How to Choose the
Best Ice Cream Maker for Your Kitchen
Ice Cream Makers are loads of fun, and once you've made your own you'll never go back to shop bought again. But which Ice Cream Maker is Best for Your Kitchen?
A Quick Word about Homemade Ice Cream before we start talking Ice Cream Makers
Homemade Ice Cream Will Be
1. Soft from the Churn and
2. Hard from the Freezer
Ice cream straight from any churn, even commercially made ice cream will only ever be half frozen. Below is a picture of ice cream being made at artisan ice cream makers Taywell's Ice Cream.
As you can see, even their ice cream comes out soft "Mr Whippy" style.
- And that’s because all ice cream needs to go through a hardening process before it looks like what we’re used to seeing in a tub.
- So we need to put our ice cream in the freezer to harden up before it looks like what we're used to seeing.
How long does this take?
It Depends on:-
- The Ice cream
- How thick it was going in
- Temperature of your freezer
1 - 2 hrs is a Rough Estimate
- So if you read reviews for ice cream makers and people have marked down the machine because the ice cream has come out soft, then you know that this isn't the machine's fault, that's how it's meant to be.
- Obviously if people say the ice cream comes out the same as it went in, there's obviously a problem.
Now the ice cream is too hard!
- Then we come on to the second complaint people have about ice cream makers - the ice cream is too hard straight from the freezer!
- This is also quite normal, but people think it's weird because shop bought ice cream isn't like this.
- Well, that's because mass produced ice cream has added emulsifiers and stabilisers that help it keep it's shape and stay soft.
- But your ice cream is just made from natural ingredients, so when it goes in the freezer it will go really hard.
- I've heard of people putting things in like gelatin to keep it soft, but that's not something I have tried.
- What I do is, I take it out of the freezer about 10-15 minutes before I'm ready to eat it.
- And sometimes I add a tiny bit of alcohol (baileys is really good, or vodka if I don't want the flavour to be effected).
- Don't add too much though because alcohol acts as anti freeze, so too much means it wont freeze, but a little bit will make it easier to scoop straight from the freezer.
- I just thought I’d share that with you because I've read so many negative reviews, from people saying “the ice cream wasn't hard when it came out of this machine”, and "when I put ithe ice cream in the freezer it came out solid".
- I don't think it's fair to mark down a machine for doing exactly what it's supposed to do.
So, Before You Buy an ice cream maker you need to ask yourself.......
Q.1 - Do You Really Need an Ice Cream Maker?
If you want to make Ice Cream at home, an Ice Cream Maker is the easiest way to do it, and will give you smoother ice cream.
But you don't need an ice cream maker, you can make it by hand. All you need to do is make up your recipe (find my homemade ice cream recipes here) and then:-
- You mix it
with your food processor or whisk
- Then you
put in the freezer for half an hour in a plastic tub.
- Then you
take it out again and mix it again.
- Then you
put it back in the freezer for another half an hour.
- And you continue doing this every half an hour until you've got something resembling ice
- Personally I've never tried this, but it's a good way to try homemade ice cream if your not sure whether to get a machine or not.
- Just be aware that you should get smoother ice
cream from a machine, because it churns and freezes at the same time.
Q.2 Do You have the Space for one?
Any Ice cream Maker is going to need space
A Freezer Bowl will need Freezer Space
- The freezer bowl type are ideal for people with small kitchens, who have the freezer space.
- Ideally it's best if you have enough freezer space for your bowl to live all the time.
- That way you don't need to plan ahead, and they become almost as convenient as the fully automatics. Just remember to measure the bowl and your freezer before you make your final decision.
- I read one review for an ice cream maker where someone had marked it down because it didn't fit in their freezer!
A Fully automatic machine will need - Counter space, cupboard space, or any other type of storage space.
- If your thinking of getting an automatic, your going to need some counter space, or cupboard space (or space under your bed).
- If you've got a big kitchen or a utility room then you'll be fine. But just remember to measure up first before making your final decision.
- Most ice cream makers seem quite similar in size, although some are taller than others, and this may effect where you can store it.
Make Sure You Measure your Freezer and Counter top for size Before You Make Your Final Decision.
What's the difference between a Freezer Bowl and a Fully Automatic Ice Cream Maker?
All Ice Cream Makers are basically a cold bowl with some sort of mixing arm.
The bowl freezes the ice cream, and the mixing arm churns, so your ice cream is churned and frozen at the same time.
- The freezer bowl type has an insulated bowl that has a freezing
agent inside, a bit like an ice pack. And you need to put the bowl in the freezer for 8 - 12 hrs to freeze the cooling agent before you can make your ice cream.
- The fully automatic machines have their own inbuilt freezers, so you don't need to pre-freeze the bowl before use, you just switch it on when it's ready.
- What about the quality of the ice cream?
- It seems that most people buy a freezer bowl ice cream maker first, and then they upgrade to the fully automatics thinking that the ice cream will be superior from a "proper" machine.
- From owning both types, I have found that my freezer bowl ice cream maker makes the better ice cream.
