Ice Cream Makers: Buying an Ice Cream Machine

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There’s lots of options to consider when buying an ice cream maker, and there’s certainly one that’ll fit within any budget. I’ve had several readers inquiring about ice cream makers and although there’s extensive information in my book, The Perfect Scoop, here’s additional information about the various kinds that are available to help you out:


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Cuisinart ICE-50BC

I’ve been using the Cuisinart ICE-50BC with excellent results for the past few years and could not live without it at this point. Not only is the machine very efficient, the price is extraordinary for a self-refrigerating machine. Although for a novice, it does fall into the ‘investment’ category.

I’ve never seen a better self-refrigerating machine at this price and was skeptical, but my ice cream maker has been a real powerhouse and I consider it an indispensable part of my batterie de cuisine nowadays. Some people find the noise bothersome, but frankly—it is a machine and machines make noise. I keep mine in another room when in use.

I do recommend if you buy this machine to purchase a separate plastic churning arm. Mine lasted several years but eventually snapped and it’s nice to have a spare on hand.


UPDATE: Cuisinart has released a newer model of this machine, the ICE-100, which boasts a sleeker design.

Cuisinart ICE-21

A lower-priced option is a machine such as the Cuisinart ICE-21. This machine is a excellent value, and you’ll need to pre-freeze the canister for 24 hours—no cheating!, before you plan to freeze your ice cream or sorbet. These machines make great ice cream and are extremely affordable.

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KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment

If you have a KitchenAid mixer, their wildly-popular KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment works really well. I had the opportunity to use one during my visit to the KitchenAid factory, and was really impressed with the care and precision of the attachment.

Like everything they make, the ice cream attachment did a great job of churning up the various ice creams that I ran through it. Note: If you live outside the United States, European KitchenAid mixers are different and the ice cream attachment made for US-models will not work with them.



You can also find more of my recommendations for machines and ice cream making equipment at Let’s Make Ice Cream!

Happy Churning!



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53 comments

  • There’s a time of year at which one doesn’t make sorbets and ice creams??? As you francophiles might say, “Mon Dieux!” or however one spells it. I’ll stay in South America and keep churning year round! I use a Krups that I have to prefreeze the canister… hmmm… a self freezing unit…

  • David, I’ve never understood how the KitchenAid one works – does it have a pre-frozen canister too?

    BTW, I love my low-budget Donvier ice cream maker. I’ve had it for nearly 20 years (!) and although I don’t make the same volume of ice cream as you it has stood me well. I had to replace the paddle a couple of years ago, but that was relatively cheap.

    Thanks for the low-down though – I’ve had people ask me about ice cream makers and now I know where to send them!!

  • Dan: I think they discontinued the Krups unit, at least in the US. I had one here, but it started leaking and saw a newer model at the store. But a brief search turned up ‘unavailable’ at Amazon. I think the Cuisinart has taken its mantle…and now that I have the self-refrigerating one, I ain’t going back!
    …now go make some Dulce de Leche ice cream!

    Meg: Yes, the KitchenAid unit needs to be pre-frozen as well. I wanted to test the Donvier, but in spite of the fancy-sounding French name, they’re not available in France. I know some people like them, but with the other units having come down in price, I don’t see that many Donviers around. Perhaps I’ll see yours soon on eBay.fr…but I won’t hold my breath.

  • the heat is on, and although I would love to make my own, here in Italy it is so easy to jut walk down the street and get some…

    and when you have a fabulous artisan Ice Cream/chocolate boy… I can’t resist.

    you can go for jeans.. I am going for Gelato!

    Hungry?

  • David,
    I don’t understand why the KA maker is so damned expensive. Any idea?

