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Ice Cream Maker Buying Guide

A comprehensive guide that will give you all the information you need on how to buy an ice cream maker.

Getting Started

An ice cream maker is a fun addition to any kitchen. These small appliances allow you to make a variety of frozen desserts like ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, or sorbet. You can create completely custom flavors that you can't find in stores, or work on perfecting a classic vanilla. Making your own ice cream requires less sugar and preservatives, so you'll be able to make flavors that taste better than store-bought ice cream while also being better for you. With options from reliable brands like Breville or Cuisinart, you're sure to find your new favorite appliance. Read on to see the factors you should consider before buying your machine.

Types of Ice Cream Makers

The type of ice cream maker you choose is important because certain models are better suited to different preferences. Are you an ice cream obsessive who can eat it every day, or are you planning to use your ice cream maker during the summer, then tucking it away in cooler months? No matter which model you choose, ice cream makers work in the same fundamental way: a freezing bowl is combined with constant, steady churning to create fluffy ice cream without excess air or ice crystals. We offer multiple styles and designs so you can easily find your perfect match..

Freezer Bowl Ice Cream Makers

Freezer bowl ice cream makers are probably the most common option as they're easy to use and can fit many budgets. The freezer bowl is removable so you can place it in your freezer to properly chill your mixture. Depending on the size and model you have, these bowls can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight to properly freeze, so it's important to account for this time as you're preparing to make your ice cream. It may be helpful to buy an additional freezer bowl so you can have one freezing while the other is working to make delicious ice cream in your ice cream maker. Additional bowls can also be helpful to avoid cross-contamination if you have a friend or family member with a food allergy. If you choose to buy additional bowls, be sure they're compatible with your specific model.

Compressor Ice Cream Makers

Compressor ice cream makers have a built-in freezer so you don't have to remember to remove and freeze the bowl before getting started. These ice cream makers are ideal for users who make ice cream often, even multiple flavors in a day, because there’s no need to wait between batches. You can churn out ice cream much faster with a built-in freezer ice cream maker because you don't have to wait for the bowl to freeze. Instead, turn on the machine and it will quickly cool. Some machines even have settings to maintain the optimal coolness so you can make batch after batch. These machines are great if you want to give homemade ice cream as gifts or if you've decided to pursue ice cream making as a passion project. These machines tend to be more of an investment, but the convenience they offer is priceless.

Mixer Attachments

If your beloved Kitchenaid stand mixer is the only appliance you want on your kitchen counter, have no fear. There are also ice cream maker attachments designed for stand mixers so you don't have to buy a separate machine. The attachment includes a freezer bowl and beater to attach to the mixer. Like freestanding freezer bowl models, these attachments also require you to freeze the mixing bowl, so be sure to plan ahead.

Features

Ice Cream Maker Capacity

The standard size offerings for ice cream makers are 1.5 or 2 quarts. For reference, most larger ice cream containers available in stores are 1.5 quarts. If you live alone or don't see yourself making ice cream in bulk, this capacity should be sufficient. 2 quart designs are great for big families, parties, or just if you want to keep your favorite flavor on hand at all times. A 2 quart machine is perfect for a sundae bar at your next party: just whip up a big batch of classic vanilla that will perfectly complement any toppings. Your friends will be impressed by your new gadget that makes professional-quality frozen desserts.

Custom Ice Cream Maker Flavors

One of the biggest advantages to these churners is that they allow for total customization. You can choose your favorite candy, cookies, fruit, or nuts to create flavors you've dreamed of but have never been available to buy. You can even add potato chips or pieces of cooked bacon if you love sweet-meets-savory combinations. Customization means you can make flavors that everyone will love. Make a fun flavor using your best friend's favorite candy as a thoughtful gift.
This customization is also ideal for those with food allergies or dietary restrictions. If you are lactose intolerant and haven't found a non-dairy alternative that actually tastes good, you can take matters into your own hands. Maybe you have a gluten intolerance or follow a vegan diet. As long as you have some kind of liquid to use in your mixture, whether it's coconut, almond, or oat milk, you're good to go. No matter what you're looking for in a frozen treat, you know exactly what is going into your ice cream so you can make it as healthy as you want.

Different Types of Treats

Despite their name, your new appliance can make much more than ice cream. Depending on which model you choose, your maker can also churn out frozen yogurt, gelato, and sorbet. Not all machines offer this feature so if you want to make different types of dessert, be sure to check that the appliance you're interested in offers this. One way to check for this feature is to look for machines with a "hardness" setting.

Ice Cream Maker Accessories

Before you start making your own ice cream, don't forget the essential add-ons. A sturdy ice cream scoop creates perfectly round scoops when you serve your treats. A whipped cream canister creates the perfect whipped topping for the finishing touch to your dessert. The proper tools will create professional-looking desserts for you and your loved ones to enjoy from the comfort of your home.

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