Frozen Desserts: Types Of Ice Cream Machines

Everyone loves the taste of sweet ice cream desserts. Ice cream treats not only brighten the day but will also deliver the much needed energy boost. These frozen desserts are packed with energy and nutrients. They are made from cream, fruits, milk, sugar, flavors and other dairy products.

Today, ice cream is gaining popularity across the globe. This makes it important to learn some tricks on how to make ice cream with ease and the equipment used. In this regard, we will help you understand the different types of ice cream machines and you can use them to make delicious ice cream at home.

What Is An Ice Cream Machine?

An ice cream maker is a device or appliance used to make ice cream. It can either be manual or electric. Some decades ago, most of the ice cream makers were manual. This has changed in the recent past with the introduction of electric machines.

Technological advancements have made it possible to have semi and fully automatic ice cream makers. These are machines that require little human input. Surprisingly, they deliver some of the best ice cream treats.

Understanding The Different Types Of Ice Cream Machines

A. Classification By Mode Of Operation

1.Hand Cranked

Hand cranked ice cream machines are evidently not the latest innovations. In fact, they date back several centuries. The first model was patented in 1843 by Nancy Johnson. These machines serve as the cheaper option and have remained relevant to date.

Hand crank dessert makers make ice cream by mixing rock salt and ice. The ice lowers mixture temperatures while the salt makes the ice melt. Additionally, the salt prevents the water content from melting.

Hand crank ice cream makers aren’t the most convenient machines but are quite reliable. These machines require you to follow through the entire ice cream making process. This simply means that most of the work will be done manually.

How to select the best hand crank ice cream maker

When buying a hand crank frozen dessert maker it’s important that you consider its capacity. The capacity is measured in quarts. Most of the makers range between 4 and 6 quarts. This is considerably good enough for an average family.

Hand crank makers have remained popular due to their low prices. These machines are very cheap compared to their modern counterparts. However, some limited editions will be rare to find. Such pieces may be a little expensive.

How to use a hand crank machine

Having found a recipe that you will be making with your crank ice cream maker, its about time we learnt how to use this incredible machine. Here are the basic steps to follow.

Step 1
Prepare the maker

Fill the crank bucket with ice. Sprinkle the rock salt. This is quite important in temperature regulation. The canister at the middle of the machine needs to stay cold throughout the ice cream making process.

The best technique to use when filling the bucket is layering. Carefully layer the salt and ice. Go heavy on the rock salt. Ensure that the bucket is fully packed to the rim. The salt layer should be at the top. This reduces the rate at which ice thaws.

Step 2
Pour the mixture into the canister

Mix all your preferred ingredients and pour them into the canister. Ensure that no ice falls into the canister. Most people prefer pre-filling the canister before adding rock salt and ice.

This works perfectly as you do not need to open the canister immediately after adding the ice. You can still add the mixture after the ice if you are careful enough. All you need to ensure is that the canister is secured in place before adding the ice and rock salt.

Step 3

Here comes the fun bit! Cranking is always fun packed. Everyone loves the cranking bit. Kids too will love it.

Cranking is just a matter of turning and turning. You can take turns churning the ice cream mixture. Let the stronger ones do most of the churning. In about 25 minutes, your ice cream should be ready. And just like that, your ice cream is ready to serve! You can keep it in a freezer to serve later.

2.Electric Ice Cream Makers

Electric ice cream makers have become a usual thing in American households. These machines were first introduced in the 1800s. Nancy Johnson patented the first hand-cranked machine in 1843. This served as the genesis of inventions. The first machine was known as the White Mountain. It warmed many people’s hearts and was quite easy to sell.

The White Mountain was modified to include the electric version. In 1851, Jacob Fussell, owner of Baltimore milk, established the first large scale ice cream plant. This was a major breakthrough especially to dairy farmers and ice cream lovers. Ice cream was now cheaper and no milk went to waste.

Electric machines can be grouped into four broad categories. These include counter-top makers, built-in freezer makers, small freezer-unit makers and ice salt coolant makers.

