how to use an ice cream maker

Whether the temperatures outside are soaring or you simply love enjoying chocolate ice cream all year round, having your own ice cream machine is a great option. Plus, having an electric ice cream maker can eliminate the need for store bought ice cream. If you love banana ice cream, sorbet, or simply want to make some frozen yoghurt, there are ice cream machines for you. That being said, we’ll show you how to use an ice cream maker and share some delicious recipes you should try. Let’s get started!

Types of Ice Cream Makers

Frozen Canister Models

If you love creamy ice cream, this is by far the most commonly found frozen treat maker for home use. They’re not only affordable but also readily available at most kitchen appliance stores, as well as at most retailers online.

The biggest downside to an ice cream canister model is that you need to plan ahead before you can make ice cream. The ice cream canister needs to be thoroughly frozen for at least 15 hours prior to being used, which means you can’t have a spontaneous frozen treat party at home. A little pre-planning will be necessary to ensure the ice cream canister is cold enough to create the right thickness of your homemade ice cream.

After the canister is frozen, you can place it into the frozen treat maker and install the ice cream maker attachment. Turn it on and start adding your frozen treat base and any additional flavours or treats you want to mix in as well. 

It will take around 20 minutes of the machine running for your frozen treat to be mixed by the machine. At that time, you can either enjoy the soft-serve ice cream as-is or place it in the freezer for an additional few hours to firm it up.

Compressor Models

One of the more costly options for making ice cream at home, the compressor models are great for spontaneous ice cream making parties. You won’t need to place the canister in the freezer or worry about keeping a rock salt and ice water bath on hand. Simply add your base to the mixing bowl and turn it on. The model has its own built-in freezer, in a way, and if you love ice cream fast, this is a great option.

Ice cream maker in the kitchen

Compressor style ice cream makers can be used to make ice cream and other cold treats such as frozen yoghurt, gelato, and sorbet. Most models have different settings for you to choose from, as well as a variety of base recipes and flavour additions they can handle. Be sure to find instructions in your user manual if you are unsure which setting to use.

If you love having a frozen treat but hate having to plan 15 or 24 hours in advance, a compressor model is perfect. You can enjoy your favourite frozen treat in less than an hour by adding the frozen treat base to the compressor model ice cream maker. Not to mention it can handle a wide range of delicious ice cream maker recipes.

Old Fashioned Ice Cream Churns

There are a couple of old fashioned models on the market today. One is electric but still has that old fashioned look to it. And the other is a modern creation of a manual favourite. It requires you to burn some calories to create your frozen treat, but your family and friends can take turns churning their very own frozen treat.

Old fashioned style models include a canister where you add your frozen treat base and a mixing paddle that mixes the base. In order to keep the canister cold, you will need to immerse the exterior into an ice water bath using ice and rock salt. The colder this bath is, the better the consistency of your ice cream will be.

Once the canister is cold and the mixing paddle is placed into the churn with the base mix, you and your family can take turns turning the manual crank. Unless, of course, you have an electric model which will do the cranking for you. For the manual models, you should have to churn the ice cream mixture for around 30 minutes or until it reaches the consistency you like.

Recipes for an Ice Cream Maker

Regardless of the style or brand of frozen treat maker you choose to use, your base recipe will need to start with a basic ice cream maker base. This is the ice cream mixture recipe to which you can add your very own additional flavours. For example, you can use the base alone for a light and creamy milky vanilla ice cream or add fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, and other sweet things to it for delightful frozen desserts.

There are dozens of base recipes available, but most include the same basic ice cream ingredients of milk, sugar and cream. Some ice cream base recipes will also add eggs, which leaves your final ice cream with a very smooth and creamy finish that’s perfect for frozen treats. The result will usually be similar to a soft sorbet more than a frozen solid treat. The choice is yours as to which you prefer.

A woman is pouring homemade mixture in a kitchen appliance

Regardless of which base recipe you choose, the process is very similar to making the best homemade ice cream. You will heat the base ingredients until they thicken slightly. From there, you will freeze the base in freezer bowls or an ice water bath overnight. After the base has been thoroughly chilled, you’ll add it to your ice cream maker or churn, along with any additional tidbits you want to add.

Custard Base Recipe with Eggs

You Will Need:

  • Heavy Cream – 2 Cups
  • Milk (Whole) – 1 Cup
  • Sugar – ⅔ Cup
  • Sea Salt – ⅛ Teaspoon
  • Yolks from 6 Eggs

Step by Step Process:

  • Add your heavy cream, whole milk, sugar, and sea salt to a small pot. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes or until the mixture fully dissolves into a gentle liquid.
  • Remove the small pot from the heat. After the heated cream has been removed from the heat, slowly whisk the 6 egg yolks in a separate bowl. Pour around ⅓ of the hot cream into the whisked yolks, then add the entire mixture back into the pot.
  • Place the pot back on low heat and cook to around 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it has thickened to your desired consistency, remove it from heat and strain the mixture through a sieve into a separate bowl.
  • Let the cream and egg base cool in a bowl in the freezer overnight if possible, or at least 4 hours if overnight is not possible.
  • The base is now ready to be processed further in an ice cream maker to reach your desired texture! Try adding chocolate or other different flavours to suit your taste.

TIP: Placing plastic wrap over the freezer bowl will help prevent freezer burn.

Custard Base Recipe with No Eggs

You Will Need:

  • Heavy Cream – 1¾ Cups 
  • Milk (Whole) – 1¼ Cup 
  • Sugar – ¾ Cup 
  • Sea Salt – ⅛ Teaspoon 
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 Tablespoon 

Step by Step Process:

  • Add 1 cup of your heavy cream into a small pot and start warming it on medium heat. 
  • Add the sugar and salt and stir gently until it all fully dissolves.
  • Once the sugar is dissolved, remove the small pot from the heat and add the remainder of your heavy cream and the milk into the pot.
  • Gradually pour the vanilla extract in and stir the mixture until it combines into a creamy texture.
  • Let the base cool in a bowl in the fridge or freezer overnight if possible, or at least 4 hours if overnight is not possible.
  • The base is now ready to be processed further in an ice cream maker with whatever flavours you choose to add in. This is a good recipe for Philadelphia style ice cream too!

How to Clean an Ice Cream Maker

Most modern ice cream makers are easy to disassemble and clean as needed. Most of the mixing parts are dishwasher safe and can be placed on the top rack with no danger of damaging the component. If you have a machine that requires the use of rock salt and ice bath, you may notice some build-up from the salt on the exterior. Staying on top of periodic wipe-downs can make clean up a breeze.

Ice crystals may sometimes form in the inner workings of the machine as well. To prevent hard water stains or salt build-up, be sure to wipe down or rinse the machine often. Check your instruction manual to be sure of the problem areas on your electric ice cream maker.

Enjoy Your Homemade Ice Cream!

From the old fashioned ice cream churn with a hand crank to the modern compressor-style rapid ice cream maker, if you have an ice cream machine in your home, your whole family can enjoy homemade ice cream anytime! And now that you’ve learned how to use an ice cream maker, your friends and family will love thinking up new flavours and ice cream recipes to try, and you can even invite them over to try some of your newest frozen creations.

Ice cream makers are easy to find, affordable to purchase, and very simple to use. Whether you are a pro in the kitchen or a complete beginner, you can definitely find yourself using an ice cream maker more often than not. From basic flavours to elaborate frozen treats, you’re sure to find a new favourite recipe for ice cream that you can make right in your own home.

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