  • Although I’d kill to have ICE-50BC, until I do I prefer an actual ice-packed churn to the frozen insert type. I feel lucky to have quite an ancient Waring which uses a couple trays of ice and half a box of conventional table salt and can still make 2 quarts of something yummy. With this tiny treasure I can make ice cream without making sure anything is frozen a day in advance, without giving up valuable freezer space to something empty, AND (big “and”) I can turn around and make a second flavor immediately. Besides that, it’s sooo much easier to empty the churned cream into a freezer storage container because it doesn’t continue to freeze to the side of the bowl after the dasher has stopped scraping it free.

  • I bought the Kitchenaid attachment a month ago and have been really happy with it. It does require pre-freezing but it stays really cold and hardly thaws when the batch is complete. It also makes 2 quarts, which a lot of the ‘prefreeze’ types can’t do.

    I will be trying the ginger and white chocolate one next weekend, definately. Can you give some information on why the “pre-boil” is neccessary? I made mango sorbet last weekend and just grated in a little knob of fresh ginger and you could really taste it.

    –Lisa

  • Lisa: Fresh ginger has an enzyme in it that can prevent proteins (like custards) from setting up, and cooking kills it. If you add a little ginger often it’s ok, but I pre-blanche as insurance.

    Kevin: I don’t know the pricing policy for KitchenAid, but maybe the canister is made in America.

    Rainey: Yes, it’s frustrating those machines that only freeze 1 qt, since I’ve seen so many recipes lately for 2 qts (why do people do that?) I used to use and ice-and-rock-salt machine, and they do a great job, but the only one made is the White Mountain and most people don’t want to spend that kind of money as they cost somewhere around $200, I think.

    Judy: Can’t a boy have both?

  • David- I just gave one of those old White Mountain machines away. It was just too bid and messy to use indoors. I wish someone could get Waring (do they even exist still?) to remanufacture their machine which is only about 1/3 larger than my Cuisinart ICE25-WS. Or that someone else would pick up the gauntlet and make such a machine.

    It doesn’t require rock salt and uses less than half the ice that the White machines do. It also works so fast there isn’t any messy runoff and yet, at 20 minutes or so per batch, the crystals are still nice and small for lovely texture.

    I pursue this hoping someone who could offer this third option over the compressor-included machines and the sealed coolant type is reading your blog.

  • Hi David, this is my first commentary! Very nice and interesting blog!

    OK, here’s my question : don’t you think the KA attachment sold in the US works for our European models? It’s not that expensive when compared to top of the range machines…

  • Hi Julie: Thanks! The US attachment, unfortunately, does not work on European KitchenAid mixers due to EU-required modifcations they do to the mixers sold in Europe. I believe they are planning to come out with an attachment for the European market in the fall, but I’m not certain. You can contact KitchenAid in the US and they may be able to help.

  • Thanks for your answer, David:)

  • David,
    do you know if the Cuisinart is available in Europe?
    The only machines I’ve seen here in Spain are either not too good looking, or incredibly expensive.

  • If only I have read this before I went into the trouble of ordering the Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment only to find out it was only compatible with American mixers. They should have noted this in their Amazon listing. Well I guess I have to mix with hand until they come up with the European attachment!

  • I’m just planning on buying a Cuisinart ICE 50BC in the States and taking it overseas, running it with an appropriate size transformer. Is that what you do?
    Barry

  • Hi Barry: I had mine shipped from the UK, and I use a outlet converter for it. I would call Cuisinart and verify voltage requirements, which vary, depending on country.

  • David,

    I was wondering what type of consistency you get with the ICE-50? We just got one, and we have previously used the ICE-20′s, and it doesn’t seem to freeze up as well in the bowl as the ICE-20′s did. Could you give us some sort of metric to judge ours, to make sure that its freezing adequately?

    I’ve never used the ICE-20. I advise that it’s best to call the company directly and pose your question to them, since they’re in the best position to provide the correct answer. -dl

  • Hi David

    Just got a Musso Lussino Lello ice cream maker and your book, The Perfect Scoop. So far, the French custard vanilla, Vietnamese Coffee, Chocolate, fresh pear and ginger sorbet and Philadelphia style vanilla recipes are excellent. Trying the Tiramisu today.

