August 13, 2010

Ice cream maker reviews

mango ice creamIf you click this photo to enlarge,
you'll be sorry that you can't put your spoon
through the computer screen to get a bite

coconut ice cream in ice cream makerI'm often asked what ice cream maker I use. Rather than just saying "buy this one — it's great", I did a few hours of research on ice cream makers. Well, guess what? I can honestly say of my machine, "buy this one — it's great!" For the price, I don't think you can beat the Cuisinart. But I'm including several other options for you to consider, too. is the first place I look when I'm considering any purchase. I haven't found any other website that has the volume or quality of reviews. Reviews saying "I just bought this and I love it!" are much less helpful to me than reviews saying "I've used this for 6 years with no problems." Click on the ads or links* below to read the details of each machine as well as the customer reviews.

The rating scale is 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. If the item is shipped by and sold by Amazon, any of these machines would have free shipping and no sales tax. If they are shipped by another vendor, then there may be shipping and/or taxes. If you are really interested in buying one, watch these prices as Amazon's prices change frequently. The prices that I mention in the text were the prices when I viewed the item. The prices in the ads will automatically update to Amazon's current prices.

I use the Cuisinart 1 1/2 quart electric ice cream maker and I love it. I've been using it for more than 10 years and it is still going strong! It cost $50 when I bought it and still costs around $50.
This is the type of machine where you have to store the ice cream canister in the freezer for at least 24 hours in advance. The instructions say at least 16 hours, but I haven't had any luck unless I keep it in the freezer a minimum of 24 hours. Needless to say, my canister lives in the freezer. This model gets an average rating of 4 1/2 stars from 1,103 users. Read more about this machine here: Cuisinart ICE-20 1-1/2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker.

A newer version of Cuisinart 1 1/2 qt. model has a slightly different blade and look. The Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker is currently priced at $47. This model only has 4 reviews so far but receives 5 stars, with three reviewers mentioning that it is quiet. A review of ice cream makers by Cooks Illustrated stated, "This model’s ice cream and sorbet rivaled the winner’s—at less than a quarter of the price."

Cuisinart recently came out with a sleek stainless steel 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker. I am sooooo tempted, but can't bring myself to spend $75 for an extra 1/2 quart. Although, I have been thinking it would be nice to have an extra canister ($40) to keep in the freezer for when I need to make a larger quantity of ice cream for guests. Looking at it from that standpoint, it's only an extra $35 dollars, right? ;-) If you have a larger family who loves ice cream, I'd recommend this one over the 1 1/2 quart. The 2-quart ice cream maker gets an average review of 4 1/2 stars from 408 users.

I recently received a notice from Amazon that all of their ice cream makers are 30% off (how did they know?). I had to take a look to see what else was new.

Amazingly, I found a $700 Italian ice cream maker! No! As much as I love ice cream, I can not imagine spending that kind of money on a machine unless it would do my laundry and wash the dishes, too. This type of machine has the advantage of having a built in freezer motor so you don't have to plan ahead or even pre-chill ingredients and can make multiple batches, but it also has a huge disadvantage. The ice cream container is not removable so you have to carry this 40 pound monster over to the sink to wash it out.

The Musso gets an average of 4 1/2 stars from 94 reviewers. If any of you try the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker, please let me know so I can be jealous!

I also discovered that Cuisinart has a Supreme Commercial Quality Ice Cream Maker for a mere $260. It also has the built-in commercial-style compressor freezer which allows for successive batches. Like the $700 model, it has a capacity of only 1 1/2 quarts. Unlike the Musso model, the ice cream container is removable for washing — that makes sense to me. The Supreme model gets an average of 4 stars from 128 reviewers, with several complaints about the noise.

(Hmm, maybe I should reply to Mr. Hasheed at the Bank of Nigeria about that $10 million inheritance after all.)

My first ice cream maker was very similar to this Rival 8550-X 5-Quart Wooden Electric Ice Cream Maker, but I was shocked to see that it now costs $65. I didn't use it very often because it was so messy with the ice and rock salt. The bucket leaked and eventually the ice cream tub started rusting. Things haven't changed much: this Rival gets a low 2 1/2 star rating.

Rival does make a $41 model with a plastic tub, Rival 8806-BL 6-Quart Oval Electric Ice Cream Maker which rates 4 stars with 49 reviews.

A similar
Hamilton Beach 68330R 4-Quart Automatic Ice-Cream Maker costs $33 and gets an average 4 1/2 star rating from 104 users. If you want ice cream for a crowd, the Hamilton Beach might be your best bet, but I'm not even sure whether rock salt is available in Honduras. If you factor in the cost of crushed ice and rock salt, I'm not sure that this type is really as economical as it might seem.

Along the same lines (ice and salt freezers), a big step up in price but not necessarily quality are the White Mountain electric ice cream makers. These make large quantities (4 to 6 quarts) and have large prices to match. The F69204-X 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Freezer costs $178 (3 1/2 star rating) and the F69206-X 6-Quart Electric Ice Cream Freezer costs $180 (4 1/2 star rating).

You can save a little (but not much!) if you have lots of kids willing to do the cranking by hand:
White Mountain F64304-X 4-Quart Hand-Crank Ice Cream Freezer at $134 (3 1/2 star rating) or the White Mountain F64306-X 6-Quart Hand-Crank Ice Cream Freezer at $153 (3 1/2 star rating). I saw way too many reports of serious quality issues in the White Mountain reviews to even consider any of this brand at these prices.

If you already own a KitchenAid mixer, the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment might be an option for you. At $59, it gets an overall 4 1/2 star review from 437 users. However, many commented on the poor design which makes it hard to attach to the mixer and difficult to pour in the mixture without spilling. Additionally, a troubling number of purchasers reported that their bowl split and leaked the blue freezing compound, though KitchenAid will replace defective units. I think I would consider this one if they came out with an improved design, but it seems pricey considering that unlike the others, you aren't buying a motor!

A common complaint about all of these machines from the unsatisfied reviewers is that the ice cream doesn't get hard enough. From reading some of the reviews, it seems that some users did not follow the instructions by turning on the machine before filling it. It's also likely that the ingredients were not chilled enough or the container wasn't frozen solid, but none of these machines are going to make rock-hard ice creams like you bring home from the grocery store. After all, when you buy at the store, those cartons have been frozen in commercial freezers for weeks or months. If you want a firm ice cream, you'll just need to resign yourself to waiting another hour or two or overnight while it hardens in your freezer. (See my ice cream making tips article.)

You can also read ice cream maker reviews at I hope this is helpful to you!

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