This review will cover:
1. amazon’s ice cream machines best sellers list
2. the formation of ice crystals
3. the impressive 2 quart freezer bowl
4. setting your freezer’s temperature
5. the dasher
6. the freezing time
7. the extraction time
8. the static freezing stage
10. the noise level
11. the quality of the ice cream
12. final thoughts
1. A best seller?
It doesn’t always follow that a best selling machine is a quality one but I do think it is useful to look at what other ice cream enthusiasts are up to when deciding which ice cream machine to invest in.
At the time of writing, the Cuisinart ICE-30BC Ice Cream Maker 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:
- Cuisinart ICE 30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker
- Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream, & Sorbet Maker
- Nostalgia Electrics ICMP400BLUE 4-Quart Electric Ice Cream Maker
- Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker
- Cuisinart ICE-45 Mix It In Soft Serve 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker, Whitev
- Hamilton Beach 68330R 4-Quart Automatic Ice-Cream Maker, White
- MaxiMatic EIM-506 Elite Gourmet 6-Quart Old-Fashioned Pine-Bucket Electric/Manual Ice-Cream Maker
- DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker with Self-Refrigerating Compressor
- Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker
- Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker
When making ice cream, the two salient points you should always consider are flavour and texture; the best ice creams in the world are bursting with flavour and have a smooth and creamy texture. Smooth and creamy texture is determined to a large extent by the size of the ice crystals that develop during the freezing stage: small ice crystals contribute significantly to smooth and creamy texture, whilst large ice crystals produce ice cream that is coarse (Goff and Hartel 2013).
Freezing is done in two stages : 1. dynamic freezing where the ice cream mix is frozen in a machine to incorporate air and to limit the size of the ice crystals that form; and 2. static freezing where the ice cream is hardened in a freezer. Both the dynamic and static freezing stages have a significant effect on ice crystal size.
So because small ice crystals contribute significantly to the development of smooth and creamy texture, we will be looking at how effective the features on the Cuisinart ICE-30 Ice Cream Maker are at promoting the formation of small ice crystals. These will include the freezer bowl, the dasher, the freezing time, and the extraction time. Let’s start with the freezer bowl.
3. The impressive 2 quart freezer bowl
The Cuisinart ICE-30 comes with an impressive 2 quart removable bowl that allows you to churn a maximum of 1.5 quarts of ice cream at a time. Of all the domestic machines I’ve tried, only the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Desert Maker and the Cuisinart ICE-30 come with a large 2 quart bowl. Well done Cuisinart.
The 2 quart bowl is fairly large and does take up a lot of space in your freezer. It’s a good idea to check that your freezer compartment is big enough to accommodate the bowl before investing in the Cuisinart ICE-30: the bowl measures 7-1/2″ x 7-1/2″ x 6-1/2″.
Unlike the Cuisinart ICE-100 Ice Cream and Gelato Maker, whose in-built compressor means that it’s good to go as soon as it’s switched on, you have to freeze the bowl on the ICE-30 before you can churn a batch of ice cream.
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 is fully frozen.
A good way of checking whether the bowl has been properly frozen is to shake it. If you can hear a gushing noise, it means that the freezing gel in the bowl (this is what acts as the refrigerant) isn’t fully frozen. If this is the case, you need to put the bowl back in your freezer.
It’s important not to churn a batch of ice cream if your bowl isn’t fully frozen: your ice cream is likely to turn out course and wet if you churn a batch when the bowl hasn’t been sufficiently frozen. If you’ve frozen your bowl overnight and it is still makes the gushing noise after you shake it, it’s probably because the temperature in your freezer is too high and needs to be turned down.
When you freeze your bowl, it’s a good idea to cover the top with cling film and place it in a plastic bag. This helps to prevent water vapour in your freezer from freezing to the inside of the bowl and then melting into your ice cream mix.
4. Setting your freezer’s temperature
It’s very important to get your freezer down to as low a temperature as it will go. This is because the colder you can get your freezer, the colder it will get your bowl, and the faster the Cuisinart ICE-30 will freeze the ice cream. Quicker freezing of the ice cream in the machine will reduce residence time and improve ice crystal distribution (Russell and others 1999).
