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Ice cream machines

Are ice cream machines a worthwhile purchase? Opinions!

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  1. Yes. If you enjoy making ice cream.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      What if you enjoy it, but don't plan on doing it?

      1. re: SnackHappy

        What if you enjoy it, but don't plan on doing it?

        Then asking whether an ice cream machine is a worthwhile purchase is the least of your problems.

      2. re: ipsedixit

        .u. Yes I do enjoy making ice cream! Do you use machine?

      3. I've been using my ice cream machine regularly for over 20 years. It's electric, but you have to put ice and salt in. I've considered getting a newer one, but hate to give up the freezer space to keep one of the inserts frozen.
        These days, we use the machine mostly for frozen yogurt, but homemade banana ice cream is probably the best thing that comes out of it.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jmcarthur8

          jmcarthur8 Is that a hand crank machine?

          ipsedixit, thanks, I should do it for fun!

          1. re: bischlat

            The bowl machines aren't great because you have to keep the bowl in the freezer at all times. Plus they don't really get cold enough so you'll notice a difference in the quality of ice cream you make vs. what you can get in the store (homemade will be icier).

            I'd say only buy an ice cream maker if you don't mind spending a lot of money on something you will hardly ever use. Delonghi makes an ice cream/gelato maker which I've heard is good. I bought one by Lello (4090) which is okay but I personally would not buy again (I don't think it is well-made). If I had to do it over again I would get the Musso Lussino 4080 which I think is the best consumer machine on the market.

            1. re: bischlat

              No, bischlat, it's not a hand crank. It's got an electric motor at the bottom that spins the churn in the canister. It's a Waring 'Ice Cream Parlor'.

          2. I gave mine away after a summer or two of frustration.

            I thought I would enjoy making homemade ice cream but I didn't. In the end it was too much of a time commitment.

            I had a Cuisinart, can't remember which model.

            What I didn't know prior to purchasing it -

            That the bowl takes up so much room in the freezer and it must be stored in the freezer for a long time prior to using it, you can't just pop it in Saturday morning to make ice cream Saturday afternoon.

            The recipes I liked called for cooking the base ahead of time and chilling in the fridge. I simply wasn't good at planning in advance.

            The machine produced ice cream the consistancy of soft serve. My family likes hard ice cream. Again, putting the batch in the freezer to set-up was another step and additional waiting time.

            None of the above were huge deals on their own but added together, I realized I am too lazy to put that much work into homemade ice cream. Also, with a child bouncing around, rioting for ice cream, the Friday night to Saturday night process wasn't fun for either of us. There are machines out there that produce a much faster batch but I didnt' want to shell out that much cash or storage space.

            I may pick up one of those old style ice/rock salt machines for occasional summer use.

            1. I bought a Cuisinart and we use it a lot. I got it mainly because I have a child with food allergies, and commercial ice cream has cross contamination issues. I bought an extra freezer bowl as well, and I have no problem fitting them in my freezer. We mix up the batter, stick it in fridge for a few hours or freezer for 1/2 hour, and it then takes 15-20 min in the machine. It is softer than store bought, but you can put in the freezer to harden. It then gets super-hard, although if you add some alcohol to the recipe it won't freeze solid (we don't, so we nuke it for a bit to soften). It is not instant ice cream, takes a little planning, but it is so good & you know exactly what is in it.

              1. I have the basic "bowl in the freezer" model Cuisinart. I Iike it. I just throw the basic recipe in the blender, chill it, pour it into the machine the next day, and twenty minutes later, voila, ice cream. I like it that I know exactly what went into it. It is a softer ice cream, but I find that when I put the rest into a carton to freeze, the next day the texture is quite good. I make a basic vanilla with a couple of egg yolks, and I honestly prefer it to fancy store bought, especially with a little salted caramel sauce! BTW my basic recipe is a cup of milk, two cups of cream, a good splash of Mexican vanilla, a pinch of salt, and two jumbo egg yolks with between half and three quarters of a cup of sugar.

