Years ago, one of my best friends gave me The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz for my birthday (with the strict stipulation that I make her an ice cream cake every year for her birthday). It was the best gift, with the sweetest inscription, and I’ve made many recipes from those dairy-stained pages. That treasured book is currently on the shelf above my desk, just outside the Test Kitchen here at King Arthur, and on days when I’m feeling particularly stuck on a development project, I find inspiration in my bestie’s inscription: her confidence that I can do anything and her Friday Night Lights reference that always makes me smile.

I could hardly wait to make my first ice cream recipe from that book ... but there was just one problem. After eagerly cooking my custard base and patiently chilling it, I realized I’d forgotten to freeze the insert for my ice cream maker. My ice cream dreams were immediately put on pause while I waited — a full 24 hours! — for it to freeze solid.

I’ve always felt that the biggest barrier to making your own ice cream is the need to plan ahead and pre-freeze the bowl. What if you have an immediate ice cream craving or a sudden strike of inspiration?

Well, turns out I don't have to wait anymore. The Cuisinart Ice Cream & Gelato Maker is a complete game-changer when it comes to homemade ice cream because there is no pre-freezing required. I repeat, there is no pre-freezing required.

A scoop of ice cream straight from the bowl of the ice cream maker Photography and food styling by Liz Neily
This machine consistently delivers the creamiest ice cream I’ve ever been able to make at home.

With a simplified process and high-quality results, this machine takes your ice cream dreams to the next level. Because you don’t have to freeze the bowl before churning, you can decide to make ice cream on a whim, whip up your base, and start churning as soon as the base has properly chilled in the fridge, usually for no more than an hour or two. Another delicious benefit of not having to pre-freeze a bowl is that there is even more room in your freezer for churned ice cream. And while having to pre-freeze your ice cream bowl means you typically have to wait 24 hours between batches, with this appliance, you can make batch after batch of different ice cream flavors without delay.

The machine is easy to use, too. It has exactly three buttons: power, timer, and start/stop. Pour your ice cream base into the aluminum mixing bowl, lock the lid in place, set your timer, and hit start. That’s it. Included are two paddles: one for ice cream and one for gelato. The gelato paddle is slightly smaller, meant to ensure a slower churning process that incorporates less air into the mixture and creates a richly textured gelato.

One of my favorite features is an opening in the lid so you can add your mix-ins of choice without interrupting the freezing cycle — perfect for adding cookies to your Cookies and Cream Ice Cream, or a ribbon of marshmallow swirl in your vanilla custard. There’s also a “Keep Cool” feature that will keep your ice cream (you guessed it) cool for 10 minutes after churning is complete. Freshly churned soft serve, anyone? 

Adding mix-ins to ice cream while churning in the ice cream maker Photography and food styling by Liz Neily
It's easy to add mix-ins while churning.

Whether you are looking to make sorbet, frozen yogurt, or a traditional custard-based ice cream, this machine churns it all and consistently delivers the creamiest ice cream I’ve ever been able to make at home. Because you don't have to worry about the frozen bowl thawing before the ice cream is fully churned, there’s less melting and re-freezing of ice crystals — which means your ice cream will have a more consistent, even freeze, with a silky-smooth texture. Dark Chocolate Sorbet with a spoonful of tart cherry pie filling is a decadent, dairy-free treat. Blackberry and Raspberry Frozen Yogurt topped with sprinkles is great for a day filled with sunshine. Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Hot Fudge Sauce or a drizzle of olive oil is the impressive homemade dessert you need for your next dinner party.

The machine contains a commercial-quality compressor freezer, which is just a fancy way of saying that it’s always ready to make ice cream. Despite being a compression model machine, this ice cream maker isn’t noisy. I would describe it as more of a steady hum, and cleanup is a breeze. The mixing paddles and lid are top-shelf dishwasher safe, and the mixing bowl can be washed in warm, soapy water. Taking up the same amount of countertop space as a stand mixer and weighing in at just under 30 pounds, I admit that this is a hefty countertop appliance. But when fresh ice cream is the reward, this machine earns its spot on my counter, not only in the summer months, but all year long.

Gone are the days of making space in your freezer for your ice cream maker bowl days in advance of churning. Now, the only space you’ll need to make is for your many containers of luscious, made-with-love ice cream.

Ready to start your summer ice cream journey? The Cuisinart Ice Cream & Gelato Maker currently has free shipping!

Cover photo and food styling by Liz Neily. 

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Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 Reviews
3 hrs 18 mins
about 4 cups of ice cream (6 to 8 servings)
Filed Under: Story
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About Molly Marzalek-Kelly

Born and raised in Vermont, Molly loves nothing more than keeping her friends, family, and community well-fed. She whole-heartedly agrees with the sentiment that there’s no greater feeling than giving something you made with love to someone you love. At any given time, she always has a few weeks’ wo...
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