I never thought I would be standing in my kitchen some day, operating a bright-pink ice cream maker. I mean, sure, it does come in a dark tomato red and a pleasant cyan as well – but that’s not something my sister knew when she got it for me. I’m not necessarily a fan of the color pink (especially when it’s in an almost neon-esque magenta) but man, it took me only about an hour to overlook that, because the Cuisinart ICE-21PKSLT is, strangely enough, perhaps the best home ice cream maker I’ve worked with in a while.
Right, so let’s get down to it. Why, do you ask, am I so optimistic of a roughly $ ice cream maker? Well, it’s because of two simple things. Price, and simplicity. This isn’t the first time Cuisinart released an ICE 21, but the last one was a pretty big hit. This one is looking to be much the same, and for good reasons – since this is a Cuisinart freezer-bowl type ice cream maker, you’re looking at no salt, no ice and no cheap plastic parts stand out. It is, however, almost entirely made of plastic, but it’s surprisingly solid despite that fact and has effortlessly gone through more than a dozen batches for me. Is it as solid as a good quality $$ machine? It goes to say that it isn’t – but a dozen batches without issue is a good sign of longevity nonetheless.
Some Cuisinart models have presented me with iffy problems, and quirky solutions. The ICE-21PKSLT has, so far, done exactly as advertised at a good price, proving itself the best home ice cream maker – meaning I can easily recommend it to friends looking for a good machine to start with; and on one occasion so far, I actually have.
What makes the ICE-21PKSLT the best home ice cream maker is its pure simplicity. It’s easy to use, has very little parts, and very little steps in its procedure – just wash and dry your bowl (dry it extensively, mind you, otherwise residual water will freeze on the side of the bowl and mess up your ice cream), stick the bowl in the freezer for at least around a day, fill it with your cream base, stick it in the machine, and once the entire thing is done – which takes about 20 minutes – all your ice cream needs is another hour or so in the freezer and it’s good to go!
It’s a fairly common ideal that all good things come heavy and cast from steel – but plastic, for all its downsides, has a few benefits as well. For starters, the ICE-21PKSLT is light. It’s got rubber feet to keep it from vibrating, it’s got a reliable, solid lid, and best of all, it’s quiet. I mean, not angelically quiet – but it’s really not the level of noisy you’d expect from a machine in this price range.
I mean, sure, if you’re new to ice cream makers you might label it as a bit on the loud side – but seriously, coming from someone who’s gone through a couple of them, it’s fairly rare to find an ice cream maker that lets you have a conversation while running.
One immediate con is the ICE-21PKSLT’s volume. It’s a candidate for the best home ice cream maker, but that doesn’t change the fact that if you’ve got a home with more than, say, three ice cream junkies, you might find the 1 ½ quarts a bit on the low side of things. It’s just fine for small portions, however – so if you’re trying to skimp on ice cream to lose some weight, the ICE-21PKSLT’s capacity might actually become a pro.
If you’re looking for a new “first time” ice cream maker, then this is my new favorite recommendation. If you’re part of a larger household, I would recommend investing in something a bit larger, though – and if you can afford it, I would eschew the freezer-bowl section of makers entirely and go for the electric ones – but for the sake of finding the best home ice cream maker at a reasonable price, the Cuisinart ICE-21PKSLT definitely deserves to have its praises sung.