An ice cream maker on the kitchen counter is always ready to churn up your favorite frozen dessert, just using staples in the pantry. These versatile appliances prepare healthy homemade frozen treats, from creamy gelato to fruity sorbets, and refresh the whole family in minutes. The best part is that you can customize each batch to suit dietary restrictions and mood, whether it’s dairy-free lemon sorbet or a rich scoop of chocolate chips.
If you’ve never owned an ice cream maker before, operating it can seem overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’ve asked for expert advice to help you make the best decision before you invest.
Types of Ice Cream Makers: Compressors vs. Pre-Freezing Bowls
Home ice cream machines are mainly of two types. The former freezes the mixture as it is stirred, using a compressor, while the latter requires bowls to be frozen before the mixture is poured.
Entry-level models often work with pre-freezing bowls, while compressor machines are an expensive investment for a beginner looking to experiment. This tip comes from Nicolò Mazzari, co-founder of Dubai-based Samuele’s Artisanal Gelato, where Italian chef Samuele Angolani prepares homemade Italian gelato using professional equipment.
“Entry-level ice cream makers are designed to produce small quantities, from 400g to 1kg, which is enough for a family. They take longer… around 30 to 45 minutes,” he added. “The Pre-Freeze Bowl is an easy and affordable way to try things out. You can always switch to a compressor model later. »
What can I do in an ice cream maker?
Everything that touches the mixing bowl freezes over time to become a delicious summer treat. It’s as simple as pouring in water and adding sugar and fresh fruit for a serving of frozen sorbet, Mazzari says.
Fatima Chehabeddine, owner of Dubai’s LimaGel ice cream shop and a professionally trained gelato maker, recommends an egg-free chocolate ice cream recipe.
“Gelato is 98% less fat than ice cream because it uses very little fresh cream. For a liter of ice cream, heat the milk, sugar and a chocolate bar, then chill the mixture in the refrigerator. Add a little crème fraîche to the mixture and mix well before pouring it into the ice cream maker,” she explains.
Which ice cream maker is best for me?
While Mazzari and Chehabeddine use Carpigiani’s commercial-grade machines, they agree that Cuisinart ice cream makers also work well at home. The brand offers compressor-based and pre-freezing bowl-based devices in its range.
Ideally, you should aim for a smooth creamy texture in your ice cream, the kind without nasty ice crystals in every bite. Mazzari says the faster the machine freezes the mixture, the less time the water molecules will have to crystallize. So, to get the best texture possible, try opting for a quick-freeze ice cream maker.
Browse our list of picks below and bring home a mini ice cream maker as the Celsius is still on the rise. Order as a Prime member to receive it tomorrow.
1. Best Set and Budget: Cuisinart Ice Cream Deluxe
- Sits compactly on the counter
- Large two liter capacity
- Open lid to add solid ingredients
- Only takes 25 minutes
- Comes with a recipe book
- The bowl must be frozen for 12 hours
With Cuisinart Ice Cream Deluxe, you whip up a generous two-liter tub of homemade ice cream in one go. Although this model comes without a compressor, it produces a delicious consistency in 25 minutes. Make sure the bowl stays in the freezer compartment for at least 12 hours, before dessert cravings call. Once your ice cream is almost ready, sprinkle the chocolate chip or nut mixture through the opening in the lid. There’s no shelf space issue here either – the unit is as compact as your food processor.
Guarantee: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh29 and a two-year extended warranty for Dh41.
2. Best Compressor Machine: Princess Ice Cream Maker Deluxe
- No prior preparation required
- Keeps ice cold for an hour
- Mixing function only for solid ingredients
- Cooling function for crushed frozen desserts
- Makes less than two liters, according to reviews
- Takes up space and is heavy
Prepare two liters of frozen treats whenever you want, without having to pre-freeze a bowl. The Princess Ice Cream Maker Deluxe chills the base mix on the spot, using a built-in compressor that can reach sub-zero temperatures of -35˚C. The only caveat is its preparation time; for a new batch, you’ll need to set aside at least 45-60 minutes for the maker to work its magic. But some might find this an easier compromise than making a pre-freeze bowl overnight. Even if dinner is a long affair, the machine keeps dessert cool for an hour. Enhance the finished ice cream by selecting the stir only program or also prepare granita (a Sicilian shaved frozen dessert) with the chill function.
Guarantee: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh57 and a two-year extended warranty for Dh81.
3. Best for Variety: Cuisinart Double Ice Cream Maker
- Prepares two distinct flavors simultaneously
- Two bowls with a capacity of one liter each
- Open lid to add solid ingredients
- Takes 20-25 minutes
- Bowls must be frozen for 12 hours
If the house is split between vanilla ice cream and chocolate ice cream, the solution lies in the Cuisinart Double Ice Cream Maker. It simultaneously prepares two different flavors or types of frozen desserts in two one-liter bowls. Or, you can just use a bowl using the control switch. In 20 to 25 minutes, the ice cream maker prepares everything from frozen yogurt to sorbet. But, as the machine does not run on a compressor, both bowls need pre-freezing overnight to work. Cuisinart advises its buyers that the freezer should be set to 0°F (-17.78°C) for this step.
Guarantee: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh40 and a two-year extended warranty for Dh57.
4. Best Value Compressor: Ariete 693 Gran Gelato Metal
- Removable container
- Does not require prior preparation
- Keeps ice cold for an hour
- Includes an ice cream scoop and some recipes
- Works quietly
Another self-cooling compressor model to consider is the Ariete Gran Gelato Metal, if you are on a budget. Its voluminous body attests to the integrated compressor which prepares a liter of ice cream in 40 minutes, without preparation. Depending on the recipe, you can even set your own timer to achieve the best consistency, after which the unit shuts off and continues to keep the contents cool for an hour. Reviewers note that the finished product may need some freezing to fully solidify.
5. Best Fast Compressor Machine: Whynter ICM-128BPS Vertical Automatic Ice Cream Maker
- Attractive design
- Includes ice cream scoop and electronic timer
- May take 30-60 minutes
- Chill and blend modes only
- Timer function
- Requires voltage converter for UAE
Whynter’s pink and black machine is easy on the eyes, provides 1.2 liters of frozen dessert and is easy to use. It’s as easy as pouring in your mix and hitting the ice cream icon. The compressor’s cooling temperature ranges from -18°C to -35°C to accommodate a variety of treats, in addition to ice cream. Control knobs, with an LCD timer display, let you know how long until the mixture solidifies, with the ability to set the minutes. And, once the mixture is solid enough, the motor automatically shuts off to prevent overheating.
Prime: Buy with zero percent installments and pay Dh132.39 for 12 months with select banks.
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