Get the low-down on the Cuisinart ICE-30 ice cream maker. The good, the bad... I leave no stone unturned!
The Cuisinart ICE-30 Pure Indulgence was the second ice cream ice cream maker I ever owned and it looked after me well. This easy-to-use appliance can produce 2L (2Qt) of your favourite ice cream, gelato or frozen yoghurt with minimal fuss.
In this review I’ve got you covered. I’ll uncover the dirt on this ice cream maker so that you know what you’re getting before you buy. Truth being told, there isn’t a lot of dirt that I can provide. It’s a quality ice cream maker that’ll make you, your friends and your family happier than a dog wagging two tails.
In this review you’ll learn how this model works; it’s good and bad points; and I’ll show you the ice cream making process using this machine. It’s actually very simple as you’ll see shortly.
There is a common misconception about domestic ice cream machines: the more you spend, the better the ice cream quality. Having used almost every model on the market, I can say that this isn’t always the case. The Cuisinart ICE-30 is budget model, but it still makes ice cream at least as good, if not better, than some other products that are triple the price.
The Cuisinart ICE-30 does have a couple of not so good points: firstly it’s noisy and secondly it doesn’t have a compressor. Not sure what that means? Keep reading and I’ll make everything clear.
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- Width 21.5cm (8.5″)
- Height 29cm (11.5″)
- Depth 21.5cm (8.5″)
- Weight 6.1kg (13.5lb)
- Loudness 80-82Db
- Paddle Speed 21rpm
- Power cord 90cm (35″)
- Overrun 27%
- Warranty 3 years
Watch the ICE-30 in Action
How does the Cusinart ICE-30 make ice cream?
There are two main types of ice cream maker currently available.
- Ice cream makers with a compressor
- Ice cream makers with a freezable bowl
1. Ice cream makers with a compressor
These are complex models that have the freezer built into the appliance. As you can imagine, these machines tend to be a lot bigger because they have a lot more componentry.
The beauty of this type of ice cream maker is that it allows you to make ice cream and gelato whenever you feel the need for a frozen treat! You can make a batch, then make another flavour immediately afterwards. In fact, you could have that machine pumping out desserts all night – the manufacturers don’t recommend this as it’s a domestic model designed for intermittent use rather than constant use.
Ice cream makers with a built in compressor are quite large so if you have a very small kitchen, you’ll need to have a storage space for it when not in use.
If this type of ice cream maker interests you consider the Breville Smart Scoop which will impress.
2. Ice cream makers with a freezable bowl
The Cuisinart ICE-30 is this type of ice cream maker. It has a freezer hardened, double-insulated bowl that is filled with a special liquid. When you tear your Cuisinart out of the box, you’ll be able to hear the liquid sloshing inside. Once frozen, it will keep the bowl at a very low temperature for around an hour.
Once you’ve churned the ice cream, the bowl needs to be frozen again, overnight. This is important to consider. If you occasionally make ice cream, this tye of machine is fine. If you like the flexibility to make multiple batches on the fly, then consider a higher end model.
There are pros and cons that come with choosing this appliance but we’ll look at those further into the review. For now, let’s take a look at what makes up this machine.
The components of the ICE-30
Okay, let’s start by taking a look at what you’ll receive if you decide to invest in this product.
- The base
- The paddle (dasher)
- The freezer bowl
- The lid
1. The base
The ICE-30 is an impressive looking appliance that looks good in any kitchen. The unit I reviewed is baby blue, but there are a range of different colours available. The brushed steel option is a very popular option and seems to be the most readily available on the market.
This ice cream maker is solidly built and it’s simplicity allows it to keep churning ice cream for many years. The motor is housed in the base and packs an impressive 35 watts of grunt. It has no problem making ice cream, frozen yoghurt, sherbet, sorbet or even frozen drinks.
The underside of the appliance has rubber feet attached to provide stability when it’s busy making ice cream. As with the other models, it has a space to store any unused cord. On this model, it’s under the base. This offers a little extra safety as there’s less power cord for kids to get caught on if they have a tendency to clamber onto the bench tops.
There are also vents in the bottom of the base to allow warm air to escape and help keep the ice cream maker cool.
2. The paddle (dasher)
The paddle pays a key role in making your delicious frozen desserts: it whips air into the ice cream while it’s hard at work mixing. The Cuisinart paddle is made out of solid plastic and is well built. It’s very uncommon for these moving parts to break but you can buy new parts if needed. There’s also a 3 year warranty so if it’s a product fault, you could get it replaced.
