I want to make ice cream for a big party. What machine should I get?
Most ice cream makers make about 1.5 quarts, which is enough servings for 2-4 people. The Cuisinart ICE-70 is larger and makes 2 quarts in one batch. With some smaller machines, you can make continuous batches if the machine uses refrigerant gas to stay cool (instead of freezer bowls), so you can actually make more than 1.5 quarts in one session. With the ability to make continuous batches, you can also make different flavors, which is good for parties and when you want to save the extra.
What are the differences between freezer bowls and self-refrigeration?
Freezer bowl ice cream makers use bowls that you put in the freezer for 12-24 hours, and then set up in your machine and pour in the ingredients. Self-refrigerating machines use refrigerant gas that cools the ingredients right away, so you don’t have to keep a bowl in the freezer all the time if you want spontaneous ice cream. These machines cost more. To save on money, but make more than 1.5-2 quarts at once, you can buy multiple freezer bowls if you have the space.
How fast will my machine make ice cream?
The speed of a machine depends on the motor. A powerful motor also means the machine will be louder, if that’s a concern. For most machines, you can expect to have ice cream in a half hour. The Cuisinart ICE-70 is faster and only needs 20 minutes. Certain desserts take longer than others, too, because of their texture. Depending on the machine, you have to put the finished ice cream in the freezer to get it as hard as store-bought ice cream, so going from starting the machine to actually eating ice cream can be a few hours. Gelato needs to be churned slowly in order to get the right texture, so it can take longer than ice cream.
What sorts of desserts can I make with an ice cream maker?
With almost all ice cream makers, you can make a pretty wide variety of ice creams, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and gelato. Some machines are designed to make specific desserts, like the DeLonghi GM6000, which makes authentic gelato as well as ice cream. Ice cream machines are versatile and you can experiment with recipes to make popsicles, Italian ice, frozen puddings, and more, for some great recipes to make at home take a look here. Most ice cream makers even include recipe books to help get you started.
I like a lot of mix-ins with my ice cream. Will an ice cream maker allow that?
Most ice cream makers have features that allow smooth blending of add-ins like candy, chocolate, and so on. Some have separate containers that you fill with mix-ins of your choice, but an issue with those is that the spouts can be narrow and goodies get stuck. Larger spout, like those on the Lello Musso Lussino and Breville Smart Scoop make it easier for all the mix-in ingredients to get in the ice cream. The Smart Scoop can even be set so it alerts you when it is a good time to put in the add-ins during the ice cream making process.
I want to eat as healthy as possible. Am I out of luck with an ice cream maker?
Luckily, you can make frozen, sweet snacks with ice cream makers like the Yonanas, which uses frozen bananas and other fruits to make soft-serve like desserts. With a regular ice cream machine, you can also use fresh, healthy ingredients and make fruit sorbets and ices, which will be much healthier than anything you buy in the store. You can also look on the Internet for healthier ice cream recipes and ingredients substitutions, like almond milk instead of cream, and so on.
I want to take my ice cream maker with me on a trip. Are there any machines that I could do that with?
When it comes to travel, the weight of an ice cream maker is definitely a concern. Many of the higher-end machines are very heavy at around 13+ pounds. They are designed to be used pretty much exclusively in your kitchen. 9 pounds is on the light side for a decent ice cream machine, and the ones that come apart will be easier to transport. The Yonanas comes apart and is made of plastic, so it’s probably the lightest machine you can find. For the sake of keeping your ice cream machine in good shape (as well as saving money on checking bags), it’s best to not travel by air with your ice cream machine and instead reserve it for road trips.
How hard is it to clean an ice cream maker?
With an ice cream maker, cleaning is relevant, and it depends on how many parts there are and if they are dishwasher-safe. Machines with freezer bowls (like the Cuisinart ICE-20 and ICE-70) are easy to wash because the bowls separate, but with self-refrigerating machines, the bowls do not detach. Some machines have blades that come out for easy cleaning, as well, while others can’t be submerged because they’re attached to the motor. Cleaning is easiest if you do it right after you’re finished with the machine so the ice cream residue doesn’t harden. Soap and warm water should do the trick.
What is the price range on ice cream makers?
Ice cream machines are big pieces of equipment and can be expensive. The more technological features and control settings the machine has, the pricier it’ll be. The most expensive kinds allow to you to control the ice cream hardness, like the Breville SmartScoop, which has twelve hardness settings. Also, as a general rule, machines with freezer bowls tend to be less expensive than self-refrigeration. In terms of range, good ice cream makers start at about $100 and can go as high as around $400 (the Breville SmartScoop).