                1 Reply
                1. re: tim irvine

                  thx for the recipe!! i just got an Edgestar machine. it has a compressor. so far i've made the chocolate from david lebovitz' website. turned out terrific!!

                2. People would have you believe it takes forever to make ice cream at home. It doesn't. It takes about 20 minutes of actual labor. Most of the time you spend waiting. And it's not the kind of waiting you need to spend standing over a pot, watching constantly.

                  I've made hundreds of quarts in my Cuisinart ice cream model. Most have been good. Those that weren't were my fault because I experimented and deviated from established ratios.

                  If you know what you're doing, your ice cream won't be icy.

                  No ice cream maker you can buy for the home will produce hard ice cream. You have to freeze homemade ice cream for a few hours for it to harden up.

                  As for the bowls taking up freezer space, they don't take up significantly more space than the container you'll use to store the ice cream after you make it. All you'll be doing is swapping one container for another. So what?

                  If planning one day in advance is too much for you to handle, stay away. Otherwise, go for it.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: NotJuliaChild

                    okay, let me ask this; is it possible to get a medium or small size 1, that I don't have to stick the stupid bowl in the freezer? Reason being, my freezer is old, my refrigerator is old, it's stuffed with food, and it's not going to freeze that low a temperature. So that would probably fail in my freezer; I don't think I have a low enough temperature. And I don't want to go out and buy a new refrigerator just so I can make ice cream. I also don't want to use the salt method, so is there a little electric mixer, that does most of the work? And it doesn't depend wholeheartedly on freezing the stupid bowl at a very low temperature? Anyhow thanks.

                    1. re: doreet

                      Hi Doreet, Sure you can...I have one! Not too large, totally automatic, don't have to stick bowl in freezer, doesn't make a lot~maybe 1 qt? It's a Cuisinart, but I can't tell you the model, I am not where it is right now! I have had it at least 4 years, and it works really well! I used to use a larger ice cream maker, electric, but you had to put in salt/ice; then I tried one where you put the bowl in the freezer-hated it! Good luck!

                      1. re: doreet

                        My Cuisinart looks like this one - http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-ICE-5... But - I don't remember it was that expensive? There is also a newer, and less expensive one shown on that page!

                    2. I have a related question. I don't consume enough ice cream to justify an ice cream maker but I might consume enough ice cream, gelato, and sorbet combined to put things over the top. I'm led to understand that those three things require different speeds to produce the different textures. Does a relatively simple machine have settings for all of them or am I looking at a big price tag or (egads) separate machines for each of these?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nokitchen

                        You can make all three with the same machine that has only one speed.

                        You will never be able to replicate the stuff from a gelateria simply because you don't have the necessary equipment, eg a low temp freezer.

                        But that said what differentiates homemade gelato from homemade ice cream will turn on your ingredients (ie less fat in gelato which means more whole milk and less cream than in traditional ice cream).

                        Same is true for sorbet (ie no fat). In fact you don't even need an ice cream machine to make sorbet.

                      2. Depends on so many factors. We had an Il Gelataio for years but it was huge and VERY heavy so eventually we parted company with it. But you can make things that can't be bought, lovely combinations. You can do, basically, anything---pear sorbet with Pear William, kiwi sorbet, bananas-and-cream ice cream, sour cream ice cream, double chocolate-chocolate with Amaretto---there really is no limit to what you can make as long as you observe a few basic rules. Lots of fun.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Querencia

                          Ok, so even if ll Gelato is heavy, (not a big deal for us)does it cost a fortune?can you use real yogurt in it?so it iis electric and has a motor?

                          I'm thinking,one not so dependent on a frozen bowl,cause all that type i bought,were failures, and huge pains. I hated them, too, and just went to Dairy Queen for soft serve cones,which I love.Making lower fat ice yogurt,or ice milk,is EXACTLY WHAT I WANT TO DO!

