There is no doubt that everyone loves ice cream. There are loads of flavors and different, expensive specialty combos to choose from. However, with the invention of modern homemade ice cream machines, you can save loads of cash and still get to enjoy your delicious treats as often as you can, and in a healthy manner.
Though using an automatic ice cream maker to make ice cream yourself requires no particular technical or specialized training, choosing the perfect one for yourself can be befuddling. There are varieties of ice cream maker brands out there with different features, design and prices, all primed to get user attention. How do you determine what type of gadget is suitable for the functions you have in mind? Where can they be installed in your kitchen? How much space do they take? What soft serve ice cream brands make the best ice cream? How does an ice cream maker work? These questions and the whole concept of the gadgets can seem confounding. Here is where this research helps out to uncover all you need to know about ice cream machines, while seeing to your questions and concerns.
Electric ice cream makers are affordable and a great addition to your kitchen gadgets. Perfect for creating your ice cream fantasy, useful for children parties – kids get to learn from using it, families can bond over the fun of making homemade ice cream and experimenting with different flavors. There is no specialized or technical expertise needed and they are generally safe to operate and they are easy to clean. Although they come in different models, some making ice cream better and faster than others, you still get your favorite treat the way you like it. If you knew nothing about preparing the mixture for it, many brands come with recipes and instructions to lead the user through. They are safe and secure to operate.
Keep in mind that when shopping for ice cream makers, it is important to choose a high-quality device. You may think that buying cheap brands helps save money, but in the long run, it is discovered that cheap goods are barely worth it as they rarely last. This also applies when choosing ice cream machines, it is a better decision to go for a high-quality product that is very durable and efficient, even if the cost borders on the high end. This article will lead buyers to make relatively sensible decision in choosing ice cream machines that are worth every penny.
TOP ICE CREAM MAKERS
An extensive, thorough search through the web and intensive analysis of ice cream maker reviews has led us to filter out several impressive ice cream machines, and we have succeeded in narrowing them down to a select the top few.
DE ‘LONGHI ICK 5000 ICE CREAM MAKER
Why We Have Chosen This Product:
The De’Longhi ICK 5000 comes in a stylish white design with reinforced plastic construction. Its electric motor enables it to make smooth ice cream with very fluffy and creamy texture. This automatic ice cream machine makes very low noise and is easy to clean. With its bright design, it adds aesthetic value to kitchen interiors.
It is easy to scoop from and to clean. It comes with a self-refrigerating compartment, so there’s no need for a pre-frozen bowl.
It doesn’t possess many features.
NEMOX GELATO GELATISSIMO
Why We Have Chosen This Product:
Sporting a large, elegant design, the Nemox Gelato Gelatissimo makes ice cream with very creamy texture in no time. It has an auto function with various settings depending on the user choice, and a feature to keep the ice cream cold for when you are not ready to take the ice cream straight away. It is noiseless, accessible, and highly durable.
Its well-arranged button control panel makes it easy to use. It also comes with extra interesting features like the auto function. The Nemox Gelato’s large size allows it to churn out large amounts of ice cream at a time.
It comes with a steep price and may be too expensive for casual dessert making. It is also a tad hard to clean up.
AICOK ICE CREAM MAKER
Why We Have Chosen This Product:
With a sleek design and a 1.5 liter (53 oz) capacity, the Aicok Ice cream maker is perfect for many kinds of frozen desserts. This kitchen appliance is very easy to use and allows you to personalize your ice cream mixture, with generally good results. It comes with a timer function, amongst other features, so you can set how long you want your ice cream churned – the more the churning time, the fluffier the output.
It is pretty fast and churns out large quantities at a time, over 1 liter (35 oz) of smooth tasting ice cream. Interestingly, it comes with a 2-year satisfaction guarantee.
It is not as quiet as its contemporaries. It also doesn’t possess a self-refrigerating compartment, so the churning bowl has to be pre-frozen.
