Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker Review - 5 Stars!

Non-compensated product review

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So, a couple weeks ago I received my Cuisinart ice cream maker. I have already made ice cream with it four times. Yikes! It is just that easy to whip up fresh, homemade ice cream. I so totally love this machine.

Y'all have heard me talk of my old ice cream maker. It's the old fashioned bucket style, though mine, unlike my Grandma's, thankfully, is electric and not hand cranked. It makes a fine batch of ice cream, about 4 or 5 quarts I think, but making ice cream means a little preparation. You have to have a large bag of ice on hand - or else use up all of the ice from your ice maker. You have to have rock salt. In other words you have to plan.

And the noise. It is LOUD.

Well, I've been eyeing up these new fangled ones for awhile - the kind that have the bowl you keep in the freezer. The kind that needs no ice. And no salt. And I finally decided to get one.

Well, I gotta say, I love it!! No ice. No salt. Ice cream in a flash. Good ice cream. Pure ice cream you made yourself.

The unit has an insulated freezer bowl containing a cooling liquid that freezes; sort of like those blue bags you put in the freezer to stick in a lunch box. If you clean the freezer bowl right away after using it, wrap it in a plastic bag to prevent freezer burn from forming, then stick it right back in the freezer, it's ready the next time you want to make ice cream. Put the bucket into the outer base, and in just about 30 minutes you can whip up a very tasty soft serve type of ice cream. Or like the bigger buckets, once it has processed you can then stick it in the freezer for a few hours to firm it up to your preference. It really is such a breeze now to make ice cream that I have to say, I am grateful that it only makes 1-1/2 quarts at a time!

The unit comes with a basic recipe book that's really all you need - so far I haven't ventured into sorbets or sherbets or frozen yogurt; I've only made what they refer to as the "quick and easy" recipes - the basic vanilla, strawberry and butter pecan you see in the picture above. All were excellent. There are some cooked versions and even gourmet recipes in the booklet also, like Green Tea Ice Cream and White Chocolate with Chocolate Chunks and Macadamia Nuts, but the basic quick and easy versions were absolutely delicious. The chocolate above was from an ice cream mix that I happened to have in my pantry.

And ... I'm happy to report that while the unit does make some noise, it is certainly nothing like the noise my old bucket makes. Holy moley, when that thing is going you cannot carry on a conversation of any kind. This one hums, but not nearly as loud, and while you may have to juke up the tv volume in the family room a bit, you won't have to yell over this one.

Couple pointers. You really must start with very cold ingredients when you use one of these types of ice cream makers with the frozen bowl. Nothing at room temperature is gonna do it. The first batch I made didn't turn out so well. I had a box of shelf stable 1% milk in the pantry so when I decided to make ice cream, I stuck it in the fridge thinking it would get chilled enough. Well... not so much. It was chilled, but not really very cold and it just didn't work at all. The ice cream did not thicken, the freezer bowl thawed, so I had to chill the ice cream base, refreeze the bucket, and start all over the next day.

But, when you do start with a very chilled base, and the unit runs its 25 minute cycle, the ice cream that comes out of it at the onset is pretty much a soft serve. Now The Cajun {previously known as "The Hubs" who I have decided to call "The Cajun" from now on, because well, he's Cajun} prefers soft serve, but I like my ice cream a bit firmer. Of course, just like with the bigger buckets, you simply freeze it for a bit, or overnight and it firms up wonderfully.

But I discovered something that really helps with that process. When you mix up the ice cream base, take one large bowl, fill it partially with water and ice and stir until it's real cold. Stick a smaller bowl inside, preferably a stainless steel bowl, making sure no water overflows into the smaller bowl. You want the ice water to come up the sides but not pour into your base! Mix the ice cream base right in that smaller bowl. As you stir the ingredients to blend them, the ice keeps the ingredients very cold and gives it a good healthy head start. The end result after the 25 minutes of churning is a much firmer ice cream that you can eat right away, or it takes a much shorter time to firm up better in the freezer.