Residence time is the time a mix spends in the machine and has a pronounced effect on ice crystal size. To obtain the smallest ice crystals it is necessary to have the shortest residence time possible (Goff and Hartel 2013).
So to reduce the residence time and promote the development of small ice crystals, you need to get the freezer bowl as cold as you possibly can. This means getting your freezer temperature down to as low as it will go.
I’ve found that my freezer’s temperature has a noticeable effect on the time it takes the Cuisinart ICE-30 Ice Cream Maker to freeze a batch of ice cream. When I set my freezer to ‘super freeze’, which gets the temperature down to about -27°C, it takes about 18 minutes to churn an 800g batch of ice cream. When I set it to -18°C, it takes about 24 minutes to churn a batch.
This is a considerable difference in freezing time and so the importance of getting your freezer as cold as possible before you freeze the bowl should not be overlooked.
Another factor that contributes to the formation of small ice crystals is the dasher. The dasher has two functions: 1. to whip air into the ice cream mix and 2. to scrape off the layer of ice that freezes at the side of the bowl.
This scraping of the side of the bowl prevents a layer of ice from forming. Because ice does not conduct heat as fast as steel, ice that is permitted to form a layer at the side of the bowl will act as an insulator, slowing the release of heat from the mix to the refrigerant, thereby increasing residence time (Marshall and others 2003).
The closer the dasher gets to the side of the bowl, the less ice will form there, and the more efficient the heat transfer from the mix to the bowl. The more efficient the heat transfer, the shorter the residence time and the smaller the ice crystals are likely to be.
The Cuisinart ICE-30 Ice Cream Maker comes with a large and extremely durable plastic ice cream dasher. When placed in the freezer bowl, the dasher does leave a bit of a gap between the plastic scraper blade and the side of the bowl, which allows a layer of ice to form as the mix is frozen.
Although the dasher could certainly be improved to get closer to the side of the bowl, I have found that the Cuisinart ICE-30 Ice Cream Maker still manages to produce excellent ice cream that is smooth and creamy.
A good way of preventing this build up of ice is to use your thumb to push the scraper blade firmly against the side of the bowl as it churns. Although this does add stress to the motor, I’ve been using this trick for 6 years on my Cuisinart ICE-30 and haven’t had any issues with the motor.
On most domestic ice cream machines, the dasher sits inside the freezer bowl and is rotated by the motor. On the Cuisinart ICE-30, however, it is the freezer bowl that is rotated by the motor, which works extremely well.
On some machines I’ve tried, the motor simply isn’t powerful enough to continue rotating the dasher as the ice cream hardens, which means that the dasher gets stuck and stops rotating way before the ice cream has been sufficiently frozen. This is a fundamental flaw because a machine that doesn’t have a motor powerful enough to continue rotating the dasher as the ice cream hardens will likely make ice cream that is coarse.
I have never had an issue with the dasher or the motor on the Cuisinart ICE-30 stopping before the ice cream has been sufficiently frozen.
The powerful motor on the Cuisinart ICE-30 certainly gets some brownie points from me.
The time it takes for a machine to freeze a batch of ice cream is another factor that has a pronounced effect on ice crystal size. This is because the quicker a machine can freeze a batch of ice cream, the shorter the residence time and the smaller the ice crystals are likely to be (Russell and others 1999).
Commercial machines usually take between 8-10 minutes to freeze a batch of ice cream. So how does the Cuisinart ICE-30BC Ice Cream Maker compare to commercial freezing times? Let’s have a look.
In my first test, it took 20 minutes for the Cuisinart ICE-30 Ice Cream Maker to churn an 800g batch of ice cream. In my second test, it took 25 minutes to churn a 1000g batch. These freezing times were achieved after freezing the bowl overnight at -27°C.
Do remember that the freezing time on the Cuisinart ICE-30 is very much dependent on the temperature of your freezer: the colder you can get your freezer, the shorter the freezing time is likely to be.