HOW WE PICKED THE BEST ICE CREAM MAKERS
With loads of different homemade ice cream machine brands in the market today, selecting the top quality ones was quite difficult. Renowned brands, as well as less popular ones, were considered in our ratings. Tons of varieties were considered – ice cream machines with built-in freezers, salt and ice variety that is motor-churned, the ones for making occasional ice cream for gatherings, and the ones fitting for regular soft serve ice cream. Thoroughly scrutinized in our research were user reviews for ice cream machines, unique features, products functions, durability, performance, price, and some more.
Even though ice cream making machines differ by tiny details, color, design or features, there are basic features that can be found in all types of ice cream makers. These attributes are vital to finding the best quality that makes the fluffiest output in no time and with little hassle. These attributes include:
There are primarily two types of ice cream makers – the manual type and the electric type. The manual types require lots of hand work because the ice cream base mixture needs to be constantly hand stirred. The electric type, on the other hand, requires less hassle and they save time. Our top choices are all electric and automated to save time and energy for the users.
Usually, the cost of an ice cream-making gadget determines the quality and durability of the appliance. Our choices are between the mid-range to high-end costs. Their efficient functionality makes them worth every penny.
As expected, any gadget powered by electricity and run by a motor makes some noise. However, some create a more disturbing ratchet than others. This applies to ice cream making machines with some being louder than others. Our top choices of ice cream makers are high-end products that have been verified to make little to no noise disturbance during use.
Some ice cream machines have their content frozen with the use of salt and ice, most of them sport a freezer bowl, to be pre-frozen before use while some come with a self-freezing compartment. It is obvious that buying an ice cream maker that uses salt and ice would result in not-so-smooth, messy ice cream making process. Not to mention that you have to have an abundant supply of ice and salt.
Our choices either use pre-frozen bowls or come with an inbuilt self-freezing feature for a faster and hitch-free ice cream making.
SIZE AND CAPACITY
Ice cream machines come in various sizes and capacities. The size of an ice cream maker determines how much location space it will take up, while the capacity determines the quantity of ice cream the machine can produce. Choosing a suitable size and capacity is mainly dependent on the purpose of buying the gadget, intended frequency of use, the storage space available for it and the number of people to be served.
Our choices are available in average to large designs that aren’t too wieldy for a medium sized kitchen. They can be used for special occasions or on a regular basis and will produce enough output for 6-10 individuals.
EASY TO USE
Our choices come with features that engender a fun and smooth ice cream making process. These features range from a compressors, efficient electric motors, lightweight machine parts, an extra freezing bowl or a bowl that freezes much faster, easy to understand control panel or innovative digital displays to quickly figure out the settings of the machine and how to operate it.
TEXTURE AND CONSISTENCY
Generally, the flavor of ice cream is determined by the ingredients used, its texture and consistency are based on the functionality of the ice cream maker. Although this attribute can’t be tested until users buy the gadget, we know it to be the most vital consideration for consumers. Thus, we have selected top choices that have been verified to produce creamy ice cream of superb fluffiness and unbeatable taste.
Homemade ice cream machines that work at slower speed produce thick ice cream, while faster ones make fluffier and lighter ice cream texture. Our choices function at very fast speed to make smooth, tasty ice cream without keeping the user waiting before they get to eat their favorite treat.
DESIGN & EASE OF CLEANING
Our ice cream making appliances are superbly easy to clean up and maintain. Their bowl parts are made from polished stainless steel that hardly rust. They sport scratch-proof bodies. Also, each choice is made in sleek and appealing designs to add aesthetic spice to kitchens.
WHAT IS AN ICE CREAM MAKER ALL ABOUT?
The ice cream maker, a household appliance for making the famous frozen confectionery, is an answer to prayer for lovers of ice cream who either cannot afford the high cost of special unique flavours, want to experiment with different ice cream recipes, create new flavours or merely want to make the frozen dessert to suit their health needs. There are different types of ice cream makers for everyone, whether it is a host that loves to regularly treat guests at gatherings to their favorite treat or a user that wants to have some sweet dessert now and then.