This is a patent pending piece of technology which is unique in that it doesn’t actually rotate – it is locked into one position.
The freezer bowl locks into a 12 tooth gear protruding from the base. So it’s the bowl that spins around rather than the paddle. This technology is used in all the removable bowl Cuisinart models and it offers excellent power. Where other makers will start to struggle at the end of the churn as the ice cream thickens, this power-horse with its 35 watt motor continues.
A quick note about gaps
I’ve tried a lot of domestic ice cream machines and a common problem I’ve found with several is that there is a gap between the dasher and the inside of the bowl. What happens is that a thin layer of hard ice cream forms on the inside of the bowl. This acts as insulation and causes the ice cream to freeze at a slower rate. Our objective is to freeze ice cream as fast as possible as this results in creamier ice cream.
I’d like to see Cuisinart address this gap in future models. Maybe they have, but it forces the price up too high? I am sure they are aware of it so hopefully they’re hard at work on this issue as we speak!
A solution is to stop the machine and scrape the sides of the bowl to remove the hardened ice cream. It’s crucial that you do this as quickly as possible as you don’t want the ice cream to melt, even a little.
As ice cream gets churned, air is incorporated into the dessert. If an ice cream had 50% overrun, that means the ice cream base has increased by 50% at the end of churning.
The Cuisinart ICE-30 claims to add 27% overrun which I think is perfectly fine. Commercial machines can incorporate well over 100% overrun into their products; however, premium ice cream overrun will be much lower. This is the type of ice cream we’ll be emulating in the Cuisinart!
3. The bowl
The bowl is a solidly built component which contains cooling liquid between a double-insulated wall. You can hear the sloshing sound of this liquid when it’s at room temperature. To use the bowl you’ll need to freeze it for 6-24 hours (preferably overnight).
This bowl allows the user to make 2L (2Qt) of frozen dessert. This is actually a decent size and I definitely prefer this bowl over the 1.5L bowl offered by the ICE-21 model. But you’re not me! If you think a smaller bowl will be sufficient, check out my Cuisinart ICE-21 review.
If possible, try to make a quantity of ice cream that is less than full capacity. If you halve the quantity of your recipe you’ll find the ice cream hardens a lot quicker and the end result is much better ice cream mouth feel and structure. A full bowl makes the motor work overtime and sometimes on hot days you’ll find it barely makes the ice cream hard enough.
The bowl is 19.7cm (7.8″) in diameter so this can be a challenge for some homes with limited freezer space. If your freezer seems to constantly be jam packed to capacity, you may want to consider a machine with a built in freezer so that you don’t need to store the bowl in the freezer. For the rest of you, keep reading!
4. The lid
Like the paddle, the Cusinart’s lid is built to last. The plastic is clear which is really handy to see how your ice cream is progressing.
An ingredient spout allows you to add mix-ins like chocolate, nuts, fruit and sauces without stopping the freezing cycle. This is important as the ice cream needs to be churned as quickly as possible to improve texture. Stopping the churn cycle to add ingredients would be counter-productive.
How to make ice cream with the Cuisinart ICE-30
Step 1: Preparation
This is the fun part – deciding what flavour ice cream you’re going to make and choosing a recipe. Of course, you can make your own recipe but unless you have a good understanding of ingredient proportions, I suggest using a recipe first. Ice cream is a lot like baking in that you need to get the measurements accurate. It’s easy to simply jump in and start adding milk, some cream and sugar. But if you don’t have a good understanding of proportions then you’ll be likely to make an unpleasant ice cream. No ice cream maker can produce good ice cream if the recipe is wrong.
You’ll be pleased to know that there are loads of ice cream recipes online and in book stores. I’ve listed my favourite three Cuisinart ice cream recipes here.
Cuisinart also includes a recipe booklet with your purchase. These recipes have been tested with the ICE-30 so you can be fairly confident of making excellent ice cream.
There are also lots of helpful resources and forums online that’ll help you get started. I recommend you visit the Reddit community and they’re very engaged in helping newcomers up their ice cream game. You could also check out these resources to help you make better ice cream.
Step 2: Pasteurisation
This is a step that is performed by commercial ice cream makers to kill off potential bacteria and it involves heating the ice cream custard. Some at-home ice cream makers will also heat their ice cream for this reason; however, there’s other reasons to heat it. Many flavours that you want to include will need to be added during the heating phase. For example, vanilla beans should be added during this phase.
