Listen: Everyone would prefer homemade ice cream from an ice cream maker than receiving a scoop of hard, low-quality store bought ice cream.
That said, it’s a major misconception that making homemade ice cream is difficult to make, not to mention expensive. You can buy the best ice cream maker for cheap online, and you’ll be surprised at the quality and ease of making ice cream using the machine. Ice cream base, frozen yogurt, soft-serve ice cream, the possibilities are endless with an ice cream maker. And, as stated above, ice cream makers are cheap if you know where you look! Stop wasting your money on low quality ice cream from the store, and invest in an ice cream machine.
Below, we’ll be giving you the breakdown on how ice cream makers came to be, and how you can incorporate one into your kitchen. From beginners to advanced ice cream makers, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the information you’re about to read.
What Is An Ice Cream Maker?
An ice cream maker for in-home use is an appliance used to produce small portions of frozen ice cream for personal consumption. There are several models ice cream makers come in, so it’s up to you how much manual work you want to put into making the ice cream.
One of the ice cream maker models requires you to use your hands to mix the ice cream manually. Another ice cream maker model comes with an electric motor, which churns the ice cream for you. Both of these vary in price, so you should buy an ice cream maker in regards to your budget.
If you want to go all out on your ice cream maker, you can purchase a machine that comes with a compressor. A compressor works to chill the ingredients used at temperatures below freezing.
Both manual and electric ice cream makers can get as cold as a compressor can. One perk of a compressor is that you can make continuous batches of ice cream, which comes in handy when you want to switch over to only making ice cream at home.
The more expensive machine will have a compressor while the cheapest machine will be the manual one. Regardless of the style of ice cream machine you invest in, you will need to put it in the freezer in order to keep it fresh and make sure your frozen dessert remains a delicious ice cream.
History Of Ice Cream Makers
There is a long history associated with ice cream makers to make frozen dessert, and as you read, you’ll see that as technology progressed, so did ice cream makers.
The delicious ice cream we are familiar with today came into existence around the 17th century in the circles amongst British royalty.
A chef employed by Charles I of England utilized a technique of shaking flavored cream in a dish of ice.
Everyone in the king’s circle loved ice cream once they tried it, but Charles I decided to keep the recipe a secret. The formula became officially known as the “Royal Secret,” but it didn’t stay secret for long.
Once the formula got out, around the 1800’s you’ll notice the emergence of ice cream parlors in Europe that used the same technique Charles I chef did.
Europe To America
It wasn’t in Europe where ice cream grew in popularity, but it was in America where it blew up. There’s even documentation stating how George Washington spent hundreds of dollars buying an ice cream machine in a time when one dollar was seen as a lot of money.
All the previous models were not similar to the ones we use today, so it wasn’t until 1843 when you see the development of the modern ice cream maker. Nancy Johnson from New York invented an easy-to-use ice cream maker that incorporated the hand crank system.
She later sold her ice cream maker patent to a company that started to manufacture the device in mass quantities. This is why during the 1800’s ice cream grew so quickly in popularity, and continued to increase to this day.
Different Types Of Ice Cream Makers
Ice cream makers come in various models, and it’s up to you to choose which one suits your needs. If you’re picturing an ice cream maker in the shape of a bucket, you’re probably thinking about the traditional ice cream maker model. Unfortunately, bucket-style ice cream makers are for professional use rather than personal in-home use.
Whether you want to make homemade chocolate ice cream, the best vanilla ice cream, or a fruit sorbet, you should keep reading to find out more information about personal ice cream makers.
Hand Cranked Ice Cream Maker
Manual ice cream makers are the cheapest and most readily available option. If you are a beginner to making ice cream, I would suggest giving a hand cranked ice cream maker a chance.
These machines typically use actual ice, which accounts for how they look. A hand cranked ice cream machine comes with two buckets. The first larger bucket requires ice and salt, and the second smaller container is meant for the ice cream portion.
The electric version of this ice cream maker comes with a motor that spins the paddle for you. The hand-cranked model has a hand crank you have to turn to churn the ice cream manually.
Things To Keep in Mind
The hand-cranked ice cream makers can become messy if you’re not careful. When your ice cream is finished, you should expect a portion of your ice to melt. It’s recommended to keep your ice cream maker in an environment where some spilled water won’t do any harm.