Counter-Top Makers

Just as the name suggest, these machines are placed on countertops for ease of operation. They are characterized by a double walled bowl. Frozen urea or distilled water is filled up between the walls. Domestic countertop ice cream makers require 24 hours to freeze to 0oC (32oF).

These machines make ice cream in about twenty (20) minutes. At such a time, the solution between the walls has thawed. The temperature exchange ensures that the ice cream is frozen and ready after the twenty minutes.

Countertop ice cream makers are relatively cheap but can only make a single batch per day. This is because the bowl takes too long to freeze. This means that you need several bowls to make multiple batches.

Built-In Freezer Makers

Built-in ice cream machines are a bit more expensive compared to their counterparts. Well, the high quality may be the explanation behind that. These machines are built to accommodate freezing mechanism. This means that you do not need to freeze the bowl.

With the in-built freezer models, you only need to start the machine and pour the ice cream mixture after a few minutes. The high speed electric motor rotates the canister as well as the scrapper simultaneously. These rotations make the ice cream mixture freeze. The frozen product that is adjacent to the wall is then removed by the scrapper.

The ice cream mixture is thickened by the continuous movement of the canister against stationary churn. When given enough time to churn, this maker will deliver desirable ice cream quality.

Why Buy An Electric Ice Cream Machine?

If you want to make instant frozen desserts, electric ice cream makers will be the best bet. The electric equipment make desserts instantly and you do not have to wait or pre-freeze bowls. If you are in a position to buy an electric machine fitted with a compressor, you will be in an even better position.

Electric ice cream machines with compressors deliver more power. They may be expensive but will give you value for money.

Electric ice cream machines are quite reliable. These machines are consistent in terms of ice cream quality. Their production is not based on the operator’s skills or ability to churn. This means that they can deliver consistent quality from the beginning to the end regardless of the number of batches.

The positioning of the churning power at the base is quite important to the machine’s operation. It enables easy movement of the bowl and dasher guaranteeing high quality ice cream.

How To Use An Electric Ice Cream Machine

Let no one lie to you that you will never have fun with an electric ice cream maker. The power boost actually makes it more fun as you won’t suffer blisters or extreme fatigue. Here’s a guide on how to use an electric cream maker;

  • Prepare Your Ingredients. Have your ice cream recipe before you can start making your ice cream. Having the frozen dessert recipe in time allows you to prepare all the ingredients and settle on the appropriate time. It also makes the entire ice cream making process easy.
  • Chill your ingredients in a refrigerator. You can also leave the canister to chill too. This will improve the final product and save on time.
  • Pour your chilled ingredients in the cooled canister. Fill the canister to ¾ full. Leave enough room for expansion.
  • Insert the equipment dasher and position it to fit in the canister indentation.
  • Place the canister cover.
  • Place the canister in the bucket. Ensure that the canister is well centered and engaged to the bottom of the bucket.
  • Place the motor cover over the canister. Engage the dasher with the hole located at the bottom of the driver.
  • Plug in your maker. Start the machine to start churning the ice cream.
  • Add the ice cream ingredients. Layer them appropriately.
  • Leave the maker to churn for 20-40 minutes.
  • When the machine is done, turn it off.
  • Remove the motor and the canister simultaneously.
  • Clean the canister lid before opening it.
  • Clean the scrape with a spatula.
  • Pack the frozen dessert in a canister and replace the lid.
  • Leave the ice cream in a freezer for some hours to harden. If you love it soft-served, there’s no need to freeze it.

3. Hybrid Ice Cream Machines

Old fashioned ice cream makers remain to be good looking. They are a valuable piece to have in the house. Well, what about having it as an ornamental piece and still enjoy healthy desserts from it? That will be possible with a hybrid ice cream maker.

Hybrid ice cream makers are ancient cream makers fitted with high torque motors. This means that they can be used bot as hand crank ice cream makers and as electric ice cream makers.

The process of making ice cream with a hybrid ice cream machine is similar to that of using a hand crank machine. The only difference is the manual churning. The hybrid maker will make your work easier allowing you to engage in other activities as it makes your desserts.