                          What i resort to now,is freezing the liquid into solid ice,chopping it up, and pureeing it in a cuisinart blender---which never has enough motor-power for anything.Then, i have to re-freeze it.I'm not doing that with an ICE CREAM MAKER, TOO.Iff you gotta refreeze it A LOT, frreeze it solid, use a food processor or blender.. you don't even need an ice cream maker. Screw those plastic frozen bowls!! WHY don't they make em metal?if metal is colder? I don't the that plastic- freeze-bowl one is worth it.

                        2. I have a freeze the bowl, two-bowl Cuisinart, and I really enjoy making ice cream. I do it most often for dinner guests who simply love the idea of all-natural, homemade delights.

                          Frozen ice pop makers, manual or machine, haven't been worthwhile to me though.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Rigmaster

                            Thanks for all the replies, sounds like cuisinart is a good idea. About freezing the bowl, I heard you can put the entire machine in the freezer while it churns? I guess that would help. jmcarthur8, that sounds way better than a hand crank one!

                            Has anyone heard of olive oil sorbet? Thats one thing I also wanted to experiment with.

                            1. re: bischlat

                              Only if you have a ton of space and don't mind leaving your freezer door open for the cord. Seems pointless to me.

                              1. re: jaykayen

                                Thats what I thought too! I wonder what that person was talking about...

                            2. re: Rigmaster

                              I've been considering one of the Cusinarts. A question, though: about how big is the bowl? Freezer space is at a premium in chez Pine.

                            3. It depends. We once had an electric version of the old hand-crank type. Seldom used, so it went to charity. Last spring we were given a new one as a gift. Breville, I think. We've used it twice. We only buy ice cream twice a month, on average.

                              We don't have to pre-freeze the bowl, but it takes a long time to make the ice cream, then it still has to chill. And it's NOISY!! Really, annoyingly so.

                              1. I was given a cuisinart soft serve maker. Haven't used it yet, but planning to take it out this spring.

                                1. Does cuisinart make dense, premium type ice cream? I agree about ice pop makers, I can just use cups for that lol.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: bischlat

                                    If you start with a good base and make sure it is chilled prior to putting it into the machine, your results will be close. Remember that it will be soft, like soft serve, so if you are looking for hard ice cream, you will need to finish it in the freezer. I had a stainless steel pan that I used for the final freezing step.

                                    1. re: cleobeach

                                      luckily, I have the patients to let it set up in the freezer! Speaking of bases, what do you think of Jeni's style, with no egg yolks?

                                      1. re: bischlat

                                        I tried no yolk bases (not Jeni's but others from the cookbook and internet) and I did not like the results. Honestly, as I mentioned up thread, I found the home ice cream process a lot of work for little reward so take my opinions with a grain of salt. I was doing this in a small kitchen (no AC during the summer while cooking the base) and a small fridge/freezer so space was at a premium.

                                        I liked my results but a typical ice cream venture for my family was me doing the base Friday evening and chilling it in the fridge. The next day, put it in the machine until done and then put it in the freezer to set up. I liked the end product but with a kiddo and other cooking to be performed, it was more work than I wanted to take on as a regular weekend task.

                                        1. re: cleobeach

                                          Haha I understand, it probably would have made more sense just to make some pb&j for the kiddo at that point!

                                  2. I have the Cuisinart that has its own compressor. No having to freeze the bowl. It takes about 20-25 mins to freeze churn a batch of chilled IC base. It does have to be kept upright at all times. If turned on its side it will need to settle for 24 hours before using. Mine lives permanently on top of my front load washer. The IC is very creamy, more gelato like than many others.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Candy

                                      Turned on its side? I'm picturing ice cream on the floor haha

                                      1. re: Candy

                                        Is this the unit that retails for roughly $300? If so do you find this machine is worth the extra money versus the $50 model that requires you to freeze the bowl. Seems expensive for a one trick pony, but I really love ice cream so perhaps it is worth it.