Ice cream makers come in primarily three categories. They are:
Ice & Salt Ice Cream Makers:
These ice cream makers have come a long way. In fact, they can be said to be the primitive version of ice cream makers that are now modernized. They resemble a bucket with a crank or paddler on top and require lots of salt and ice. The salt and ice are used to keep the temperature of the ice cream base at a freezing degree, hence, their name. They are very affordable but require lots of manpower. i.e., the user keeps turning the ice cream paddle to churn the ice cream, except for the models that come with an automated rotor to blend the ice cream mixture.
When using ice and salt ice cream makers, the user has to prepare the ice cream mixture and freeze them beforehand before churning it. They rarely come with automated features, so the user has to oversee the whole ice cream making process.
PROS: The benefits of using ice and salt ice cream makers include their affordability and the fact that they give users more control over the whole process, even the temperature maintained during the turning process and the consistency of the output.
CONS: They are slow, require more energy to operate and are nearly useless without a steady supply of salt and ice.
Electric Frozen Bowl Ice Cream Makers
With frozen electric bowls ice cream makers, users have to pre-freeze the bowl before use; possibly for 8-24 hours depending on the model of the machine and user preference. Then the ice cream mixture is added and automatically churned. Other ingredients like fruits and nuts may be added while the mixture is being turned. Using the pre-frozen bowl ice cream maker requires some patience and planning as you have to first freeze the bowl before you can make ice cream.
These electric frozen bowl ice maker models are a tad pricier than the ice and salt ice cream makers, with some brands even going on the high end, depending on the type of fancy features they come with.
PROS: The electric pre-frozen bowl ice cream maker is popularly accepted and easy to use. They are also quite affordable.
CONS: They require planning and a bit of patience. They may not grant the user as much control as ice and salt ice cream makers.
Compressor Ice Cream Machine Models
A notable factor about compressor ice cream makers is their high-end price tags. But they have been verified to be worth every penny they cost, as they are easy to use and produce ice cream of fantastic texture and creaminess. They are fast, smooth, and require no need to plan or wait. Several compressor ice cream machine brands come with fancy features such as a timer, a self-freezing compartment, temperature control, variation in speed, etc., that make them easy to operate and contribute to producing an output of optimum quality.
PROS: With compressor ice cream makers, you can have your sweet treat made and ready to eat within an hour. They are fast, easy to use and make a little noise.
CONS: They are expensive.
FREEZING OPTIONS FOR ICE CREAM MACHINES
With ice cream being a frozen delight, it needs no saying that a fundamental requirement to make some, is very cold temperature. This enables a perfect consistency and texture. Most modern ice cream makers come with two innovative basic freezing options – a freezer bowl (to be pre-frozen) and a built-in freezing compartment.
PRE-FROZEN BOWL ICE CREAM MODELS
As mentioned earlier, ice cream machines that come with a freezer bowl require planning and patience as the bowls have to be frozen for a period before use. These machines are electric and come with an automated paddle and a bow with two or more layers that contain gel or liquid refrigerant. It is this refrigerant that freezes when the bowl is placed in the freezer. Once frozen, the bowl is inserted into the soft ice cream maker, and the process begins. Bear in mind that the bowl begins to thaw during mixing, making the output of soft consistency. This may need to be refrozen depending on user preference. A flip side to using this model is the need to refreeze the bowl after each use (except the user has extra bowls already frozen). This can be rather frustrating when you plan on making a large quantity of ice cream.
ICE CREAM MODELS WITH INBUILT FREEZING UNIT
These models come with a built-in self-refrigerating compartment. For optimum output, users can switch them to activate the chilling unit before pouring the ice cream mixture into the mixing bowl which can either be inbuilt or removable. All this efficiency come with a high price though as these models are expensive.
WHO CAN USE ICE CREAM MAKING MACHINES?
Homeowners and individuals usually use ice cream makers to prepare a homemade delight for themselves. Ice cream machines can also be used in gatherings and parties or for children “trick or treat” parties. These tools are often used by restaurateurs, chefs, culinary skill teachers, or generally anyone that loves to experiment with ice cream and its different recipes. Using ice cream machines by families can also be a time of bonding and interaction between parents and kids, or teachers and pupils and an exciting time for kids as they learn how their favorite frozen treat is made. People with health challenges or particular lifestyle choices can benefit from a personal ice cream maker as they get to choose what goes and what doesn’t into making the ice cream.