Hybrid frozen dessert makers have a capacity of 4-6 quarts. Most of them are made from solid wood. The canister is made of aluminum. This combination gives the machines long life as they can withstand great pressure.

The manual/electric combo can be used in tandem. The motor can be used to drive the paddle to start with. This makes it easy to create a creamy consistency. The hand crank die-cast can then be used to finish the churning process. This perfects the ice cream firmness.

4. Shake Ice Cream Machines

Not every ice cream maker is a huge machine. Some are as small as ice cream bags. These are the easiest to use and the cheapest ice cream maker. They make ice cream by shaking thus the category shake ice cream machines. There are several types of ice cream hake machines which include;

Ice Cream Maker Ball

Ice cream maker balls aren’t the perfect ice cream makers but they definitely will make good quality frozen desserts. They are fun to use and serve as the best kids ice cream makers. They can play with it just like conventional balls and in the end enjoy a tasty treat.

How To Use An Ice Cream Maker Ball


  • Rock salt
  • Lots of ice
  • Cream
  • Vanilla(flavor)
  • Sugar
  • Plastic or wooden spoon
  • Measuring jar
  • Ice cream ball

Making Your Frozen Dessert

  • Mix ¾ cup (180ml) sugar, 1 quart (1 liter) half and half cream and 1 tbsp (15ml) vanilla in a bowl.
  • Set aside ¾ cup (180ml) rock salt.
  • Open both ends of the ball maker
  • Pack as much ice as possible
  • Add rock salt
  • Pour the sugar mixture through the metal end of the ball. Leave enough room for expansion.
  • Tighten the lids.
  • Start rolling the ball. Roll it on a soft surface. Grass surface would serve this purpose.
  • Open the metal end after ten (10) minutes.
  • Use the plastic or wooden spoon to stir the ice cream
  • Scrape the cylinder sides and stir thoroughly
  • Pour the water and add more ice and salt
  • Secure the lid and start rolling again
  • Check the ice cream after five minutes
  • The ice cream should be ready

How Do You Know That The Ice Cream Is Ready?

On a closer look, the ice cream flows consistently. The ice cream may be a little hard but you will easily tell if it’s consistent.

The Bag Ice Cream Maker

Ever thought of a DIY ice cream maker? Well the bag frozen dessert maker is one of them. This is a very reliable maker of soft serve ice cream. It can make any of the simple recipes in a short duration. Here is how to make ice cream in a bag for kids;

  • Prepare the ice cream base and leave it to chill. Ensure that the mixture is cold enough before starting the ice cream making process.
  • Put the base inside the bag ice cream maker. Add rock salt and ice. Do not put more than 2 cups of the mixture in a quart bag.
  • Shake the mixture thoroughly. Just like with the ball ice cream maker, you can let your children help with the shaking. Shake the bag for at least five (5) minutes. If you want to roll the bag on a surface, place it in a couple of shopping bags.
  • Open the bag and check the progress. You need to be careful not to get the rock salt into the ice cream. The mixture should be a soft mass. You may see some signs of ice cream forming up.
  • Close the bag, add more ice and continue shaking. In the next five (5) minutes, your ice cream should be ready.
  • Remove the small bag and empty the ice cream into a bowl. The ice cream is ready to serve.
Ice Cream Shake Machines

Regardless of the method used, the secret behind ice cream making is keeping the mixture moving. Ice cream shake machines are quite good at it. Shake machines as swiftly gaining popularity across the globe.

Shake ice cream machines have lots of similarities to their shake counterparts. They can easily be mistaken for milk shake machines. The only difference is in their production.

The fact that these machines make it easy to make ice cream without churning makes them very popular. The shaking aspect makes it very easy to make frozen treats. Different manufacturers have adopted different technologies. We have reviewed some of the best shake ice cream machines.

Classification By The Output

The relief of having a cold ice cream treat on a sunny day beats that of a dip in the swimming pool. Ice cream is not only refreshing but also energizing. What about getting the treats from the comfort of your lounge? Well, that’s possible with an outstanding ice cream maker.