When using eggs, you’ll heat the dairy mixture until it begins to thicken. It needs to coat the back of the spoon. What does that mean you ask? You should dip a spoon into the custard then remove it. Run your finger down the spoon to make a line in the custard. If the line keeps it’s form then you’ve done it!
Some experts suggest you continue to heat the custard for another 10-15 minutes to improve the final ice cream even more. Just be warned, never at any stage let the custard boil as it will scramble the eggs and you’ll have to star again.
Step 3: Ageing
Once your custard is ready, pour it into a container and place in the fridge to cool. To reduce the temperature more quickly, place the container in an ice bath before adding to the fridge. This will reduce the temperature quickly which is recommended, but not essential.
Try to age the custard base overnight. If you’re rushed for time then just make sure it’s completely cooled. This will usually take at least a few hours.
Step 4: Freezing
This is where the Cuisinart ice cream maker comes into play. If you like simplicity, then this is the appliance for you. The bowl, paddle and lid easily fit together and there is only one on/of switch.
Get everything ready before you remove the bowl from the freezer. You don’t want any wasted time which will allow the freezer bowl to start warming.
What to consider before removing the bowl from the freezer
- Position your Cuisinart in the right spot and plugg it in.
- Ensure you have the lid and paddle ready to go.
- Have your ice cream mixture ready to pour. You may want to give it a quick strain to remove any lumps.
- Have a spatula ready.
- If you’re adding mix-ins, place them in the fridge to chill.
Now you can remove the bowl from the freezer and take it out of it’s freezer bag. Place it on the base, add the paddle and finally the lid. It will all click into place easily.
Finally, start the ice cream maker. The Cuisinart ICE-30 panel is really simple – no complex setting of any kind. Simply flick on the start button and the bowl will start rotating. You can now pour the ice cream through the chute and begin the waiting process.
You’ll find that if you are making a large quantity of ice cream then it will take around 45 minutes. However, this will vary quite a lot depending on room temperature and the ice cream recipe you’ve used. If you churn a half batch, it will reduce the churn time to less that 30 minutes.
Keep in mind that the freezable bowl will only stay cold for around an hour. If your ice cream isn’t thickening by the 45 minute mark be worried. If it hasn’t reached a nice thick consistency by 60 minutes you’ve missed your opportunity to make ice cream for the day. Unfortunately the bowl needs to go back in the freezer overnight. This can be a little frustrating if you mess up the recipe and have dinner guests that night! Those with a large freezer could buy an extra bowl to solve this problem.
Step 5: Adding Extras
Kids love this part. Ah, who am I kidding. Adults love it too.
Adding colour, crunch and extra flavour to ice cream can be the difference between good and great ice cream. To add the mix-ins simply add them through the chute in the lid. Don’t stop the ice cream maker.
It is important to add your mix-ins at the very end of the freezing phase. It puts unnecessary strain on the motor by adding them too early. Also, some mix-ins crumble and ruin the texture of the ice cream. It can also discolour the ice cream. For example, sprinkles added too early result in all the colours merging into only ugly mess.
I suggest cooling your extras in the fridge for an hour before adding to the ice cream. Room temperature mix-ins warm the ice cream and increase ice crystal size – this isn’t something we want. Ever.
Step 6: Hardening
As your ice cream finishes churning in the Cuisinart you’ll notice it isn’t hard like store bought ice cream. It’s closer to a soft serve texture. I’m not going to lie, I love eating it like this. It’s so full of flavour, especially ice creams made with fruit. Strawberry ice cream straight from the machine is to die for. Seriously.
To transform your ice cream into the final product, though, you’ll need to freeze it. Scoop it into a nice flat wide container and cover with a lid of cling wrap. The reason you want a flat container is that it means more ice cream will be exposed to the cold temperatures of the freezer.
Place the ice cream in the back of the freezer for 2-3 hours until nice and hard.
I recommend adding a layer of cling wrap directly onto the ice cream. This stops those horrible ice crystals forming on top of the ice cream. Actually, you could do this with store bought ice cream too.
Tips for getting the most out of your ICE-30
- Store your machine in a cool, dry spot out of direct sunlight.
- Keep in an upright position.
- Freeze the bowl overnight is time permits.
- Set freezer to maximum coldness so the bowl gets nicely frozen.
- Chill add-ins before adding them to your ice cream
- Try to avoid churning ice cream on those really hot days unless you have A/C.
- Add spirits to your ice cream to improve its texture.
- Guar gum is an excellent stabiliser but use sparingly.
- Chill the ice cream custard before churning.
