How to Use An Ice Cream Maker (and which to buy!) – Handle the Heat

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Video How to use an ice cream maker

One of my favorite summer treats and DIY projects has to be making ice cream from scratch!

I’ve owned my ice cream maker for nearly 10 years and have discovered all the best tips and tricks for making incredible homemade ice cream that beats any expensive shoppe.

Let’s dive in!

How to Use an Ice Cream Maker: Step by Step Instructions

Below you’ll find instructions for how to use a freezer bowl ice cream maker like the Cuisinart ICE-21. My photographer, Ashley, has the Cuisinart ICE-30BC machine which is the one pictured in the photos below.

  1. Freeze your freezer bowl.

This is the MOST IMPORTANT step. Your bowl must be 100% frozen solid. Give it a shake and if you hear any slushing of the liquid inside the walls of the bowl, it’s not ready to use yet. If your bowl isn’t totally frozen, your ice cream won’t thicken and churn but remain soupy instead.

TIP: Make sure your freezer bowl is completely dry before placing it in the freezer. Water droplets will turn into ice and end up in your ice cream!

  1. Prepare your ice cream base.

If you’re following a recipe for Philadelphia-style ice cream (sometimes called American-style ice cream) then you can generally combine your cold milk, cream, sugar, and flavoring ingredients (no mix-ins), in a mixing bowl then add it straight to the machine. As long as the mixture is cold, you can churn it straight away.

If you’re following a custard-based ice cream recipe (sometimes called French-style) then you must refrigerate your mixture until it’s well chilled before churning. If you don’t, you’ll end up with soup (seeing a theme here?).

  1. Churn your ice cream.

Remove the freezer bowl from the freezer when ready to churn. Don’t let it sit at room temperature for any period of time otherwise it’ll begin to defrost.

Place the mixing paddle in the freezer bowl with the circle side facing up. Place the plastic lid on the base and rotate until it fits into place.

Turn the machine ON to begin turning the bowl. Immediately pour your ice cream base in through the spout. You want to have the machine running when you pour your ingredients in so you don’t end up with any icy pieces.

Churn for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and increased in volume to your desired consistency.

If you have any mix-ins such as chocolate chips, nuts, or even alcohol you plan to add, do so in the last several minutes of churning. Gradually pour them in through the opening of the plastic lid. Don’t add alcohol before the last few minutes otherwise the ice cream won’t churn properly. Avoid adding mix-ins larger than the size of a chocolate chip.

how to use an ice cream machine
  1. Serve or store.

For more of a soft-serve ice cream consistency, serve immediately.

For a firmer consistency, transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for at least 2 hours. If storing longer, cover the ice cream surface with plastic wrap before placing the lid on to prevent ice crystals from forming.

The longer the ice cream is stored, the more the flavors will intensify.

If the ice cream has been in the freezer for more than a couple days, it’ll need to soften before scooping and serving. Allow it to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes before scooping for best results.

TIP: Don’t store your ice cream in the ice cream maker freezer bowl! The ice cream will stick to the sides of the bowl.

My Favorite Ice Cream Storage Containers:

  • Pint Sized Ice Cream Containers with Lids – These are so cute and fun, especially if you plan to experiment with different flavors or want to gift homemade ice cream. Click here to download our free Ice Cream Label template to use!
  • Tovolo Reusable Ice Cream Tub – This has a tight-fitting silicone lid to prevent freezer burn.
  • Tovolo Insulated Storage Tub – Unlike the typical upright containers, this one is long so you can get beautiful scoops with ease.

Ice Cream Recipes You’ll LOVE:

  • French Vanilla Ice Cream (even vanilla ice cream haters love this recipe!)
  • Death by Chocolate Ice Cream (ridiculously chocolaty)
  • Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (absolutely bursting with flavor)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream (with WAY more cookie dough than the store-bought stuff!)

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

Getting the best ice cream near me is easy! Find the nearest ice cream shop with our store locator. View hours, contact information, maps and driving directions

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