    Which of your recipes uses canned Thai coconut milk?

    Thanks for a great book on ice cream!!

    There’s a chocolate-coconut sherbet on page #141 that uses coconut milk. Enjoy! -dl

  • hi david,
    just wondering about the consistency of the ice cream from this machine; is it a soft texture or is it hard ice cream like that of haagen daz?

  • Hi David,

    I just got an ice cream maker and have been having a lot of fun with it. I live in Alaska (where they say, people eat more ice cream than any other place in the U.S.). This means when it’s really cold, I can just keep my extra canister outside instead of making room in my freezer for it. My question is this: Should I still leave it outside for 24 hours, even when it’s -20 F? Can I cheat? I’ve had my machine for 2 weeks and already made 8 flavors, but the waiting thing is tough (especially now that it’s warmed up to +23 F). I tried using my bowl from the freezer after about 8 or 9 hours, and the ice cream firmed up slightly, but then was like soup when I added some Oreos to it. I ended up drinking it like a milkshake. One more question: I’ve been doing half-recipes because before making 1 1/2 qts., I want to know that I actually LIKE the taste. With the small Cuisinart, does this affect the ice cream (when the canister isn’t full)? I ordered your book and it should be here soon! Looking forward to it. –Carrie

  • Hi David, So excited I got your book which believe me it far superior to all the other ones and we all know which ones they are. A true classic.
    I made peppermint ice cream which came out perfect in the machine. Luxurious. I had tinted it pink. I folded in crushed candy canes. Tasted divine and even had a few baby ice cream (tiny tiny cones) cones.

    I kept cannister out to thaw out before cleaning. Next day I put back in freezer to get read for next batch of ice cream (chocolate). The soft serve peppermint which I had put in a great container was a tad harder but really just still soft serve. You could see a ripening but not what you call hard. What happened. Also, the bowl (when you shook it) was not frozen check. You could hear sloshing. Does it take a while to freeze again after you have used and then cleaned it (with hot water)? Linda
    The freezer initially was cold enough, since when I took bowl out it did not slosh and I was able to make the mint ice cream.

    Hi Linda: It’s best to contact the manufacturer of your model as they’re best equipped to answer questions about their specific machines. Thanks! -dl

  • Hi David. I’m thinking that by now since you wrote this article that you’ve been using the cuisinart 50 model (no need to freeze bowl) for some time? My question is whether you still feel the same way. I’m torned since I have read enough “problems and poor rating” on amazon w/ this product that is almost $300!! I’m not a professional but w/ the abudance of summer fruits coming and your book, I’ve turned into my own little ice cream shop. Problem is that I have the Krups ice cream machine similar to the cuisinart model that requires pre-freezing. The machine tends to get “stuck” when the ice cream even gets a little “thick” and I will have to hold it in place to continue churning. (It also erodes the plastic insert to the machine component bc of the friction. In addition, I have to refreeze the bowl before making the next batch. Right now, I have 4 premade bases just waiting to be churned. I need some feedback and advice— i’m willign to invest if it’s a great device but at 300 and some confusing comments, I’m soooooo confused. Advice David? Others?

  • dpn: I’ve been using my Cuisinart ICE-50 for around 3 or so years, and the only problem I had was that the plastic dasher broke after a lot of years of use. Since it was a $7 part to replace, I didn’t mind. I do believe the machine comes with a limited 3 year warranty (please read the conditions before purchase as I’m not a representative of the company and am not affiliated with Cuisinart) so if you’re worried about it, that might help.

    It is an investment, but I’ve been very happy with mine. Some of the negative comments complained about the noise, but I’m wondering what people expect from an ice cream machine? Yes, it’s not silent, but you’re only using it for about 30 minutes. And a few other negative reviews mentioned things like “the company didn’t return telephone calls”, which sounds odd as most companies, if you call the customer service, you can’t leave messages.