The ideal spot for a hand cranked ice cream maker is in your garage or back porch. In fact, for those buying big ice cream maker models, leaving it in these locations is preferred.
The old-fashioned ice cream maker models provide several advantages. They produce a large amount of ice cream, and they are fairly inexpensive. Any hand cranked ice cream maker will produce at least four quarts or more. Electric models can only make up to one quart at a time.
If you want to make a lot of ice cream at once, you will get the most out of your money with this model.
What’s The Price Range?
A decent four-quart model will cost you somewhere between $40-$50, while larger six-quart machines cost around $100.
Electric Ice Cream Maker
Modern electric ice cream makers fall into two categories, freezer-assisted, and self-refrigerating. The self-refrigerating model comes with compressors that are built-in while freezer-assisted models need an already frozen container to ensure the cold necessary to make ice cream.
A freezer-assisted canister is less expensive than self-refrigerating ice cream makers, but don’t produce a lot of ice cream. They do produce excellent quality ice cream, so with every bite, you can taste the ingredients you used. This makes for a fun activity, whether you’re making vanilla ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt, or soft serve ice cream, again, the possibilities are endless!
To freeze every single batch, you’ll need to use a pre-frozen container. This container will typically last only one batch of ice cream because you’ll need to put it back in your freezer to refreeze it so you can use it again.
This means that after every batch of ice cream you make with a freezer-assisted electric ice cream maker; you should expect to wait a couple of hours before the freezing container can be suitable for you to use. That said, if you are interested in making homemade soft serve ice cream, you won’t have to wait long – if at all – to consume your frozen dessert.
The ice cream quality changes immensely when you use a freezer-assisted electric ice cream maker when compared to churning the ice cream by hand. This makes the freezer-assisted model the optimal ice cream maker when you’re inviting a couple of friends over and want to impress them.
If you want to make more batches of ice cream, you can cut down the waiting period of the freezing container when you put more than one in the freezer. This requires you to spend more money, so most people opt out to use the self-refrigerating electric ice cream maker. You can also use ice cream base to make the process easier.
For those looking for a professional quality ice cream maker, you need to buy one with a compressor. Your freezer comes with a compressor, so a self-refrigerating ice cream maker stays cold all on its own.
If you want an ice cream maker to work efficiently and fast, a compressor enables an ice cream maker to do both. All you have to do is just add your ingredients to the machine and press go. You can’t get any simpler than that unless you go to the store and buy a gallon of ice cream.
These machines typically produce better quality ice cream because the compressor maintains a constant temperature throughout the entire ice cream making process. Fridge-assisted machines or hand cranked models warm up when you churn the ice cream, which as a result lowers the overall quality and flavor of the ice cream.
When you use a self-refrigerated model, the exposure to a constant temperature means that your ingredients will turn into ice cream at a much faster pace than using any other type of model. An increased speed entails there is a less amount of time for ice crystals to emerge. This means when you use a compressor, your ice cream comes out smoother than if you were to use the freezer-assisted model.
Keep in mind that compressors take up a lot of space. In fact, self-refrigerating ice cream makers are easy twice the size of your standard freezer-assisted ice cream maker. Even though both produce about one to two quarts of ice cream, the compressor is still larger in size than other electric ice cream maker models.
For those who don’t have a lot of space, you might want to think twice before buying an ice cream maker that comes with a compressor.
What’s The Price?
A self-refrigerating ice cream machine is an investment since the cheapest models cost a couple of hundred dollars. You should expect to spend at least $200 on a decent model, but prices can climb higher than that.
For those expecting to make ice cream all the time, it would be a worthy investment to buy an expensive self-refrigerating ice cream maker. You would surely get your money’s worth.
Well-known brands that sell top tier self-refrigerating ice cream makers are as follows: Cuisinart, Donvier, White Mountain, Hamilton Beach and Rival.
Freezable bowl vs. Built-in Freezer
How To Use It
When it comes to ice cream makers, the required steps depend on the machine you have. Some machines require no work at all on your part, while others need constant attention to produce creamy ice cream.
Using An Electric Ice Cream Maker
1. After you are done preparing and refrigerating the ice cream recipe, you should Pour the final mixture into the ice cream container.
