Good Question: Should I Upgrade My Ice Cream Maker?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Have you made ice cream yet this season? We have, just once, but we’re looking forward to lots more. Here’s a question from Delairen on ice cream makers:

I need help choosing a new ice cream maker and was hoping you guys might have some words of wisdom for me. I currently have a Cuisinart freeze-the-bowl style ice cream maker, and although the results are passable (barely) I’m hoping to take a step up. I have a budget of about $300 or so (plus/minus) – and was considering the Cuisinart ICE-50BCE, but I was wondering if there was something I might be missing to finding the perfect balance of quality/price.

Here are our reviews of the two ice cream makers under discussion:

Cuisinart Automatic Ice Cream Maker – The scoop: Inexpensive ice cream maker; needs to have the bowl frozen between batches, so at least 12-24 hours have to elapse between batches. But still makes a great creamy-style ice cream, especially when the base is enriched with eggs and well-chilled.

Cuisinart ICE-50BC Supreme Ice Cream Maker – The scoop: Much more expensive (4x at least) but comes with an internal compressor that chills the ice cream while churning. You can make batch after batch, consecutively. It makes a slightly creamier ice cream, since it freezes more evenly, but it’s still nowhere near a commercial model. You still need to tweak your base for its shortcomings.

Delairen, upgrading your ice cream maker will not make a huge difference in the quality of your ice cream; tweaking your base recipe will go a lot further in that. Homemade ice cream is all about compensating for the shortcomings of home ice cream makers with bases that will freeze well. Our favorite ice cream base (amazing texture) is linked below.

But upgrading will really help you make ice cream more conveniently; you don’t have to pre-chill the base (although it still helps) when you use a machine with a compressor. Just make sure you have the space; these machines are big and heavy! (And loud.)

There are other similar models, too, to answer your final question, but Cuisinart really has a lock on this market. This was the most affordable version I could find, when I was looking for one about a year ago.

Which leads me to the final, most important point: This is exactly the sort of gadget you want to buy used. The model I have runs $400 on Amazon; I bought it for about $100 used, and it works perfectly. This is one of those things that people buy and then promptly get rid of. So yes, upgrade if you can find a used version that still works well.

Readers – any better options for Delairen?

(Images: Faith Durand)

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