Ice Cream Equipment / June 22, 2018 / Gwendolyn Shin
The principle used by these machines is quite simple. The actual freezing is accomplished in the unit's freezer bowl, which contains a cooling liquid between a double-insulated wall. The bowl must be extremely cold before it can freeze anything, so you put the bowl in your freezer, preferably for at least 12 hours. (My original unit came with an extra freezer bowl, so I keep both bowls in the freezer at all times so I can make ice cream whenever the notion strikes me.)
Testing criteria. We tested eight widely available ice cream makers under $100 and evaluated each for the quality of the finished ice cream and sorbet, how long the canister or disk stayed cold, ease of use, and noise (listed in order of importance). Winners and also-rans. As we found out after testing eight machines (six electric and two manual), despite design similarities, there were performance differences. For some, the canisters just couldn’t stay cold long enough, resulting in a softer, sometimes sloppy ice cream. For others, the machine incorporated too much air into the mixture, in some cases creating ice cream with the consistency of frozen whipped cream. After making batch upon batch of plain vanilla ice cream, vanilla with crushed Oreos, and lemon sorbet, the four machines featured below stood out as our favorite choices.