2. You should fill the ice cream canister about 3/4th full since the mixture will expand during the churning process. You need to make sure that you insert the container in its proper place because the machine won’t work otherwise.
3. Once you place the cover on the canister, you should put it in the bucket the rest of the machine comes with. When you hear a click, you know the container is lodged into place.
4. The next step is essential to the ice cream making process. You have to place the motor drive on top of the ice cream container cover. This enables the dasher stem to engage with the hole located on the bottom of the motor driver.
5. After everything is properly in its place, you can now plug in the ice cream maker. Once the device is on, you should add about 3 inches of crushed ice to the bottom of the bucket, not the ice cream container.
6. Tip: It’s recommended to add about 1/4 cup of rock salt over the crushed ice to promote the mixture to turn into creamy ice cream.
7. You should continue adding layers of crushed ice and rock salt, and alternate respectively each time. Most ice cream machines come with a smart scoop that you can use to continually add layers of crushed ice. You should do this until the crushed ice level reaches the top of the ice cream container that should be now rotating.
8. Now it’s a waiting game since you have to wait 20 to 40 minutes for the ice cream maker to finish its job.
9. Once the machine stops churning, you need to carefully remove the motor drive as well as the ice cream container. It’s essential you clean off the ice cream canister’s lid. This prevents salt or water from entering the container holding the ice cream.
10. Next, you should take the dasher out and scrape off the excess ice cream with a spatula. You should also pack down the ice cream in the container and replace the lid to cover it.
11. The final steps require you to place the ice cream canister in your freezer for a couple of hours so it can fully harden. Once several hours pass by, you can transfer the finished ice cream to even smaller containers, or you can scoop out some to enjoy on the spot.
Questions You Need To Ask Yourself
What do I need from my ice cream maker:
What Type Of Ice Cream Maker Do I Need?
As you read above, there are different types of ice cream makers available. It’s up to you to choose which one best suits your needs. Going off of popularity, the freezer-assisted models are a best-seller when compared to other ice cream makers.
Freeze-assisted ice cream makers are easy to use and don’t cost a lot of money. If money isn’t an issue, a machine with a compressor is the way to go. A compressor can chill ingredients at temperatures below freezing. No other ice cream maker can achieve such temperature readings.
As a side note, if you want to make continuous batches of ice cream, I would recommend buying an ice cream maker with a compressor. All the other machines are good for a one-time use since you have to wait for them to freeze up again.
Manufacturers That You Can Trust
There’s a large variety of ice cream maker manufacturers to choose from, and we’re here to tell you which one’s are worth your money. The brands listed below all provide ice cream makers at varying prices, and ice cream mixture and/or ice cream base at various costs, so it all depends on your budget.
Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker
Cuisinart has a long history manufacturing affordable, high-quality kitchen supplies. Currently, Cuisinart sells eight different ice cream makers that can do more than just make ice cream. Some of their machines can produce yogurt, sorbet, and even gelato.
All Cuisinart Ice Cream Makers cost around $100, so imagine how much money you would save a year when you start making your ice cream at home.
Donvier Ice Cream Maker
While there isn’t a lot of information specifically about Donvier, there are enough satisfied customers that state Donvier manufactures a top-grade ice cream maker. Martha Stewart stands by her Donvier Ice Cream Maker, and only uses this brand to make her ice cream.
Almost all Donvier Ice Cream Maker models all carry about one quart of ice cream, so don’t expect to get a lot out of one batch. For in-home use, Donvier produces the ideal ice cream maker.
Rival Ice Cream Maker
If you want an ice cream maker that looks visually appealing, Rival should be your go-to manufacturer. All the ice cream makers Rival manufactures contain a lot of colors and come in the shape of an ice cream cone.
Your children will beg to help you in the kitchen when they see you making ice cream in a Rival Ice Cream Maker.
For those worried about price, don’t be when it comes to Rival products. All their ice cream makers cost below $50, which is convenient if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on an ice cream maker.
Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker
For those who value variety, Hamilton Beach is the manufacturer that provides both variety and affordability.
When you take a look around your kitchen, you’ll notice that you already have a handful of Hamilton Beach products. If you are satisfied with those products, then you can expect the same type of satisfaction from a Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker.
Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Makers vary in size from 1.5 pints to 4 quarts, and they all vary in design. Their most expensive ice cream maker costs under $50 and produces consistent creamy results.