    Of course, everyone has different experiences and I’ve been happy with mine. But I can’t say for certain if it’s the right machine for everyone.

  • David i left this question somewhere but cannot find the answer so here goes again…is the Cuisinart soft serve machine any good that u know of. I have the Cuisinart one that u use but I do like soft ice cream in a cone so worth it to buy ya think?

    It’s in the Ice Cream Q & A post. -dl

  • Hi David,
    Love your Blog!!

    Having increasing thoughts about making my own ice-cream. Being a novice I don’t want to fork out too much dosh on a machine. I quite like the Cuisinart ICE-20 ice cream maker
    which is currently half price on Amazon.com but, unfortunately not available in the UK – even if it was it would be extortionally priced!! I am planning a trip to the US soon and amongst other bits of kit would like to invest in the ICE-20 but, I’m curious/not sure what voltage converter to use? any suggestions?
    Thanks Dayal

  • Hi Dayal: You should check out my post; Will my KitchenAid mixer work in Europe?

    Although it’s about KitchenAid mixers, people who live in Europe left information about conversions and such. Most manufacturer’s don’t recommend doing so, but there are some options there that people have used. I would call Cuisinart in the UK and ask them.

    I did notice that Amazon in the UK has the Cusinart ICE-30 available, in case you’re interested in that model.

  • David, do you have a machine in mind that would be a good machine for a small commercial operation? I am trying to start an ice-cream business from home and I am not ready to spend $8K on a machine, but the higher-end home machines just don’t have enough capacity.

    Any help would be great, thanks!

  • Sorry, I don’t have any professional machine recommendations for home use. I do know some people use the Lello 4080 Ice Cream Maker, but I don’t have much experience with it.

  • Thank you so much for recommending the Cuisinart ice cream makers! We love your book but are ready to upgrade to a refrigerated unit. One of our Paris apartment guests is a chef, who recommended it as well. Giving it to our daughter for Christmas!
    Thank you again, madelyn

  • I live in Pakistan and managed to find a European KitchenAid Stand Mixer here, which I love. Earlier this year my husband went to the US and bought me the Ice Cream Maker attachment- which of course didn’t attach to the European Stand Mixer!

    But I went on the KitchenAid site and they mailed me a converter part that means I can attach the dasher to the mixer. They only mail to addresses in the US, but you can always have a friend mail it to you.

  • I love our Cuisinart Ice Cream maker ICE-20. The price was right and the ice cream is always smooth and creamy. The canister needs to be frozen first in the freezer. I recommend it.

  • David
    Having been inspired by you on so many levels, I now have to tell you that my purchase of the Perfect Scoop led me to buy your favorite ice cream machine, the Cuisinart ICE-50BC. I found a great deal on Amazon, and went with it on the spot. I can’t wait for it to arrive. Up until now I’ve been using the Kitchen Aid Ice Cream bowl attachment, but this purchase is now going to make that technique look prehistoric!

    Thanks for your on-going, phenomenal advise, suggestions and dynamite recipes. Dude……..you’re the best

    Mark

  • Hi David,
    I regret not reading your post on ice-cream makers earlier.
    It’s a bit late as i just bought my KA ice-cream maker, & it does not fit to my European-made KitchenAid mixer. What a shame!

    I’m facing the same problem as Umbereen. Glad to know from her that KA actually send a converter to solve the problem. I hope they send a converter to me soon too. Otherwise i would have to return the ice-cream maker by air

  • All: The Cuisinart Ice-30 stainless-steel maker is ON SALE @ Williams-Sonoma right now for 50% OFF. It’s $79.95 & you receive a $25 gift card (if you buy before 8/2 either online or in the States). Their e-mail offer is what led me to this post. :D

    It’s a great deal, but I think I fancy myself an ICE-50. Anyone had any problems using this model with a transformer?