                                        1. re: angelo04

                                          Yeah, for my purposes I'd get a less expensive one

                                      2. This is a great item to look for at yard sales. That way, if you don't use it very often you won't have spent much for one. I see them frequently for five dollars or less. It's one of those things that people buy or are given, hardly use, and sell for almost nothing. Fortunately, yard sale season is upon us!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: bostonhound

                                          pshh thats a shame if someone hardly uses one!

                                        2. Bought my Cuisinart refurbished, which was about half the price and still came with a warranty. Yes, it takes up space in the freezer, but we love the result, which makes up for the inconvenience. I make a no eggs, no-cook variety so planning is not really an issue. And softer ice cream is fine - it heightens the flavours some. Yummmm

                                          1. Yes, if you generally enjoy the process of cooking, the requisite planning and valuing the quality of what you ingest. I have the simple motorized Cuisinart for which you keep the batch bowl in the freezer. Get a second bowl if you've the freezer space so you always have two ready to go. Make sure the bowl is completely dry when placing in freezer & in a zip lock bag so there are no icy crystals on it when you're ready to use it. Mostly fool proof. Makes sorbets too. IC comes out soft -- thick milkshake like but otherwise ready to eat. If you want it hard you have to then freeze it overnight. I've found that over-churning tends to result in icy crystals forming in the IC. I never churn longer than 20 mins & sometimes less.

                                            1. We love our Cuisinart. I give it priority space in the freezer. Made the absolute world's best chocolate once, and the port wine ice cream was a huge hit at a dinner party. We also make ice milk and can do gelato and frozen yogurt. It tastes so much better (and without weird ingredients) than store bought. We don't use it frequently (always dieting) but it's so nice to have when you really want a special dessert.

                                              1. Absolutely worth it! For years I had the kind - at our country place - that required rock salt and ice, and loved it. At home, I also tried one of the kinds that require you to put the bowl in the freezer - hated it! Now, I have splurged and bought a Cuisinart a couple of years ago...just plug it in and it makes great ice cream - It's not so large, though the second batch is even faster because it has already cooled - so it's easy to make more!

                                                1. I retired from an ice cream company in Seattle. We produced MILLIONS of gallons of ice cream for the Northwest, Alaska and Hawaii. I now consult for other companies. Ice cream is "soft filled" meaning that the temperature of the mix as it goes into the carton is around 12 to 18 degrees. The cartons are then sent to a 20 below freezing room for at least 24 hours. You don't get hard ice cream anywhere until the deep freeze step. Also, you can't use fresh eggs in a commercial ice cream product. You use pastuerized ( liquid ) eggs, available in you egg section of the store.

                                                  1. I have an old Delonghi tucked away in my kitchen, waaay up high on the top shelf of a cabinet along with other seldom used items. It is the old bowl-in-the-freezer, hand-crank type. Didn't pay much at the time, maybe around $25 or so.

                                                    I think the last time I used it was about 11 years ago, when I had friends over for a BBQ (which I don't do often, living in a townhome). I made 3 flavors--french vanilla, fresh strawberry, and chocolate mousse - all were outrageously good and not too much trouble. They all froze fairly hard as I recall I had to let them sit before I could scoop. I was on Weight Watchers at the time, ate too much left over ice cream, and promptly gained 3 lbs. So, being home alone now, I haven't used it since. Since it's not in the way, I'll keep it "just in case" I feel the need to make ice cream again. Chocolate mousse ice cream, you had me at first bite.

                                                    1. Yes an ice cream machine is worth it. I invested in a Nemox Gelato Pro 2500 and it gets used every week without fail in the last 2 years we have had it. We have kids as well and someone or the other will mention ice cream and it never gets boring.

                                                      Another advantage is that you can make it with just 3 ingredients 1) Whole milk, 2) Sugar 3) flavour

                                                      Extra cream is optional!! :) I did not know this until I started making ice cream. I always believed that ice cream cannot be make with ordinary whole milk which only has 4% fat.