HOW DO ICE CREAM MACHINES WORK?
What an ice cream machine fundamentally does is to churn a prepared ice cream mixture at a particular frequency and speed to make ice cream. The reason it can do this is that it is equipped with a motor. Hence the motor is the most essential part of an ice cream machine. The motor can either be manually operated or electrically powered. It serves to churn the ice cream mixture by rotating the paddle to blend/mix the ice cream base.
The motor component is found in all kinds of ice cream machines, whether it be the freezer bowl model or the compressor model. Beyond this, each type of ice cream machine operates in a slightly different mode.
- The Pre-frozen Bowl Ice Cream Maker: This ice cream machine comes with a layered bowl filled with a refrigerant that freezes once placed in a fridge. The refrigerant engenders rapid freezing of the bowl to subzero temperature; then the bowl is inserted into the ice cream maker so that once the ice cream base mixture is loaded into it, the chilled bowl keeps the mixture completely frozen while being churned. The machine’s motor triggers the paddles to rotate, stirring the mixture effectively.
- The Freezing Unit Ice Cream Maker: This ice cream model operates similarly with the pre-frozen bowl variety. However, while the former usually has its bowl frozen beforehand, the latter is wholly placed inside a roomy freezer after its content is prepared and loaded into it, then plugged into an external outlet. Once the outlet is turned on, the ice cream maker paddles the ice cream mixture into the right consistency. With this model, you can make several batches of ice cream without waiting for the bowl to refreeze. The major difference between this type and the previous one is that when using this model, the whole machine is placed in a freezer during use, but with the previous model, only the mixing bowl is frozen.
- The Inbuilt Freezer Unit Ice Cream Maker: This model is most hassle free of all. The user simply turns on the ice cream maker and then pours in the prepared mixture. The machine makes the ice cream in no time. With the inbuilt chilling units, you can make as much quantity as you want without having to wait. However, you should be careful to not move this machine for about 12 hours to avoid disturbing the freezing system.
- Ice and Salt Ice Cream Maker: For this primitive-like model, lots of salt and ice are needed, hence the name. This model usually comes with a spacious outer tub to fill with salt and ice. The inner bowl compartment holds the ice cream mixture while it is being blended by fast motor-rotated paddles and canisters. As the canisters rotate, the mixture freezes due to the salt and ice packed in the outer tub. As the churning continues, a scraper moving in the opposite direction scrapes the ice cream from the machine walls and reintroduces it into the mixture to allow for uniform smooth, creamy consistency. This is the electric powered model.
For the manual model, the machine comes with a hand crank alongside the outer tub for the ice and salt. The outer ring of space is packed with ice and salt while the inner compartment is loaded with ice cream mixture, which is manually churned by rotating the hand crank. Needless to say, this model makes ice cream slowly and in a messy manner, requiring lots of energy.
PRICE RANGE OF HOMEMADE ICE CREAM MACHINES
As mentioned earlier, higher priced ice cream machines are usually of better quality and produce terrific ice cream. But does that mean you can’t find good ice cream machines at average prices? In our research, we were able to categorize the functionality and efficiency of soft ice cream makers as related to their prices, with tips for each category.
- The Low Budget Ice Cream Machines: These are the cheap ice cream maker brands. They include the hand-churned models and basic electric models. They tend to be small in size, taking little storage space but don’t run for long periods or very effectively. It is recommended that they are used occasionally. Their prices fall within the range of 25-30 pounds.
- Medium Budget Ice Cream Machines: The pre-frozen bowl ice cream makers and freezing unit ice cream machines fall under this category. They come in average sizes and make excellent tasty ice cream but with some stressful procedures, especially the models that require their ice cream bowls pre-frozen. They can be used regularly but may not make sufficient output for a large number of people. Their price range falls within 50-200 pounds.
- Premium High-End Ice Cream Machines: Many of these machines come with compressors and an inbuilt chilling unit, so they do not require pre-freezing. They make the fluffiest and best tasting ice cream; a prime choice for those who make lots of ice cream on a continuous basis. They are usually wieldy in size and need an ample amount of storage space. Their price tags start at 300 pounds upwards.
