell-you when it is done and at that point, they both produce the same looking ice cream. (It would sit on a cone.) After I freeze it in the deep freeze, I cannot get it from the container, as it is like a ROCK! It needs to sit out for almost an hour before I can dish it from the container. I was considering adding some vodka to keep it from becoming a rock, but there are diabetics to consider. The last recipe I tried was 1 qt frozen Greek style yogurt, 1 cup sugar, 2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 c chopped blueberries (added during the last 5 mins). But the recipe, so far, makes no difference. They all turn to ROCK! Any suggestions?

      1. re: kateeskloset

        Add the vodka.

        Also the lack of fat is contributiing to the hardness.

        As to the diabetics, the sugar is the problem here, not any vodka you might add. And the lack of fat makes this recipe even worse for diabetics.

        Then you need to take it from the deep freeze and let it warm to about 5-10F before scooping.

        1. re: acgold7

          How much vodka would you add? (makes 1.5 qts) The yogurt was whole milk greek style. Maybe I should cut the amount of yogurt amount in half and and 2 c heavy cream and still add the vodka. Wadda ya think?

          1. re: kateeskloset

            A couple of tablespoons should suffice. I think your idea about subbing cream for half the yogurt is a good one.

          2. re: acgold7

            BTW.. alcohol is bad for some diabetics. see: http://alcoholism.about.com/od/diabet... I know it makes my blood sugar lever soar!

            1. re: kateeskloset

              That article is one of the worst ever. It only concerns massive consumption for those with advanced nerve damage, not small amounts of alcohol for those with their symptoms under control. The only risk is mentioned later in the article, which is the risk of low blood sugar, which obviously isn't an issue if they're eating ice cream loaded with sugar. Don't worry -- the amount of alcohol you'd use is minuscule compared to the massive amount of sugar in the recipe.

              About.com should generally be considered to be one of the least reliable sources of info on the web.

          3. re: kateeskloset

            You're correct to set out the ice cream for some time. I use double cream and egg yolks (=lots of fat), and sugar, but my ice cream is also rock hard from the freezer. So is Haagen-Dazs.

            I always intend to store freshly made ice cream in individual serving cups to speed up the softening time, and to avoid the hassle of softening more than I will be using. Silicone cupcake cases are the ideal size and the ice cream would be easy to unmold.

        2. Personally I think the old style ice and salt ice cream makers freeze better. I love my White Mountain with the cast iron dasher. I have retired the Cuisinart one I have.

          As for tips, everything needs to be very cold. From the freezing bowl, to the ice cream base. I agree maybe your freezer isn't cold enough? Break out the thermometer.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rasputina

            I have the Cuisinart one and love it. Very easy to use and the ice cream turns out perfect. Either robin4 has a lemon or as in the previous post her freezer is not cold enough, etc.

          2. sounds like your freezers not cold enough... not the ice cream maker. even if i do the "put the base directly in the freezer and stir every 30 minutes" method of making ice cream, i still have a completely solid base after a few hours

            1. I echo the advice to get a thermometer and check freezer temp. My freezer wasn't cold enough to effectively freeze the Cuisinart insert, even set at the coldest setting and though it froze food solid without problems. I cleaned all the dust, etc., from the back of the fridge and that helped bring the actual temp down to zero, which will freeze the insert adequately. Nevertheless, I still recommend leaving it in there at least 48 hours before using, and either chilling your ice cream/sorbet/fro-yo base overnight in the fridge or for 20-30 minutes in the freezer from room temperature.

              1. Before you clean out your freezer, or buy a new fridge, can you tell us what your ice cream recipe is?

                Things like sugar (too much of it), alcohol, and fats can make it hard for your ice cream to reach a frozen consistency because sugar and alcohol do not freeze.

                I ask because most people have ice cream that is too hard using the Cuisinart machine, not the other way around.

                Sometimes what you put into your ice cream maker makes as much difference as what you are putting your ice cream maker into.

                1. If you have a top-of-the-fridge type freezer unit, it may just not be cold enough to chill the cylinder. Just regular ice cube temperature doesn't come close to what you need to make ice cream with one of those gizmos. And depending on the fridge itself, you may never be able to get those temperatures. I know - I'm the voice of doom and I hope I'm wrong. Just turn the dial to max cold and chill the cylinder for at least a couple of days before trying again.