    David,
    you are amazing. I’m still hoping to convince my husband that we can do house chores another time and drive the few hours to Roma for your book-signing tomorrow! Hopefully I will see you then. Ciao-ciao!

  • The Cuisinart model looks very nice, would you consider it appropriate for restaurant use or are there other model(s) you could recommend?
    Thanks!

  • Dear David,

    I am here in Austria, and after a lot of reading I am to order a Cuisinart ICE-50BC from GB (since it’s still not available in any other European country, unlike the ICE-30BCE and ICE-40BCU, which are both non-self-refrigerating, and I have no intention to wait 24h if I decide to make something with it).

    What I would like to know:

    Do you have any experience getting hold on parts & accessories for that machine as listed on the American Cuisinart website:

    - Paddle ICE-50BC-PDL
    - Bowl ICE-50BC-WB
    - Motor Arm ICE-50BC-MA
    - Lid ICE-50BC-LID

    Can they be ordered from the US or GB directly from Cuisinart, or are they available at any retailer?

    Especially a second Bowl surely comes in handy, and I wanted to order it directly with the machine, but I could not find a retailer featuring any of these parts & accessories.

    If ordering a second bowl directly from Cuisinart, do you think I should go with a replacement Paddle and Lid as well, just to be on the save side? Which of these parts are likely to break?

    BTW I love your blog, which I just discovered recently. Never made ice cream before, and this will be my first ice cream maker, can’t await to try some of your recipes.

    Best regards,

    Michael

  • MrS: I used my Cuisinart ICE-50 for two years before anything went. And it was the plastic ‘dasher‘ (paddle), which some readers also noted broke after a certain period of time. That’s normal since it’s the one part that moves, and is made of plastic. They cost roughly $10US, so I recommend getting a spare one. But otherwise, I haven’t had any other problems. I never bought a second bowl since it can be washed, dried, and re-used.

    For questions about availability, you should contact Cuisinart as they are the best resource for that. Happy churning!

  • Oh, sorry forgot something:

    Since you have 220V/50Hz in France as well, the Cuisinart ICE-50BC you bought from the UK is a special version for 220/240V 50Hz, and not just the US version having a 110/220/240V selector at the power supply, right?

    So it’s not possible, to buy that unit from the US without having to use a transformer, right?

    I ask, because some electrical appliances indeed have such a voltage selector, which means one only has to apply the right adapter or change the plug.

    The ICE-50BC actually costs exactly half the price at amazon.com compared to the best offer on idealo.co.uk, which really is an unbounded cheek, that we Europeans always have to be ripped of like that. :-(

    That makes me think, if it would not be advisable to order that machine from amazon.com together with a proper transformer…

  • Thanks for the quick answer. I already contacted both Cuisinart US and Cuisinart UK, but did not get a reply (yet). I guess they are not really interested, if not present in the local market.

    So where did you get your replacement Paddle then?

  • Again, sorry, getting over-excited hitting the submit button:

    You are in France, but all your Amazon references go to amazon.com, so it is save to assume, that you order a lot (or all) from the US, instead of local amazon.fr, or is this just for convenience for your international blog readers?

    If you indeed should be buying a lot from amazon.com, have you experienced any problems with the import (of ice cream related equipment) to the EU yet?

  • I shipped my machine over from England and use a converter. The spare parts I picked up when I was in America. Am surprised you did not get a response when you called the company in the states, as I’ve not had any problems getting through to their customer service.

    For voltage conversion issues, you might want to read my post, Will a KitchenAid from America work in Europe?, and the ensuing comments from readers.

  • Answer from Cuisinart UK: “I regret we do not have the facility to ship outside of the UK. You can purchase the Ice Cream Maker ICE50BCU direct from us along with extra spare parts however we would require a UK address to delivery this to.”

    Since I don’t have a UK address and nobody in the UK I could let them ship it to, that’s a no-go (this is now only about the extra spare parts, because their price for the ICE-50BCU is too high anyway).