Our research has shown that medium budget pre-frozen bowl ice cream makers happen to be the most popularly used among consumers. You may choose to start your homemade ice cream journey with this range and then take it from there as time goes on.
Most soft serve ice cream makers consist of the following components:
- Motor: This is the most essential part of an ice cream machine. It can be electrically powered or manually operated. It lays the crucial role of rotating the paddle to churn an output of uniform consistency.
- Base: This is where the powerful motor and electrical cord are located.
- Control: Most ice cream models come with an on/off switch located on the front of the base.
- Spinning bowls: Some ice cream machines are designed with a freezer bowl that rests on top of the motor unit and spins as the motor rotates. This type of model design helps mix and chill the ice cream mixture quickly.
- Spout: Most ice cream makers come with a spout for ingredients. The spout looks like an open slot or dosing hole at the top of the machine to allow users to add extra ingredients to the bowl while the ice cream base is churned.
- Paddle / Dasher: Ice cream machines have a motor-operated paddle that blends the ice cream mixture. Most paddles are not fitted to the churning bowl and can get stuck during mixing. Fixed paddles can slice through soft ingredients like fruits.
- A Lid: This is the cover of the freezer bowl where the mixture is blended. It should fit firmly on to the freezer bowl.
- Freezer Bowl: This is found in the models that come with pre-frozen bowls. The body of the bowl is made up of layers with a refrigerant or cooling liquid in between them. This liquid becomes frozen when the bowl is placed in a freezer. During use, it converts the ice cream mixture into frozen thick consistency.
- Chilling compartment: This can be found in ice cream makers that have an inbuilt automatic self-freezing unit that cools the ice cream mixture as it is being churned inside the machine. They are electrically powered and require no special procedure or bowl.
- Non-Slip Feature: This is located on the bottom of the ice cream maker to keep the machine from slipping about during use.
- Other fancy parts that may be found in an ice cream maker include:
- Extra Frozen Bowls: Some pre-frozen bowl ice cream machines come with additional freezing bowls to make it easier to make ice cream in large quantities.
- Notification: This is a feature that pings to notify you when the ice cream is ready.
- Stay Cool Function: This feature removes the need to scoop out the ice cream from the bowl once it’s done. It functions to keep the ice cream temperature cold.
- Hardness Options: With this option, you get to select what thickness and consistency you want your ice cream to be.
- Digital Display: Some ice cream makers come with a digital panel displaying settings and preferences for users.
What other appliances can be replaced by ice cream making machines?
Ice cream makers can replace yogurt makers, gelato makers, and batter mixers. With ice cream makers, you can make frozen custard and even sorbet, you can be pretty inventive and diversify, making ice cream cakes, ice cream blocks, ice cream sandwiches and various other frozen yummy desserts.
Where automatic ice cream makers do not suit your needs, which rarely happens, you may consider other options like plain batter mixers with ice cream accessory, and sorbet makers.
HOW TO CHOOSE AN ICE CREAM MAKER THAT IS PERFECT FOR YOU
Making homemade ice cream or creating new recipes can be exciting and fun for both individual and family activities. If you are considering starting the search for the best ice cream makers, ensure that you assess your needs in advance to make a sensible choice. Consider these questions before you make a choice:
- What size and capacity do you need the machine to possess?
- How many individuals would you likely make ice cream for?
- How large is the storage space you have in mind for the ice cream maker?
- Is the ice cream machine desired to be accessible and easy to maintain?
- Would you rather have a model that saves time or is hassle free?
- Would it be only you or do you have kids around that may try out using the machine?
Your answers to the above questions will determine the model of ice cream maker that is best for you. On a general note, although the pre-freezer ice cream machine is widely used – with the main tradeoffs being convenience and speed – buying the compressor model ice cream maker may be best for most homeowners. Even though their price tags are on the high end, they are cost effective and worth it in the end, as you truly get what you pay for. They come with stellar quality, are very long-lasting and produce superior output.
Did You Know?
- There are countless benefits to getting an ice cream maker? You get to save money on buying your favorite treat.