                  1. I used to have to leave my freezer cup in the freezer for four days before it would get cold enough to freeze the ice cream (I had a very old freezer that did not work very well). Even then, the ice cream itself would freeze into a solid block after a night in the freezer. What temperature is your freezer set to? Are the other things in your freezer frozen solid? How long does, say, a tray of ice cubes take to freeze in your freezer? How about a container of stew?

                    I agree with ipsedixit -- it could also be your recipe. What's in your ice cream mix? And how much of it did you make? A large quantity of ice cream in a warmish freezer could take a very long time to freeze. Ice cream with too much alcohol or sugar in it may never freeze (I once made a grapefruit-Campari sorbet with 1/2 cup of Campari that never froze past the slushy state).

                    1. "Overnight" is not long enough for the canister to be in the freezer. It needs to be in there a minimum of 24 hours (I learned this through experience).

                      1. Assuming you're using a published and tested recipe, the reason for this is almost always that your freezer isn't cold enough, as others have said. A $2 freezer thermometer from the hardware store will tell you all you need to know.

                        If your freezer isn't at zero or below, your canister will never get cold enough. Twelve or thirteen degrees is fine for serving temp, where you want the ice cream a little soft so you can scoop it, but it's not cold enough to freeze the mix in the first place.

                        From page 4 of your manual:

                        "Generally, freezing time is between 16 and 24 hours. Shake
                        the bowl to determine whether it is completely frozen. If you
                        do not hear the liquid within the bowl moving, the cooling
                        liquid is therefore frozen. For the most convenient frozen
                        desserts and drinks, leave your freezer bowl in the freezer at
                        all times. Use the bowl immediately after removing from the
                        freezer. It will begin to quickly defrost once it has been
                        removed from the freezer.
                        Reminder: Your freezer should be set to 0°F to ensure
                        proper freezing of all foods."

                        1. I think I might know what is going on. Ice cream isn't ready to eat after being made in the modern day ice cream makers but need to be placed in a container after it is churned and go in the freezer for a couple of hours. The ice cream maker makes very soft ice cream in part so that you can actually get it out and into the storage container. I think if you give freezing your creation a try it might work.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Astur

                            i think the OP is saying that even after freezing it overnight (post churning) they still have very soft ice cream

                          2. I agree with the comment about shaking the frozen core. If liquid sloshes around, it's not ready to use and either your freezer is not cold enough or you need to wait longer.

                            And it's also true that the consistency after making ice cream tends to be more like soft serve. But it sounds like yours is more like a milk shake than soft serve...

                            1. If one day later you still have a liquid, the problem is your ice cream mix, not the appliance.

                              You most likely have too much sugar or too much alcohol. Until you provide more details, we cannot say for sure.

                              1. Ice Cream Science has some great tips : http://icecreamscience.com/2012/06/13....

                                Hope this helps.

                                1. Hello Can someone please help? I have used my ice cream maker once and it worked fine. Now I go to use it again and the lid won't go down all the way. The freezer bowl won't fit down to far. Is that normal? I try to fit it like the book says but just won't go together. Help.

                                  I have further looked at it and the bottom of the freezer bowl has a hump in it all the way across. Is it suppose to be that way or should it be flat on the bottom? It's on the inside of the bowl.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: lrose421

                                    The under surface of the freezer bowl has a central indentation shaped to fit the cogs of the turning gear. Other than that, it is flat. The inner surface of the freezer bowl is also flat. A hump all the way across is not the way it is "supposed to be".

                                    Contact your seller or Cuisinart for advice, and try to return/ replace this item. You've used it only once, so it is probably quite new. I believe the machine has a 5 year guarantee.

                                    1. re: shaun theewe

                                      Thank you. Maybe I over froze it or something because the inside of the bowl is humped up all the way across. Thanks again for the help. It was driving me crazy.

                                  2. Hi Robyn, I run a small blog (http://icecreamscience.com/). I use the Cuisinart ICE30 for my ice cream and would recommend that you get your freezer as cold as possible before you freeze your bowl. I set mine to -25°C and it helps freeze the ice cream mix in about 16 minutes. I encountered the same problem as you, milkshake-like ice cream, when I first had my freezer at about -12°C. I can't stress enough the importance of getting your freezer as cold as possible.

                                    Hope that helps. Let me know if you need help.

                                    All the best, Ruben

                                    1. Robyn, when we've had this come up over at our blog (http://www.kitchenmonster.com) it's typically been related to your freezer not being cold enough like some others have also mentioned. I hope your future ice cream comes out great!

                                      Greg Greenwald