Tasty Ice cream made by the ICE-30
One of the best, if not the best sorbet you can make. Mangoes were destined for sorbet. Try to make this recipe in summer when mangoes are cheap – otherwise it’ll cost you an arm and a leg to make it.
This is the perfect dessert for a hot day. It tastes so good and there’s a reason the sorbet manufacturer that rhymes with “geese” sells so much sorbet!
Raspberry ice cream
Like mango sorbet, make this ice cream when raspberries are at their cheapest cause you need a couple or punnets to make a batch of ice cream. A cheaper option is to buy the frozen raspberries. It makes good ice cream, but not as good as the fresh raspberry option.
Turmeric ice cream
A controversial ice cream that’s worth a try. You might be surprised.
Turmeric doesn’t have to be reserved for the Indian curry! Open your mind to a delicious savoury ice cream that’s a spicy, creamy concoction of deliciousness. Drizzle the final product with honey and it’ll take your ice cream to another level.
How to clean your appliance
It really doesn’t get much easier with this ice cream maker. You can remove the bowl and wash it in warm soapy water. Simple.
Does the ICE-30 make great ice cream?
My word it does. I used this model for ages and when I finally upgraded to an expensive ice cream maker, that had all the bells and whistles, I was a bit deflated. I felt like the humble ICE-30 was no less an ice cream machine when it came to the final product. Well, there are a few high end machines that make better ice cream like the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino but the ICE-30 is pretty damn fine.
If making ice cream on a budget is you your main criteria, this is a solid machine. You get delicious, quality ice cream that is super creamy and the added bonus of a large 2L (2Qt) bowl.
The ice cream quality does taper off the fuller it gets. So, if you’re going to have the bowl chock full every time you make ice cream, this may be a problem. Yes, it’s a big bowl, but the machine works optimally when it’s about half full. Keep this in mind when you’re making a decision to buy. If budget permits, you may be better off buying the Lello Musso Pola 5030 if you need quality and quality.
The best features of the Cuisinart ICE-30
- It’s a good size: it easily fits on a kitchen bench or into a cupboard if space is at a premium.
- An entry level model that’s competitively priced.
- It makes lovely creamy ice cream that beats any store bought version.
Why you might not want this model
- It’s a noisy unit that’ll interrupt your latest Masterchef episode.
- It can be frustrating having to plan ahead with freezing the bowl.
- Finding space in the freezer can be a challenge for some.
Top alternatives to the ICE-30
1. Prefer a built in compressor? Consider the Cuisinart ICE-100
The Cuisinart ICE-100 is a high-end domestic ice cream maker. The big difference is that it has a built in compressor. If you like the convenience of being able to make ice cream whenever you like, this may be a better option for you.
A unique feature about this model is that you receive two paddles: one for making ice cream and the other for making gelato. There is a difference between the two and being able to incorporate more air when making ice cream is definitely useful.
What’s good about the ICE-100
- Makes amazing ice cream
- Built in compressor
- Two paddle options
What’s not so good about the ICE-100
- Uses up more kitchen bench space
- The keep cool function isn’t great
2. Want a smaller ice cream maker?
The Cuisinart ICE-21 is worth a look. It offers the same high quality build offered by the ICE-30, only the bowl size is reduced to 1.5L (1.5Qt).
What’s good about the ICE-21
- Doesn’t use a lot of bench space
- Well built, quality product
What’s not so good about the ICE-21
- Having to freeze the bowl each time
- Quite noisy when operating
Okay, let’s get down to business. If you’ve read this far you must be interested in making an investment in your happiness. The Cuisinart ICE-30 is a quality ice cream maker that’ll be there when you need it – like a loyal friend.
The 35 watt motor has the power to make good quality, creamy ice cream that tastes fantastic. That’s a bonus.
Does size impress you? If yes, you’ll be drooling for this large 2L (2Qt) bowl. You can stack loads of ice cream into it! Enough for a large family… and the neighbours. Unless you’re like me – in which case it will be enough just for you.
This model has a freezable bowl so you’ll need space in your freezer for the bowl to freeze. If you have one of those small freezers which is constantly packed to capacity this could be a problem and you might want to consider the Breville Smart Scoop.
I think the Cuisinart ICE-30 is one of the best options for anyone wanting to start making ice cream but don’t want to spend loads on an appliance they may not use every week. It’s the perfect machine to impress guests with restaurant quality ice cream. Maybe you’ve upset your partner and need some bonus points – the Cuisinart will give you those points. Who can say no to quality ice cream?