Cuisinart ICE-30 Ice Cream Maker – Review

This was the first ice cream maker that I ever bought and I am still in love with it to this day. It makes excellent dense and creamy ice cream with little overrun, allows you to make up to 1.5 litres at a time, and is reasonably priced.

A best seller?
It doesn’t always follow that a best selling item is a quality one (Da Vinci Code) but I still think that it is useful to look at what other ice cream enthusiasts are up to when deciding which ice cream machine to invest in. The ICE 30 is currently top of amazon’s ice cream machines best sellers list. Here is a list of the top 10 best selling ice cream machines on amazon.com:

  1. Cuisinart ICE 30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker
  2. Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream, & Sorbet Maker
  3. Nostalgia Electrics ICMP400BLUE 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker
  4. Cuisinrt ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker
  5. Cuisinart ICE-45 Mix It In Soft Serve 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker, Whitev
  6. Hamilton Beach 68330R 4-Quart Automatic Ice-Cream Maker, White
  7. MaxiMatic EIM-506 Elite Gourmet 6-Quart Old-Fashioned Pine-Bucket Electric/Manual Ice-Cream Maker
  8. DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker with Self-Refrigerating Compressor
  9. Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker
  10. Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker

The all impressive 2 litre bowl
The Cuisinart ICE-30 comes in a nice stainless steel finish. It comes with a large 2 litre removable bowl and a plastic dasher. The 2 litre bowl is the largest of any domestic ice cream maker and allows you to make up to 1.5 litres of ice cream at a time. I recommend churning no more than about a litre at a time as the more mix there is in the bowl, the longer it will take to freeze. The longer the ice cream takes to freeze, the larger the ice crystals are likely to grow and the sandier the texture is likely to be.

Before you can start making ice cream, you have to freeze the bowl overnight. Cuisinart states that the bowl be frozen for at least 12 hours but I recommend leaving the bowl in the freezer overnight to ensure that it has fully frozen. The large 2 litre bowl can be both a blessing and a curse as it takes up a lot of space in your freezer. It is a good idea to check before you buy the machine that your freezer is big enough to accommodate the bowl; the bowl measures  7-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ x 6-1/2″.

It is also very important to get your freezer as cold as it will possibly go when freezing the bowl. This is because the colder you can get the bowl, the faster it will freeze your ice cream mix. The faster you freeze your mix, the smaller the ice crystals are likely to be and the creamier the texture.

Cuisinart ICE 30 Ice Cream Maker

I set my freezer to ‘super freeze’, which gets the temperature down to about -27°C. It takes about 18 minutes to freeze the mix when I set my freezer to -27°C, and about 20-25 minutes when I set it to -18°C. This is very impressive for a domestic machine as professional ice cream makers take around 8 minutes to freeze a mix.

A good way of checking whether the bowl has been properly frozen is to shake it. If you can hear anything gushing around, it means that the freezing gel in the bowl is not fully frozen. In this case, you need to put the bowl back in the freezer. It is important that you avoid churning your ice cream when the bowl has not been properly frozen as it will come out wet and slushy. If you have frozen the bowl overnight and it is still makes the gushing sound after you shake it, it is probably because the temperature in your freezer is too high.

If you want to avoid having to freeze the bowl before you can make ice cream, the new Cuisinart ICE-100 ice cream maker is a good, albeit more expensive, alternative. It comes with an in-built compressor, which means that the machine itself freezes the bowl. This allows you to make batch after batch after batch as the bowl doesn’t have to be frozen overnight. In my opinion, the ICE-30 makes better ice cream than any machine with an in-built compressor and I really do not think it is necessary spending the extra money.

Emptying and Cleaning
It is very easy to empty the ice cream into a container using a plastic or wooden spoon once the machine has finished churning. The size of the bowl also makes cleaning very easy. The machine itself can also be cleaned using a damp cloth or sponge. It is a good idea to leave the bowl to warm up at room temperature to warm up before cleaning with warm soapy water. I am not sure whether the bowl is dish washer safe but I would recommend using a good old washing up sponge with soapy water.

The ice cream dasher
The machine comes with a large, and extremely durable, plastic ice cream dasher. Unlike other machines where the motor rotates the dasher, the motor on the Cuisinart rotates the bowl. This avoids the all too familiar problem encountered on some machines where the dasher becomes stuck and stops spinning when the mix starts to harden. I encountered this problem both on the Andrew James Professional Ice Cream Maker and the Cuisinart ICE-50.