Also, while we most often have fat free milk in the house, that doesn't work well for ice cream, so be sure that you use either 1% or 2% low fat milk if you want to keep the fat down a bit. Of course full fat is the best, or even better, a combination of full fat and half and half or cream! I tried a mix of half and half and fat free (I know, what a contradiction huh?) with the chocolate mix because that is what I had in the house and while it was good, the texture was definitely off.

I'm really having fun with this unit though and have to say that it is definitely much easier to use than my old bucket one. If you are used to using one of the bucket types, you will find yourself making ice cream, sherbet, and sorbet way more often with this.

Which could be a good thing or a bad thing. Depends on whether you view your ice cream bucket half full, or half empty.



  1. thanks for the tip we or I got one for my husband for fathers day have yet to try it but now I'm sooo wanting to!!

  2. I LOVE my cuisinart ice cream maker! I used to think that the only good ice cream came from the incredibly loud bucket, well not so! I registered for this whne we were getting married and LOVE making ice cream!

  3. Hi Miss Mary,
    New header picture, very pretty....what a gal 2 blogs at one time...hee hee... We still have the old bucket kind, and I bet only used it 2 times...who keeps ice cream salt around.....but you got me started. and I think I'll look around for some...we have not made ice cream in a long time...

  4. Don't have one, but thanks for the tips.

  5. You reminded me of making ice cream w/real Kona coffee when I was a kid (in Hawaii) ~ it was the old fashioned bucket kind that had to be cranked...yum! Great post!

  6. I have been thinking about getting an ice cream maker for awhile now. I think I'm now officially sold:)

  7. I am one of the few loonies on earth who doesn't care for ice cream. But sherbet, let me at it! I bet it would make some good sherbet, and just enough so that you don't get tired of the flavor before it's all eaten up. Thanks for reviewing this ice-cream maker, and for the tip about having the ingredients COLD.

  8. Making it the old fashioned way is such a pain...this sounds easy.☺

  9. We have the Rival ice cream maker and i have the ice cream maker for my Kitchenaide. You're right about all the prep work for the Rival, the Kitchenaide like your Cuisinart makes ice cream making simpler.

  10. Ooh, that sounds awesome! We had one like that growing up, but it was completely hand cranked. and we hated we someone forgot to put the bowl back in the freezer.

    thanks for all the tips too!

  11. Thanks for the review. I'm still making ice cream without a machine which is a doable but long procedure.
    It's good to know what's out there.

  12. I have one that came with my Kitchen Aid Mixer. I haven't had a change to use it yet. I've it over a year! Maybe I'll get it out and give it a try :) You inspire me

  13. Oh, you are going to just love your ice cream maker!

    Good tip about things being very well chilled. I actually mix up my ingredients and chill them in the freezer for about an hour before pouring them in.

  14. This is crazy, but I just bought a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker today!!!
    Kohl's had a great sale and I'd been wanting one.

    I am so glad I read your post 'cause you've given me great tips. Thanks

    I appreciate the pictures too, it's great seeing what my ice cream maker is gonna do.

  15. You know I consider getting the Kitchen Aid attachment but I was concerned about wearing my motor on my KA so I talked myself into this separate appliance instead. I won't give up my old fashioned bucket since it will come in handy for holidays where you need a bigger output, but this is probably the best kitchen gadget I've ever spent money on. So easy and so worth it!

    Penniwig, I cannot imagine growing up in the heat and not falling in love with ice cream! Well I'm a sorbet/sherbet/ice cream/gelato/you name it kinda gal. If it's cold and esp. if it's cold and creamy? Yum!

    LOL PictureGirl! I'm used to cooking the same things at the same time as other food bloggers, but now we bloggers are buying products at the same time! Too funny. Well, I know you are gonna enjoy having this machine. It makes ice cream makin' so easy. Have fun!

  16. Lovin that new banner girl!! I have a cusinart that I got for Mothers Day and I LOVE IT!!! You are gonna have so much fun with it, a little hint though.....don't put M&M's in the ice cream as stir in, my hubby said they were like frozen little bee bees (giggle)!

  17. I thought about on of these but I dont know if I room to freeze the inside bowl. I'll have to go look for one. Thanks for the review. It was helpful! :)


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