Why I Love My Ice Cream Maker

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peach sorbet

We’ve owned a few different ice cream makers over the years. Our first purchase was the one that you had to add salt and ice to. I think we used it twice. We had a couple cheapos afterwards that went the way of a donation truck because I didn’t use them all that often.

But, last year when I started hearing more about food additives and in particular what they add to ice cream, I decided to reconsider making ice cream myself.

What I found out was that through savvy shopping, I could make organic ice cream at home, cheaper than if I bought a carton of conventional at the store. Go here to see how I crunched the numbers.

After that I started experimenting making other ice creams and then sorbets, using pureed fruit. I’m looking forward to developing some honey or maple-sweetened concoctions throughout the summer.

Favorite recipes so far:

why i love my ice cream maker

Care and storage

It’s pretty simple to store the ice cream maker. They’ve slimmed down tremendously in the last twenty years. I store the silver freezing canister in the freezer so it’s always ready to go. The other parts store easily in a cabinet over the refrigerator. I wash it all before storing just like I would wash dishes. I wipe down the main motor component, but don’t wash it in a tub of soapy water, of course.

Purchasing a machine

I didn’t shop around. I bought the only model Costco had last spring, the Cuisinart ICE-20It was being discontinued at the time, but that was fine by me. It was less than 35 bucks!

The newer model comes in all kinds of fancy colors, though, which is fun for summer.

I’m looking forward to exploring more frozen desserts, especially the naturally sweetened ones, in the next few months. Let me know your favorite flavor so I can try it.

What’s your experience with an ice cream maker?

Love it or hate it? Do tell.

Disclosure: This post does include Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I am paid a small amount in way of advertising fees.

(Check out past posts in which I wax eloquent about the bread machinethe food processor,the immersion blenderthe waffle maker,  the Keurigthe electric griddlethe home juice extractorthe toaster oventhe slow cooker, the Magic Bullet, and the deep freezer.)


About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Brandy says

    You need Jeni’s ice cream book. NEED. Both for the technique and for the flavor combos. It’s a little fussy but worth it. Our fave is the goat cheese ice cream.

    • Erin says

      @Brandy, I too like the Jeni’s book. The salty caramel ice cream is so good. What made it taste even better was knowing that i made it using my mom’s Cuisinart ice cream maker that had just been sitting in the basement collecting dust. I did clean it after she sent it to me…

      • Rachel says

        Yes! We love Jenis book! Salted Carmel is wonderful! My favorite so far was surprisingly ( at least to me) corn and blackberry! Soo good!

        We have that same ice cream maker and love it! Everyone expects homemade ice cream when they come to our house 😉

    • Jessica says

      @Brandy, I had to google that. I had never heard of Jeni’s.

      • @Jessica, you should try seeing if your library has it. I picked up a copy for $13 last year and we use it for everything. I play around with the recipes (i have a spreadsheet to help me figure out how much of whatever kind of milk and how much cream to equal the volume and milk fat of the recipes because i always have something different on hand!) but the combos are very much up our alley. Last week I made the goat cheese ice cream for my bestie for her going away present and packed it with strawberry rhubarb preserves that she made last year.

        I so prefer to make my kids their ice cream when I choose to give them ice cream. It’s not hard and it is SO exciting for them!

  2. Ellen says

    I was hoping you’d post again about your ice cream maker. I got a Cuisinart on super sale at Kohl’s in the dead of winter. It was their display model, and I think I paid $18 with coupons and Kohl’s card, etc. I have been waiting to haul it out. 🙂

    • Jessica says

      @Ellen, I’m hoping to post about it a lot this summer. 😉

  3. Lorrie says

    I have 3 of these ice cream machines. I bought one at Costco, then 2 more at garage sales for $5 each. I only use the other 2 if I need to make a large batch or 3 types for a party. I also have a commercial waffle cone machine. My new vice is making homemade yogurt and I want to make mango frozen yogurt next. 😀

  4. MaryEllen says

    I love my Cuisinart ice cream maker! I got it for $12 at a garage sale. Loved it so much that when I saw one at the thrift store, I bought it too. It was $6…. but I found it on half off day. 🙂
    My favorite recipes are in Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.

  5. I bought a cheapo machine from Aldi’s a few years back and sadly it has never made it out of the box. However I do make homemade ice-cream fairly often. I make the machine free version using a pint of whipping cream a can of condensed milk and then whatever flavorings you want to add. It turns out great.

    • Carolyn says

      LOL! I got the same ‘cheapo’ machine at Aldi and actually it works pretty well!
      However, I love my old fashioned White Mountain crank-style ice cream maker. My husband does a fabulous job with it. And I just remembered we also have an electric – my husband’s an Eagle Scout so he never has a problem with the salt and ice ratio. I usually fumble my way through when he’s not around OR I use the one from Aldi 🙂

    • Jessica says

      @Victoria, how to you make it into ice cream?