White Mountain Ice Cream Maker
For those who want the traditional ice cream maker model, White Mountain manufacturer’s their ice cream makers on those standards. This is because White Mountain has a long history with ice cream making since they were one of the original companies to mass produce in-home ice cream makers.
White Mountain offers two types of ice cream makers, but their design is entirely the same. When you think about the original bucket ice cream maker with a hand crank at the side, you’re thinking about a White Mountain Ice Cream Maker. You can choose between electronic version and the manual version of the same White Mountain Ice Cream Maker.
How To Clean An Ice Cream Maker?
After every ice cream making session, you should start by completely disassembling the machine. The owners manual will come in handy during this part because every ice cream maker has its specific quirks.
When you remove all the pieces, you should pour a mixture of hot water and soap into the freezing chamber of your ice cream maker. More modern ice cream makers have a wash cycle setting similar to a dishwasher, so you can just run this feature when you’re cleaning the inside.
Once you’re done soaking and cleaning, you should towel dry the parts and let them air dry for a couple of minutes. After the drying is complete, you can start to reassemble the machine and get it working again.
Few Ice Cream Recipes
Depending on the flavor you want to make the ingredients may vary, but the most popular ice cream flavor to start with is vanilla.
- Two cups of Half and Half
- One cup of heavy whipping cream
- One and a half teaspoons of vanilla extract
- Half a cup of sugar
1. You need to combine all the ingredients listed above in a bowl and mix it thoroughly.
2. Next, you have to start the ice cream maker and pour the ice cream mixture through the designated lid. You need to follow your specific ice cream maker owner’s manual for this part since each machine requires different steps.
3. Depending on the consistency you want, you can churn the ice cream mix for around 20 to 40 minutes and voila! You now have ice cream you can enjoy.
Which ice cream maker size should I get?
Assuming you want a standalone ice cream maker, the most popular size is 1.5 quarts. This is enough to serve around 4 people without leftovers. If you have a larger family or want to entertain guests, you can go for a 2-quart or even a 4-quart capacity machine.
What should I look for in an ice cream maker?
When buying an ice cream maker, you should consider the following factors:
- Capacity: How much ice cream do you want to be able to make at one time?
- Ease of use: Some ice cream makers are more complicated than others. Look for one that is easy to operate.
- The type of freezer required: Some ice cream makers need to be placed in the freezer for several hours before they can be used.
- The price: Ice cream makers range in price from around $30 to $200.
How long do you churn ice cream in an ice cream maker?
You’ll need to churn your ice cream for about 20-30 minutes. Churning times will vary depending on the recipe, ingredients, and type of ice cream maker you’re using.
If you’re using a larger machine, you may be able to churn multiple batches of ice cream at once. This can be a great time saver if you want to make a lot of ice cream. Simply add the ice cream mix to your machine, turn the machine on, and watch the churning process begin!
Is a compressor ice cream maker worth it?
Compressor ice cream makers are more expensive than other types of ice cream makers, but they are a great addition to any kitchen and can be used to make a variety of different signature flavors. If you’re looking for an easy way to make a variety of homemade ice creams, then a compressor ice cream maker is a good choice.
Is Cuisinart a good ice cream maker?
There are a ton of companies that produce ice cream makers, but Cuisinart is definitely one of the best. Their products are high quality and very user-friendly. If you’re looking for truly delicious ice cream, Cuisinart is the way to go. Be sure to experiment with different flavors to find your perfect combination.
Is it worth it to make your own ice cream?
Making your own ice cream at home is a fun and easy way to enjoy this tasty treat. Plus, you’ll be able to control the ingredients, so you can make sure your ice cream accommodates the tastes and dietary preferences of your friends and family. It is also a great activity for families to do together!
Ice cream makers have a rich history and have come a long way since the times of Charles the I. Charles the I couldn’t go to a store to buy some ice cream, so he had to make do. Nowadays people spend so much money buying ice cream that they don’t realize how much they are losing out on making it themselves.
The primary benefit ice cream makers provide is that you can make ice cream anytime you please, and you’re guaranteed to save money. If you want to learn more about particular ice cream makers based on the brands listed in this article, or, if you’re interested in a Walmart ice cream maker, you should check out our comprehensive ice cream machine buying guide.