The dasher incorporates between 20 and 30% air into the mix during the churning process, producing a very dense and creamy ice cream. Super premium ice creams have about 30% air incorporated, whilst economy ice creams can have as much as 100% air, giving them a light and fluffy texture that melts quickly in the mouth. I really like the dense and creamy ice cream that is produced using this machine.

Cuisinart ICE 30 Ice Cream Maker 2

Although incorporating a lot of air into a mix does limit the size of ice crystals, thereby improving texture, it can also have a negative impact on ice cream quality: too much air will dissipate flavour and produce ice cream that is fluffy in texture and light in weight.

The Cuisinart also comes with a large opening in the lid, which allows you to easily pour in your mix and add any mix-ins during the churning process.

My only criticism
My only criticism is that the dasher does not get close enough to the side of the bowl to scrape off any ice cream that freezes there during the churning process. This results in a layer of ice cream frozen to the side of the bowl. In theory, this can have a negative effect on the quality of the ice cream as the layer of ice cream frozen to the side of the bowl acts as an insulator, slowing the release of heat from the mix to the bowl, and increasing the time it takes to freeze the mix. The longer it takes to freeze the mix, the larger the ice crystals grow and the sandier the texture is likely to be.

I use my thumb to push the dasher against the side of the bowl and make sure that any ice frozen there is scraped off. This is a bit annoying as you have to stand next to the machine with your thumb in the bowl until the mixture has frozen.

I would like to see a spring loaded dasher in a future Cuisinart model. The spring would act to firmly push the dasher against the side, preventing a layer of ice from forming there. A spring-loaded dasher is commonly found in commercial ice cream machines.

The machine finishes churning after between 20 and 25 minutes, depending on how cold the freezer was when the bowl was frozen. After 20-25 minutes, it produces a dense dry-looking ice cream that sticks firmly to the dasher. If after 25 minutes the ice cream is still runny or drops off the dasher too easily, continue churning the mix for a further 5-10 minutes. If your ice cream is still runny, or slushy-like, after 30 minutes, then it is likely that the bowl is too warm and was not properly frozen.

The ice cream comes out of the machine at about -5°C. Although it can be served directly after it has been churned, it will have a light consistency and melt relatively quickly. I recommend transferring the ice cream to a plastic container and freezing it for a further 4 hours to get the temperature down to around -15°C. At this temperature, the ice cream will have a firm, scoopable consistency and be ready to serve. If you can wait, ice cream should be eaten at below -12°C. As the serving temperature is increased from -14.4°C to -7.8°C, flavour and sweetness become more pronounced.

Noise level
An issue a lot of people have with this machine is the noise level. Although the machine is relatively loud whilst it churns, I think the creamy results far outweigh the annoyance caused by the noise. I personally do not find the noise this machine makes a nuisance.

Cuisinart ICE 30 Ice Cream Maker 4

Would I recommend this machine?
So would I recommend this machine? Absolutely. Out of all the machines that I have tried, I still think the ICE-30 makes the best textured ice cream. It comes with an impressive 2 litre bowl that allows you to make about 1.5 litres at a time and, most importantly, makes excellent ice cream with low overrun and a dense and creamy texture.

I also think the machine is reasonably priced: at £67.00, it is about a quarter of the more expensive machines with an in-built compressor. If you do want to make several batches of ice cream at a time, then I would recommend the Cuisinart ICE-100 Ice Cream Maker, which makes ice cream comparable to the ICE-30 in texture.

If you’ve found this review useful and are thinking of investing in a swanky ICE-30, you can support this amazing blog by purchasing your machine from the chaps at amazon using the link below. All orders are processed and delivered by amazon.

Hope this review helps.

All the best, Ruben

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    • Hi Hernan, many thanks for your message.

      I wouldn’t recommend ice cream machines with built-in compressors as I think they are too expensive and not worth the cost. I have only tried two ice cream machines with in-built compressors – the Cuisinart ICE 50 and the Andrew James professional machine – and I wouldn’t recommend either.

      I use the Cuisinart ICE 30 and would recommend this over the Cuisinart ICE 50. With the ICE 30, you need to freeze the bowl in your freezer overnight but I really don’t find this a problem. The ICE 30 is also much cheaper than the 50 and makes, in my opinion, better ice cream.

      You do need a really cold freezer to get the best out of the ICE 30; I set mine to about -25°C and it takes about 16 minutes to churn a mix of ice cream. The colder the freezer, the colder the freezer bowl will get, and the smoother the ice cream is likely to be. The bowl isn’t too big but you do need a bit of space in your freezer to accommodate it, which might put some people off.

      I hope this helps. Let me know if you need more help.

