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Ice Cream Maker Machine

Which Type is for You?

You're looking for an ice cream maker machine to make some wonderful homemade ice cream...but as you begin your search, it's not the ice cream ingredients that are freezing...it's you!

All you're looking for is a machine that makes ice cream! You never knew there were so many different options out there. Let me chip away some of your confusion by explaining what the different types are and how each works.

Manual Ice Cream Making Machine


  • Rock Salt/Ice (hand crank ice cream maker machine)
    • Ice cream ingredients are placed in a bowl.
    • ice cream making machine

    • This bowl is placed in a larger outer bowl.
    • In the space between the outer and inner bowl, a rock salt/ice mixture is placed.
    • Rock salt and ice are used to freeze the ice cream ingredients.
    • A paddle attached to a hand crank mixes ice cream ingredients to insure uniform freezing, prevent ice crystals, and aerate the ice cream.

Electric Ice Cream Maker Machine

  • Rock Salt/Ice
    • This machine works the same as the manual model, but the paddle is turned by electricity - not your own elbow grease!

  • Freezer Bowl
    • The Freezer Bowl is a double-walled bowl with solution in-between its walls.
    • The bowl is placed in the freezer before use (usually at least 8-12 hours).
    • When the solution is frozen (you can no longer hear any liquid sloshing around between the bowl's walls), the bowl is placed in the ice cream machine.
    • Ice cream ingredients are placed in the freezer bowl
    • ice cream making, machine

    • An electric-powered paddle churns the ice cream to insure uniform freezing. It also prevents ice crystals from forming and aerates the ice cream.

  • Compressor Freezer

    • Ice cream ingredients are place inside the ice cream making machine.
    • This appliance freezes the ice cream ingredients without the use of a freezer bowl or rock salt and ice.
    • To insure uniform freezing, the ice cream maker churns the ice cream. Churning prevents ice crystal formation and aerates the ice cream.
    For more information on the compressor freezer model, check out Ice Cream Maker Freezer Information.

  • Freezer Unit
    • Ice cream ingredients are placed inside the ice cream making machine.
    • Entire ice cream maker is placed inside a refrigerator freezer.
    • Ice cream is mixed while the ice cream machine is inside the freezer (yes! your freezer door will have to be closed over the ice cream machine's electric cord!).
    • Because this appliance is less desirable than the other types, it will not be discussed extensively on this website.
    • Problems with this method
      • Inconvenient: Produces ice cream slowly.
      • Inferior ice cream: Higher quality ice cream is made and frozen quickly.
      • Impractical design: Electric cord must be closed over freezer door.

You can find more info with our Electric Ice Cream Freezers Quick Guide.


Now you're familiar with the basic types of ice cream makers and how they work!

You can ask yourself:

What am I looking for in an ice cream maker machine?


By Jenn Fraiser

New! Please leave a reply!

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