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We purchased the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
Ice cream always tastes good, but we’d have to say the homemade variety—like the kind you make with the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment—is a step above anything you can buy in a store. Ice cream makers need to be easy to use, clean, and store. And, of course, the ice cream needs to taste amazing. Read on to get our take on this KitchenAid attachment, and find out whether its ice cream will tickle your tastebuds.
Setup and Design: Simple and effective
As far as ice cream makers go, this attachment is simple and straightforward. It fits KitchenAid mixers that are 4.5 quarts and larger, except the KSM6573C and KSM7 models. The attachment is made up of three pieces: a mixer bowl, drive assembly, and dasher. Take note of your mixer model before you begin. How the drive assembly and bowl attach changes based on whether your KitchenAid is a tilt-head mixer or a bowl-lift mixer, but there are directions and diagrams for both.
The bowl must freeze for at least 15 hours before use. That means you either need to keep it in the freezer all the time or plan ahead. The manual also says it should be placed in the deepest, coldest part of the freezer. We had some issues with freezing on one batch, and we think our freezer placement could have been the problem, so follow the directions carefully.
The 2-quart bowl snaps into place in the mixer arms with the dasher already in place. Once locked in place, the drive assembly snaps over the mixing arm like a yoke. It then connects with the dasher and does all the work. Set-up doesn’t take long. You have to make the ice cream mix, of course, which we did using our regular KitchenAid bowl and whisk beater.
As stated in the directions, the mixer must be turned on the lowest speed before pouring the ice cream mix into the bowl. Otherwise, premature freezing can prevent the drive assembly and dasher from rotating. Pouring the mix into the bowl isn’t easy as there isn’t much space between the mixer and the bowl. We resorted to using a funnel to prevent the mix from pouring down the side of the bowl or ending up on the counter.
While it’s not a complicated process, the set-up and pouring of the mix take longer than it would with a standalone ice cream maker.
Performance: Delicious but inconsistent
After all the set-up is taken care of, ice cream making is a waiting game. One thing we loved about this mixer over standalone models is that you can see the mix as it freezes. There’s no top, so the whole process can be watched. We wonder if that might also be one of the reasons we had problems with one of our batches fully freezing, though.
The recipes included with the mixer suggest 20-minute mixing times as did the recipes we used from a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cookbook. We started with 20 minutes, but every batch we made took closer to 40 minutes to fully freeze. We made one batch of blackberry and one batch of banana ice cream. Both turned out creamy and delicious with the texture of soft serve. The recipes made 1 to 1.5 quarts of the mix but expanded to fill the entire 2-quart bowl by the time they were done.
One batch of plain vanilla ice cream didn’t freeze, though. In this case, the ice cream started to freeze in the beginning, but partway through, condensation appeared on the outside of the bowl, and it never progressed to fully frozen ice cream. While it mixed beautifully, we finally poured it into a container and put it into the freezer. It tasted great after it fully froze; it just didn’t reach that point when it should have.
After a little research, we found out that this is a common issue with the KitchenAid attachment, so we tried to see why it happened. Our first thought was the placement of the bowl in the freezer—it wasn’t at the front, but it wasn’t at the deepest point, either. The bowl may not have been cold enough from the very beginning. It was also a hotter, more humid day, and we had an oven going in the kitchen at the same time. The extra heat and humidity could have warmed the bowl up too much and affected our results.
After one success and one failure, we had to put a third batch through—our banana ice cream. It worked as the first and had a creamy, whipped texture. The ice cream maker attachment may not have frozen it perfectly, but all ingredients were evenly mixed whether they froze or not. That’s probably why our second batch still tasted good after it had been fully frozen.
Whatever flavor you make, you’ll get yummy, creamy ice cream as long as you follow the directions. Even if you have trouble with freezing, the mix will freeze later on and it’ll still taste good so long as the drive assembly and dasher have functioned properly.
Ease of Cleaning: Fast and easy
The drive assembly and dasher can be washed in the top rack of the dishwasher, so it’s fast and easy to clean. The dasher is also easy to clean by hand if you rinse it immediately after use. The drive assembly has more nooks and crannies, which makes the dishwasher a much more effective choice.
The mixing bowl is hand-wash only. As long as you wash it right after you use it, it’s not hard to clean. Be sure to let it dry completely before putting it back in your freezer. Frozen droplets can be enough to disrupt the dasher and halt stirring.
Price: The right price for expanded function
With an MSRP of $79.99, this attachment costs less than most standalone ice cream makers. Pouring ingredients into the bowl can be more difficult, but if you don’t want to add another appliance to your cupboards, this attachment is a good space-saving solution that’s also fairly cost-effective.
Competition: Specialized works better, but this saves space
Cuisinart Electronic Ice Cream Maker: We tested this standalone Cuisinart ice cream maker (view on Amazon) alongside the KitchenAid attachment. The Cuisinart is a larger machine that makes more ice cream in a shorter amount of time. However, it takes more cupboard space, and it’s much louder than the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment. It’s also much more expensive, with an MSRP of $250.
Hamilton Beach Automatic Ice Cream Maker: This Hamilton Beach ice cream maker (view on Amazon) is in the same price range as the KitchenAid attachment, although even cheaper (you can find it on sale for less than $40). It also makes twice as much ice cream per batch. That said, the Hamilton Beach definitely seems like more of a budget buy and durability could be an issue.