      All the best, Ruben

  6. can I know how to make the ice cream more dense? is it because of the ice cream maker I use or the ingredients I use?

    • Hi there! It could be both! If the paddle in the ice cream machine you are using turns quickly, it will incorporate more air compared to one that turns slowly; this will incorporate more air and make the ice cream lighter. What ice cream machine are you using?

      You can also increase the total solids in your mix (sugar, fat, eggs, or milk solids non-fat) to make it denser and creamier. I would, of course, recommend that you try one of the recipes on the site and then compare that to what you made before.

      Hope that helps. Ruben

  7. would it be a good idea to leave the ice cream in the bowl, instead of transferring to another container, if I wont be making more than a batch at a time?

    • Hi Lisa! I have never actually tried leaving the ice cream in the bowl and then putting that back in the freezer. I don’t know whether the ice cream would take longer to freeze in the bowl or not.

      If you do try this, do let me know what the texture is like! Just be careful you don’t use a metal ice cream scoop as this might scratch the side of the bowl.

      Hope that helps. Ruben

  8. I have Cuisinart Soft Service Ice Cream Maker ICE-45. I have a large party tomorrow and was wondering if I could use dry ice to help freeze the bowls between use. …..any help between now and 10 AM on 9/1/13 would be very helpful.
    Robin

    • Hi Robin! I fear this reply is looooong over due. I’ve never actually used dry ice to freeze a bowl but would recommend wrapping the bowl in a towel just to make sure that the dry ice doesn’t damage the bowl.

      Did you try using dry ice for your party ice cream making?

      All the best, Ruben

  9. Hi Ruben,

    I have Cuisinart ICE-21C. How is it different from ICE 30 and what do you think about it (the ICE 21 that is)?
    Thank you

    • Hi there! I’ve never actually used the ICE-21 before but it doesn’t look like there is much difference to the ICE-30. The only difference I can see is the smaller freezer bowl on the 21. I really can’t see there being a difference in the quality of the ice cream made using both machines.

      Hope that helps. All the best, Ruben

  10. Hi, I have a Cuisinart ICE-45 and can’t get the bowl out of its plastic casing! I don’t want to break the plastic, and I can’t imagine that it is supposed to be put in the freezer that way (replacement bowls are just silver – not with the bottom attached!). The instructions are basically worthless, not addressing this issue at all. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated! Thanks.

    • Hi there Maya! I’ve never used the ICE-45 before so don’t know how much help I can be but i’ll give it a try! What do you mean by the bowl’s plastic casing? From what I can see from videos on youtube, the bowl on the 45 looks the same, albeit smaller, as on the 30 so not sure what you mean by the plastic casing. Can you take a picture or upload a video to youtube? I might be able to help if I can see the bowl.

      All the best, Ruben

  11. It just seems most of these “very-dependent-on-very-low-temp-in freezer-bowlls” ice cream makers are NOT for me.I would wind up throwing all my food out of my side-freezer-in fridge freezer,and i can’t do that.Plus, my old fridge would probably get junked, & have to buy new fridge.Just to get the bowl cold enough!! I’ve had makers with bowls in freezer, its too much work, & they don’t function..They are never frozen enough.You’d be better with a whole freezer separate, just for the bowl!!Really, this “frozen-bowl-in-freezer-“‘ is too much 9f a strain on my whole fridge.I’m not going to do all the work & planning, or go buy a new fridge.

    So maybe I need a compressor or a motor?does the ll gelato jjunior work, or is it junk? cause i just need something simple and unfussy, without tons of work.?? any comment? My fridge is old, but fine for food,and some ice cubes; not much room..I don’t wanta get a different fridge!!

    • Hi there!

      If you are looking for a machine with an in-built compressor, then I would recommend the Cuisinart ICE 100. It’s a bit expensive but is the only machine with an in-built compressor that I have found that makes the same smooth and creamy texture as the Cuisinart ICE 30.

      Hope that helps! Ruben

  12. I have a similar model to the Cuisinart ICE-30 you have. Mine is called the Cuisinart CIM-60PC with similar features to the ICE-30. I got mine from Costco & I think the Cuisinart ICE-30 & Cuisinart CIM-60PC are basically the same model just different color accents and a different model name because my Cuisinart came from wholesale so they gave it a different model name which is CIM-60PC instead of ICE-30 which is the original model name. Anyway, when I used mine I refrigerate my ice cream base before freezing it & some how as it freeze the sides freeze so fast that it created a layer of frozen ice cream before the churning process even started. What I did do was turn the machine off & tried to scrape the frozen layer as fast as I can because I don’t want the freezer bowl to defrost but I don’t think this convenience since if I do this for too long the freezer bowl won’t be as frozen. Also, the ice cream didn’t get frozen to the sides when I used the ice cream base at room temperature. The reason I put my ice cream base in the refrigerator before freezing into ice cream is because most recipes tells you to plus I think that the ice cream base freeze more properly & faster if it’s at a cold temperature but not frozen. Do you also have this problem and do you think I should just use my ice cream base right away at room temperature and not refrigerate it? How do I overcome this problem?

