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Need some help deciding on an ice cream maker

My Mom loves ice cream and is really eager to try to make her own, so I'm thinking of getting her an ice cream maker for her birthday this year.

I've looked at a lot of models and reviews and have narrowed it down to the three below. Any recommendations of other great machines or thoughts about which of these to pick would be most appreciated.

WHITE MOUNTAIN ELECTRIC ICE CREAM MAKER: http://www.whitemountainproducts.com/...
PROS: Makes 6 quarts at a time; vessel is stainless steel and beaters are cast iron (but coated with what, I don't know); don't have to pre-chill vessel; company has a good reputation.
CONS: Reviews since 2011 seem to show a marked slip in quality; have to use ice and rock salt which will probably limit usability when my sister and I are not around to help; clean-up seems to be a pain.

CUISINART ICE-100: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-ICE-1...
PROS: Drive system is under the bowl, which seems like a better design; no need to chill bowl or use ice or rock salt; price is good for a compressor ice cream machine; decent reviews.
CONS: Bowl is aluminum coated with something and paddles are plastic; haven't had the best experience with Cuisinart customer service.

KITCHENAID MIXER WITH ICE CREAM MAKER ATTACHMENT: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store...
PROS: She gets the mixer as well, and since she talks about getting started baking bread all the time too, that would be a nice twofer; makes 2 qts at a time (more than the Cuisinart)
CONS: Cost, especially since I think this attachment only works with higher-priced models; seems like it only makes very soft ice cream; also has plastic blades and coated bowl; will have to pre-chill bowl and she usually doesn't have much freezer space.

If money (and storage space) were no object, I'd get her the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino: http://www.amazon.com/Lello-Musso-Lus... -- It has almost everything on my ice cream maker wish list: it's a compressor type machine, everything that touches the ice cream is stainless steel, no need to chill the bowl, great reviews overall.

Do any of you have this Lello model? And does it so far surpass the others that you think it's worth $699? Still don't think I could get it, but would love to know.

Thank you,

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  1. I have a KA with the ice cream attachment. Yes, it takes some planning & space to pre-freeze the bowl, mix & chill the batter. While the ice cream, when immediately done, is definitely soft-serve, it will freeze harder and beautifully in the freezer (I pour it into a fairly shallow pan to freeze, then scoop into an airtight container for storage).

    1. I think you should buy an ice cream maker where the bowl goes into the freezer and start that way. I would not spend the big bucks on an ice cream maker with a built in compressor until you determine how much interest your mother really has in making her own ice cream.

      I have seen this ice cream maker at thrift stores for as little as $15.


      Rival sells a new, similar model, for $30.

      5 Replies
      1. re: John E.

        I have no room in my freezer to have a bowl stored in it. I have had in the past been able to do that but I found it to be a pita.

        1. re: Candy

          That's why our ice cream maker gets so little use, no freezer room. Plus, it's really, REALY loud when the machine is running.

          We've used it twice. In 2 years. With so much good ice cream available from our supermarket and local ice cream stores, we can't see the point. YMMV.

          1. re: DuffyH

            I know that there are some great ice creams available but I still use my machine. I can make some specialty flavors. Lemon curd ice cream is a favorite among some other flavors. I can also use it to make chilled soups and cold drinks, Margaritas etc.

          2. re: Candy

            We generally have enough freezer space for the ice cream bowl. I dropped it on the cement floor of our basement and cracked it so we had to keep it in the freezer or the thing would leak the gel out.

            Then I bought an Italian made gelato maker with a compressor. That sat on a kitchen counter for a couple years and was used with less and less frequency. I moved it to the basement just before Easter. Then I moved the clock radio, then the mail that was behind the clock radio. The blender went back into the cupboard. I even moved the box of tissue. We now have 5' 3" of empty counter space to the left of the kitchen sink. The last time it had been that way was the day before we moved in 14 years ago. The rule now is that stuff can be set on that counter, but not a permanent location for anything. I wish we had cleared the clutter years ago. The counter on the other side of the kitchen is hopeless.

            Edit to add: I forgot to mention that I bought the grlato maker at a thrift store for 12 bucks.

        2. We sprung for the Musso Lussino perhaps 7 or 8 years ago as an upgrade to our Donvier manual with freezer canisters ice cream maker. Fortunately we have storage space to house the beast and more so that we actually splurged since it makes fabulous ice cream, gelato, sorbets etc. aside from not taking up freezer space on a constant basis (we had 2 of the Donvier cannisters) the Musso allows you to make batch after batch (well at least 4 in a row for us) and virtually hands free.. The only downsides are that it is noisy and the freezer bowl is built in and not removable so after spooning out all the ice cream you have to wash it out with a dishcloth and dry it with a towel to clean the polished SS. Otherwise flawless performer and proven durable.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ThanksVille

            I have one, too, and I agree, though I think you have to use it more than I do to justify it. I barely use mine. I'd consider selling it but shipping could be a problem.

            ninrn, can you make LESS than 6 quarts in the white mountain? That night be too much ice cream if it's just for your mom & dad and they don't have a bunch of grandkids running around wanting ice cream.

            1. re: ThanksVille

              Also using a musso lussino for the last 10+ years, it is A BEAST indeed, most important item for me in the kitchen :-) But it is for sure a costly machine, actually price stayed almost the same all those years. It is without a doubt the most solidly built home kitchen counter machine and everybody that aim for it, should for sure think about use per cost.

