Buying an Ice Cream Maker for the Home: How to Choose the Best Machine to Make Homemade Frozen Desserts

Purchasing an ice cream maker is a great way for the family to enjoy a homemade version of this sweet treat. Homemade ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet can even be healthier than store-bought versions because there are no additives or chemicals involved. There is an ice cream maker on the market for every family.

Types of Ice Cream Makers

  • Old fashioned ice cream machines are a nostalgic choice. These machines work with a hand crank that needs to be constantly churned. The ice cream mixture goes into a canister in the center of the machine and is surrounded by ice and rock salt. Kids may enjoy churning these machines, but the novelty can wear off quickly.
  • Electric, automatic ice cream makers sit on the countertop and are the most common type of ice cream makers. Many models feature bowls that need to be frozen before ice cream can be made, so it requires thinking a head.
  • Hybrid ice cream makers are also available that combine the process of a hand cranked machine with an electric motor. Ice and rock salt are required and the machine does all the mixing. These machines are typically inexpensive but they can be noisy.
  • The last common type of ice cream makers are attachments to a stand mixer. KitchenAid is one company that created ice cream makers specifically designed to work on their models. Families that own a stand mixer may want to consider these small machines for their convenience and easy storage.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing an Ice Cream Maker

  • Type – Each type of ice cream maker has benefits and drawbacks. Compare hand crank, stand alone, and mixer attachments to get a feel for personal preferences.
  • Size – How much ice cream will the machine need to produce at a time? Large families may want to consider models that are at least 2 quarts.
  • Storage – Few families use their ice cream makers every day, so they will need to be stored when not in use. Large stand-alone models may need a spot on the counter or significant cabinet space. Check that a place is available to store the machine.
  • Price – An expensive, commercial ice cream maker may not be the most practical choice if it will only be used once or twice a year. Set a price range for the purchase that takes into account the family budget and how often the machine will be used. Cheap ice cream makers vary in quality, so read reviews before heading to the store.
  • Design – When looking at electric machines, make sure that they have a large spout for adding ingredients.

Top Ice Cream Maker Brands

Cuisinart is one of the top manufacturers of ice cream makers. They produce a model to fit anyone’s needs and budget. The Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet maker has a suggested retail price of $50 and is small enough to fit in most kitchens. On the other end of the spectrum is the Cuisinart Supreme Commercial Ice Cream Maker, which features a compressor-freezer so that it is not necessary to freeze a bowl before use.

Though often known for their slow cookers, Rival ice cream makers are also of good quality and price. Rival offers electric models using either rock salt or a gel-filled bowl that needs to be frozen ahead of time. They offer a variety of designs, including a wooden electric ice cream maker designed to resemble old fashioned models.

Homemade ice cream is delicious and fun for the whole family. Whichever model seems best, experimenting with new recipes is the best part of owning an ice cream maker.


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