The First Thing You Should Always Do When Making Ice Cream

published May 31, 2017
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Ice cream churning in an ice cream maker
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I remember the very first time I took my ice cream maker for a spin. I was giddy with excitement at the prospect of finally making my favorite dessert from scratch. I ever-so-carefully heated, whisked, and stirred the base. I chilled it, just the way the recipe called for, and then I hit a roadblock that completely derailed my ice cream dreams (at least for that day).

There was one simple step that I completely overlooked: I forgot to put the ice cream bowl in the freezer ahead of time.

Freeze the Ice Cream Maker Bowl

If you’re working with an ice cream maker that uses a freezer bowl for churning the base into a lush, creamy dessert, it needs to be stashed in the freezer ahead of time. And a couple hours in the freezer isn’t going to cut it (trust me — I’ve tried). When the bowl is not completely frozen solid, it will thaw quickly during churning and the base won’t thoroughly freeze.

In order to get the best results, the ice cream maker bowl should chill in the freezer for at least 12 hours, although preferably 24 hours. The more time you have for this step, the better. If you have the space, you can even keep it stored in the freezer so it’s always ready for churning.

The Exception to the Rule

Of course, if your ice cream maker chills the base by using a compressor or if you’re making a no-churn version, there’s no planning ahead for you. When the hankering for homemade ice cream hits, it’s only a short matter of time before digging your spoon in.

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