    • The problem that I have is that I refrigerate the ice cream base before freezing it into ice cream therefore as it turn the ice cream base get frozen to sides in chunks that it make the freezer bowl move around because the mixing pad is in place what do you suggest I do?

    • Hi Lena!

      Thanks for getting in touch. You will always have some of the mix freezing to the side of your bowl. If this happens, the theory is that it will act as an insulator and slow the release of heat from the mix to the bowl. This suggests that the ice cream will then take longer to freeze; the longer ice cream takes to freeze, the sandier the texture gets. I get around this by using my thumb to push the dasher against the side of the bowl on my ICE-30 to scrape off ice cream that freezes there. I’ve made plenty of batches though where I have left ice cream stuck to the side of the bowl and the texture has still turned out extremely smooth. So, you will always get some of the mix freezing to the side of the bowl and this really isn’t a problem.

      I don’t have any issues with my freezer bowl moving around though and am a bit concerned that yours does. When you say it moves around, does this movement make the bowl stop turning or is it just a bit of movement? Also, does a lot of ice cream get stuck to the side of the bowl?

      I wouldn’t recommend churning your mix at room temperature. Fat globules begin to crystalise when you age your mix overnight, which is important for texture. If you leave your mix at room temperature before you freeze it, those crystals might start to melt. I’ve never actually tried churning a batch at room temperature myself though so can’t confirm whether this does in fact have a negative effect on texture.

      Hope that helps. All the best,

      Ruben

      • Thank you for your response it was helpful and I figured out the problem I was having was just that my ice cream base was too cold from sitting in my refrigerator and so I should of turn on the machine and then pour the ice cream base in. Since I poured mine in before it started churning the cold ice cream base started to freeze to the side of the bowl before the machine even started churning and that’s why when I turned the machine on and when it started churning it started to move around because the ice cream that was stuck to the sides was too much and kept the dasher out of its place and dasher being out of place was causing the bowl to move around while it is churning.

  13. I have this machine too and can only say that I’m more than disappointed that the dasher does not scrape the bottom or sides. I also think that the bowl is rotating too slow, normally one would expect it to rotate at least one turn per second. The result is, even if I am using the best Italian commercial ingredients, an awful and sandy texture and a loss of ice cream that has frozen on the surface of the bowl. I think that this machine is just crap.

    Steffo

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  16. I have made three batches so far with my ICE-30, and have had a LOT of trouble each time. I try to center the dasher over the bump under the bowl, and put on the clear plastic lid that seems to be intended to keep it centered. And as everybody is complaining, I get a great deal of icy build-up on the sides of the freezer bow. After running the machine for a few minutes, the dasher comes off of the center bump and freezes diagonally to the bowl. Totally stuck. So when I want to empty the bowl, I have to take a big plastic spoon, and poke my way around the frozen dasher, so I can try to hurry and ladle it into the containers that will go in the fridge. The delay in getting the product out of the bowl makes it start to melt, and so much product is wasted on the sides. Even after I give up scooping, when I try to melt the ice build-up to get the dasher out, filling the freezer bowl several times with warm water, it takes a long time to get the dasher out. In your photo, I see you are using the machine without the clear plastic cover, and holding the dasher, perhaps off center to make it scrape the sides. So is using it that way OK? Do you inadvertently make the machine slow down and make the motor strain by doing that? I don’t want to damage the machine. Since you stand there the whole time with your thumb holding the dasher, would it be just as well to take the dasher out completely and use a rubber scraper to let the mixture churn?

    • Hi Lisa!

      Many thanks for getting in touch. The build up of ice around the bowl is a ubiquitous feature of domestic ice cream machines; all the machines I have tried have this slight issue and it is only when you get to commercial machines that you find a spring-loaded dashers that are pushed against the side of the bowl.

      If emptying the bowl is taking a long time and your ice cream is melting, then this is indeed a big problem and will likely cause grainy texture as the melted ice will then re-freeze onto the large ice crystals, creating even larger ones. Do try and be as quick as you can when emptying the ice cream and transferring it to the freezer. A good trick is to freeze the plastic container that you will store the ice cream in for a few hours before you add the ice cream. This will remove any heat that is stored in the container.