Freezing times on the Cuisinart ICE-30 do vary considerably between 18 to 37 minutes depending on the recipe you use, the size of the batch, and how cold you set your freezer. Even after a 37 minute freezing time, I’ve found that the Cuisinart ICE-30 still manages to make exceptional ice cream with smooth, dense, and creamy texture.
Below are the freezing times for the domestic machines that I have tried. Do bear in mind that the greater the batch size, the longer the freezing time will be.
Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker: 800g batch – 32 minutes
Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker: 1000g batch – 13 minutes
Lello 4080 Musso Lussino Ice Cream Maker: 738g 20 minutes
Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker : 800g batch – 34 minutes
KitchenAid KAICA Ice Cream Maker Attachment: 1000g batch – 30 minutes
DeLonghi GM6000 Gelato Maker with Self-Refrigerating Compressor: 600g batch 30 minutes
Although residence time has a pronounced effect on ice crystal size, I can’t stress enough that a short residence time will not guarantee smooth and creamy texture. Freezing time should only be one of the factors you consider when choosing your machine.
The quality of your ice cream is, in my view, 70% dependent on the recipe you use and only 30% dependent on the machine. You can make excellent ice cream with a good recipe and a mediocre machine, but you will not get smooth and creamy texture with a $10,000 commercial machine and a bad recipe.
Check out my Roasted Pistachio Recipe for an idea of what is needed for the promotion of smooth and creamy texture. This recipe does take some time to prepare but believe me the smooth and creamy texture more than justifies the effort.
7. The extraction time
So we know that ice crystal size is critical to the development of smooth and creamy texture and that ice cream with many small ice crystals will likely have a smooth and creamy texture, whilst large ice crystals will impart a coarse texture.
The extraction time, that is the time it takes to empty the ice cream from the machine and get into into your freezer to harden, is another factor that has a considerable effect on ice crystal size.
This is because as you empty your ice cream from the bowl and into a plastic container, it spends time at room temperature. During this time at relatively warm room temperature, some of the ice melts from the large ice crystals and those crystals that were initially small melt completely. This is known as ripening and occurs when ice cream is held at elevated temperatures (Goff and Hartel 2013).
When you then get your ice cream into your freezer for the static freezing stage, the melted ice re-freezes onto the large ice crystals that survived. The result is that the total number of ice crystals is reduced and their size increases, the perfect formula for coarse texture.
It is therefore imperative that you empty the ice cream from the freezer bowl and get it into your freezer as quickly as humanly possible.
The large bowl on the Cuisinart ICE-30 Ice Cream Maker makes emptying very quick and easy. There is plenty of space to manoeuvre a large spoon and I find that removing the dasher first makes emptying a lot easier.
Of all the domestic machine I’ve tried, I find the Cuisinart ICE-30 the quickest and easiest machine to empty.
Ice cream is extracted from the freezer bowl at around -5°C. Once you place your ice cream in the freezer to harden, significant changes to the ice crystals continue to take place until the temperature decreases to -18°C (Goff and Hartel 2013). Marshall and others (2003) noted that during hardening, ice crystals grow by about 30% to 40%.
The longer it takes for your ice cream to reach -18°C, the larger the ice crystals will grow and the sandier the texture is likely to be. Donhowe (1993) showed that faster cooling of ice cream during hardening resulted in smaller mean ice crystal size.
So, to promote faster cooling to get your ice cream down to -18°C as quickly as possible, I’m going to come back to the importance of getting the temperature in your freezer as low as it will possibly go. Also, try and place your ice cream in the back of your freezer where the temperature is coldest.
It is also a good idea to place your empty plastic container in the freezer for a couple of hours before you start churning a batch. This will remove any heat stored in the container and will help prevent ice crystals that come in contact with the relatively warm plastic from melting.
After you finish churning a batch, it’s a good idea to leave the bowl to warm up at room temperature before you start cleaning. Cleaning the bowl is very easy with soapy water and takes me no more than a few minutes. Cuisinart emphatically state that the bowl not be placed in the dishwasher.