- Whether the machine is a freezer bowl type or a fully automatic doesn't seem to effect the quality of the ice cream. The only difference seems to be size and convenience.
|Freeze the bowl for 12 hrs before use
||Ready to Make Ice Cream When You Are
|Generally Smaller in Size so can be stored away when not in use
||Generally bigger and heavier, so tend to live on the countertop
|Use Less Energy as the bowl is frozen in the feezer (which would be running anyway)
||Use More Energy as it powers it's own chiller unit
|Can only make one batch of ice cream at a time
||Make batches of ice cream one after another
|Can be quicker to churn than the inbuilt freezer type
||Don't Have to Make Space in Your Freezer for the Bowl
|Cheaper to Buy
||Generally More Expensive than the Freezer Bowl Type
|You don't want to spend too muchmoney on an ice cream maker
||Your planning on making lots of ice cream
|Have Plenty of Freezer space
||Have Space on your Countertop
|Know your only going to be making one batch of ice cream at a time
||Have limited freezer space
|You Have a smaller kitchen
||Just like the idea of being able to make Ice Cream when you want
Should You get a Freezer Bowl or a Fully Automatic Ice Cream Maker?
- Personally I would say that if you have the freezer space for the bowl, then you don't need to spend the money on a fully automatic machine.
- My Cuisinart ICE30 cost me about £65.00, which is £85.00 cheaper than the cheapest fully automatic you can buy, and £184.99 cheaper than the most expensive fully automatic. Having researched ice cream makers, I haven't seen or tasted any ice cream that's better than the stuff I make in my Cuisinart.
- So If you just want a fully automatic because you think the ice cream will be better, just remember that that's not necessarily the case.
However, you might need a fully automatic if
- You don't have the freezer space for a bowl
- You Need to Make Batches of Ice Cream - One Review I Read for the Andrew James fully automatic was from someone who had bought it to make ice cream for their pub and they said the machine was working really well
- You might just like the idea of being able to use the machine as and when you want, without having to think about pre-freezing the bowl.
- Your freezer doesn't perform effectively
How Many People Will You Be Making Ice Cream For?
|Size of the Bowl
||Amount of Ice Cream
- Size matters, and if you live on your own you may want to make a smaller amount of ice cream than if your making it for a family.
- Personally I always rather make more as I can always freeze it, and I'm never short on takers if I ever have too much.
- But just to guide you, here are the most common sizes and how much ice cream they each make approximately. I can only give approximates as different ice creams will be weigh differently depending on the ingredients (i.e Butter Pecan will be heavier than vanilla because of the added weight from the nuts). Plus these results have been obtained through a blend of my own experience, and results posted by others.
How Often Do You think You'll Use it?
- If your thinking of buying an ice cream maker to only make occasional batches of ice cream, then you can pick up a fairly in expensive ice cream maker.
- Here are 2 budget one's, the Andrew James and the Kenwood IM200.
- Out of the 2 I would go for the Andrew James because the only negatives about this machine seemed to be around the ice cream not freezing. However the majority of reviewers said that it did make good ice cream, which makes me think that for the small majority who didn't rate the ice cream, there must have been some other problem, like either the machine, or their freezer was faulty.
- On the other hand, a lot of the negatives for the Kenwood IM200 seemed to be about the machine itself not fitting together, the lid not going on etc.
- Personally it sounded like the Andrew James problems could be easier rectified than the Kenwood's, which is why I would choose this machine if I was looking for a budget machine to make ice cream occasionally.
- Plus the Andrew James is cheaper, and makes more ice cream.
- If your thinking of buying an ice cream maker to replace all your shop bought Ice Cream (like I was), then personally I would go for something a little more robust like the Cuisinart ICE30 Deluxe, or if you have the freezer space and like the idea of making 2 batches of ice cream at the same time, then the Cuisinart ICE40BCU Duo may also be a good option.
- But if your thinking of making Ice cream semi professionally or you just fancy being able to make batches and batches in an afternoon, then there's no other choice than a fully automatic machine.
This is the Cheapest and the Quietest
The Cuisinart Professional is noiser, and heavier. But it does come with a 5 year guarantee and does look more solid than the Andrew James
The Gaggia Gelatiera is the most expensive Ice Cream Maker I could find. But it is slightly smaller so it may be suitable if your really pushed for space.
- One thing to bear in mind about Gaggia is that they are now owned by Philips. I don't know if this has any effect on the quality or workmanship of their products, it's just something you should be aware of.
I hope this guide has been of help to you, and has answered some of the questions you might have had before buying an Ice Cream Makers. I can only share with you my personal experience, and try and help you from the perspective of someone who has done the research and bought 2 ice cream makers. I don't profess to know everything about every single ice cream maker ever made, but I do have a bit more of an understanding of them, which I hope has helped you.
But if your experience has been different to mine, please let me know. It's only by sharing our knowledge and experience that we can help others to choose the truly great products, and leave the rubbish behind.
For more information on individual machines, please visit my
>>Ice Cream Maker Reviews page
If you've read this report and decided that an Ice cream maker is not for you, then why not get the next best thing to homemade Ice Cream - Beautiful artisan ice cream, made from all natural ingredients, delivered direct to your door from Taywell Ice Creams