1. Ice Cream Machines

You will bear me witness that getting the best ice cream maker is not a walk in the park. The market is awash with all sorts of machines making it hard to settle on the best appliance. Unfortunately not every machine will deliver high quality frozen desserts.

Things to consider when buying an ice cream maker
Ice Cream Quality

Ice cream quality is key in the selection of an ice cream maker. Though other factors will also come into consideration, quality reigns supreme. Whether you are buying a domestic ice cream maker or a commercial ice cream maker, you need to settle on the best quality appliance.

The frozen dessert machine should produce high quality treats throughout. This is ice cream characterized by fine crystals

Your Budget

Ice cream makers vary in price. Some will be low end and others high end. The wide range in prices makes these machines accessible to all groups of people.

With just a few hundred bucks, you can be sure of settling on a reliable maker. Always have the budget in mind when making the purchase. Do not spend all your fortunes on one appliance.

Maker Capacity

Ice cream makers have different capacities. Some will make one quart while others will produce continuous batches throughout the day. Understand your needs before buying the ice cream maker.

If you just need a single batch ice cream machine, invest in the 1-4 quart machines. These machines are cheap and won’t be wasteful on your resources. On the other hand, high capacity machines will be perfect for commercial outlets with high ice cream demand.

Ease Of Cleaning

The frozen dessert machine should be easy to clean. A clean machine is essential in maintaining ice cream quality. Dirt and bacteria buildup can affect your ice cream quality. You therefore need to ensure that the machine will be easy to clean.

Some ice cream appliances are dish washer safe. Others can be disassembled enabling you to clean individual parts. Understand the cleaning mechanism before buying the machine.

Ease Of Use

The machine ease of use is directly related to the technology adopted. Improved makers are easier to use than conventional ones. Makers fitted with compressors are the easiest to use.

If you do not have much time to spare, you need a machine that will make ice cream with ease. This is a machine that can whip continuous batches without intermittent breaks or long lead times.

Some machines are a little complicated. Technology keeps changing over the years and having a machine with a control panel may make it easy to whip ice cream. Control panel and knobs make it easy to program the maker and deliver delicious treats.


Technology keeps changing. Better and improved ice cream makers are entering the market every year. One of the unique features that you need to look out for is a low mix alarm. This is a bell/buzzer that alerts you when the mix level is too low.

Not every frozen dessert machine will have it but it’s quite important. Running the ice cream maker when the mix level is too low is risky. The frozen mixture can easily damage the dasher blades.

Flavor Options

Ice cream is sweet but having the same flavor over and over can make it undesirable. You need to get a machine that will deliver delicious treats every other day. You can either get a maker that delivers a single flavor at a time or one that has a twin twist. Twin twist ice cream makers can dispense two flavors in a serving.

Types Of Ice Cream Machines

Ice cream machines come in different shapes, makes and sizes. For a long time, canister ice cream machines have been in use. These are in-expensive and will deliver high quality ice cream. They however require the bowl to be frozen.

Compressor type ice cream makers are the advanced models. These machines require not prior preparation. This makes it possible to make ice cream treats any time. They are however a little more expensive.

If you are into vintage collection ice cream machines, bucket machines will warm your heart. These are machines that use rock salt and ice to make desserts. Most of them are hand cranked but some may allow you to install electric cranks.

II.  Frozen Custard Machines

Frozen custard ice cream machines are designed to make, freeze and get rid of ice cream. These are high quality machines that deliver soft serve frozen desserts. These machines are uniquely designed to incorporate eggs in ice cream recipes to deliver tasty frozen custard.

Frozen custard dates back in 1690s. The commercialization of frozen custard took several centuries. It was until 1919 when Elton Kohr and Archie integrated egg yolk in their recipes. Egg yolk created smoother ice cream and kept it cold for long.

The frozen dessert was introduced to a wider audience in Chicago at a 1933 World’s fair. The dessert’s popularity spread rapidly throughout Wisconsin, Midwest and Milwaukee. Today, it’s a popular dessert across the globe.

Frozen custard is characterized by 1.4 % egg yolk and10% milk fat. This is in accordance with Food and Drug Administration requirements. If frozen custard recipes fall this egg yolk solid percentage, it ceases to be frozen custard and can only be considered to be ice cream.