It’s important to ensure that the bowl is completely dry before placing it back in the freezer. Again, this helps prevent water from freezing to the inside of your bowl. The dasher and freezer bowl lid are equally as easy
10. The noise level
The one issue that I have seen come up time and time again on amazon is the noise the Cuisinart ICE-30 makes. It is quite loud when it churns and standing next to it certainly isn’t the most pleasant thing to do but I fervently believe that the creamy results far outweigh the annoyance caused by the noise.
Although I appreciate that some people may be put off buying an ice cream maker because of the noise it makes, I really don’t think this should be an important factor you give importance to, especially if the ice cream maker makes smooth and creamy ice cream. I personally don’t mind having a loud machine as long as it makes excellent ice cream.
The Cuisinart ICE-30 Ice Cream Maker is loud but I do think that this is mitigated by the exceptionally smooth, dense, and creamy ice cream it produces.
11. The quality of the ice cream
So this brings me to the last and I think most important point to consider when investing in an ice cream maker: the quality of the ice cream it produces.
I’ve found that the Cuisinart ICE-30 Ice Cream Maker makes exceptional ice cream that has a very smooth and creamy texture. The dasher rotates at a very low 21 Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) and so doesn’t incorporate a lot of air, meaning that you get ice cream with a very low overrun that is really nice and dense.
Overrun is the amount of air that is whipped into the mix by the dasher during the dynamic freezing stage. Overrun ranges from 20-100% in ice cream, with low overrun generally associated with premium ice creams.
I have found that the ice cream made by the Cuisinart ICE-30 is comparable in texture to that made by the more expensive Cuisinart ICE-100 and the Breville BCI600XL, both of which have in-built compressors.
12. Final thoughts
So would I recommend the Cuisinart ICE-30BC Ice Cream Maker? Absolutely.
It makes exceptional ice cream that is incredibly smooth, dense, and creamy. It comes with an impressive 2-quart freezer bowl that is easy to clean and after 6 years of extensive use, is still going strong in my kitchen.
It is, however, by no means perfect. The dasher could certainly be improved to get closer to the side of the bowl. Some users have also complained that it is extremely noisy when churning, although I don’t think this should be a factor to consider when investing in an ice cream maker.
I think the Cuisinart ICE30 Ice Cream Maker is a very good machine for the home cook who is just starting out in the world of ice cream making as it makes excellent ice cream and is relatively inexpensive. This was the first machine I ever bought and the one I started my business with.
For the home cooks looking for the convenience of a machine with an in-built compressor, I would recommend either the Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker or the Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker. Both machines make ice cream that is extremely smooth, dense, and creamy.
I do think that the Cuisinart ICE-30 makes ice cream that is identical in quality to that made using the more expensive Cuisinart ICE-100 or Breville BCI600XL. The only advantage these two machines have over the Cuisinart ICE-30 is the in-built compressor. You really don’t have to spend a lot of money to make exceptionally smooth and creamy ice cream at home.
If you’ve found this review helpful and would like to support my blog, you can use the link below to get your Cuisinart ICE-30 from the chaps at amazon:
I’d be happy to answer any questions if anyone needs a hand.
All the best,
- Large 2 quart bowl
- Makes ice cream that is extremely smooth, dense, and creamy
- Durable; still going strong after 6 years use in my kitchen
- Relatively inexpensive
- You have to freeze the bowl overnight before you can churn a batch
- Ice cream dasher leaves a gap between the blade and the side of the bowl
- A bit noisy
Cook, K. L. K & Hartel, R. W. (2010). Mechanisms of Ice Crystallization in Ice Cream Production. Comprehensive Reviews of in Food Science and Food Safety.
Donhowe, D. P. (1993) Ice Recrystallization in Ice Cream and Ice Milk. PhD thesis, University of Wisconsm-Madison.
Goff, H. D. & Hartel R. W. (2013). Ice Cream, Seventh Edition. New York: Springer.
Marshall, R. T., Goff H. D. & Hartel R.W. (2003). Ice cream, Sixth Edition. New York: Kluwer Aca-demic/Plenum Publishers.
Russell A. B., Cheney P.E., Wantling S.D., (1999). Influence of Freezing Conditions on Ice Crystallsation in Ice Cream. J Food Eng 39(2):179–9