delicious. reviews: the Cuisinart Ice Cream & Gelato Professional

Summer arrives. The warm weather returns. What’s the first thing on your mind? ICE CREAM. Sure, you can buy an abundance of wacky flavours in the shops but nothing beats homemade. Once you’ve got your hands on an ice cream maker, let the experimentation mindset kick in as you create unheard-of flavours and variations at home.

The Cuisinart Ice Cream & Gelato Professional arguably sits within an elite category of ice cream makers: it often makes an appearance on cheffy TV shows like MasterChef and is a favourite in commercial kitchens and among ice cream enthusiasts. We took it for a test run and found it ticked plenty of boxes…

delicious. reviews: the Cuisinart Ice Cream & Gelato Professional

What’s good about it?

Easy to use

Ease of use is such an important factor with gadgets. Despite the daunting name, this machine couldn’t be simpler to use. Gadgets that come with millions of buttons can be overwhelming but this one includes just a power button, a start/stop button for pausing and a timer button. That’s it.

If you’re new to making your own ice cream, we’d suggest you stick to Cuisinart’s own recipes to get familiar with the machine – as these have been specifically tested using the machine. We tried a few of their basic recipes: vanilla ice cream and gelato, and thought the recipes worked perfectly. Once you’re more of a pro with your machine, the internet is your oyster in terms of trying out new recipes.

A BIG tick here is that there’s no need to freeze the bowl of the machine before use, as it comes with its own instant-freeze bowl. Regular ice cream makers will know that this is a huge drawback of many other machines. What’s more, once your ice cream is ready, this machine will keep it frozen for ten more minutes after being switched off. This is absolutely invaluable for dinner parties and serving large crowds, and means no thawed ice cream on your counter top.

Size and versatility

The capacity of the machine is impressive, as it creates up to 1.5 litres of ice cream, making it perfect for dinner parties or a group of ice cream fiends. The build quality is impressive – it’s a very sturdy machine with a stainless steel shell.

You’ll need to make the base of your ice cream (normally the custard element) and chill in the fridge for 2 hours before getting started. It’s best to do so in a medium-sized Tupperware or a jug, so that you can directly pour this mix into your machine when getting started. You won’t need to freeze anything in advance and therefore there won’t be any drama over freezer storage.

Experimentation is welcome here: don’t just limit yourself to ice cream. The machine will make practically any frozen recipe: gelato, sorbet, frozen yogurt, frozen cocktails (hello margaritas) and more. On testing we managed to make 3 different flavours of ice cream (4.5L!) in under 3 hours.

What’s not so good about it?

Okay so I’m going to be real with you… this machine is BIG, which is to be expected when it comes to a self-freezing machine. At 56cm in diameter and 23cm in height, it’s not counter-top friendly, but a self-freezing machine with a built in compressor was never going to be teeny tiny. You’d probably benefit from having an attic, garage or large storage space for it. But the upside is that you can make ice cream very quickly with this machine, and that’s what’s important here! The internal fan has a lot of air to pump, so it does make a fair bit of noise, as many ice cream makers do. It’s not any noisier than a gentle hum.

It doesn’t come with any additional tools such as scrapers or scoops, so maybe make sure you’ve got those in your kit before you get started. Ideally, you’ll need a rubber-ended spatula to get all of your ice cream out of the bowl.

How easy is it to clean?

Honestly? It couldn’t be easier. The bowl lifts straight out of the machine and can be rinsed in seconds, and its hygienic design means you don’t need to worry about its circuit getting wet. It is however not dishwasher safe, so you must wash the bowl by hand.

Our favourite feature

This machine makes both ice cream and gelato and has specific paddle attachments for both. So what’s the difference between the two attachments? The ice cream paddle works harder to incorporate more air into the ice cream. The result is a very light and fluffy ice cream (Mr Whippy vibes), that’s aerated and containts no ice crystals. The gelato paddle (which is also great for sorbets) incorporates less air into your mixture and leaves the gelato silkier and softer in texture. If you like a softer-serve texture, you can churn for just 30 minutes, but if you prefer a thicker set ice you might like to churn for 45 minutes.


Overall verdict

Cuisinart provide you with a pre-warning: all ice cream made in this machine will naturally be softer compared to commercially bought ice cream, because it’s natural and doesn’t contain additives. We think this is one of the machine’s key benefits, rather than a disadvantage. The ice cream is so light and so soft. Having put it through its paces, it’s clear why Cuisinart offer a 5 year warranty as standard on this machine: its robustness means the model could stand up to use in a commercial kitchen.

It’s pricier than other machines on the market so it’s one for those who are serious about making ice cream. It’d be a shame to own this piece of kit and not put it to regular use. But for those who often host dinner parties, the instant-freeze bowl, keep-chill function and large capacity of this machine make it a game-changer. Available from UK Juicers (£298.95).

Liked this review? Try our ice cream recipes.

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