Not too long ago, the best ice cream machine used to use a crank, a wooden bucket, a smaller metallic container, and a load of ice and salt to make some delicious frozen desserts. Now, such strange devices still exist – but they’re a bit better.
The question is, however, can these devices overpower the usefulness and relative convenience of the more modern-day ice cream machines? That’s what I’ll talk about today, when comparing the popular ICE-30BC by Cuisinart, which, if sales are any indication, many might call the best ice cream machine for all-purpose use; and the ICMP400 by Nostalgia Electrics which, as the name implies, is a bit of a blast from the past.
- First up is the ICE-30BC. When I first bought it, what struck me the most was that it wasn’t really… disappointing in any way. It doesn’t have any truly unique or characteristic pros, but it has very few cons. It uses a pre-freeze bowl, so I do suggest buying an extra freeze bowl from Cuisinart and keeping one frozen all the time.
This is to avoid the annoyance of having a pre-freeze ice cream maker. Of course, unless you like to make unplanned ice cream very often, this is a bit of a waste – we, however, love ice cream, so the extra few bucks were most definitely a worthwhile investment.
- It carries other annoyances, for sure – and although it’s the best ice cream machine on some shopping websites in terms of sales, a lot of people complain about these annoyances. For one, it’s not quiet. I say not quiet, because it isn’t really loud, either. The noise is acceptable, although I wouldn’t exactly say that having a conversation in the kitchen while it’s on is the most pleasant idea.
You also need to know how to use it. Prepare your cream, prepare the bowl, and if you’d like that store-bought, nice thick consistency, pop it in the freezer for another hour or two after the machine is through, and then enjoy your ice cream. But after that, it becomes seductively easy to use. Make your cream and pop it in the fridge for a few minutes, then put the cooled cream into the frozen bowl, pop that into the machine, flip on the switch, and come back in less than half an hour. A bit earlier, and you can even throw in a few mix-ins – although you have to play around with the timing with that one.
This ice cream machine is another story. I’ve had a friend of mine show it to me, as a bit of a throwback to times when we would churn ice cream in wooden bowls in summer – but, even though it was a throwback, it’s been modernized. First of all, the exterior is plastic, which is a good thing. The iron rings holding the wooden bowl together would rust after years of using salt water – and my friend has had her ICMP400 for more than four years without any worries.
- One thing it has got going for it is that you don’t need to pre-freeze your bowl. Instead, you need to fill the plastic bowl with a bag of ice and a packet of rock salt. You also don’t have to worry about churning – it has an electric motor that does the churning for you.
- Most importantly, however, it makes a whopping 4 quarts per batch. That’s double as much as the ICE-30BC.
The ICE-30BC is more expensive than the ICMP400, yet both do the same thing – make ice cream. They both do it well, too. What the ICE-30BC has going for it, however, is that it’s much less of a mess to handle – and the fact that it’s the best selling ice cream maker on Amazon can’t be ignored either.
I enjoy the convenience of stacking a bowl in my freezer rather than bags of ice –the ICMP400 is more of an outdoors ice cream maker, used for trips out of the home rather than for making ice cream right at home. However, its low price and relatively straight-forward operation makes it really good for someone on a tight budget, who doesn’t care too much about the possible mess of cold salt water, and is just looking for a cheap, but extremely reliable way to make ice cream.
So, which of the two is the best ice cream machine for you? In the end, I think it comes down to how much you’re willing to pay for ice cream.