      So does your dasher freeze to the bowl and get stuck? This has never happened to me before. I always remove the dasher as soon as I switch the machine off and scrape off any ice cream before I start emptying the bowl. Do you leave the dasher in the bowl whilst you are emptying?

      I do use my thumb to push the dasher against the side of the bowl but you really don’t have to do this; the Cuisinart still makes excellent ice cream without the thumb trick, as long as you use a good recipe with a high Total Solids percentage. The thumb trick helps but it is not essential to get excellent ice cream. I leave the plastic top on though whilst the machine churns.

      The motor does slow when I push the dasher against the side of the bowl, which does put strain on it. I have had my machine for 6 years now and the motor is still going strong so I am not too concerned with the added strain. I wouldn’t recommend using a rubber scraper instead of the dasher because this would give you a lot more work.

      Try using your thumb to push the dasher against the side of the bowl for just the 10-20 seconds before you switch off your machine. Then quickly remove the dasher, scrape off any ice cream that sticks to it, and then empty your bowl.

      Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.

      All the best,

      Ruben

  17. Ruben– thanks for your reply. Today’s batch came out amazingly well, though I made it before I read what you had to say. I think you were quite correct about needing a “high Total Solids percentage” in my mix. I have been fooling around trying to concoct a non-dairy, low fat, healthy fat, low sugar, lower calorie ice cream. I am so badly addicted to ice cream, this is my last ditch attempt to try to find a way to eat ice cream without totally ruining my health, and growing completely out of my clothes. I have been investigating all the natural thickeners and stabilizers that they used to put in ice cream, before they did us all a “big favor” by replacing them with higher percentages of butterfat. I found a very good and detailed comment on this page, by scott123 I was making a one quart batch. So I started with an almond milk base (unsweetened), and added two avocados, for the healthy fat. I also added 2Tbs. grape seed oil. The flavor I was aiming for was to replicate pistachio almond, using 2 tsps almond extract. I should have gone out and gotten some amaretto liqueur for the suggested tablespoon of alcohol, but all I had was Southern Comfort, so I used that.(kind of made it weird). For sweetener I used 4 tsps. stevia, and added extra agave nectar until it was sweet enough (maybe 1/8 cup). About 1/4 cup almond flour, for some more solids and fats. Then my crazy collection of thickeners and stabilizers: 1/4 tsp guar gum, 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum, 2 tsps. arrowroot powder, 4 tsps. lecithin, and 2 Tbs. benecol fiber (really– there was a store brand that wasn’t that expensive). All in the blender, then the ice ceam machine for 25 minutes. I kept stopping and starting the machine for the first few minutes, because the dasher kept tilting over and getting stuck. I finally was able to pull the dasher completely out of the mix, and when I put it back in, it didn’t seem to go down all the way, which worried me. But I got the lid on, and for the first time it all stayed in place and didn’t thump every revolution of the bowl. I was AMAZED how thick it got. I was able to pull the dasher out this time, and spoon the very thick mix into the bowls for the freezer. In a couple of hours, I tried it, and was amazed at how creamy it was. I didn’t quite get the flavoring and sweetness right, but the texture was quite acceptable. I’ll keep fiddling with it. Maybe I can make it good enough that it will keep me out of the supermarket freezer case. So I guess the machine works pretty well, once you get the hang of it. Thanks again.

  18. Hi Ruben,
    I’ve just discovered your blog and love it. Great job!

    I’m looking to buy my first ice-cream maker and start experimenting at home for the first time. So I have been reading your blog and other sources of information as there is quite a few considerations when making ice-cream.

    Can the Cuisinart ICE-30 churn a 1kg batch or does it need to be done in two lots? In your comparison of machines you talk about the capacity and churn time. I really like the sound of the Cuisinart ICE-30 but I want to clarify whether I would need to churn my batch in two lots?

    Reason why I ask is because I have the Gelato Messina recipe book and all recipes make 1kg batches. Gelato Messina makes the best gelato in Australia. After trying it I’ve become quite obsessed by Gelato Messina so want to try and recreate these recipes at home.

    Many thanks,
    Sandra

    • Hi Sandra!

      Thanks for getting in touch! The ICE-30 can indeed churn a 1kg batch and it doesn’t need to be done in two lots; I think the most I have churned is about 1400g. The ICE-30 would be a good place to start for your first machine as it is relatively cheap and makes excellent ice cream. I’ve had mine for about 5 years now and it is still going strong!

      Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any questions.

      All the best,

      Ruben