  6. Kerry says

    Love our ice cream maker! Bought one about three years ago when I was reading all of the nasty additives in store-bought. I make a batch of it, and freeze in little three ounce dixie cups. When the kids are in the mood, they can grab a perfectly portioned ice cream out of the freezer. And me, too! 😉

    • Jessica says

      @Kerry, love that. In my freezer book, there’s a recipe for hot fudge sundaes that you make in advance. I think I need to make some.

  7. KimH says

    The last ice cream mixer I used was a hand cranked job back in the 60s. haha.. I’ve been looking at them but M’honey says he has one in the basement somewhere.. I’ve not seen it though… Looks good!

  8. Patricia says

    I can’t believe it, we have the same ice cream maker, however, mine has sat in its little box since I bought it. I tried pawning it off on my daughter but she laughed at me. I have a tendency to purchase something like this because its on super sale and then never use it. I have a Bon Appetite pressure cooker (cherry red) that has never been out of its box – give me a sale and watch out. However, I will now go up to my storage room and bring it down stairs – that is after I pack away the electric pressure cooker. I feel that I will be able to make delicious ice cream with my 4-yr old granddaughter. Thanks for the reminder I have something that I can actually use (LOL)…

  9. Karen says

    I’ve had that machine for several years and love it. Our favorites are the raspberry sorbet, or a version using red currants. When I first bought the machine, it was almost never cheaper to make ice cream than buy it. But now that all the containers are getting so small and the ingredient list so large, even with higher priced and higher quality ingredients, it really is cheaper, as well as better to make your own. Most of what is available now can’t even legally call itself ice cream and has become “frozen dessert”.

    • Jessica says

      @Karen, I know. Sad, huh? Even my favorite Talenti has soy in it which annoys me to no end.

  10. Lori says

    I bought a Cuisinart at Bed, Bath and Beyond with a coupon. We love it! Since the ice cream is softer than store bought, it is fun to mix in chopped candy bars, cookies, etc. Much cheaper than going out for ice cream.

    • Jessica says

      @Lori, that’s a great idea for a sundae night. Thanks.

  11. Angie says

    I’ve got a Cuisinart ice cream maker too. . .bought it close to 10 years ago with a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon. LOVE it. 🙂 It’s seen more than enough use to make it worth the original expense. I usually make vanilla for sundaes, but my 16yo son loves to experiment with flavors.

  12. Julie H says

    I have the Cuisinart in red…love it! My fave flavor so far has been Blueberry Cheesecake (from Cooking Light). Can’t wait to use it this summer!

  13. Heather says

    I have a kitchenAid ice cream attachment that I use to make ours. We like, maple nut and vanilla. Mint chocolate chip is ok.

    FIL also bought us one for Christmas this year, its still in its packaging b/c why as a family of 4 do we need 2?

    • Angela says

      @Heather, I also have a kitchen aid attachment. The best part is it doesn’t take much space to store. This post makes me excited!

      • Heather says


        I usually use the recipe that came with the attachment but find that its a frozen custard as it takes so much in egg yolks. What do you think?

        Its way easier to store than the slicer/shredder attachment that’s for sure. BTW I do like that attachment too.

        • Angela R says

          @Heather, Yes, I’ve tried several recipes. I think the custard recipe is very yummy but obviously time intensive. I have experimented with several recipes like the one that Jessica posted and find them much easier and preferable for that reason.

      • Jessica says

        @Angela, I’m curious how that works….

        • Angela R says

          @Jessica, The attachment/paddle is a bowl that sits in the mixer. It has an insulated layer on the outside that must be frozen first. I just use it like a normal ice cream maker, although sometimes things come out a bit soft and need to be frozen for a couple of hours.

  14. Kelly says

    A friend of mine bought me a Hamilton Beach model a few years ago when I was asking around to borrow one before buying. It works well, but at a quart per time, I sometimes wish it was a larger capacity. We usually make vanilla and then get creative with toppings. My favorite is mint chocolate chip, but I’ve yet to make it myself. I’ve been saying for months that I need to put the insert into the freezer so I can make ice cream soon and forget/get lazy (it has to go to the outside freezer because inside is too full). I did finally put it in yesterday and was going to try the mint chocolate chip, but ran out of time. Definately doing it tomorrow.

    If I were to shop for a new one, I’d look for larger capacity and/or a model whose insert doesn’t have to be frozen to work.

  15. Kathy says

    Oh! I adore my ice cream maker! I got it as a gift for my birthday last year and it gets a lot of use. For Christmas my husband got me a second bowl so I can make more than one batch at a time. Homemade ice cream is so much better than store bought. I don’t seem to eat as much of it either but it is so much richer in flavor and texture. My favorite recipes come from The Perfect Scoop.

  16. Maria says

    LOVE my Cuisinart. Love it more than the KitchenAide attachment I used to have that began to leak the gel stuff. I find the Cuisinart churns up the ice cream more quickly, too. Glad to read about your cost analysis. I’ve always wondered if I was saving or not by churning my own frozen treats.

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