- With an ice cream maker, it is easy to adapt recipes for making sugarless treats for specialty diets?
- You get to bypass additives and preservatives used in making most store-bought desserts?
You can make so many flavors and try exotic ones with your ice cream maker. Interesting sorbet, gelato or ice cream recipes you can try out with an ice cream maker include:
- Vanilla Custard Ice Cream
- Champagne Citrus Sorbet
- Chocolate Custard Ice Cream
- Strawberry Ice Cream
- Italian Pistachio Gelato
- It is recommended that you remember to always store your ice cream in freezer-safe, airtight containers to prevent freezer burn.
After-purchase nuggets to keep in mind as you use your ice cream maker
- For the ice cream output, it is best to chill the ingredients before using them.
- It is recommended that you switch on the paddles before pouring in the ice cream mix.
- Ice cream mixtures containing high amounts of cream, alcohol, etc., take longer to freeze.
- Ice cream has its most delicious taste on the day you make it, although you can keep it frozen for about a month. However, due to the lack of preservatives, it is healthy to eat your homemade ice cream within a week.
- Most ice cream machines come with recipes. You can use them to make your treats while familiarizing yourself with your gadget.
- If you use a pre-frozen bowl ice cream maker, ensure the bowl is totally frozen before you use it.
- It is better to clean your ice cream maker with mild soapy water. Do not use a dishwasher.
- Do not ever refreeze melted ice cream. It is unhealthy and may lead to food poisoning.
FAQS ABOUT ICE CREAM MAKING MACHINES
- How long does it take to make ice cream in a machine? Depending on the model of the ice cream maker and the recipe, it takes between 25-40 minutes.
- Is it cheaper and better to purchase an ice cream maker for personal use than buying store-bought products? The answer to this question is mostly dependent on how often you eat ice cream and in what quantity. All in all, in the long run, using an ice cream maker is cheaper and more cost effective than buying ready-made ones. Besides, you get to make healthier recipes while experimenting with flavors and discovering new ones.
- How much space does an ice cream maker need? This depends on the brand and model of the ice cream maker. The pre-frozen bowl ice cream makers can fit on a kitchen counter, while compressor models may require ample space. An average size freezer bowl is the size of a dinner plate and should easily fit into your freezer.
- Does the capacity of the ice cream machine matter? Yes, it does. It determines how much mixture you can put in the ice cream maker at a time. Most come with an average size of 1-1.5 liters (35-53 oz). Keep in mind that the mixture expands and increases as it is churned, so ensure you leave a wee bit of space and not fill up the churning compartment.
As with most gadgets, your ice cream maker will likely act up or malfunction at some point. Here are basic trouble issues and some troubleshooting tips to manage such scenarios
- Where the lid of the ice cream maker keeps coming off? This commonly occurs during use, so it is best to keep an eye on the ice cream maker when it is churning. Where the paddle gets stuck, perhaps due to the freezing content, it may reverse direction to free itself. This would cause the lid to come off. So switch off the machine and try to scrape off the content blocking the paddle before switching it on again – this should do it.
- Why does the ice cream maker paddle keep getting stuck? It could be that the pre-frozen bowl was too cold, making the paddle freeze on contact with the bowl, or the bowl content freezes too quickly. In this case, you should add the ice cream mixture to the center of the bowl instead. The issue could also be that the recipe ingredients are too chunky. Chop them into smaller sizes.
- Why isn’t the freezer bowl freezing the ice cream mixture? In this case, it could either be that the freezer bowl wasn’t cold enough, or the ingredients are warm, or there is too much mixture loaded into the bowl. Check to ascertain and rectify the cause.
The gleeful, immense satisfaction that comes with making your favorite confectionery; coupled with the health benefits and creativity it engenders, and serving as an avenue for ice cream lovers to bond, have made the ice cream making machine globally accepted and vital in every good kitchen. Our top choices of ice cream makers are modeled in the most elegant aesthetic designs, fast, durable, accessible, safe to use, and maintain. Not to mention that they function efficiently, with little to no noise. They can be used by all individuals and make creamy-tasting, fluffy ice cream, ensuring you get top-notch value for your money.