            2. My husband has the Cuisinart and it works really well. We enjoy his 'products' quite a bit. Makes great sorbet, creamy rich ice creams etc. Not too much of a pia either. I'd go that route.

              1 Reply
              1. re: debbypo

                Debbypo, does he have the Cuisinart with the compressor or the kind where you have to freeze the bowl?

              2. I bought the White Mountain and quit using my Cuisinart one and haven't looked back it works so much better. The cast iron dasher and stainless canister conduct the cold so much better than plastic does on the Cuisinart. The White Mountain is faster and freezes the ice cream to a firmer consistency.

                1. I have the Cuisinart with the compressor. I really like it. The only draw back I have had is that it needs to be upright at all times, if tilted you will need to let it rest upright for 24 hours. I keep mine in my laundry room on top of my washer (front loading) and I don't move it.

                  1. The best homemade ice cream I ever had was on the front porch with this fascinating creature called a female when I was 14 years old. Time seemed to fly as I cranked that thing by hand. Mom and Dad had an electric version in a wood bucket, but that was used when I was younger.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                      I'm afraid any ice cream my Mom makes will be consumed more to counteract the effect of her porch companion than to enhance it. ;-)

                    2. Hi Everybody,

                      Thanks so much for your comments and suggestions. They are extremely helpful.

                      I thought a lot about the usage vs cost ratio some of you bring up. The numbers are depressing, even for the less expensive compressor-style models. John E., you're probably right about the smart thing being to get a cheaper model to start out with, but I just can't see my Mom ever making space in the freezer for the bowl (or, in the case of the White Mountain, being able to deal with salt and ice when I'm not around).

                      The thing is, we don't get a great variety of ice cream flavors in the grocery stores out here, and almost never get peach, which is my Mom's favorite. And I haven't found a single really good ice cream parlor in the whole state in all the years I've been here (a real mystery since it's going to reach 90ºF next week and it's only April). So the ice cream maker's worth will really lie in the flavors she can make and in the fun of making them.

                      No matter what, it's a splurgey, frivolous gift, but she doesn't get many of those, and that's what makes me want to do it. Just don't want to screw up and get the wrong one, which is why I'm so grateful for your input.

                      Guess I'll keep (over)thinking.

                      Thanks again,

                      1. I own two old White Mountains. They make awesome ice cream. Probably a bit much for mom all alone though. You and/or sis/or together should own one just for family functions.

                        Have Fun!

                        1. Concerning the Kitchenaid ice cream freezer attachment, it does fit the older models. (Mine is the avocado green and I got it in the '70's.) Yes, you have to freeze the bowl but it has a 2 qt capacity and I just fill the bowl up with some of my freezer items. That was one of my concerns, also. I've had the kind where you use ice and salt and for me, it was a hassle. Talking about taking up freezer space, the bag of ice sure did! lol. My KA freezes the consistency of soft serve icecream, but it hardens in the freezer. I'm using stabilizers and thickeners and it's been (and still it) lots of fun trying these additives to the recipe. I've rec'd lots of help from this website and some of the others. Thanks to all of you that have shared your ideas.
                          Thanks. Cimra.

                          1. Hi Ninrn,

                            I recently played around with the Lello 4080 and its bigger sister the Lello 5030. Both make exceptionally smooth, creamy, and dense ice cream.


                            If you were considering the 4080, I would say spend a little more and go for the 5030 because of the difference in size of the freezer bowls: the 4080 lets you churn a maximum of 750g, while the 5030 has an impressive 1500g maximum capacity.

                            However, you do not have to spend a lot of money in order to make exceptional ice cream at home. The much cheaper Cuisinart ICE-100, or the ICE-30 for that matter, makes ice cream that is comparable in quality to that made by the Lello machines.


                            I have tried both the ICE-30 and the ICE-100 and they both make exceptional ice cream that is smooth, creamy, and dense. The only difference, apart from the freezer bowl size and the price, is that the ICE-100 has the in-built compressor. If you don't mind freezing your bowl overnight before you make a batch, then I would certainly recommend the ICE-30. This was the first machine I ever bought 5 years ago and I still use it today for my business.

                            I haven't tried the White Mountain machine but I have tried the KitchenAid attachment. I wasn't very impressed with the KitchenAid because the connection between the mixer and the bowl looked like it could break at any time and kept jumping when the mix started to harden! I was also very disappointed with the quality of the ice cream it made as it was airy and very runny after 30 minutes of churning. I don't think the KitchenAid and the KitchenAid attachment are worth the money, especially as you can get the Cuisinart ICE-30 for the same price as the KitchenAid attachment.

                            Hope that helps. Ruben

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: RubenPorto

                              This helps a great deal. Thank you!

                                1. re: RubenPorto

                                  And excellent blog, by the way. Just bookmarked it and can't wait to explore.

                            2. The machines with built-in compressors are really nice. Some have removable freezing bowls and some don't. That might be an issue for your mom. I don't believe the bowl in the Lello comes out. Not sure about Cuisinart. I purchased the De Longhi gelato maker because the bowl is removable. It's a small (1.5 pt) capacity but works really well and is easy to clean. I think they run in the $250 range.