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:
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.
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.
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!