Frozen custard has 15 to 30% overrun. This means that air isn’t pumped into the mixture. This gives the custard the creamy texture and thick smooth consistency.

Frozen custard ice cream makers are specially designed to ensure that the product meets the requirements. Most of these machines will make different frozen custard flavors. With just one appliance, you can enjoy chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors.

III.  Soft Serve Machines

Soft serve ice cream machines deliver soft ice cream that doesn’t harden regardless of the time spent in the machine. This makes them a perfect piece for commercial outlets. Their operation and maintenance make them very unique.

Types Of Soft-Serve Ice Cream Machines

Soft serve ice cream makers are designed to meet different client needs. Choosing the right equipment is quite important. It ensures that you aren’t overpaying for the appliance. It also makes it easy to settle on a long lasting machine.

Floor Vs. Counter Top Machines

The type of machine purchased will ultimately be determined by the available space. You do not want to get a machine that won’t fit in your kitchen.

Countertop Soft-Serve Machines

These are the perfect machines for small spaces. They produce high quality ice cream. They may however limit the amount of ice cream mix used at one particular time.

Most counter top ice cream makers deliver ice cream in 30 minutes. This is considerably fast. They can easily make continuous batches to serve a large family. Some have huge capacity enough to serve as commercial ice cream makers.

Floor Soft-Serve Machines

Floor soft serve ice cream machines are larger than their countertop counterparts. They have large capacity and can be used in high volume ice cream shops and restaurants.

Most floor frozen dessert makers weigh over 500 pounds. These are huge machines are require lots of space. You will also need to ensure that you have a reliable power source. These machines will require 208 to 230 volts of power.

Floor machines have an advantage over countertop ones when it comes to ice cream production. These machines can produce up to 20 quarts of tasty deserts. This means that you can produce around 7 ice cream cones every minute.

Water Cooled Vs. Air Cooled Ice Cream Makers

As you run the ice cream maker, you will realize that it produces a lot of heat. This heat needs to be channeled away to avoid overheating. Manufacturers have invented different cooling mechanisms. While some use air, others use water to cool the system.

Air Cooling

Air cooled ice cream makers are fitted with vents and fans. The vents allow air to flow in and out of the machine. The fan pumps out warm air creating room for cooler air. Air cooled machines need to be placed in a well-ventilated room. The room location may be a major factor to consider. You may as well need to design the room to direct the air from in a certain direction.

Water Cooled

Unlike air cooled ice cream makers, water cooled machines can be placed in any room. All that you need is to install a water hook-up. This means that you will need more room for the additional appliance. Water stores more energy than air and will cool the ice cream maker faster.

Pressure Vs. Gravity Fed Ice Cream Makers

Gravity –Fed Ice Cream Machines

Different mechanisms are adopted to introduce the ice cream mix into the makers. Gravity-fed ice cream makers require no mechanical boost. The mix flows naturally into the machine. Gravity fed machines tends to be cheaper, easy to use and cleaner. They can easily control overrun.

Pressure-Fed Ice Cream Machines

These are soft serve ice cream makers that rely on pressurized feed tubes to deliver ice cream mixture into the freezing cylinder. The machines are high volume producers. They however tend to have higher overrun. Care needs to be taken to control the overrun.

IV.  Gelato Machines

Having a gelato ice cream machine is as good as bringing the Italian taste of desserts closer home. In the hot seasons, gelato desserts will be quite refreshing. Many people tend to confuse gelato for ice cream. It is however different in the sense that;

  • Gelato contains more egg yolk and milk than ice cream
  • Gelato has low overrun. This is because little air is whipped into the cream.
  • Gelato can be stored at higher temperatures of 0-10oF unlike ice cream that needs to be maintained below -20o

Making gelato is highly dependent on the machine used. Gelato machines are specialized to ensure that little air is incorporated in the cream mixture. You need to settle on the best machine based on effectiveness, affordability and convenience.

How Do You Select The Best Gelato Maker?