    I think I will order the ICE-50BCU from amazon.co.uk now, but I am still worried about the extra spare parts (although I’ll omit the extra bowl, I still have to be able to get the extra paddle, if needed one day).

  • Well, this is ironic. Here am I, in the US, eagerly searching the internet trying to find a way to buy an ice cream maker that, as far as I can tell, is currently sold only in Europe (the Midas stainless steel, non-electric ice cream maker). I could easily buy any Cuisinart machine or replacement part, but I want the Midas. Those of you in Europe could probably easily buy the Midas….

  • David,

    If I primarily intend to make gelato at home, does it make a difference whether one buys a gelato machine as opposed to an ice cream machine?

    Thanks,

    Joe

  • Hi Joe: I’m not aware of the difference between the two kinds of machines (except for extremely large machines intended for professional use). What are the advertised differences between the models for home cooks?

  • Hi Mandakini: I’m unfamiliar with that brand, but the model looks suspiciously like the Cuisinart ICE-20, which I mention in the post. I’ve used that and liked it for home use, but can’t tell you if it’s the same for sure.

  • or this one?

    terribly sorry for the trouble, but totally clueless, and can only look at stuff online…

    MAGIMIX
    11047 1.1L ICE CREAM MAKER

  • Hi David,

    Thanks a lot for the reply!
    Could you just tell me a few features i should look out for, then I will do my research based on that. And will not trouble you anymore. :-)

    Thanks a lot again
    M

    I can only offer the suggestions here, but there is much more information about which ice cream maker is best for you in my book, The Perfect Scoop, where I go into depth about what to look for. Happy churning! -dl

  • Been meaning to buy that book for along time, now i have another reason, thank you for the help

    Its always absolutely wonderful to visit your blog :-)

  • So I have finally decided to take the plunge buy the CUISINART ICE-50 ICE CREAM MAKER! Since I was a TV journalist for 7 years and decided to drop all that to train to be baker, I took your advise and interned at a few places before looking at culinary schools. One of the places I worked at (link) made the most amazingly creamy custard based ice creams and I have fallen in love!

    Ordering ‘The Perfect Scoop’ as well! :-)) Thank you for all the help! You are fabulous!

  • Got the book for xmas and love it. I have the low end cuisinart and use it quite a bit, although within the parameters of home use (my wife blames me for every extra pound she finds.) One tip I would like to pass along is that this model can “fail to freeze” room temperature ingredients. I find I get perfect results if I let the mix get a head start in the freezer for about 45 minutes.

  • Hello David,

    I apologize for being too forward with such a long “comment”, but I really need your advice on this. I live in Egypt, and there aren’t Ice Cream Makers to choose from. And ever since I found your website, I’ve been wanting to start making Ice Cream (being from a third world country, I never thought one could make their own, haha!)
    As much as I would love to invest in any of your suggestions here, especially the Cuisinart ICE-50BC, it will unfortunately cost me a small fortune. Buying it online is not the actual problem, that’s the easy part. But having it shipped to Egypt will cost me a fortune, and having it taxed to be permitted into the country will cost another.
    I searched high and low to actually come across an Ice Cream Maker in Egypt, I only found one at the official shop of Moulinex, which is a French home appliances company.
    However when I checked their website, it was no where to be found. I don’t understand if they’ve stopped making it or what, but after a google search I found the one I saw at the shop.
    Here’s the link:
    http://www.gala.com.mt/shop/index.php?productID=5444&selC=1
    Even though in Cairo it costs 475 EGP which is 87$, unlike it says in the link, but it’s the exact same. I realize no info is listed, but could you please, take a look at it and tell me if this will work or not? Should I go ahead and buy it? Will it make the ice cream recipes in your book for me?
    Thank you so much for your patience, and I’m sorry again for such a long question.

    -Sarah

  • I think they’ve stopped making that model. It used to be made by Krups although I believe it has been discontinued.