Refrigeration is a crucial step in gelato making process. Getting a self-refrigerating maker enables the mix to cool and achieve the desired consistency. This is very convenient considering the amount of time it would take you to refrigerate gelato before enjoying it.

In less than 30 minutes, a self-refrigerating maker should deliver tasty gelato desserts. Lucky enough, the machines are quite easy to use and will deliver high quality treats.

Sturdy And Quiet Machine

Gelato machines can be noisy. The cheaper ones are even noisier. If you are looking forward to owning a quiet gelato maker, you need to be ready to invest in a high quality appliance. The high end machines are not only quiet but also very sturdy and reliable.

Machine Size And Capacity

Gelato makers have a capacity range between 1.2 and 1.5 quarts. Basically, the price is directly proportional to the size. You can however get a large machine at a friendly price.

The size of your gelato machine will be determined by the gelato demand. Small machines are practical for homes. If you intend to get into commercial gelato, investing in a huge machine would be a great idea.

V.  Frozen Yogurt Machines

Frozen yogurt makers are quite similar to frozen dessert makers. The only difference is in the mixing mechanism. These makers gained popularity back in the 80s. they were the preferred dessert maker by dieting individuals.

Frozen yogurt machines are still popular among weight watchers. The machines give them freedom to make their healthy treats at home. The machines are easy to use and this makes them a favorite in the market.

Frozen yogurt appliances boast of a wide range of designs and functionalities. Most of them will produce scoop and solid ice cream.

VI. Hard Ice Cream Makers

Most ice cream machines are soft serve. Hard ice cream makers are also available in the market. They aren’t only reliable but also deliver consistent desserts. These machines are designed to make different frozen dessert flavors.

Hard frozen dessert makers adopt latest technology and milk powder, ice cream powder and other dairy powders may be used to make frozen desserts.

Hard ice cream makers are categorized as vertical and table top ice cream machines. They are suitable for restaurants, cafes, cake shops and milk tea shops.

How To Make Ice Cream With A Hard Ice Cream Machine

The operation of a hard ice cream maker is not very different from other makers. If you are using milk powder or any other dairy powder, mix it with water. Stir thoroughly to ensure that it is well dissolved. Pour the liquid into the machine.

Ensure that you are observing the tick mark when pouring in the ingredients. Once all the ingredients are in the machine, press the machine’s setting button for around 3 seconds. Wait for the time value to flash. When it does, click the setting button again.

Set the cooling time. The range is normally 10-35 minutes. The time will vary depending on the actual situation.

After setting the machine, no key will be operated. Save and exit after 5 seconds flash. It’s important to note that the time won’t be constant for all types of ice cream slurry. This being the case, you need to understand the different types and the time needed to make tasty treats.

Press the auto button to kick start the ice cream making process. The compressor machine starts the countdown automatically. When the time is up, the panel will display END and the machine will stop running.

Wait for the buzzer to sound. The buzzer indicates that the desserts are complete and ready to be served. Always have the receiving box ready. Place it in place and loosen the nut to allow you remove the discharge cover.

When all is set, press the cleaning button. The machine dispatches the hard ice cream into the receiving container. The tasty treats are ready to be served. You can also freeze them to snack later. Refill the machine for the next batch and follow the same process.


Ice cream makers come in different shapes, design, functionality, sizes and technology. With the growing demand for these machines, manufacturers have introduced different brands and models in a bid to tap into this demand. This increase in production and improved technology is a major boost in the industry.

It’s now easier to get a frozen dessert maker that it was a few decades ago. The advent of online shops and outlets makes it easy to order any appliance from the comfort of your living room. We have even made it easier for you by reviewing some of the best ice cream machines.

We have gone the extra mile to review reliable appliances that will deliver delicious treats. These may not be the best pieces in the market but they are indeed high quality ice cream makers. This should serve as a guide to help you make informed decisions.

Go ahead, invest in one of these ice cream makers and have a good time making ice cream at home. The commercial ice cream makers reviewed should also be very reliable and will give you value for money. Your clients will be happy with the quality of ice delivered and you will definitely be making good money from your ice cream business.